Choosing an Electronic Records Management System

Choosing an Electronic Records Management System

When choosing an Electronic Records Management System (ERMS) it is vitally important to identify restrictions on resources, technology or the space available that could affect the choice of the system or supplier e.g. if your organisation currently works with an old computer system, you will need to decide if it can afford to upgrade your current infrastructure to accommodate a new ERMS.

The total monetary cost of procuring an ERMS involves more than the purchase of one software program. There are additional associated costs to consider, such as:

  • The correct number of licenses (to comply with legislation);
  • On-going upgrade, support or help desk fees;
  • Staff time required to prepare and enter data on to the system;

A Sample Checklist when considering purchasing a ERMS

Organisational Requirements

  • What are the specific features of the document and records management of the software?
  • Will they meet your organisation’s needs?
  • What is the workflow functionality, how efficiently can you computerize your business processes required to create, use, save and protect your electronic records?
  • Is the software / system user-friendly?


  • Which operating systems can the software run on?
  • Is this an additional cost to your organisation acquiring the operating system?
  • Is the system scalable (e.g. is the system expandable if needed)?
  • Can the software be integrated with other computer systems easily?
  • Are there any technical security controls in place, are they adequate for your organisation?
  • How much configuration is required in setting up the network e.g., how many servers will you need, and what storage capacity will be required?
  • What broadband speed is required to make best use of the software?


  • In terms of purchase and installation what are the anticipated software costs?
  • What are the anticipated maintenance and ongoing service costs and obligations?
  • Are there any anticipated hardware costs?
  • What are the anticipated upgrade costs and are they included in the support package?


  • Consider the financial viability of the supplier (has the supplier have a long, successful history e.g. been around for a long time; have they had any issues remaining operational)?
  • What’s their track record for delivering on time and thee service they supply?
  • Investigate the supplier’s current market position and strength?
  • Does the supplier develop their product themselves or do they use a third-party solution; if so, how sustainable is that relationship with the third-party provider?
  • Question the supplier’s vision for their future? Do their priorities for future development of the product meet your organizational ongoing needs for support for the software and systems in question?

Service and Support

  • What services are provided by the supplier e.g. onsite, online, telephone, product training?
  • How quickly, easily and accessible is the service delivered?
  • How often are patches and upgrades distributed and in what fashion (e.g. downloaded via the Internet, dispatched on CD or only available through on-site technical support)?
  • Is the online help service user-friendly, in terms of operating hours e.g. 9 to 5 only or out-of-hours, clarity of instructions provided by the supplier and do they understand your own organisation’s requirements?