Never Guess: What to Ask a Prospective RIM Partner
“The little things are infinitely the most important.” — Sherlock Holmes, A Case of Identity
While stopping short of the third degree, interviewing a records and information management provider should be a direct and thorough experience focused on vetting for success. As the fictional detective quoted above posits, no question is unworthy; no detail beneath scrutiny.
When seeking an outside provider or a request for proposal (RFP), be prepared with a detailed list of questions. These should align with the questions you should ask yourself, and thus provide the data you need to make an informed decision.
Below are the topics to address with your RIM partner-to-be, along with a few sample questions. Abraxas can help answer the detailed questions you should pose to any potential RIM partner.
- Background – How long have you been in business? What other clients have you served? What references can you provide? Have you had any previous relationship with our company?
- Location – What is your geographic reach? Where are your facilities located? How would you handle our service needs where you don’t have a nearby location?
- Finance and accounting – Can you provide your most recent financial statements or annual report? What is your invoicing process? What payment methods do you accept? Can you provide your price sheet?
- Operations and capabilities – What is your detailed experience and capabilities in records storage, retrieval, management of legal/regulatory files, legal discovery, indexing, scanning, and destruction? How do you manage records for different companies in a single space? What is the process for requesting a file? How quickly can you provide it, and in what format? Do you offer after hours servicing and what are the charges?
- Quality assurance – What documented certifications, standards and performance metrics can you provide? What documentation do you maintain regarding your quality systems program? Have you and/or your customers conducted audits of your operations? When? Can you share these reports?
- Communication – Can you define the level of collaboration you would provide? What is your process for informing the right parties in a timely manner when an issue arises?
- Performance – Can you provide data on performance management?
People: What is your mix of contract and staff employees? How do you recruit, screen, train, and onboard employees? What are their qualifications and experience levels?
- Environmental, health, and safety – What are the details of your workplace health and safety policies? What are the relevant environmental regulations affecting your facility and operations? What is your level of compliance?
- Security and disaster protection/recovery – What are the elements of the security systems you have in place, including practices covering access, protection of records, fire, and other potential disasters? What are the details of your disaster recovery business continuity plan? What is your level of insurance coverage?
When assessing the abilities of a potential RIM partner, a rigorous Q&A sweeps aside the unknowns. Perhaps the best advice is to embrace Sherlock Holmes’ philosophy: “I never guess. It’s a shocking habit, destructive to the logical faculty.” And, in the case of records management, guessing could be a disaster to one’s business.
Note: ARMA offers a management journal article with more information on writing a RIM Request for Proposal (pdf).
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Abraxas has the right experience, expertise, and processes to assure clients that their records are safe, accessible and exquisitely managed. We provide clients with tailored records and information management solutions, delivering the business intelligence that matters most — and we do it more efficiently and reliably than anyone else, particularly in highly regulated industries. To learn more, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us: 866.535.0016 (toll-free) or 269.226.0016.