Identifying and Overcoming the Challenges of Electronic Records

Moving to electronic records makes sense on so many levels. There are the environmental impacts of less paper as well as reducing the need for real estate to simply house file cabinets. Electronic records also allow for more transparency and access to data for citizens and government alike, leading to more effective sharing of data and collaboration between agencies as well as more efficient workflows. The digitization of government is in many ways a "no brainer." But, just because it makes eminent sense, does not mean it is easy.[Tweet "Identifying and Overcoming the Challenges of Electronic Records in Government. #GovEventsBlog"]


There are so many considerations when moving to electronic records. First, it is difficult to backfill old content into today's digital systems. You cannot simply upload terabytes of pdfs and make them searchable. Moving forward, an enterprise digital strategy is needed to ensure documents and information are created in a way that can be digitized, searched, and shared.


There are also security concerns. While digital files are inherently less likely to be lost, damaged or destroyed than a paper copy sitting in a file cabinet, securing electronic data is a complex process. Just as a paper document can be misplaced, an electronic record can be inadvertently shared with the wrong people. For this reason, agencies issue specific guidance on the use of electronic records in response to the way their organization uses, shares, and accesses data. These guidelines address security, privacy, and compliance.


Electronic records can devolve back into paper records the minute a signature is required. Strategies for electronic signatures have to go hand in hand with electronic record planning. Without including electronic signatures cost and time savings cannot be fully realized - paper still needs to be printed and distributed to capture the signature. For example, implementing electronic signatures helped the Veterans Affairs staff reduce the time it took to complete a claim from 52 hours to 11 hours.[Tweet "Events on digitizing government processes and data. #GovEventsBlog"]


With all agencies working on digitizing government processes and data and the complexity involved in moving to electronic records, there are a number of events designed to provide training, discussion, and best practices around these efforts. We've collected a number of these valuable learning opportunities here:

  • Share Files Securely - Learn from the City of Pleasanton (webinar) - This on-demand webinar features the IT Director from the City of Pleasanton, CA discussing how they overcame challenges related to sending large files, managing a complex system of content stored in multiple locations, and securely collaborating with outside parties on confidential documents.
  • Records Management Conference (September 6, 2017; Washington, DC) - Records Management professionals gather to network and discuss best practices for e-discovery, records and information management policies, and applications and technologies.
  • PDF Day (January 29, 2018; Washington, DC) - Run by the PDF Association, this event brings industry experts, vendors and managers together to discuss the importance and utility of the Portable Document Format, its various ISO standards, and the wide-ranging technology available to government workflows.
  • AIIM 2018 (April 10-13, 2018; San Antonio, TX) - The Association for Information and Image Management puts on this annual event to focus on automation, protection and privacy, and insight as it relates to the information-driven capabilities of organizations.
  • MER 2018 (May 7-9, 2018; Chicago, IL) - Managing Electronic Records (MER) is an educational conference specializing in addressing the growing and future challenges of electronic records management (ERM) from the legal, technical, and operational perspectives.[Tweet "What are government agencies' biggest challenges moving to electronic records? #GovEventsBlog"]


We'd love to hear from you. What are your biggest challenges in terms of moving to electronic records? What resources have you found most helpful?

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