With remote work (and frankly, remote living) becoming a reality the need for digital forms has never been more acutely felt. No longer is it an option to walk a form down the hall or drop it off at an office to conduct routine business. Organizations have had to quickly shift to digitally enabling methods for processing forms, including the capture and acceptance of electronic signatures.
The discussion of digitizing forms did not start with the pandemic. It's long been a focus of modernization teams that realize there are over 10,000 forms available for download on government websites. This online availability of forms goes back to the 1995 Paperwork Reduction Act. It was a great first step, but as with anything that started in 1995 it is in serious need of advancement and updating.
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. Continue reading