Measuring the impact of records management

Steve Bailey (JISC infoNet, University of Northumbria, Newcastle‐upon‐Tyne, UK)

Records Management Journal

ISSN: 0956-5698

Publication date: 29 March 2011



The purpose of this paper is to provide a source of reliable, empirical data regarding the return on investment (ROI) that can be achieved by an organization through various approaches to improving the management of records. It is hoped that these data will help address the current dearth in such evidence in relation to records management and provide a source of citable reference data as part of the business case for investment in records management elsewhere. The paper also aims to explore some of the issues and challenges surrounding the measurement, analysis and interpretation of performance data in relation to records management.


This paper draws on the collected outputs of six UK higher education institutions, each of which were funded to pilot the JISC infoNet Impact Calculator. All six of these projects used the same transparent tool (the Impact Calculator) as the basis for their data collection and analysis, but each chose to apply it to different records management projects and organizational contexts. This paper assesses the key findings from each pilot project in turn, whilst also considering the more general issues and challenges regarding the measurement of impact with regards to records management that has emerged through the collective experience of these projects.


This paper provides demonstrable proof that investment in improvements to records management can realise significant and sustained financial ROI. It also uncovers some interesting variations in this overall picture, making it possible to start to identify which aspect of records management is likely to yield the greatest ROI and at what scale it needs to operate before this can be realised.


A previous extensive literature review undertaken by the author indicates that no other such source of empirical data currently exists in an openly accessible published form. It is hoped that doing so in a respected, peer‐reviewed journal such as the RMJ will provide a valuable service to records professionals by not only providing such data, but also a full account of the context and methodology used to generate it.



Bailey, S. (2011), "Measuring the impact of records management", Records Management Journal, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 46-68.

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