Executive Insight with Galina Datskovsky: Records Management Reform: An Innovative Look at Records Best Practices
Galina Datskovsky is a speaker at Digital Government Institute's February 9 webinar on Records Management Reform: An Innovative Look at Records Best Practices. Galina is Senior Vice President Information Governance, Autonomy, an HP company, and President, ARMA International, the association for the records and information government professionals. Read her interview with DGI:
DGI: Are agencies under the gun to come up with a framework quickly to reform their records management practices? Is there a deadline and are agencies moving quickly forward?
GD: The presidential memorandum (on Records Management Reform) has specific deadlines. Agencies have to provide a narrative evaluation of their records management programs within limited categories and come up with a framework for success. I believe, with a greater degree of certainty, that this is going to be a serious initiative by the President to ensure that federal records management policies and practices are updated for the digital age, while anticipating the explosive growth of information going forward that could overwhelm federal agency IT systems.
There are a couple of deadlines. The deadline of March 27, 2012, is a submission of the report by the agencies to the Archivist of the United States and to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). There are specific things agencies have to reply to. However, this doesn’t mean that agencies have to be done with all their reforms, but they have to say what they are doing and present a plan going forward.
DGI: Are agencies prepared to handle these requirements?
GD: Overall most agencies are not prepared. Agencies have been in the practice of just sending everything they thought was required by law to the National Archives and Records Administration. They are going to need professional help on many levels to accomplish this, and while the President’s goal is to reduce unnecessary cost and burdens, money is going to be an issue in the short-term with major budget battles taking place in Congress during 2012. Some agencies claim that it’s another unfunded initiative. Some agencies say even though it’s unfunded they will have to come up with the funds.
DGI: How are agencies complying with the White House and NARA memorandums?
GD: The memo makes clear that agencies have to designate a senior agency official to supervise the review required by the memorandum. There’s a lot of value and hope in this initiative. Agencies are tasked with designating that official. They are examining their programs. NARA has given agencies very specific direction on how to comply. It is very telling of the seriousness of what the agencies are expected to do. The agencies I’ve spoken to are all very aware of this and are actually beginning to assess their information management programs and policies.
DGI: What are 5 steps agencies need to take to get up to speed for records management reform?
- Follow this memorandum. Do their assessment based on established standards, such as the Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles from ARMA International. Look at their information in a holistic fashion; review the entire information governance management landscape of the agency
- Evaluate their information by following established principles and the ARMA International maturity model.
- Decide on improvement steps starting with most critically important and impactful improvements.
- Make sure your agency has appropriate tools and expertise to handle this and get outside help from contractors or consultants as needed.
- Make a plan for continuous improvement as issues and technology will always change.