Technology does present some real business efficiencies but there is one instance where paper promises better surety. There are very tangible advantages to record retention in hard copy. With proper indexing protocols in place, a hard copy can be read by anyone, at any time with no assistance from external devices.
Important and official documents are usually preserved in hard copy. Any record produced on archival quality paper, and handled and stored properly, will be readable a century later and often much further into the future. Electronic data, on the other hand, can become unstable over time. While a hard copy could be physically lost or damaged, it cannot be corrupted or lost in the same way that a digital record can.
The introduction of new technologies is today’s reality and, with quick uptake to win competitive advantage, many organisations face the challenge of backward visibility. The equipment needed to read legacy digital records may have become obsolete, curtailing access and interrogation.
On the other hand, technology has revolutionised how physical records are managed. It has made light work of classification and retrieval. Indexing, from simple unique document identifiers through to complex metadata frameworks, ensures a record can be located quickly and easily. It also removes any version control issues that can exist within an organisation.