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Subject: RM storage software - in-house v. commercial vendor?
From: Tim Barnard <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Records Management Program <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 13 Jun 2005 09:31:35 -0500
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I know a similar topic came up a couple of months ago, but it didn't really answer this aspect of the question.  

Our own offsite facility is on indefinite hold, but I need some way to better manage my inventory of records.  We handwrite our box labels, use a Word template for transmittal forms, have an Access database for in-house storage (a few hundred boxes) and we get inventory reports from our offsite vendor in Excel.  Finding which records are eligible for disposal is generally done by manually scanning lists for disposal dates.  We have about 20,000 boxes offsite under nearly 50 departments.  

I need some kind of single program that can do all these features and can be available to other offices on our Intranet.  I contacted several vendors for essentially a box-management program and got replies from three, with products ranging from basic programs to ones that can also manage electronic records.  When I went to our IT people, they said they could design what I needed themselves.  Here is their rationale:

A)  Why pay for a pre-packaged software product with several features we'd never use?
B)  Why pay anything when they could design one in-house?  They get paid the same salary regardless.  

My concerns with this approach are these:  

A)  I have never used one of these programs before.  How do I know which features I really need and which ones I'll never need?  
B)  An analogy:  I could go to the "help yourself" junkyard and get enough parts to build my own car, or I could buy one already built and tested from a car dealer.  Wouldn't a packaged program - from someone who already knows how to design one - be smarter?  

Opinions?  

Tim Barnard, Records Management Clerk
Harrison County, Mississippi
[log in to unmask]
Phone (228) 865-4121 Fax (228) 865-4140

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