Purpose – This article seeks to provide a perspective on a future pathway for records management that is based on taking a proportionate approach rather than striving for perfection. This approach requires a re-interpretation of traditional principles and their application in practice and recognition of the predominance of people in successful information and records management in the digital domain. Design/methodology/approach – The views are the author's based on the headline findings of a major research project (AC+erm) which investigated issues and practical strategies for accelerating positive change in electronic records management. They incorporate views on contextual developments since the project, in particular the characteristics of today's hybrid and increasingly mobile office environment such as the use of recognition technologies. Findings – The ten headline findings of the AC+erm project are shared. Two strategic findings are highlighted, namely, articulating a vision of successful electronic records management and the approach to applying records management principles in order to realise that vision of success. The article then focuses on two of the other findings, about the need for information and records professionals to adopt proportionate and risk based approaches and to ensure they (the records professionals) are an essential part of the solution not the problem. Post the project, views on these and tactics for addressing them are discussed with reference to real examples and potential future research and development. Research limitations/implications – The research that provides the context for the article was qualitative and therefore its findings transferrable rather than generalisable. The views expressed about tactics for moving forward are intended to contribute to the debate about approaches to managing records in the democratic, digital domain. Practical implications – A proportionate approach to managing records by definition implies a risk-based approach. This may prove challenging in organizational, societal and cultural contexts that are risk averse. Originality/value – The research which underpins this article was the first on the subject to be conducted in the UK and adopted a unique evidence-based approach. Undertaken in the context of the “promise” of electronic document and records management systems, its findings are relevant in the broader systems solutions. They provide a context for this perspective on current and potential tactics for addressing strategic issues for managing records in the digital domain. This provides a significant contribution to knowledge and debate in this field.