This blog post was written by Jill Singer, former CIO of the NRO and CIA.
“In my 27 years of federal service – as the CIO for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and deputy CIO for the CIA – I’ve watched the growth in federal records and the implementation of new executive orders and regulations aimed at improving records management across the federal space.
Litigation, review and release, tracing factual evidence for analysis, managing information from difficult environments, and the many authorized and unauthorized disclosures of classified and sensitive information… it all poses huge challenges.
Make no mistake: helping our nation protect information, while also protecting civil liberties and the privacy of our nation’s citizens, is a priority. As the amount of data continues to grow, the job just gets harder.
As I see it, federal records management success hinges on three main principals:
#1: Capture on Creation
The federal workforce creates content every second of every day in both formal and informal ways through e-mail, meeting requests, IM, voicemail, PowerPoint decks, meeting minutes, memorandums and more.
This content is stored all over the place – on local hard drives, mobile phones, corporate storage, shadow IT storage, and public and private clouds. For RM professionals, it’s a mess.
Solid systems and capabilities that facilitate capture on content creation and drive the creator to label information in a simple and non-intrusive way are absolutely critical for the long-term management of important content.
#2: Manage and Secure through the Workflow
Very little happens in federal government without being attached to a workflow. Employee time is a workflow that leads to paychecks, purchasing large and small goods is a workflow that leads to vendor payments and receipt of goods…even citizen services contain many workflows for social security payments, passport processing, visa approvals, small business loans and more.
The federal government operates in massive macro and micro workflow environments and it is critical to introduce solid records management to each and every workflow action to seamlessly capture changes, approvals, and actions throughout the entire process.
Workflow tools are also needed to maintain data integrity, individual privacy, and agency security. It’s simply not enough to have workflow tools which are fundamentally secure in a private environment. Federal agencies need confidence when exchanging data from a mobile, citizen platform to a private, agency platform.
# 3: Responsible Archival
In light of the recent Target, Neiman Marcus, and Michael’s security breech, congressional committees are demanding more accountability by retail institutions. Accountability for federal agencies is even stronger and rightfully so!
Fundamental to our form of government is trust. Trust of our people, trust by our federal workforce, and trust in our records and information is fundamental.
For example, as a result of our innate desire for freedom and equality, we need to ensure a responsible position with respect to archiving our national records. Rebuilding a scenario to study our successes and failures is necessary for the continued improvement of federal business.
Tools and technologies that make responsible records management and archival easier for everyone are absolute necessities and key to reducing manpower in archival, review, and release, is solid creation at the start.
The truth is no federal agency can survive with a single tool. Discovering and implementing technologies with easy interfaces, open APIs, and purposeful data exchange bases is likely to be required for any federal agency. Often this equates to open source tools, which are naturally built for easy expansion and integration with other tools. ”
About the Author
Ms. Jill Tummler Singer is an executive leader with 27 years of federal support in the areas of transformation, strategy, leadership, and technology. Throughout both her government service and industry experience, she deftly ensured that her customers had the information, technology, and infrastructure necessary to effectively execute their missions. As a Deep Water Point partner, Ms. Singer provides clients with this exceptional level of support.