Service management of records to avoid questions about “why records is so expensive.”

Number 1, top of the list of ridiculous and infuriating comments made by incoming executives looking at records teams is “you’ve got too many staff.”

The obvious question is “too many for what?”

Here’s what a good answer looks like:

“Here are the services we provide. Here are our service benchmarks against external organisations who could provide us with these services, we are better value than all of them (so outsourcing would be stupid). Which services would you like us to stop providing?”

Records in most organisations isn’t too expensive, on the contrary, it is horribly under-funded. What many records teams fail to do is to group records tasks into services in a way that is understandable to the organisation and to service providers.

If you’ve studied ITIL or service management, you’ll have recognised that I’m saying records needs a service catalogue. A service catalogue describes all of the services that you provide to the organisation, and the critical information about them.

A well developed service catalogue enables you to very quickly tell your organisation what you do for them, and what you don’t, and what level of quality they can expect across the services. If you do it well, it also provides a tool that you can take to external service providers to benchmark yourself so that you can prove that you’re good value (or that you’re not, and give you a tool to work out why).

Once you’ve got a service catalogue, and you’ve used it to benchmark yourself, you’ll be able to quickly end 3 types of inane conversation:

  1. You’ve got too many staff.
  2. Why haven’t you done x.
  3. Why does this cost so much.

Records isn’t expensive, it’s generally horribly under-funded. It is however difficult to understand for many people who haven’t invested time in it. A service catalogue is a simple way you can make it more understandable – and avoid silly conversations with people who should know better.

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