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What is the difference between Documents and Records?


In the world of business technology it is easy to get mixed up or confused with different types of solutions and technologies. Many of them share similarities and even have similar names. It is important to understand the differences when you are deciding what type of solution would be the best fit for your organization. When it comes to Information Management you will hear the terms Document Management and Records Management, they sound like the same thing right? What’s the difference between a document and a record and how do you manage them differently?

Document Management and Records Management are similar but they are two different organizational techniques that can either be used separately or together to help manage your information. So what is a document? The term document includes paper, electronic forms & files, faxes, emails, contracts, etc. A document refers to pieces of information that have not been made final. They are still being added to, changed, updated, or have the possibility of being altered. Document Management solutions enable a controlled handling of documents so that they can be created, shared, organized, stored and retrieved in a secure and efficient way.


Strengths of A Document Management Solution:

  • Reduce lost and misfiled documents. 

  • Provide faster search and retrieval of documents. 

  • Reduce the amount of physical space used to store documents, such as file cabinets, boxes and shelving. 

  • Better organize existing documents. 

  • Streamline information and workflow. 

  • Allow instant access to documents. 


A record is any document that has been made final and is no longer meant to be altered. If you have a record then it has passed the point of being changed. Now you have to store the record somewhere where you can access it easily if the need arises. Records Management solutions deal with maintaining records by indexing, storing, securing, and archiving them in way that keeps them safe and easily accessed by those who need them. 


Strengths of A Records Management Solution:

  • Control the quantity and quality of records. 

  • Simplify the activities, systems, and processes of records maintenance and use. 

  • Identify what records exist by records inventory. 

  • Apply required retention periods to stored items. 

  • Develop and administer policies and procedures. 

  • Preserve records throughout their life cycle.


These types of solutions have similarities and can either work independently or very closely together. They both serve their own functions and help to make our organizations run smooth and efficiently. They help to free up our employee’s valuable time. Instead of spending an hour a day searching and locating documents, they can spend that time helping customers or going after new business opportunities. If you are exploring a solution to help increase your productivity and lower your operating costs then let us help you find the perfect solution to fit your needs. Contact Us, we are here to help. 

Tags:  Document Management, Paperless Office, ECM, EDMS, go paperless, Records Management

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