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FCW : July 30, 2014
As government records grow in both volume and type, agencies are challenged with managing that information in a manner that com- bines physical and digital environ- ments. Moreover, by 2019, agencies will be required to manage their permanent electronic records in a format that meets the guidelines of the presidential directive on manag- ing government records. The directive’s goals are to minimize costs and promote greater openness, accessibility and accountability between government and citizens in alignment with Presi- dent Barack Obama’s Open Govern- ment Initiative. As agencies work to improve their digitization strategies, they must recognize the value and efficiency of close collaboration between records management (RM) and IT professionals. Although each group brings its own expertise to the digitization process, together — and in com- pliance with the relevant National Archives and Records Administra- tion (NARA) procedures — they can form a winning partnership to propel agencies forward during their move to digital records. RM and IT professionals need to find the most effective ways to use technology to identify, classify, retain and dispose of every record made or received by an agency, regardless of format. To accomplish those objectives, there are four issues on which RM and IT professionals should focus: • A common language. Records management often stalls due to varying definitions of terms. RM and IT professionals must deter- mine a common language for fre- quently used industry terms related to information management and should incorporate input from all stakeholders, including legal, pro- gram management and department leaders. • Proper storage. As the amount of information to be stored con- tinues to grow, NARA and other agencies have been running out of space, sparking an initiative to restrict the growth of agency office space, storage and inventory. RM and IT should find ways to keep up with increasing demands for space and ensure that all records are fully protected, available and stored for the proper retention period. • Tools and services. RM and IT leaders must work together to make records management sustain- able by selecting the right tools and services to align current and future electronic records manage- ment practices with IT systems and plans. By doing so, they can help their agencies determine how and when to outsource information asset management and help save their IT department from sustain- ment challenges down the road. • Performance goals. RM and IT professionals should jointly estab- lish performance goals that are “specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound,” accord- ing to NARA’s recent self-assess - ment survey. They should also con- duct risk assessments of records management to identify the internal controls necessary for successful IT implementation. By strengthening collaboration between RM and IT, agencies will better manage paper and electronic records, redefine processes and retool system efficiencies. IT profes- sionals will save time and employee resources by helping agencies more effectively use their IT investments for workflow and productivity gains and, in turn, federal agencies will be better prepared to deliver services to constituents. By bringing together RM and IT to work on records modernization, federal agencies will meet man- dated goals faster. Moving forward, there will no doubt be more steps to take to better bridge the gap between the groups, but they have already started to make digitization more seamless while fostering a more open government. ■ 4 keys to digitizing federal records A closer partnership between records management and IT leaders will make digitization seamless and foster a more open government By bringing together RMandITto work on records modernization, federal agencies will meet mandated goals faster. July 30, 2014 FCW.COM 13 Commentary | SUE TROMBLEY SUE TROMBLEY is managing director of thought leadership at Iron Mountain.
July 15, 2014
August 15, 2014