Information management brings different challenges across the world, driven by different local cultures, legislation, and a nation’s position on the digital transformation timeframe.
We’ve picked out our top five global trends which will shape information management for both physical and digital data over the next year:
The work from home revolution
“Work from home” policies are increasingly the new normal in many regions of the world.
In some countries it began as a reaction to the pandemic when people were unable to meet in the workplace, but its roots lie in longer term cultural changes.
Increasingly, employees want a better work-life balance and working from home delivers it.
A recent McKinsey report suggests 92m people in the United States now work remotely at least part time and 87% per cent of those offered an opportunity do so, embrace it. A vast majority of employees cited a better work-life balance as the main reason they desire a flexible job.
Compare that to pre-pandemic research from Global Workplace Analytics which said just 5.7m Americans worked from home.
It is a huge shift that is replicated across the world.
Sustainability – secure destruction and removal of ‘ROT’ data (redundant, out of date, or trivial)
Our impact on the planet is a big issue for information management, particularly where physical records are concerned.
Using vehicles to transport files from point A to point B raises red flags in many countries because businesses are increasingly thinking about their carbon footprint and committing to net zero targets.
Information management companies, including Crown, are working hard to switch to electric vehicles to reduce emissions.
Further sustainability policies in the records management space that we expect to see more and more both internally and across the world are:
- Installing LED lights in warehouses where paper records are stored instead of halogen lamps.
- Ensuring that paper records which clients have asked us to destroy are both pulped and recycled.
As mentioned, sustainability policies are also encouraging businesses to think more about destroying their records and recycling the paper in an environmentally friendly way. Every box of paper records sitting on a shelf in a warehouse is contributing to that building’s overall “carbon footprint” after all.
So, even without thinking about the embedded carbon in the printing and ink, you are adding to the problem.
Acceleration of digitisation
Each region of the world is on a different step on the ladder to digital transformation, but there is no doubt that a global pandemic has accelerated that climb for just about everybody.
Even in countries where government requirements to keep paper copies of key documents are strict, the needle is shifting.
There have also been big changes in sectors which have previously been resistant to switching from paper to digital.
“When you see big law firms embracing digital, it’s a big sign for the future. There are many law firms which are yet to follow suit, but it’s clear the direction of travel is electronic.”
David Fathers, U.K. and Ireland
The earliest known signature dates from 3000BC and was found on a clay tablet in Japan, but we have come a long way since then – and a paperless process is possible.
Digital signatures first became legal in the United States in the year 2000, after being defined and regulated by the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act of 1999.
These were originally signed with an ‘autopen’ but digital signatures are now completely computer-generated and encrypted.
They are growing in popularity around the world, too.
We expect the growth of digital signatures to be a key trend throughout 2023 and beyond as states and businesses move to more quickly to facilitate both bureaucracy and business.
Paper: not going away – but storage being reduced
There are many digital trends on this list, but that does not mean paper records and physical storage are going away.
Evidence from across the world is that many businesses still want to store on paper, and some governments still demand it.
There are also sectors, such as health, where records must be kept for a long time and scanning them all is financially prohibitive.
Some oncology files must be kept for 10 years after death, and some maternity files for at least 25 years after the birth. Then there are legal files, wills for instance, with long retention dates and rules in the pharmaceutical industry which require records to be kept for even longer.
There will always be a need for paper storage.
However, there is also a clear desire from companies in some countries to reduce the amount of physical storage to save money.
To find out more about how we can support you, or if you’re interested in finding out more, get in contact with our team of experts today!