While there has been talk for years about the “paperless office,” it has yet to happen. However, the subject of digital records is complex.
Everyone expects records to be digital because everything around us is digital—music, videos, games, television and so on. What’s stopping the world from digitizing records? Most documents today are created digitally, so it seems easy to the uninitiated. However, we have not yet learned how to keep these records for long periods of time in a digital format without the chance of error, corruption, loss of integrity, or even loss of the document itself by accident or theft. We may know how to do it technically, but the actual practice is difficult, expensive and fraught with problems.
Let’s look at a hospital’s records for example. The president and the U.S. Congress are pushing for digital records as a way of improving healthcare and reducing costs. This is a grand idea, but hospitals have many types of records beyond medical records and X-rays. Some have exceeded more than a thousand types of records. Can you imagine the effort, time and cost it would take any hospital to complete the transition to digital just for medical records, let alone business records.
Other records-storage service opportunities are unlimited. It’s true that a commercial records business can include services from a menu of options. The four sister services—storage, imaging, destruction and data media—are just the beginning. The number of potential services within each of those categories is nearly limitless.
While records storage is a great business, it’s not simple. The cost of entry is inexpensive compared to self-storage and the exit strategy can be set at the beginning. The question is, what do you want to do with your business and how many revenue streams can you manage effectively?
Cary F. McGovern has been in the commercial records-management industry for 32 years. He has assisted more than 500 companies in 23 countries enter and excel in this unique business. He is a member of ARMA International and PRISM International, and is a speaker at numerous industry tradeshows and conferences. To reach him, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; visit www.fileman.com.