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eGovernment Forschung seit 2001 | eGovernment Research since 2001

There are many reasons organisations are implementing Document Management Software (DMS) to replace traditional paper filing systems, from superior organization and security to increased productivity and profitability. However while many anticipate the paperless office presents a win-win equation for both businesses and their customers, uptake is stalled in many industries as different inherent barriers prevent what seems to be a natural migration. It is now possible to manage volumes of documents that could have a nightmare only a decade ago. Businesses are realising the benefits and successes of moving towards a paperless environment.

The solutions emerging into the market are helping companies big and small better manage every aspect of their operation. From storing to retrieving, distributing to disposing, document management systems are vital to business efficiency and management.

Our ever-growing dependence on mobile devices and on-the-go technologies means businesses and their people are now more connected than ever, and require mobile image capture and document management.

Many perceive the arrival of digital capture as a way to centralise and simplify workflow and archiving, but then find they are conquered by “document sprawl” as they are overcome by the sheer number of places that documents live: as email attachments; in filing cabinets; on file servers; in an EDRMS; in cloud sharing sites or with an external bureaux.

The EDRMS is often promoted as a “single source of truth” and many industries distinguish between “controlled” documents such as drawings and contracts versus uncontrolled documents, and adopt different strategies for each category. However, when documents are scattered across multiple stores including Cloud, the challenge becomes to determine which copy and version is the final copy. The EDRMS only becomes the single source of truth if those repositories are somehow in sync.

A major barrier to transitioning from paper-based to digital business and e-government is the lack of direction from record-keeping regulators (i.e. state archival institutions) about how to manage records that are born digital and need to stay digital, according to Brisbane-based consultant Kym McCauley, who has wide experience in the public and private sectors implementing eDRMS.

“For both Public and Private Sectors there is also confusion about what a ‘digital’ document is (i.e. thinking that it’s a document that’s printed out and scanned and then saved on a shared drive or eDRMS etc.).

“There is a genera failure of current record-keeping tools (such as Business Classification Schemes and Retention and Disposal Schedules) to:

  • manage the scale of digital documentation generated; or
  • integrate seamlessly with advanced automated classification, retention and disposal plug ins (for eDRMS such as TRIM/RM8 or document management/sharing platforms such as SharePoint).
“Because they are central to most business / government transactions it’s challenging to enlist legal teams to lead and drive change. Across both public and private sectors legal personnel are by far the most persistent in their use of paper files and resistant to such matters as digital signatures etc.

“I’ve tried to apply a risk approach to persuade legal teams to embrace digital documents for low risk matters and reserve the management of paper files for high risk cases (e.g. involving criminal actions, significant monetary/financial actions, etc.).

“It’s common to find in the profession the duplication of paper based and digital documents (with both being managed in tandem).”

McCauley notes that in an ideal world, users would be fascinated by metadata and insist on applying it consistently and comprehensively.

“This will not happen so the best bet is to get as much as is reasonable out of the user and then automate (as much as possible) the application of metadata using the range of products and third party applications that are now available (and becoming more prevalent).

“The recent debates about metadata and privacy has generated more interest and I think that this will develop as organisations become more sensitive to the metadata they collect and assign.”

“Document management/sharing platforms such as SharePoint offer some promise once it is transformed into a compliant records management system (i.e. via plug in or advanced eDRMS modules). SharePoint has the potential to integrate widely with other systems to become a central repository.

“I think that traditional eDRMS are still too rigid (in terms of organising structures and need for end users to be record-keepers) to live up to the claim of being a “single source of truth”, unless better ways of integrating it with SharePoint is achieved.

Legal tradition

Elissa Pritchett is a Document Management Specialist who provides consulting services to the legal industry, were the traditional barriers to changing paper-based processes remain strong.

“I have only had one client who has successfully gone ‘paperless’ however after an adjustment period struggling with the retrieval and management of electronic files, installation of dual screens and firm wide distribution of iPads for meetings, they are well on the way to making paperless look easy,” said Pritchett.

“Unless the business has a good search engine with indexing in place to multiple storage drives which comes at a cost, multiple repositories are a big issue.

“There is also a challenge in managing a central database of usernames and passwords for individuals and logins firm wide to all these digital applications, you can’t rely on users always communicating these back to any central register.”

The move to standardise on electronic filing of documents lodged with courts and the rollout of PEXA (Property Exchange Australia Ltd) for online property transactions will oblige many law forms to make the leap into digital

“There is a recommended retention period of 7 years before a client's file can be destroyed. Firms are starting to move away from the traditional approach of packing files into boxes to be stored off-site.

“Storing a file electronically, with suitable backup safeguards is now considered acceptable practice. With the client's acknowledgement, an electronic storage fee can still be charged.

“If the firm does not take the time to record/make a controlled document, a lot of intellectual property is being lost or having to be re-visited as resource disappears into the DMS and cannot be sourced for future drafting. This is a recognised issue with many of my clients who are spending valuable time reinventing the wheel/re drafting rather than being smart and efficient and adopting the 80/20 rule and banking content for future re-use.”

Transport NSW

Karin van Arkelen is Business Analyst - Document and Records Management Specialist at Transport for New South Wales

A major project under way at Transport NSW to integrate the ERP and EDRMS platforms of three previously separate state government departments.

The Baird Liberal Government has combined three previously disparate organisations into one giant body Transport for New South Wales. It includes the functions of previously separate RailCorp, the State Transit Authority and Roads & Maritime Services.

A rollout of SAP ERP includes replacing previous applications used by all three agencies for HR, Finance, Procurement and Case Management

In tandem, Open Text Content Server is being deployed as a single EDRMS to replace previous repositories.

The project is due for an initial go-live on July 1, 2015 representing the culmination of three years of work.

“The integration of structured and unstructured data is one of the major challenges for enterprise and government today,” said van Arkelen.

“Implementing a new EDRMS is great but you must be able to combine with data from ERP and CRM.”

“Our EDRMS is cross-functional and using SAP and Open Text allows us to combine structured and unstructured data

“Operating in a SAP screen users are able to see documents stored in Content Server with linked metadata. It works both ways, so the same applies in Open Text. This gives staff a huge amount of information.”

A major project has been undertaken to migrate documents from Objective and TRIM EDRMS databases as well as microfiche records and data from network drives, with associated metadata.

The migration has employed Open Text data migration tools.

“In a project of this size it is impossible to bring everything over from day one. We have concentrated on delivering a staged approach which will commence with documents such as open contracts and those relating to employees that are current.

“Is important to determine what is essential and what can come across in the second round, and also consider what we can leave behind or archive.”

A large amount of work has been devoted to developing a universal taxonomy for Transport for New South Wales.

The deployment of Content Server 10 has allowed the use of faceted browsing, so users are able to narrow down the range of documents they are searching for based on selecting a range of choices for particular metadata (example?).

There are still a range of paper forms for data captured in procurement and HR that require scanning and data entry, for example time sheets used by staff in remote locations and maintenance instructions for staff working on train tracks.

Network folders have not been entirely banished.

Converting the crafts

An experienced Information Management Professional & Document Control Manager working with the Australian division of a with a large multinational construction firm, Tim Rutter observes that “You face big issues as soon as you take a person way from a device. One of the great challenges in document management for construction is how you get the design to the crafts people doing the actual building.

“Also how do we get high quality records back to a central repository?

“Over the last 20 years the change in this sector has been massive, and communication and collaboration between designers, architects and engineers is largely digital but it is invariably converted to paper for the last stage in the field.

“Also there are still a lot of forms to be filled out on site and most of these are still paper.”

The firm employs its own suite of A3 and larger document scanners to import on-site documents back into its digital repository.

“The holy grail is getting the jump from professionals collaborating digitally into the crafts. For those of an age who were traditionally only taught on paper in school that is hard, however soon we will be getting a new generation who started off playing with mum and dad’s smartphone when they were babies.”

In the field the firm employs a modified Documentum 4 ECM platform as a repository for correspondence, contracts and collaboration. In an attempt to increase digital participation on large construction sites it has flooded them with Wi-Fi points and as many iPads that it can find willing recipients for.

“Every database is available to our guys in the field, but the usage seems to stop at the engineering level. The more we can get the builders working digitally the more time and money can be saved. Also when you pass paper through six sets of hands there are always records that will be lost.

“There is also the challenge of educating users what a business record is, it’s not something that people are taught. Fileshares are always a problem and like most big companies we undertake a lot of training to educate users how to identify risk and responsibilities in relation to keeping documents as records,” he said.


Quelle/Source: IDM, 24.07.2015

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