Why Governments Need more Efficient Document Management Systems

Many government agencies and institutions are integrating document management systems into their operations. Federal document management solutions can rationalize and organize the flow of information always entering federal agencies, which can lead to improved decision-making and long-term planning. Perhaps more importantly, it can enable agencies to deliver information more efficiency, enabling them to better serve the public.

Federal document management solutions can allow an agency to be in compliance with the host of new regulations and policies regarding information management and retention. Typically, federal agencies are now required to store records for at least several years. While this information is often vital, it consumes precious human resources and invariably financially impacts an agency. A well-designed federal document management solution can improve an agency’s document retention timeline and provide users with easy access to any document they need. This kind of accessibility and ease of use is what federal agencies and citizens alike value and will need in the coming years.

Federal agencies and their employees are currently swamped by information. IDC, an American market research firm specializing in information technology, estimates that there were 800,000 petabytes of information in existence. They predict that this number will balloon by 44 times by 2020. According to the Office of Management and Budget  (OMB), the federal government is the largest single producer, gatherer, accumulator, and distributor of information in the United States. The National Archives and Records Administration has reportedly averaged 475 million pages of records per year for the past ten years. It has reported significant growth in the volume of electronic records and total archival holdings in its possession. As of November 2011, it was storing a staggering 142 terabytes of information.

This wealth of information is invaluable, but it is also taxing the federal workforce, reducing its efficiency and overwhelming its members. Federal employees are being flooded with information. IDC found, in a recent survey conducted among 100 government workers that 70 percent felt either “sometimes” or “always” overwhelmed by information. Federal workers were more likely to feel overloaded by information than their peers at the state and local level. Federal document management software can alleviate the stresses now placed on federal workers and equip them to do their jobs in a more efficient manner.

Moreover, federal document management software can cut costs. In an era characterized by retrenchment and inescapable cutbacks, every federal agency is trying to find and capitalize on efficiencies. The U.S. Senate’s Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, headed by Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, released a report highlighting ways federal agencies could limit spending. The paper suggested that federal agencies could save $200,000,000 by reforming their information management systems. Federal agencies need to, in a time of austerity, follow Johnson’s suggestion and more efficiently store and use the information at their disposal. Doing so could save much-needed taxpayer dollars.

Federal agencies and the citizens they serve now have a enormous wealth of information at their fingertips. While this information can help both federal workers and citizens find vital information, it can also be overwhelming. Government employees are stifled by the sheer abundance of information they need to interact with daily, and the agencies they work for are spending ever-increasing amounts of their budgets collecting, storing, and processing this information. Federal agencies need federal document management systems to increase efficiency, conserve resources, aid their employees, and become more transparent and responsive to their constituents.

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