With more government agencies facing steeper challenges to automate and secure their workflows, one underlying opportunity for improvement that we see in our work time and time again is records management.
Efficiency is an ongoing challenge for any industry, but government departments have to conquer the additional hurdles of constant security threats, privacy needs (and so encryption), and transparency. What this means is that records need to be easily accessed, but might also need layers of permissions depending on the user(s), or the intra-operational nature of the work.
One thing is certain: Agencies deal with and manage mountains of records and data. So what type of digital infrastructure will best address— and future-proof— the management of those records in an increasingly online world?
Maintaining Document Integrity and Insurance
Records are often subject to various updates, edits, and review processes that are often mismanaged through email and other online tools. An effective document management solution provides a permanent file, creating a single source of truth for partners, employees, and stakeholders.
Additionally, one of the critical advantages of cloud infrastructure is off site redundancy. If there’s a storm or a natural disaster that threatens to destroy paper records or connectivity to on-premises digital records, an effective SaaS tool offers further redundancy of all of your important records. This level of file integrity ensures a security step that internal staff may not have the time to execute.
Providing 24/7 Secure Access
More and more, the average user has become accustomed to an all-digital world. That trend has only accelerated with the coronavirus pandemic, which pushed more and more consultants, service providers, and partners to opt for remote work/working-from-home. Remote access for those partners and staff is critical, and a digital document management system (DMS) platform is much more expected and required.
Even if your staff is working on site, your partners and other agencies may need immediate access to files. An encrypted file storage solution enables those partners to access any file they need, any time, anywhere. For example, QFlow’s proprietary platform, Q-Action, serves as a centralized, electronic document repository and database, improving cross-collaboration across teams and partners.
Improving Tagging, Categorization, and Integration
Additionally, those records when digitized, tagged, and categorized property can be easily integrated with other project management systems, enabling even better and faster access. This seamless migration will have virtually no impact on your end users, and present you with a more cost-effective and scalable solution, particularly if you use a third party.
Must-Haves From a SaaS Record Management and DMS Provider
Before you request an RFP from a new service provider, make sure that you’re working with a service that:
- Boasts long-term customer relationships with departments and agencies. Not all DMS companies have the same history. A DMS system might be perfect for software development and documentation, for example, because those are the kinds of clients it was designed to serve…but it might be clunky when it comes to digitizing paper documents, or automating scheduled records destruction. Ask other agencies for referrals, or ask for a proof of service to other agencies, to verify that a potential partner works regularly with government agencies.
We here at QFlow have a long history of working with government agencies; we’ve worked successfully with the USDA, for example, on several projects.
- Already has an Authority to Operate (ATOs) within government agencies. If a provider has in fact worked with other state, local, and/or federal agencies, chances are good that they have already gone through the process of getting an ATO. If they have already gone through that process, it will be much easier once it is your agency’s turn.
- Has ability to integrate with current systems/software investments. Let’s be candid: Any existing systems you have at your agency were probably large, high-price tag systems that took a long time to develop. They are not going to be replaced or rebuilt any time soon. Too much depends on them working as they are. A good DMS system should be able to integrate seamlessly with existing systems in which your agency has already invested.
- Is aware of contract management requirements for agencies. An experienced provider with exposure to agencies and their security requirements will know what is needed to work within that environment. For example, they should have already adapted to various regulatory hurdles such as HIPAA compliance, 508 compliance, encryption standards, etc.
- “Gets” records management. This should go without saying, of course. But records management is complex and specialized. Far too many “solutions” out there pass themselves off as records management alternatives without truly understanding what is needed or involved. Look for a platform provider that mentions records management and records management requirements specifically.
Yes, We Have All That
How do we know that these are things to look for in a DMS provider for government agencies? Because we’ve been there ourselves. We built our DMS from the ground up to natively support records management capabilities that agencies could rely on, and made it part of our flagship platform, Q-Action.
We’ve worked with several agencies over the years, too, and honed our process to help them digitize and automate their records keeping processes.
Our software is contained within an easy-to-use, scalable SaaS platform, with internal experts to mentor and facilitate new-generation improvements at organizations who need guidance through the implementation and document cataloging process.
If you need expertise and consultation to upgrade and overhaul your document and data organization systems, talking with a QFlow Systems expert could help you provide that security and redundancy for your entire content ecosystem. Call us at 877.652.1439 or request a proof of concept today.