Records management will be a top priority this year, as organizations are faced with overwhelming accumulation of data and growing pressures for compliance and cost containment.
A recent report by MeriTalk and Iron Mountain predicted that document management spending will increase by 144 percent to reach $84.1 million by 2015. The study revealed that a single federal agency currently manages an average of 209 million records, and government-wide, agencies manage approximately 8.4 billion records, with this number expected to grow to 511 million in the next two years. In addition to a growth in volume, data will come from an increasing variety of sources. The report revealed that agencies are creating more records that rely on varied formats: While 47 percent of all records are electronic, another 41 percent of records are created electronically but updated and revised in a paper format, complicating management. The survey also found that 60 percent of federal finance professionals say problems with managing records have hindered agency operations.
New regulatory standards
Gaining control over information is not only a rising pressure for efficiency and costs, however. According to MeriTalk's report, compliance with the Presidential Directive on Managing Government Records has also been a driver of these efforts. The Directive, enacted last year, has required that agencies modernize policies and operations by digitizing records and establishing an infrastructure that minimizes costs and boosts accountability. Sue Trombley, managing director of consulting for Iron Mountain, commented on the the report's forecast.
"Federal record volumes will only continue to grow, driving up budgets and making it harder for agencies to manage information on their own," she said. "Most agencies know they need outside help and are looking for alternatives that include the development of a strategic plan, agency-wide collaboration and training, implementing technology solutions, and policy guidance and enforcement all aimed at regaining control for today and the future."
Iron Mountain made several recommendations for cost savings resulting from better records management, including smart digitization practices and timely destruction of information that could compromise data quality and compliance.
Executive Biz reported that Illinois' Department of Human Services recently deployed software to digitally process calculation sheets, applications forms and chronological records to determine benefit eligibility for customers. The technology has enabled 7 million pieces of paper to be indexed in PDF format within an electronic document management system for advanced archiving and faster retrieval. Previously, caseworkers were required to print out information at local offices and keep documents in case files.
Gaining control over the storage and analysis of information is key to any agency's success. By leveraging the most advanced technologies, enterprises can ensure optimal data management while maintaining compliance with increasingly strict regulations.
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