The GCDOCS Endstate – 7 Things Your GCDOCS Implementation Must Do To Ensure Proper Records and Information Management
GCDOCS is coming – have you thought about what it could look like once it’s implemented? What will go in the system? Will it encompass document management? Records management? How will users be affected? It is crucial to take the time to paint the “endstate” of your implementation to ensure that GCDOCS fulfills your departmental RIM needs and expectations.
The move to GCDOCS is an exciting opportunity for Government departments to start comprehensively managing their electronic information resources. That being said, it is important to emphasize that in order to manage information resources of business value (IRBVs) effectively, GCDOCS should be considered more than just a records management tool. To avoid the mistakes of past electronic document and records management (EDRM) implementations (which more often than not failed due to the lack of the “R”, or records functionality) GCDOCS must embrace an enterprise-wide design that effectively manages all of its information in a consistent and rational manner, but also with a view to the new digital future.
So what should the GCDOCS finally look like when it is rolled out? The following seven requirements will help to flesh out a more vivid picture of what GCDOCS could look like, and what Government departments could aim for:
1) GCDOCS should manage all unstructured information within the organization.
As the key document management system within your organization, GCDOCS should replace all shared and personal drives. It should be the new repository for all business documents, which means that the vast majority of unstructured information resources in your organization should be stored in either the GCDOCS core repository or its personal workspaces.
2) All information resources should be made accessible, browse-able, and searchable within GCDOCS.
This requires developing and maintaining a flexible information architecture (IA) that is strongly based on user identified needs and priorities.
3) All content in GCDOCS should be actively managed through its lifecycle.
All content should be disposed of, as deemed appropriate, by means of the governance, business rules, and internal mechanisms of the system.
4) GCDOCS should be designed with the future intent of relating unstructured and structured information assets across systems.
The metadata identified in the IA can be applied to unstructured information in other systems and in structured data systems. This is particularly important for relating electronic IRBVs across systems in order to manage their retention and disposition.
5) GCDOCS should manage records behind the scenes
GCDOCS can be designed so that records management activities take place “in the background” and that no RM burden is placed on the user beyond the needs of regular document management best practices and departmental standards.
6) GCDOCS should act as a business tool, not just an RM tool
In addition to replacing the shared/personal drive storage function and providing required records management functionality, GCDOCS will represent a significant advance in sophistication of collaboration and document management functionality in support of the business. As such, GCDOCS will replace shared drives, Outlook Public Folders, and other similar sharing environments. The implementation and adoption of GCDOCS will also be a key step in encouraging departmental and GC-wide business acceptance of the primacy of the electronic record.
7) GCDOCS should be designed to optimize the use and findability of digital information.
GCDOCS must be architected around the need to report, view and collate digital assets from multiple perspectives, not just a single hierarchical view. A faceted classification scheme is required to make the enterprise knowledge base understandable so that users know what information is available, where it can be found, and how it should be used.
Although these seven requirements certainly won’t cover the needs of every organization, they do serve solid core from which to derive a more thorough strategic perspective towards a GCDOCs implementation. Whether you’re making implementation plans, or having your first GCDOCS project kick-off meeting, it is important to keep your organization’s greater GCDOCS endstate in the fore as you work towards defining your new digital work space.
Jason Abdelhadi is an information management professional who has had experience doing IM work for both the federal government and in charitable organizations. He has worked on a variety of IM initiatives including enterprise information architecture, GCDOCS and EDRMS implementations, IRBV identification as well as user experience design and testing. Jason has a multifaceted educational background that speaks to interests in information technology, library and information science and the humanities.