e-Records 2019: For Good Measure: Developing Information & Records Management Metrics

by Erica Rice

One highlight of the e-Records afternoon was “For Good Measure,” a presentation about how to gain some clout for your records management program. Jenny Alexander (of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission), and Sarah Hendricks (of the Texas Department of Public Safety) presented an insightful, informative, and witty talk about how you can use metrics to improve performance and ask for more dollars in the records management budget at your organization.

Sarah Hendricks and Jenny Alexander explaining SACC’s mission.

Ms. Alexander and Ms. Hendricks both represent the Records Management Subcommittee of SACC, the State Agency Coordinating Committee. One of the subcommittee’s main goals is identifying the challenges common to records management professionals at all agencies. So what were the common challenges they focused on at e-Records?

  • demonstrating value to non-RIM departments and executives
  • justifying bigger budgets
  • establishing S.M.A.R.T. goals (and making sure they’re met!)
A word cloud of “quick wins.”

Check out the slides for detailed information on tracking performance metrics (see the “Quick Wins” slides for ideas on what to track – disposition, storage volume, etc.). As our co-presenters stated, “what gets measured, gets managed…and more importantly, gets funded!” As RIM professionals, we know that what we do has value and serves the mission of our organization, but this is not always readily apparent to outsiders. Quantitative performance metrics can put a hard number on the good that your department does. And when that number goes up (or down, in the case of costs!), everyone knows that performance is improving.

Making friends!

Finally, attendees were reminded that it’s not all about the hard data and metrics. Performance reporting involves a fair amount of storytelling; you need to merge qualitative information with quantitative data in order to tell the full story of your department’s success – or where there is room for improvement. Yes, track the metrics, but also contextualize those numbers in order to obtain buy-in and get the resources you need to meet your S.M.A.R.T. goals. Ms. Hendricks and Ms. Alexander reminded us that records management is not a one-woman job – it requires joint projects and solid enterprise-wide relationships. Make friends!

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