Federal Agencies Required to Submit Electronic Records Management Plan

On November 28, the White House issued a Presidential Memo which requires all federal agencies to submit a plan by May, 2012 on how they will improve the way they store and manage electronic records, including emails, blog posts and social media activity.

Federal agencies, like most other organizations are faced with an ever-increasing collection of electronic records. Many agencies have continued a practice of printing and filing documents that are declared “records.” Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the sheer volume of records being created make this an unsustainable model. Recognizing the challenge, the Administration has asked federal agencies to submit a plan to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Each agency’s plan should do the following:

  • Describe the agency’s current plans for improving or maintaining its records management program, particularly with respect to managing electronic records, including email and social media, deploying cloud based services or storage solutions, and meeting other records challenges;
  • Identify any provisions, or omissions, in relevant statutes, regulations, or official NARA guidance that currently pose an obstacle to the agency’s adoption of sound, cost effective records management policies and practices; and
  • Identify policies or programs that would assist the agency’s efforts to improve records management.

Even without the directive, creating a records management strategy for electronic records makes good business sense. According to a study by IDC, an enterprise employing 1,000 knowledge workers wastes nearly $2.5 million per year due to an inability to find and retrieve information.

Because of this, IMC has already helped several federal agencies create such a plan using our Records Management Program Evaluation Dashboard (RaMPED) methodology. RaMPED consolidates three main industry benchmarks on which to evaluate an agencies records management program on key areas. The results of this evaluation are then used to developed specific technology and governance recommendations to improve electronic records management across the enterprise.

During a RaMPED engagement detailed information is gathered for seven key areas of records management. These key areas offer a complete view of a records management program from program governance, to program effectiveness, to the use of supporting technologies.

Once the organization is scored on each of these areas, specific recommendations can be developed to improve areas of deficiency, and enhance areas where the records management program is mature. This allows IMC to help clients plan strategically to decrease costs, lower risk, and increase worker productivity. As reported by Tasha M. Thian, Agency Records Officer at the Department of State, “IMC’s methodologies created an objective, measurable and well-developed assessment of our current capabilities resulting in numerous key recommendations, including a technology roadmap for development of an enterprise-wide archive for unstructured records.”