Access and Feeds

Records Management: Federal Agencies To Be Paperless by 2019

By Dick Weisinger

The Obama administration has set a goal for the federal government to go completely paperless by the end of 2019, just seven years away.  And agencies need to have their plans in place for how they can go totally electronic by the end of next year.  This goal is part of an initiative being led by NARA, the federal government’s records administration.

The other goal of the new Obama initiative is for federal agencies to fully manage both permanent and temporary email records by the end of 2016.  Email will need to follow the same records management and litigation policies and procedures used for other document types.  It will be necessary to be able to retrieve email records for as long as those email records are needed.

Mary Murley, program manager at Iron Mountain Consulting Services, said that “The directive proposes an ambitious vision for creating a digital foundation.  This is an enormous undertaking for all agencies involved. It will not be easy, and it will require significant time, resources and budget.”

While the goals are certainly admirable, the road to achieving them will be difficult.  Brian Hill, a principal analyst at Forrester Research Inc., was quoted by Ben Cole of TechTarget SearchCompliance, as saying that “I think the current situation for records management at many federal government agencies is really a mess right now.  In talking with federal government agencies over the last year or so, it’s really clear that there are a lot of broken processes and defective applications around organizations today.”

Further, a survey of federal agencies by IronMountain to determine overall readiness for addressing these goals found that only 9 percent of federal agencies felt that they had sufficient expertise with cloud computing and newer data management technologies.

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