Organisations churn out tonnes of records daily, with piles of files to keep track of every bit of information.
For most of them, records management, including dissemination is a manual. This is not only cumbersome but also prone to errors.
But the advent of digital technology is changing how information is stored and managed, giving companies flexibility from creation of records to disposal of unnecessary ones.
Information management experts say while digital technology does not entirely replace the manual system, it brings huge savings in terms of time, space and manpower.
Government agencies such as the Judiciary, State Law Office, Ministry of Lands and Kenyatta National Hospital are some of the institutions that are now transforming their hard copy documents to digital format.
Miriam Mwonge, a lecturer in the Department of Library and Information Science at Inoorero University, says organisations are realising the value of efficient records and archives management by adopting new technologies and hiring qualified people.
“Records management covers information that is current and semi-current while archives management covers that which is non-current but valuable,” says Ms Mwonge.
“Records are vital in sound and informed decision making, efficient service delivery, planning, preservation of corporate memory and culture.”
While digital technology makes it possible to store and concurrently avail information resources among many users, it also provides unlimited capacity and back up for records in case of a disaster.
It helps organisations reduce operational costs for managing records on staff, equipment and office space and eases tracking of documents in use and transactions.
Kenyatta National Hospital, for example, has contracted two firms, Tanzania’s Coseke and Kenya’s Techno Brain, to digitise four million documents at Sh40 million and is seeking funds to upgrade the remaining documents.
The move is expected to curb corruption common with use of paper work, reduce manual works and cut the cost of stationery, which stands at about Sh150 million annually or 12 per cent of its administrative cost.