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Outsourcing records management makes economic sense

Frank Hopping, MD, Crown Records Management (UK and Ireland)

Economic downturns are typically a time when businesses take stock of their assets and reassess areas for cost reduction. One major area of expenditure for many businesses is office and storage space. Whilst some might expect the cost of space to fall significantly during a recession, market information shows that despite the current economic uncertainty average monthly office rents in the UK remain significant, often standing at well over £40 per square foot for prime office space in London. Given that the cost of office space remains high, the natural question many are asking is whether their business could simply use less space or use what they have more efficiently. One such solution is outsourcing

storage. Whereas a typical four-drawer filing cabinet might require 10 square feet of office space, by contrast outsourcing storage of the documents held could cost as little as £1.20 per month. Companies can therefore achieve significant reductions by utilising office space for

essentials only and sending other records offsite for storage.

Money is never the only consideration when making strategic spending decisions though – there are wider reasons to consider outsourcing storage, such as security and administrative compliance. Records management policies need to be rigorously endorsed and policed, ideally by a recognised professional, in order to protect companies against the financial implications and reputational damage caused by data losses.

Storing documents off-site in a fully- protected and purpose-built facility also helps guard against the risks of crises such as flooding, fire or IT failure. In such an event, an inability to get back up and running quickly can prove expensive. Therefore, by ensuring that crucial information is backed up and stored in a secure location, companies can significantly improve their chances of being able to return to normal operations as quickly as possible, thus avoiding lost

custom and increased costs.

Beyond storing hard copy documents, over the last decade the growth in electronic data has turned the concept of records management on its head. Businesses now face new threats, from hacking to computer hardware theft, so good records management is no longer the sole responsibility of records managers. Indeed, it is now vital that everyone within an organisation, from the CEO to frontline staff, is aware of the need to protect data and understands individual responsibilities in this respect.

Effective records management procedures also protect companies against the legal consequences of information losses. Data breaches can lead to substantial fines, so an audit to ensure data is not retained for longer than needed is well worthwhile.

For further information on Crown Records Management please visit

Integrated card solutions helps Westminster College reduce waste and lower print costs

Integrated Card Solutions has installed a new print control system at Westminster Kingsway College ( The college needed to ensure that the students and staff had the latest facilities at its newest site in Gray’s Inn Road while demonstrating cost management and reductions at the same time.

Ian McDonald, head of information and learning technology at Westminster Kingsway College, said: “A review revealed that students printed 10 million pages a year. Staff copied and printed seven million pages. The average cost was a penny per page giving a total cost per annum of £170,000.

“Although the majority of consumption was normal day to day work, there were instances of personal use. There was also a general lack of control coupled with a high level of wastage.”

The college needed an easy to implement print control system that could integrate with its existing IT infrastructure and provide a seamless transition from the old system.

ICS installed 50 devices and integrated them with the college’s Active Directory.

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The installation combined a number of different packages and software products to ensure the targeted results were achieved. The main item of hardware was a robust PC206 terminal with a Mifare reader and keypad linked to ICS Pcounter print control software, which allows the centre to use most card technologies and ensure that all print and copying is controlled.

Pcounter links all the terminals providing the administrator with detailed activity reports and monitors trends and usage. It also identifies key opportunities for cost-saving on an on-going basis.

Making the switch from unrestricted copying and printing to a controlled system enabled the college to reduce the amount of waste that had built up. In addition, the college was able to track copying and printing activity and ensure that personal use was paid for. ICS business development director Alan Christie said: “Overall, there has been a

Building & Facilities Management – November 2011

marked reduction in print volumes of over 20 per cent leading to an immediate annual saving of around £50,000 with around two million fewer sheets being consumed and reductions in rental costs and wastage. “Demand for other consumables such as ink and toner has also decreased along with the resulting reduction in energy consumption.”

Westminster Kingsway College is now looking at rolling the system out across all its sites, which should lead to further annual savings of around £30,000.


Office Horizons

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