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Managing information is a key issue in the daily running of any organization. With information being the most valuable resource that an organization can have, good management of information ensures that its retrieval is simple and fast. The information is a key element that aids the organization in the process of making decisions about the future of the organization.
Therefore, good information storage and retrieval strategies have a profound impact on the future of that particular organization. The emergence of information technology and its applications has greatly improved how organizations store and retrieve records as compared to the past when manual file systems were key methods used to keep records in most organizations.
This research discusses issues that Deloitte United Arab Emirates faces in keeping records.
Research objective. The main objective of this research is to investigate Deloitte UAE, distinguish the methods used by the company to keep records and discuss the issues that the company faces in the process of keeping records.
Data collection method. The research relied on the internet to obtain information about Deloitte UAE and the international standards of records management. The peer-reviewed journals were also used to gather facts about record-keeping standards from other researchers. Other methods of data collection were the use of ISO websites, online libraries, government websites, archives, and various treaties, laws, and regulations.
Background Information about Deloitte United Arab Emirates
Deloitte UAE is a part of the bigger Deloitte & Touche Group which is a global organization of firms that has its headquarters in New York, United States. Deloitte was established in 1880 by William Welch Deloitte, and later in 1989 merged with Touche Ross, therefore, increasing the size of the company. Since then, its impact on the global business arena was highly felt. The merger increased the size of the organization, which doubled the complexity of the business.
The company has operations in more than 150 countries worldwide providing professional services like accounting, financial audit, tax, consulting, and others. With the huge client base that the company has, the records it keeps are huge. Thus, the retrieval of such records is a complex task, which requires efficient methods to timely and accurately provide the information required for making decisions that affect the business both in the short and long run.
Nature of Business
Deloitte is a consulting company, which offers consultancy services to other organizations. These consultancy services comprise financial accounting, auditing, human capital, risk management, taxation, and technology. The company has several experienced professionals in each of these fields who guide their clients in various business areas and provide sound consultancy services.
The company has 1100 professionals in the UAE based in different regions of the country including its offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, and Sharjah. According to Deloitte (2016), the company has several customers from different sectors of the economy which include energy, real estate, hospitality, banking and finance, trading, manufacturing, construction, government, telecom, and the public sector.
Type of Information
The company deals with the information from its reports as well as the information about their clients which have a profound impact on decision-making concerning how the company should be managed or operated. Information stored includes reports of the past operations of the company which ranges from company performance and past decisions to the information about its employees among other reports. Some of these reports are of great significance to the company's decision-making process. This involves customer feedbacks such as complaints, revenue reports, customer inquiries, reports about the market surveys, and maintaining customer information.
Records Management Strategy
Due to the complex nature of business in the current world, records have to be properly managed to keep the past data available for use in case of need to make strategic decisions. With this in mind, Deloitte has put into place a well-thought strategy of managing the company's records. Its records are handled by Deloittes Records and Information Management group which is mandated with the task of overseeing that the records of the company are readily available for retrieval and reference at all times in the process of decision-making and multidisciplinary management of the organization.
The company's records management is highly computerized which is the main factor that reduces the turnaround time that it takes before records can be accessed from the company's archives as stated in Is It Time to Go Paperless? Records Management: The Cost of Warehousing Bad Habits (2016).
This underscores the need to have more efficient methods that can be used to gather facts about the past performance of the business and produce intelligent reports based on the already stored information that is contained in the archives or records of the company. According to Beach and Oates (2014), the accurate storage of the company's information is an essential element in the management of an organization and developing effective strategies for making decisions.
With the sensitive nature of information and record-keeping, the company seriously treats records management. Also, high ethical standards are required for people dealing with record keeping. The records are stored in the company's servers within the UAE while the backup of the same is kept at the Deloitte headquarters in New York for security services. The records kept by the company include expense, time, billing records of the clients, and financial as well as regulatory reports of the company. People involved in making and keeping records in the company are required to be highly confident and with high moral standards.
Additionally, they are required to adhere to international and local legal standards as well as the company's policies of records management in the UAE. The company has an Electronic and Records Management system (EDRM) which helps in the storage of records. This system is meant to eradicate the outdated paper-based filing system and replace it with an electronic one. This method also has a profound impact on the utilization of storage space and meeting the policies as stated in D-G4-L4-249 Operational Readiness Assessment Deloitte LLP Service for G-Cloud IV (2016). Additionally, Deloitte has a cloud-based system of records storage which is designed to enhance the security of information.
International Standards of Records Management
Some standards have been designed by international bodies to help organizations and provide directions in terms of information management. One of the bodies that have played a significant role in providing such standards is International Organization for Standardization (ISO). One of the key standards set by ISO is ISO 15489 of 2001. This standard applies to the management of records that are kept in any format and provides the framework to organizations regarding how to establish a system of managing records or develop policies and procedures for managing electronic records.
Therefore, this standard has been used by Deloitte to provide guidance and ease the process of designing the record management policies. This provides legal guidance as evidence of an event that occurred within the company in case of a legal obligation.
ISO 30301 Management Systems for Records is a system that guides organizations in maintaining records that are used at a strategic level and describes the record management approach at the senior level of management. It has been used by Deloitte as a guide in the storage and retrieval of records which are used in making strategic decisions that are crucial for the effective running of the company.
Another international standard is ISO 9001, which is the world's most famous standard that helps the organization to deliver quality services. This standard helps the organization to meet customer requirements in all areas of service provision. This is, however, not meant for records only. Since it helps streamlines operations of the organization involving record management, it is, therefore, considered to influence records management and retrieval. This standard helps in tracking and monitoring service delivery within the organization by outlining the ways that should be followed to achieve as well as provide a benchmark which the organization can orient at.
DoD 5015.2-STD US Department of Defense Design Criteria Standard for Electronic Records is another important standard in the management of records and archives. It stipulates the basic functional requirements of a records management software used by organizations and the minimum requirements which must be met by Electronic Records Management System based on NARA regulations. This standard has helped various organizations develop systems, which are efficient in managing records and making retrieval easier.
ISO 23081-3:2011 Managing Metadata for Records is a standard that provides a guide helping people to understand, implement, and use metadata which is needed to manage records within ISO framework 15489. This standard focuses on the importance of records and their management for the organization. Generally, it provides a framework for the definition of metadata elements and organizations' self-assessment.
Records Management Standards Implemented by Deloitte (UAE)
Deloitte has its internal records management policies that define how records concerning the business day-to-day running should be stored. However, the company implements other international standards to ensure that the process of managing records is as transparent and effective as possible.
ISO15489 is one of the standards implemented by Deloitte; this standard was set up in October 2001 at ARMA international conference in Montreal, Canada. ISO15489 is targeted at helping both government and private organizations to meet record-keeping standards and needs in their business activities. This standard has two parts; ISO 15489 Part I gives a high-level framework for keeping records and gives a clear explanation of the benefits of managing these records. It also pays attention to the legal considerations and the importance of record-keeping and provides good standards that must be met in designing record-keeping systems and auditing in an organization.
ISO 15489 Part II, on the other hand, gives the guidelines on the development of records management policy and makes suggestions for developing systems for keeping these records. This part also provides advice on the development of the records process and controls such as a disposal, authorities, and the security of records. It also gives guidance on the tools that can be used to manage records in an organization (ISO, 2016). Both 15489 part I and 15489 part II are applied by Deloitte as a part of the company's policy that is crucial in the provision of guidance regarding the development of company policies on records management and for pursuance to legal obligations
Additionally, the organization implements ISO 30301 which guides it in the process of maintaining records for strategic decision-making tasks. This standard helps Deloitte to achieve its mandate, mission, and strategy as well as the goals by developing and implementing records policy and measurement of the organization's performance as far as record-keeping is concerned.
Another new standard that is implemented at Deloitte is ISO 23081. It covers the principles which govern records management metadata. This standard sets a framework for creating, managing, and using records management metadata in the organization. It also explains the procedures and principles which govern records management metadata. This standard is aimed at addressing the issue of the relevance of records and sets up a framework for managing that metadata to support business processes within Deloitte.
Records management is an important aspect of the running and performance of an organization. It streamlines how archives are kept and eases the process of their retrieval. As far as the information is the organization's key resource, without the proper procedure of handling this information, it will be difficult to make strategic decisions that are of great benefit to the running of the organization and managing risk. Proper record-keeping activities ensure that time waste and inaccuracy are avoided as much as possible within the organization.
However, the creation, storage, retrieval, use, and destruction of information within the organization is a major challenge that needs a framework that defines the procedure of conducting those operations. Standards that have been set are important in guiding organizations in the process of record-keeping and archiving. The discussed standards alleviate some of the challenges that most of the organizations have undergone earlier. Bodies such as ISO have made efforts to develop the standards that guide organizations in the process of managing their records through the provision of a framework that helps them to establish their own policies of managing information resources.