Records management outsourcing practices as a strategy for gaining competitive advantage: a perspective of petroleum and banking multinationals in Kenya
Information is an organization’s corporate memory and its most valuable asset. Today many Multi-National Companies are growing at faster rates with the advent of globalization. This rapid expansion of business operations has further ensued one among other things, plenty of data. Maintaining and managing so much information can take focus away from protecting organizations most important information assets such as trade secrets and customers’ personal information. Records get misplaced, stolen, or are not produced at the right time and retrieving information becomes a tedious task. Most organizations want to consider outsourcing some of their Records Management Services e.g. records storage, scanning, data backup. Scandals such as Enron, Morgan Stanley, have renewed interest in corporate records compliance, retention and litigation. The general objective of this study was thus to identify the benefits of outsourcing Records Management for MultiNational Companies. The specific objectives were to assess the importance of effective Records Management Outsourcing practices in Multi-National companies and to identify the relationship between Outsourcing Records Management and Competitive Advantage in Multi-National firms. The research was descriptive and employed qualitative technics. Statistical methods were used to analyze the data collected. Primary data was collected using self-administered questionnaires with both open ended and closed ended questions. Secondary data was used to support facts and trends. The population comprised of internal records users and established records officers in Multi-National companies chosen from random sampling. The study concluded that the importance of effective records management outsourcing practices in multi-National companies is that it helps to create centralized storage of information, aids in disaster recovery and lastly is a tool for companies to achieve competitive advantage. The study also concluded that there is a positive relationship between records management outsourcing practices and competitive advantage for in Multi-National companies. Records management outsourcing enables a firm to access resources that are not available internally, reduce or control operational costs, access world class capabilities, take advantage of external expertise, free-up tied-up resources for other purposes and allows the firm to share risks with third parties. This study therefore recommends that the management of the multi-national companies should adopt records management outsourcing to a third party record centre as a strategy for their firms to gain competitive advantage against their competitors. They will be able to access, protect, safely store and dispose their vital information which in turn will enable the firm to gain the tools necessary to provide the highest quality of service to their customers and achieve excellent service delivery.