Retailers are turning away from traditional records management in search of deeper analysis and insight

BOSTON, MA – July 24, 2015 — / — The role of records and information managers is at a crossroads as the function struggles to prove itself relevant in customer-focused industries such as retail, a new study from Iron Mountain (NYSE: IRM) reveals. Just one in three retail businesses have a records and information manager, compared to traditional process and compliance-based industries such as manufacturing, energy and financial services; where close to half of all businesses have a person dedicated to the role.

Over one-third (38 percent) of the retailers surveyed in a study of U.S. and European mid-sized businesses admit they don’t fully know what their records and information professionals even do, and less than half (45 percent) say the role currently adds significant value to the organization. This compares with over three quarters of business leaders in manufacturing (79 percent) and energy (74 percent) who say they understand clearly what their records and information managers do.

However, despite their uncertainty of what records and information managers currently contribute, 92 percent of retailers believe information professionals should still play an important role in maximizing the organization’s information.

“While there are signs that the natural habitat of the records and information manager is disappearing, the future looks bright for those willing to adapt,” said Sue Trombley, Managing Director of thought leadership at Iron Mountain. “Companies in all sectors are becoming more customer- and data-driven.”

Harnessing the full value of customer data, while keeping it safe and compliant, is becoming increasingly important for success and brand reputation in consumer-focused businesses, and the retail sector was an early adopter of data analytics as a means to better understand its customers.

It is therefore important to understand why the contribution of records and information managers appears to be so misunderstood. One explanation could be that the records and information professionals employed by these businesses are confined to more traditional content types; with little responsibility for emerging and unstructured forms of content that are rapidly growing in importance and use in consumer sectors.

For example , close to three quarters of records and information managers in retail businesses are responsible for the management of customer data (71 percent) and email (76 percent), with only one quarter involved with external social media content (29 percent) and mobile communications (37 percent).

The good news is that these trends do not necessarily herald the extinction of this key information management role. Despite the marked differences uncovered in both the understanding and employment of records and information managers, business leaders across all sectors are unanimous about the valuable skills the role could offer in the coming years.

For almost two-thirds of business leaders, these skills include the ability to approach information with a strategic outlook and an awareness of wider business goals (61 percent); the confidence to communicate effectively across other teams and departments (68 percent); the ability to make information easily accessible (64 percent); along with compliance, security and digital transformation skills (62 percent).

According to Trombley, “They want to exploit information where possible for business success and competitive advantage. As a result, customer-focused data flows are now getting as much attention as more traditional processes aimed at protecting information. Our study supports a view that records and information managers can play an active role in enabling the transition to a data-driven future. We urge them to embrace the new information landscape and to build the skills and expertise they need to thrive. Extinction is not a given, but evolution is inevitable.”

More information on how records and information managers can meet future business needs can be found in the whitepaper: Overcoming the Disconnect, available here.

About Iron Mountain
Iron Mountain Incorporated (NYSE: IRM) is a leading provider of storage and information management services. The company’s real estate network of over 67 million square feet across more than 1,000 facilities in 36 countries allows it to serve customers with speed and accuracy. And its solutions for records management, data management, document management, and secure shredding help organizations to lower storage costs, comply with regulations, recover from disaster, and better use their information for business advantage. Founded in 1951, Iron Mountain stores and protects billions of information assets, including business documents, backup tapes, electronic files and medical data. Visit for more information.

Colman Parkes for Iron Mountain. Colman Parkes surveyed business decision makers and records and information managers at 900 organisations with between 250 and 999 employees, within the healthcare, public sector, retail, legal, financial services/insurance, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and energy sectors, in the UK, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany and in the US. Research was undertaken online in January/February 2015.

ii Percentages included for illustrative purpose only due to limited sample size

Media Contacts
Christian T. Potts
Senior Manager, Corporate Communications
(617) 535-8721

Iron Mountain Europe
Phil Riley
Public Relations Manager, Europe

Iron Mountain Canada
Helen Lan
Senior Area Field Marketing Manager
905.792.7099 x2298

Source: Iron Mountain


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