Open Source

Stop “Paperizing” and Start Digitizing


At Alfresco’s Content.gov event, one of the most significant discussion topics was the modernization of government’s records management systems. The legacy, proprietary record management solutions that public sector organizations have been using for the past few decades are expensive, complex, and designed to meet only the needs of records managers and compliance officers, not the modern workforce which increasingly needs access to stored information online. In other words, the current systems are dated and problematic for users to access and sort through. Currently, monolithic records management solutions include a number of shortcomings:

  • Labor-intensive information transfer from multiple separate systems into records management silos, resulting in out-of-date information uploads and inconsistency within the system
  • Limited adoption rates due to complex design and continued data irregularity caused by the tool’s incompatibility with modern applications like email, online documents, social media sources, mobile systems, and more
  • Expensive and complex synchronization from various data points, which in turn frustrates users and administrators

Given these difficulties, government agencies have made impressive strides in reducing paper use and converting what paper documents they do have into digital and online-friendly formats. However, as Lisa Haralampus, the Director of Records Management Policy & Outreach for the National Archives and Records Administration, pointed out at this year’s Content.gov, sometimes these efforts are not enough. Simply scanning paper to create a digital copy does little to truly digitize the content on the page. Paper digitization needs to be done in a way that makes the content searchable, index-able, and of course, secure. Haralampus offered listeners a number of suggestions to consider when implementing a sustainable records management solutions:

  • Government standards for data cleansing, which ensure that all data can be accessed quickly and effectively, should be incorporated into any digitization process
  • Once digitized, content should be made accessible through business applications that are familiar to users – this includes tools that both government staff and the general public are comfortable using
  • Access controls should be built in so that they correspond to the role of the person viewing that data; for example, a CIO would have different permissions than entry-level staff, and citizens would only have access to information cleared for public consumption

By adopting more modern, efficient records management solutions, agencies can save both time and money, and make the paper-to-digital process more user-friendly and secure. For more information on modern records management for public sector organizations, check out the conversations from this year’s event via #ContentGov and download this whitepaper on why government organizations across the globe are choosing Alfresco for content management.

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