Traditional records management isn’t working for government – or anybody else

Government agencies at all levels are realizing traditional records management practices are insufficient and ineffective in a digital world. Why?

  • Digital—and increasingly mobile—citizens are driving the digital transformation of government by demanding new levels of information-based interaction and service
  • More information is being generated by more processes—and it’s often sitting isolated in silos and repositories
  • Digital-native knowledge workers are even less willing to adopt labor-intensive classification and filing directives

It’s become clear that records management as a singular, end goal is no longer enough to meet these needs. Public service agencies require a new approach to managing, accessing, and sharing information. One that still results in optimal RM, but as part of an overarching mission to meet the new expectations of employees and constituents.

I recently had the chance to present a webinar that was specifically devoted to records management within the public sector. The session addressed why effective records management is more important than ever to modern government; the challenges and opportunities they face in achieving it; and a manageable, new approach to information management that transparently embeds records management into the digital workplace and digital processes.

Here’s a summary of the key points we focused on:

The critical value of records management in today’s digital government

Compliance, privacy, and data sovereignty requirements are increasing and must be applied to a growing list of information sources. At the same time, it’s become cost-prohibitive and inefficient to just keep everything. Comprehensive, role-specific records management is more essential than ever to meet legal and operational demands, but there needs to be a new approach to attaining it.

Trends impacting the way we work and serve our citizens

All digital, all the time. The ways employees and constituents interact with information have changed immeasurably. They expect seamless, instantaneous digital access to relevant information, with minimal effort. Embracing a new approach to records management enables this, while eliminating the issues we’ve traditionally faced in enforcing policies.

Advances in automation, integration, and AI are reinventing records management in the digital environment

Digital transformation is more than just replacing paper. Technology advances also present opportunities to rethink and reinvent workflows, business processes, and customer service. From a records management standpoint, built-for-purpose content services apps allow us to now integrate and manage information from previously isolated processes and silos—meaning policies can now be applied to a much larger content pool.

Policy application can now be automated—metadata and classifications are determined in the background, based on rules specific to the business process. Employees are blessedly removed from records management administration. On the flip side, productivity and satisfaction increase as all this interconnected and analyzed content can now be surfaced in the right context across an organization’s value chains and citizen-facing services.

The dynamic between IT, stakeholders, and technology in optimizing the digital workplace

In the digital workplace, IT usually finds itself in a losing battle as it tries to preserve organizational control over users focused on personal efficiency and productivity. Unsanctioned software is prevalent, while productivity shortcuts sacrifice governance. By moving records management into the background, automating it, and standardizing the applications employees use to do their jobs, IT can provide the right tools then get out of the way, allowing stakeholders work the way they want.

Success through case-based implementation

The traditional method of attempting to blanket an agency with an all-encompassing Enterprise Content Management (ECM) or records management program has almost always failed. From taxonomy to training, it was too complex and too unwieldy. A new generation of purpose-built content services allow departments to build on their existing information management platforms while targeting specific issues and opportunities—from isolated information silos to labor-intensive workflows. Adopting a case-based approach to implementing records management negates deep taxonomies and overwhelming file structures; change management is simpler and user adoption is higher.

Interested in learning more? Whether you’re an RM strategist or practitioner, there’s more valuable insight in the webinar, including demos and examples of this new approach to integrating and automating records management. You can watch the whole presentation here. Learn more about OpenText Extended ECM solutions for government here.

Stephen Ludlow

Stephen is Senior Director, Enterprise Product Marketing at OpenText.

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