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The Information Governance Revolution

collaborative information sharingGovernmental information management is lagging behind. As private organizations embrace digital transition, many public agencies remain committed to paper processes. NextGov notes that just 28 percent of government survey respondents say their agency has implemented a “comprehensive data governance plan” and 20 percent said their department still relies primarily on paper records. The result? Reduced business efficiency and increased security risks that represent serious obstacles in meeting the Managing Government Records mandate of digitizing permanent records by the end of 2019. The solution is an information governance revolution that prioritizes digital workflows, secure access, and long-term records management processes.

AIIMing for Success

Government agencies often handle sensitive documents, ranging from protected personally identifiable information (PII) such as citizen health or financial data in addition to top-secret documents related to federal, state, and municipal objectives. This often leads to agency perception that governmental information challenges are unique, but the democratization of digital technology combined with the increasing use of third-party contractors has evened the playing field. As a result, agencies now lag behind their private counterparts when it comes to capturing, storing, and processing critical data.

Consider the most recent certified information professional (CIP) guidelines released by the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM), which speak to the need for agencies to identify key physical sources for data capture, determine the line-of-business benefits associated with this data, and develop effective “stewardship” techniques to safeguard this information. While government sector leaders recognize the need for this type of organizational transition, Deloitte reports that 76 percent of those surveyed said digital technologies are disrupting the public sector and just 40 percent “are satisfied with their organization’s current reaction to digital trends.”

Legacy software and processes play a key role in this frustration; existing technology infrastructure often makes it difficult to enact meaningful information governance change. Surprisingly, the best route to better information governance is often the targeted application of another technology layer like software development kits (SDKs) and application programming interfaces (APIs). By leveraging solutions that work with existing IT to provide new functionality, government agencies can begin to prioritize digital shifts and effectively track document migration.

Embracing the Oxymoron

Government agencies can be agile. As noted by Forbes, this is often viewed as an oxymoron, but under certain circumstances citizens expect rapid-deployment, well-managed government action, such as during natural disasters or large-scale emergencies. How can agencies apply this same mandate to everyday document handling processes?

The Forbes article points to key characteristics of effective agencies including accountability, skills, and mission. Consider document security. While government accountability is increasing under regulations such as HIPAA and GDPR, many organizations lack the technology to effectively audit document handling, redact sensitive information, and ensure only authorized users gain access.

Meanwhile, agencies are increasingly given the mission of matching their business process efficiency to that of private sector contemporaries. This often happens without access to the in-house skills and solutions necessary to make the shift, such as automatic form data capture, OCR recognition, and file image format consolidation.

Taking a Pass on Paper Politics

Agility isn’t impossible for government agencies. By combining the right business mandate with powerful, self-contained tools such as SDKs and APIs, public organizations can boost document security and streamline key processes.

Paper processes remain common across government agencies. But there’s a mandate for change. Upcoming digital record rules, regulatory changes, and public expectations demand an information governance revolution that layers enhanced functionality onto existing applications with cutting edge solutions.