When’s the last time you thought about your image archive? Since the advent of COLD storage in the 1980s, (Computer Output to Laser Disc) banks have held some information as electronic images. Over time, standard documents ranging from loans to photo ID's to general correspondence were added to these systems. Later, with the advent of check imaging there were then check images available.
Your image archive has grown in both stature and importance, and needs to be better managed so that your organization benefits from it, manages the risks associated with it, and prepares for migration from one solution to another.
Let’s address each of these areas:
The basic benefits of an image archive include reduced physical storage space, easier access to documents, and superior backup and archiving based on proven electronic archiving and redundant storage. Additional benefits include enhanced workflows by incorporating imaging into your day to day activities, and improved compliance by allowing the system to manage your regulatory retention efforts, ensuring compliance and avoiding unnecessary liabilities from having too much retention.
Too often, document retention is an afterthought. Your image archive solution allows you to develop and codify rules for document usage, retention, and disposal. There are often state and federal regulations that impact the retention requirements for a particular document. A properly implemented image archive solution will allow you to plan for, and manage to those regulations.
Finally, if you are to change your core solution, or just your image archive solution, careful thought must be given to moving your image archive from one system to another. While technically your image archive is just another set of data that must be converted, there is often complexity associated with it.
Here are some key steps in successfully managing your image archive:
Clearly identify whom is in charge of the archive. Your CIO is my suggestion, and absent a CIO, your COO. This is an important application, with critical data, and deserves to be intentionally managed, and managed well.
Prepare for regulatory and audit requests for real time access to image data. Increasingly, internal and external auditors, as well as your regulators, are implementing more remote audit efforts. Access to your image archive will greatly enhance their efforts, and reduce the impact on your staff.
Focus on regulatory requirements for retention, and don’t exceed those guidelines. You will save valuable space, as well as limit your liability and exposure for maintaining information that neither you or your customers really need.
As always, I’m available to assist you in developing strategy and the appropriate polices and procedures to oversee this important application, including migration to another system if needed. Message me email@example.com