4-page Case Study - Posted 6/9/2009
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State Agency Takes Action with Online Records Management and E-Discovery
The New Jersey Division of Archives and Records Management (NJ DARM) is responsible for providing guidance and ensuring that state and local agencies follow proper procedures to protect the security, integrity, and accuracy of records within New Jersey government agencies. NJ DARM saw an opportunity to change the implementation of records management and records discovery policies and practices. To define and validate a solution that would deliver the necessary tools and functionality, NJ DARM teamed with Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner Applied Information Sciences (AIS) and Microsoft to develop an online records management and e-discovery solution based on Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server 2007. The Office SharePoint Server–based Records Center is easy-to-manage and extensible, and will evolve to meet increasing demand for authoritative and effective records management and discovery.
With the increase in regulatory requirements regarding the preservation and transparency of both public and private records within government, many agencies are recognizing that they do not have sufficient technology tools or personnel to ensure proper management of such records. The majority of government agencies in the United States struggle with the challenges of setting and enforcing records policies within and across agencies. This makes the management and discovery of required documents increasingly difficult. Further, this challenge encompasses the need to manage both physical and electronic records alike. As the volume of electronically generated records continues to grow, the depth and breadth of the challenge grows in parallel. Regardless of the form a document may take—paper, e-mail, electronic—every government agency is required to comply with federal and/or state regulatory requirements or face legal and financial consequences.
||In an impressively short period of time, we were able to build a pilot records management system with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server. [It will] ensure the proper protection of the State, the State’s records, and the constituents of New Jersey.
Director, New Jersey Division of Archives and Records Management
Every agency is a records intensive organization. For years, the majority of interactions with public and private entities required a considerable amount of documentation (both physical and electronic) to be completed, captured, and retained. In New Jersey, agencies have amassed an enormous amount of information and records that are, by state law and by guidance from the New Jersey Division of Archives and Records Management (NJ DARM), required to be maintained and made available upon request. In some states these laws could dictate the preservation of records for 99 years. And like New Jersey, many state agencies have boxes and boxes of physical records that in turn result in the added expenses of storage offices, rooms, and sometimes warehouses.
As a recognized leader, Karl Neiderer, Director of NJ DARM, understands the challenges of proper document and records management, and thus recognized the need to define and implement a solution that would enable proper records creation, collaboration, management, and discovery. NJ DARM also envisioned a solution that would integrate with an existing, legacy document system, file stores, and messaging systems.
Effective records management dictates the need for a system that is easy to adopt and manage by people who use it, provides strong information security, aids in preservation, expands access, and meets regulatory compliance needs. As government agencies realize these challenges amid the amassed volume of records, more and more agencies are investing in platform-based records management solutions that are easy to manage, familiar to the people who will use them, and capable of dealing with the entire spectrum of content. While the creation of a complete end-to-end system that agencies can use to engage in proper records management of both old and new records could appear to be a daunting task, Microsoft and Applied Information Systems (AIS) were able to demonstrate and implement a solution that provided an easily customizable solution that has the capability to provide comprehensive electronic records management.
NJ DARM assisted one such agency in a requirements definition process with Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner AIS. Within nine weeks, AIS defined, architected, and implemented a solution based on Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server 2007 that met NJ DARM’s records management requirements. With a goal to maximize the agency’s existing technology investments, AIS took advantage of the integration capabilities of Office SharePoint Server to interface with NJ DARM’s existing content management system.
||Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 is a solid application development platform that not only increases our ability to deliver cost-effective solutions in a short period, but also enables us to create solutions for our clients. We believe the records management and e-discovery solution we developed for NJ DARM is an excellent example of this.
Engagement Manager, AIS
"We were challenged with a time-bound implementation of a records management solution that provided integration with a legacy document management system, files stores, and a messaging system," says Nilesh Kodolikar, Engagement Manager at AIS. “NJ DARM was also looking toward an integrated platform to apply this solution across various New Jersey state agencies. Using Office SharePoint Server, Records Center, and the DoD 5015.2 add-on pack, we developed, customized, integrated, and deployed the records management and e-discovery search solution on the target platform in approximately two months. This pilot was highly recognized by New Jersey state agencies and was deemed a great success.”
With this additional integration, the agency could view, declare, and capture all relevant content directly into the Records Center environment. To further extend management controls, AIS provided a tool based on SharePoint technology to perform electronic discovery (e-discovery) searches across specified desktop computers. This e-discovery capability provided functionality that in the past would have required the purchase of an additional discovery solution. (To assist customers in their efforts to identify records across desktop computers, Microsoft and AIS have made the e-discovery tool available on the CodePlex Web site at www.codeplex.com.)
A summary report of the project by NJ DARM concluded: “In total, it appears that Microsoft [Office] SharePoint [Server] 2007 could provide an efficient and effective platform for managing a variety of electronically stored information for the State of New Jersey and, in particular, could assist with a critical need for managing e-discovery searches for data residing on network-connected personal computers as well as dealing with the multiple issues connected with data retention and litigation preservation requirements.”
With the online Records Center, the state agency’s employees can now find, capture, and manage their electronic records. Some of the key benefits are the ability to find relevant records, to declare content as records, to ensure that records are properly and securely tracked, to apply defined records retention policies, to capture and hold records required for litigation, and to make relevant records available in an efficient and effective manner. The Office SharePoint Server–based solution enabled the agency to more efficiently and effectively comply with critical records retention rules, policies, and discovery requirements—regardless of the format of the records.
Neiderer says, “In an impressively short period of time, we were able to build a pilot records management system with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server. We created a records management environment that drives significantly better management, declaration, and discovery. This system will help ensure the proper protection of the state, the state’s records, and the constituents of New Jersey.”
Kodolikar adds, “AIS believes that Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 is a solid application development platform that not only increases our ability to deliver cost-effective solutions in a short period, but also enables us to create solutions for our clients. We believe the Records Management and e-discovery solution we developed for NJ DARM is an excellent example of this.”
In the interest of protecting the present, past and future data of the state of New Jersey, and with a vision of providing more efficient government compliance, the New Jersey Division of Archives and Records Management has created a solid, extensible, and user friendly solution that they can use to comply with the ever-increasing demands to preserve government records and make them readily available and more transparent.
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