Change in document management processes requires multifaceted support

Many agencies within the federal government are working toward changing their records management systems due to the National Archives and Records Administration's (NARA) 2012 directive. By 2014, the agency hopes that 20.4 billion federal records can be accessed through document management programs, according to Fed Tech Magazine.

The goal of the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), a sector within the Agriculture Department, is to make their program more user-friendly, based on recommendations NARA provided in last month's report. The department realized that other agencies are spending a majori‚Äčty of their time archiving emails instead of information that plays a larger part in their daily operations.

NARA recommends branches to categorize their files in five parts: legal, financial, mission-related, agency correspondence and office documents. Labels can be filled with specified folders of information.

"If it fits one of those categories and you set one or two metadata tags, it will help us manage the content, discover it appropriately and preserve it appropriately," AMS chief information officer Doug Bailey told the source.

For example, within the "office documents" category, there would be a folder or metadata tag for spreadsheets and another one for presentations. At the state and local levels, some offices already made the switch. Territories that have not, due to lack of funding, may have the chance to do so within the next year.

Information technology budgets to increase by almost 75 percent

According to a Gartner CIO survey, local governments saw their IT budgets either expand or hold steady. Officials are hoping that additional resources will help departments adopt business process software that can interoperate with other offices.

One of the issues facing CIOs who work for state agencies is that they are spending a lot of time collaborating with many bureaus. Buildings across the street from one another may be operating from complete different vendors.

"This makes it really hard for the central CIO to succeed because he/she is continually herding cats to get anything done," Bill Schrier, former chief technology officer for Seattle's city government, told Computer World.

CIOs and state officials placed IT work organization as their second-highest priority for the year, showing that widespread change of mindset will allow CIOs to attack these overdue issues. Gartner predicts that support from local governments will continue to increase IT budgets by 1.3 percent for the next four years.

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