- What is an EDRMS?
- What are the benefits of using an EDRMS?
- What will an EDRMS cost?
- Will an EDRMS meet all my information management needs?
- Does my organisation have to have an EDRMS?
- Is there a contract or technical standard for the procurement of EDRMS in the NSW public sector?
- What do I need to consider before implementing an EDRMS?
- What decisions do I need to make about configuring an EDRMS?
- What activities and tasks are involved in implementing an EDRMS?
- What are the key success factors when implementing an EDRMS?
- What are some common problems experienced in EDRMS implementations?
- Should I integrate my EDRMS with my other business systems?
- How can I maintain strong use of my EDRMS?
- Should I be managing, monitoring or assessing my EDRMS?
- What does an upgrade of an EDRMS involve?
- Will the EDRMS automatically manage the long term needs of records?
- What are my options for EDRMS use in shared service arrangements?
- Can you point me to some case studies of EDRMS implementations?
- What are some good sources for further reading?
An EDRMS is an electronic document and records management system. It is an automated software application designed to facilitate the creation, management, use, storage and disposal of a range of both physical and digital documents and records in an integrated way. An EDRMS may also automate business processes such as workflows and approvals and be integrated with other business systems.
As the title suggests, an EDRMS combines document management and records management functionality. The document management functionality of an EDRMS, based on business rules and classification, allows you to access and use documents to meet short term needs. The records management functionality allows you to protect and manage records as authentic evidence of business to meet your statutory and other responsibilities, and can assist you to address your longer term needs for information.
The benefits an EDRMS can bring to an organisation will depend on the functionality of the EDRMS, the way it has been configured, implemented and managed, and the tools used within it. If managed well, an EDRMS may result in some or all of the following benefits:
Facilitate the move from paper to digital methods of business
- Users may create more documents/records in digital form and collaborate on documents within the system
- The EDRMS can be integrated with other business systems, digitisation software and email systems
- The costs associated with the creation and storage of physical documents may decrease
Improve business efficiency and productivity
- Most records and documents of the organisation (paper and digital) can be controlled in a central store - instead of uncontrolled shared (network) drives, email folders etc.
- Simultaneous access can be provided to digital information by multiple users in a variety of locations
- Business processes can be streamlined and automated
- Version control and revision management can be implemented
- Staff can locate and share information resources more easily
- Search time to find documents and records can be reduced
- The speed of responding to customers can be improved with better access to information
- Duplication can be reduced by capturing the information once
- The movement of physical files can be tracked
Protect documents and records
- Access to sensitive, private or classified information can be restricted so that only those with appropriate privileges can view or use it
- Records can be protected from unauthorised alteration, tampering or deletion
- Audit trails can track who had access to documents and records and the actions taken on them
- Disaster recovery can be improved through regular backup of the EDRMS
- Information can be more reliable and trustworthy, through management controls and audit trail documentation
Provide accountability and transparency and enable compliance
- Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA) requests, subpoenas and discovery orders can be addressed in a more timely manner
- There is more likelihood that records will be available with proven integrity to help the organisation to comply with standards and legislation
- Protection mechanisms enable the organisation to retain accurate and reliable records of its decisions and actions
- The better protection and management of records may reduce some information management risks
Improve recordkeeping capability
- Metadata can be applied at the point of capture of documents and records and when actions are performed on them, which aids their useability and accountability
- Links between records can be established which helps records to be understood now and over time and supports their value as evidence
- Authoritative versions of the records can be read-only to protect their authenticity
- Records are kept in context with related records (paper and digital) so that there is a clear understanding of the business that has occurred
- Records are more likely to remain accessible and useable for as long as they are required
- Retention and disposal authorities can be applied in the EDRMS and semi-automated to facilitate the disposal of records or their transfer to archives
- EDRMS packages may also be able to be integrated with other business systems, enabling the better management of corporate records.
The costs of EDRMS technology itself will depend on a range of factors, including how many areas it is being rolled out to, the level of functionality used (e.g. workflow and additional reporting functions may cost more), how much configuration or customisation is required, what data needs to be migrated, the level of integration with other business systems or digitisation software and system maintenance arrangements.
Your organisation will need to analyse and document its particular costs and consider what EDRMS vendors are willing to provide. Costs of the software licences are usually calculated per user per year or per processor. Costs in a shared service arrangement may be different.
Note: It is vital to have an IT infrastructure that is robust enough to support the EDRMS (in regional and remote sites as well), which may involve the cost of infrastructure upgrades. Security policies, the desktop environment, the number of applications to integrate with, the bandwidth and WAN/LAN configuration may all influence costs.
EDRMS implementation may also include the costs associated with:
- wages of project team including any consultants, trainers, testers, developers etc.
- conducting a business analysis and consulting with staff to determine requirements
- evaluating various EDRMS options to determine which best meets business requirements
- conducting licence negotiations
- migrating data to the EDRMS
- developing supporting tools such as classification schemes, retention and disposal authorities, security models if required
- system configuration and any integrations
- developing procedures and business rules for the system
- data storage and backup
- change management initiatives
- pre-implementation testing
- the rollout of the system including user training and system support.
Post-implementation costs include:
- wages of a systems administrator (or this support from a service provider)
- post-implementation testing
- ongoing training and technical support
- monitoring activities such as system review
- enhancements, upgrades and further integrations.
Note: In shared service arrangements some of the above costs will still apply. Costs may also be dependent on support services provided. It is important to carefully define what the service provider will offer as part of the Service Level Agreement. See Using shared services for records management or What are my options for EDRMS use in shared service arrangements?
Note: Don’t underestimate the cost of business process change/reengineering and change management. This can take up a significant proportion of the project budget but is often what is slashed when funding is tight. See Change management and user consultation and support.
An EDRMS is an enabling technological tool. It will not meet all your information management needs or resolve all problems and issues. Use of an EDRMS needs to be part of a wider Information or Records Management Program, staffed by skilled people and supported by business rules, training and support, procedures and monitoring.
In addition, the functionality of the particular EDRMS, the way it has been configured and implemented, and the tools used within it will all impact on how successfully your information needs can be managed.
To meet more of your information needs, some types of information created elsewhere in your organisation may need to be integrated with or exported to the EDRMS. For example, you may need to integrate an EDRMS with some of your business systems to ensure the capture of full and accurate records. See Should I integrate my EDRMS with my other business systems?
Most medium to large agencies will need an EDRMS to effectively manage many of their organisation’s records. However, licences, implementation and management costs can be expensive and for small organisations costs may be prohibitive.
At present most other business systems cannot provide the same level of recordkeeping functionality that an EDRMS offers. While generally business systems can create data and manage short term security and access requirements, most do not have the capacity to manage longer term needs for information. For example, in some business systems data may be overwritten, changed or deleted. An EDRMS, in contrast, has the capacity to accountably manage and control records, including their security, access and preservation, for as long as they are needed.
Therefore, your organisation should consider its information needs, examine its business systems and assess methods of managing its documents and records. If your business systems do not have adequate recordkeeping capacity, then an EDRMS is a valuable tool to manage information and mitigate risk.
In some cases you organisation may not have a sufficient information maturity for an EDRMS. For example, staff in your organisation may be resistant to take on more responsibility for recordkeeping or management may be unwilling to invest in an EDRMS. In this situation you can explore interim options for improving information management, e.g. introducing controlled vocabulary and structure in shared drives or other corporate platforms.
The Document Management Solutions Standard, developed by the NSW ICT Procurement and Technical Standards Working Group, contains technical and functional requirements that agencies should consider when procuring ICT Services for document management solutions. The standard defines ‘document management’ as the set of services or technology for managing the document after it is captured and throughout its lifecycle.
This standard applies to all NSW Government departments, statutory bodies and shared service providers.
EDRMS can be purchased through the ICT Services Scheme. Licences may be purchased through Contract 607 – ICT Software Agreement or, in the absence of a Whole of Government contract, through direct negotiation with the provider under the Procure IT 3.1 framework. For more information, please contact the NSW Procurement Service Centre.
The previous GSAS Information Asset Management Systems (IAMS) Software Applications contract expired in May 2013.
Any EDRMS procured must, as a minimum, be able to manage records in accordance with the requirements of the Standard on Records Management.
Note: If you are in a shared service arrangement, see What are my options for EDRMS use in shared service arrangements?
Different organisations are at different levels of maturity with their information management. If you are considering implementing an EDRMS you should first explore the current information management environment, which will help you to determine if your organisation is ready for the system, where it will fit into your information architecture and/or what needs to be done to plan for it.
The assessment should take into account:
- your information architecture
- current business systems being used
- the information and recordkeeping culture in your organisation
- existing information and records management strategies, standards, policies and procedures
- the existence, use and currency of information and recordkeeping tools.
The Records Management Assessment Tool is a self-assessment tool designed to assess conformity with the State Records Act 1998 and the capacity of your organisation to achieve best practice records management. This may be a useful tool in your assessment.
When undertaking this assessment you should be starting to consider:
- where to pilot the EDRMS and priorities for roll out
- the need to develop or update recordkeeping tools, policies, business rules or procedures
- what integration may be required between the EDRMS and business systems (including email, digitisation software and mobile devices)
- what data needs to be migrated to the EDRMS (e.g. from shared drives or legacy systems) and the issues with it
- how paper records need to be managed in the EDRMS
- opportunities for workflow or process re-engineering
- particular requirements for security, access etc. for some information
- how much delegation can be given to users for particular functions of the EDRMS
- how to plan for the retention of long term information
- system configuration requirements
- backup requirements
- training and support needs.
These can be assessed further when you are defining your specific requirements. See Well articulated requirements.
Most organisations will choose an off-the-shelf EDRMS. These will need some configuration to meet your particular business needs. Getting your configuration right is essential. Poor configuration can reduce staff acceptance and use of the system and will lead to inconsistent and poor quality metadata collection.
If you have articulated your requirements, this information will provide invaluable guidance at configuration by helping you to design a system that really meets your business needs. See Well articulated requirements. If you need to integrate business systems with your EDRMS, the way you configure your EDRMS can influence the success of the integration. Therefore discuss any integration requirements with business and IT staff before you set up your EDRMS.
EDRMS usually contain all possible metadata. From these extensive possibilities you need to define at the outset the metadata that will be used in your organisation. You also want to limit the available metadata fields to system users, so that staff do not inadvertently apply values to fields not required in your implementation. With your EDRMS you are aiming for consistency and standardisation, with all staff applying meaningful and appropriate values to the same set of standard metadata fields.
When configuring your EDRMS you will also need to define the entities and aggregations of records that will be represented in your EDRMS. For example, will metadata be captured about business processes or business units or just about records? Will you need to capture metadata about files, documents, boxes, series, recordkeeping systems or any or all of the above? Will workflow be integrated? What metadata will need to be picked up and applied at each stage of the workflow? All of these considerations will affect how you configure the system.
Also, consider how you want recordkeeping tools to be integrated. For example, if you want to be able to sentence records at creation, this functionality will need to be built in at configuration.
When you configure your EDRMS you should carefully determine what users will see and interact with. For example:
- Will they be creating their own files in the EDRMS or will records management staff create them?
- What security restrictions can users apply?
- Will all relevant files be visible to all staff or will they just be able to view select files?
- Will users access the system through business systems they are already familiar with or will they need to learn new interfaces?
- If a new interface is required, what will it look like?
- What metadata fields are needed for business?
- What data types or aggregations are needed?
- What inter-dependencies exist between metadata fields?
- What metadata can be automatically captured and what needs to be entered by users?
- Where metadata cannot be completely automated can users add metadata from a drop-down list of values (encoding scheme) where relevant?
- What other supporting tools need to be incorporated into the EDRMS?
- What decisions need to be made about document management tools, e.g. version control, check-in/check-out facilities, making ‘final’ versions of records?
- Will users interact with or capture records into the EDRMS through established or new workflows?
- Will users be able to publish documents from the EDRMS, e.g. to the Intranet?
It may be advisable to pilot the EDRMS in a small part of the organisation first to test design and configuration and remedy any problems.
It is extremely important that any configuration of the EDRMS is well documented with functional and technical documentation. Document what local customisation you have made and what rules you have embedded in the system. The decisions you make at configuration all need to be documented as this information is critical to support the longevity and sustainability of your system and to support future upgrades, enhancements and migrations.
The National Archives of Australia has developed the Implementing an EDRMS: Checklist covering a range of activities and tasks that may be a useful resource for project teams.
All EDRMS implementations should always be supported by a sound business case and conducted using project management methodologies.
Ongoing management commitment and support
It is vital to recognise that the implementation of an EDRMS is a major project. It requires the time and commitment of not only the project team but other stakeholders within the organisation. This commitment needs to be recognised and supported at a senior level.
The most successful projects typically have senior sponsors in the organisation, such as the CEO. If this sponsor is powerful and influential, they can ensure that the EDRMS implementation is seen as a priority and remains suitably resourced. The commitment and support of other senior managers can help to provide vision and direction for the project and encourage their subordinates to take it seriously.
For ongoing success, business unit managers should also be committed to promote cultural change and use of the EDRMS, as staff will often follow the lead of their managers. Chief Information Officers must be on board to ensure the technical infrastructure is suitable and adequate technical support is maintained. Commitment and support needs to be ongoing or use of the system will dwindle over time.
Some suggested ways to obtain management support include:
- utilising the influence of a senior project sponsor
- developing strong, inclusive communication strategies targeting senior managers and using key examples of interest to them
- presenting a strong business case
- using case studies highlighting successes in other organisations
- finding and promoting ‘quick wins’
- demonstrating good return on investment (from pilots, staged rollouts etc)
- demonstrating how the EDRMS will support particular business objectives
- talking about ‘business information’ rather than ‘records.’
The resource commitment for an EDRMS project is not limited to the cost of the technology and the project team. There are a range of other costs that must be factored in. See What will an EDRMS cost?
A motivated, multi-disciplinary project team
There are a variety of skills and knowledge required for an EDRMS project team.
The project team leader needs to have strong project management skills, a good understanding of the business needs of the organisation and their information management requirements and a sound understanding of the technology. They also need to be a good communicator with sufficient seniority to liaise effectively with senior management and keep the project visible and on track. A team leader with prior experience in EDRMS implementations can influence project success. Consultants may be brought in to lead the project if these skills cannot be provided in-house. If so, they should be carefully selected to ensure they possess the appropriate skills and have experience in EDRMS implementations.
The more successful implementations have team members with suitable ICT skills and an understanding of EDRMS and migration needs for records. Members of the project team should also have skills in business analysis, security needs, change management and training.
The project team should include representatives from ICT, who are required to manage impacts on the IT infrastructure, the EDRMS and potentially integrations between business systems and the EDRMS. ICT staff also need to provide adequate and prompt technical support during implementation and on an ongoing basis (e.g. in the form of a Help Desk).
EDRMS vendors will also form part of the project team.
All team members need to be motivated and act as champions for the project.
Good governance of the project
An EDRMS project implementation needs to fit into your framework for information management, be sponsored at a senior level and be managed by staff with the appropriate skills implementing solid project management methodologies.
It should be supported by a business case that provides a vision for the project and realistically outlines the benefits and risks, costs and return on investment expected along with implementation schedules.
Project plans should provide more detail about stages, implementation tasks, responsibilities, timeframes and costs, and address mitigation strategies for risks, which should be as realistic as possible. Detailed plans may be required for aspects of the project such as the development of tools, change management, risk management or systems testing or migration.
Project teams need to ensure that plans remain relevant, implementation tasks are met, spending is controlled and risks are mitigated or reported on. They also need to maintain the profile and momentum of the project.
The performance of the system needs to be monitored throughout the project and there should be a post-implementation review. There should also be a planned transition from the project team to the staff responsible for the ongoing management of the system.
Good vendor support during implementation is essential.
Note: One of the key risks to a project is the change of a project sponsor or project manager. Changes in vendor staff can also affect outcomes.
It is important to know the existing information management environment in the organisation before embarking on an EDRMS implementation. An assessment can assist you to determine whether your organisation is mature enough for an EDRMS and, if it is, the information gathered can assist you with the business case. See What do I need to consider before implementing an EDRMS?
In terms of assessing system functionality, ISO 16175 Information and documentation – Principles and functional requirements for records in electronic office environments and Modular requirements for records systems (Moreq2010) are general benchmarks that will assist you.
Systems should be able to manage records in accordance with the requirements of the Standard on Records Management.
In addition to these generic requirements, if you are to proceed with the EDRMS you will need to articulate your organisation’s own business needs and technical requirements and constraints. This involves an analysis of your organisation’s specific business. Stakeholders and users should be involved in this analysis, particularly if it involves changes to their current business processes. This understanding will help you in configuring the system to meet your needs.
Selection of the right EDRMS
One of the key factors in a successful implementation is to choose a good EDRMS with sufficient functionality for your needs that will meet your articulated requirements. There are many EDRMS applications on the market but can they do what you need them to do? Can they be customised easily for your needs? To choose an EDRMS you should consider and define your requirements carefully. You should develop a requirements specification stating your technical and functional requirements which, together with your tender conditions, can help vendors to understand what you are looking for. See Well articulated requirements for more information.
You will also need to assess the EDRMS options carefully and should have a sound tender evaluation methodology. When you liaise with vendors read the literature carefully, make sure you ask direct questions where there is doubt, and discuss/visit with organisations already using the EDRMS in the way you plan to use it. For example, you can talk to other organisations about any software problems or system performance issues they have experienced and the degree of vendor support after purchase.
A solid contract
Contract negotiations should be carried out by experienced staff – if the contract is complex you may need to involve legal staff. You should consider what the mandatory requirements are and what you can compromise on.
It is important that you ensure that contracts define clearly what products and services you are obtaining, what service levels you can expect and the implementation methodology.
Good configuration and documentation
It is essential that you configure any generic EDRMS to suit your particular business needs. See What decisions do I need to make about configuring an EDRMS? for more information.
Good supporting strategies and tools
Your analysis of your current information management environment will give you an understanding of what supporting strategies and tools you already have in place and what you may need to develop or update so that the EDRMS makes a difference to information management in your organisation.
Strategies and tools you may require include:
- information and records management strategies, standards, policies and procedures
- a business classification scheme which classifies and describes your organisation’s business according to the functions and activities it performs - this may be implemented in an EDRMS as a file plan
- a thesaurus or other forms of naming conventions or controlled language – these can make significant improvement in the ability to search and retrieve information
- an authorised retention and disposal authority covering your functional areas of business – these may require some customisation to be used in the EDRMS but can promote the application of retention periods to records on their creation (Note: general retention and disposal authorities for business that is performed by a number of public offices are produced by State Records). Having a retention and disposal authority can also allow you to sentence older records and reduce migration to the new system
- recordkeeping metadata schemas and methods for capture – these can help you to locate and manage records now and through time
- business rules and procedures for use of the system
- security and access rules and labelling conventions.
You should not underestimate the need for experienced staff to produce these tools and the need for staff consultation and training. They require a significant investment of time to complete and to manage over time.
Ultimately, an EDRMS will only be successful if staff use it. If they do not embrace the system and take responsibility for creating and capturing records of their business in it, it will not be successful.
Ideally your organisation should have change management, communication and training plans to ensure that staff are ready for the change. If the EDRMS will constitute significant changes to the business processes of the organisation, staff will also need to be supported through these.
Sufficient resources for change management must be provided. Here is a telling comment from a CIO:
“I’ve been involved in planning a couple of successful EDRMS projects and the cost breakup ended up being 30% technical implementation, 40% process change/re-engineering and 30% cultural change management (this includes training & general communications).
I’ve also had peripheral involvement in another (more recent) EDRMS implementation where the breakup was 90% technical implementation, 5% process change/re-engineering and 5% change management and it all it went horribly, horribly wrong. The system was implanted but never got it into broad operational use.”
Here are some ideas to assist you in obtaining acceptance of change and use of the EDRMS:
- Consider introducing a pilot implementation and rolling out gradually. Choose a ‘friendly’ business unit first where quick wins can be made or high risk areas. Use the pilot to test functionality, identify further customisation required, identify problems and how to solve them, and test for staff acceptance.
- Negotiate with business units about when implementation will be appropriate for them so that other business priorities do not interfere with implementation.
- Involve users in the development and implementation of the EDRMS, according to their level of interest/need. Ensure that they have the opportunity to tell you what kind of system they need to help them to work better.
- If use of the EDRMS will involve the reengineering of business processes, staff should be involved in the redesign and how best to make the new processes successful. Beware that there could be fear of change and fear that re-engineering may result in them losing their jobs.
- Take advantage of those users who are more interested or more competent with information management or technology and involve them early in the project as ‘super-users’. They can help to guide and champion the project in exchange for more advanced training.
- Plan for and provide training for all staff in their records management responsibilities and using the EDRMS as part of the rollout, as well as refresher training at intervals. Induction training will also be necessary for new employees. Training should be appropriate for users.
- Training should be supported by the development of business rules, policies and procedures.
- Make interfaces as intuitive and easy to use as possible. Sometimes when integrating with a business system, the EDRMS can be effectively ‘hidden’ from users. Recordkeeping functionality should be hidden from users if they don’t need to know about it.
- Ensure automated metadata capture whenever possible so that users don’t have to manually enter it.
- Provide any additional tools to assist users with the EDRMS or tools within it, e.g. ‘cheat sheets’ or business rules can define file titles for commonly used files.
- When going live with the system, don’t underestimate the amount of additional support that will be required. For example, there may need to be floor walking and other assistance on offer for several weeks while users become comfortable with the system. All issues and problems should be logged and monitored.
- People change or forget or fall into bad habits. Make sure there are opportunities for training and support after the implementation is over.
See the article by Michelle Linton and Kevin Dwyer, EDRMS success – Experience the difference for research on the effects of change management strategies and training on the successful uptake of EDRMS.
Testing, testing and more testing
System testing before you go live is essential. Bugs, slow response rates and downtime during a rollout have the potential to destroy any confidence users have in the EDRMS. If the IT infrastructure is not robust enough for remote sites, it should be fixed before implementation occurs at those sites.
A testing environment should be established and test plans/scripts developed. Once configured, the system needs to be tested for its technical capabilities and functionality in the testing environment, and if reviewed it should be retested. Any problems should be promptly raised with vendors and IT.
Migrations should involve a detailed migration plan and dedicated resources with testing and review before it is signed off. Integrations should also be thoroughly tested before rollout.
If there are pilots, they should be chosen carefully and there should be time to analyse and solve specific issues before major rollouts. Further testing and retesting should occur in training and production environments, including user acceptance testing.
System performance should be monitored throughout the implementation.
Keeping system usage monitoring help desk logs will assist in identifying system weaknesses in different user groups.
Common problems in implementations include (in no particular order):
- Lack of commitment or support from management for the project
- Lack of stable resourcing, e.g. funds are diverted to more pressing projects, staff change or are redeployed etc.
- Lack of sufficient resourcing. Commonly the full costs of business process change and re-engineering, change management initiatives and post-implementation management, training and support are not fully factored in and this can make or break implementations
- Poor technical infrastructure or support, particularly at remote sites
- Project teams with inadequate knowledge or skills for the task
- Insufficient staff allocated to the project
- Poor integration of recordkeeping tools
- Replication of paper processes in the digital environment without consideration of the process and work changes required
- Not incorporating sentencing at creation in the design and configuration stages, thereby creating a large legacy disposal problem to be dealt with in the future
- Inadequate skills transfer from the project team to ongoing records staff
- Lack of sound project governance
- A big bang approach that introduces too much change, too quickly to too many staff
- Underestimated time for migration, conversion and integration
- Poor alignment with business objectives
- Poorly articulated requirements
- An EDRMS that is insufficient for the organisation’s requirements
- A contract that fails to comprehensively define inclusions and responsibilities
- Poor configuration of the EDRMS
- Lack of documentation of configuration, which causes problems for future migration
- Supporting tools that are poorly developed
- Supporting tools that are too complex for users
- Lack of user consultation, involvement and support in what really is a major change and shift in staff responsibility
- Inadequate system testing.
More information on some of these issues is provided in What are the key success factors when implementing an EDRMS?
Business systems in your organisation can include email systems, social media applications, workflow systems and purpose built or customised databases.
Business systems are often poorly designed for recordkeeping, particularly the management of records of longer term value. With low risk records that are not required for long periods of time, it may be viable to keep them within the business system. With high risk records or records required to be kept for longer periods, your organisation will need to assess how to manage them appropriately.
Depending on the risks, your requirements and the costs and effort involved, you may be able to integrate some business systems with your EDRMS. For example, common desktop applications, including email, can usually be easily integrated. Other integrations may require additional design and configuration, testing and implementation to ensure that the information flows well between systems and integrity is maintained. Vendors may need to assist you with some integrations, which will add to costs, but costs can be compared to the benefits arising from more efficient workflows, greater accountability and consolidated information resources.
Another advantage of integrations is that users can often continue to use the business system they are familiar with and retrieve information from it rather than having to learn the EDRMS interface.
However, integration will never be a one-off process. It will need to be reassessed and reconfigured and recoded every time that either the EDRMS or business system is changed or upgraded. EDRMS administrators and system owners need to consult and consider the potential effects before any changes are made. Testing is required when changes are made to ensure problems are detected and to mitigate any risks.
In some cases you may need to export records from your business systems to capture them in an EDRMS. Alternatively, you may be able to build recordkeeping functionality into business systems at systems design. For existing business systems you may be able to find pragmatic solutions for addressing gaps in recordkeeping functionality.
For more information see: Checklist for assessing business systems. There are also a number of blog posts on the Future Proof Blog concerning business systems assessment. State Records also runs a free workshop Managing recordkeeping risk in business systems.
It is not uncommon for EDRMS implementations to go reasonably smoothly, but then for usage to drop after a year or two. Ways to maintain high use include ensuring that:
- senior management realises upfront that an EDRMS is an ongoing commitment of resources
- there is skills transfer from the project team to records staff so that they can continue to monitor system usage and train and support others in the use of the system
- business unit managers foster and support ongoing staff usage of the EDRMS as a normal part of business process.
Yes. An EDRMS is an ongoing resource commitment and ongoing responsibilities must be planned for and resourced. Some staff need to be responsible for the day to day administration of the system, quality assurance and monitoring. Staff will also be required for managing re-configurations, enhancements, upgrades and further integrations between the EDRMS and business systems.
An upgrade of an EDRMS needs to be treated as a project in itself with a project plan, staff and appropriate resources and timeframes.
Upgrades can become complex, particularly if the EDRMS has not been upgraded for a long period of time. Upgrades in this case may be through a number of different versions of the software.
In addition, you will need to consider how the EDRMS was configured and is to be configured in the new version and any impacts on users. This may provide an opportunity to fix some problems with its previous implementation and address new user needs. Issues like data quality, duplication and security will also need to be considered.
Upgrades of the EDRMS may also impact on other systems it is integrated with. For example, later versions of the EDRMS may only be compatible with later versions of desktop applications and email systems which means you need to upgrade those as well. You will need to test after upgrading to ensure that integrations still work effectively.
No. There are a number of factors that can still threaten the long term accessibility and use of records. For example, record formats in an EDRMS can still be affected by technological obsolescence. Your organisation will need to be vigilant in monitoring this.
The survival of records in the long term will also be dependent on whether your EDRMS continues to be supported by vendors and whether the software is upgraded when required. If records and their metadata need to be migrated between older EDRMS or versions and newer ones, the migration needs to be handled carefully to safeguard against data loss, corruption or alteration.
Sentencing records at their creation will assist you to manage the needs of longer term records over time. Records that are required as State archives, including digital records, can be transferred to the care of State Records when they are no longer required for official business. For more information about transferring archives, see Archives management.
The NSW Government aims to promote more effective and efficient service delivery across agencies by consolidating corporate services and introducing a degree of standardisation including common platforms, systems and processes.
In records management, common models for shared services are:
- sharing records management services amongst a group of public offices, such as geographically co-located or functionally similar organisations, or with a 'parent' organisation
- using a third party provider of services such as Service First or NSW Businesslink.
Options for EDRMS in these environments depend on your shared service provider and the arrangement your organisation has with them. Some clusters have arrangements in place to use a particular EDRMS. Depending on the organisation this EDRMS may be managed by the shared service provider on your behalf or you may choose to manage the EDRMS in-house. Your arrangements with the provider will also include how much of the functionality of the EDRMS is used and when you will upgrade.
Note: Day-to-day recordkeeping and the operation of the EDRMS may be performed by the provider in a shared service arrangement. However, your organisation will still be responsible for the high level, strategic coordination of records management initiatives.
Below are a number of case studies of EDRMS implementations in NSW and the Commonwealth.
McMullan, M. Digital records at Housing NSW, podcast and accompanying slides of presentation delivered at State Records’ Records Managers’ Forum, March 2010, available at: http://futureproof.records.nsw.gov.au/the-future-proof-podcast-series/#episode7
Navin, G. Implementing EDRMS that supports improved business processes, podcast and accompanying slides of presentation delivered at State Records’ Records Managers’ Forum, March 2009, available at: http://futureproof.records.nsw.gov.au/the-future-proof-podcast-series/#episode3
Smith, M. Change management aspects of implementing EDRMS, podcast and accompanying slides of presentation delivered at State Records’ Records Managers’ Forum, March 2009, available at: http://futureproof.records.nsw.gov.au/the-future-proof-podcast-series/#episode4
The National Archives of Australia’s electronic document and records management system webpage contains links to Federal case studies of EDRMS implementations at Geoscience Australia and the Department of Parliamentary Services.
Note: A number of consultants from Australia and around the world have also provided information about their EDRMS implementations online (search terms like ‘case studies’ with ‘EDRMS’ will yield results).
We would be interested in providing more case studies of EDRMS implementations by NSW government organisations. If you would like to tell your story, please contact us.
There is a lot of published information about EDRMS and implementations.
Those sources we found particularly useful in compiling this FAQ and we recommend you read include:
- National Archives of Australia, Electronic document and records management system (EDRMS) (this is a webpage with links to a number of resources and publications regarding EDRMS, including lessons from agencies, an implementation checklist and advice for senior management), various dates, available at: www.naa.gov.au/records-management/agency/digital/EDRMS/index.aspx
- Queensland State Archives, Guideline for the planning of an electronic Document and Records Management System (eDRMS), August 2010, available at: www.archives.qld.gov.au/Recordkeeping/GRKDownloads/Documents/eDRMS.pdf
- Sim, John, Guideline on implementing an EDRMS, Records Solutions, available at: www.rs.net.au/publications/guideline-on-implementing-an-edrms/
Note: Some information concerning procurement of EDRMS in other states does not apply to NSW.
Other useful sources include:
- European Commission, Modular requirements for records systems (MoReq2010), Version 1.1, 2011, available at: www.moreq.info/
- International Council on Archives, Principles and functional requirements for records in electronic office environments, 2008, available at: www.adri.gov.au/content/products/electronic-office-environments.aspx (now the basis for ISO standard 16175)
- Linton, M and Dwyer, K, ‘Don’t let the students get you down: How to recognise and manage challenging behaviours in the EDRMS classroom’, Informaa Quarterly, May 2011, pp36-39
- Linton, M and Dwyer, K, ‘Successful EDRMS: from little things big things grow', Informaa Quarterly, August 2011, pp36-38, 52
- Queensland State Archives, Guideline for the planning of an electronic Document and Records Management System (eDRMS), August 2010, available at: www.archives.qld.gov.au/Recordkeeping/GRKDownloads/Documents/eDRMS.pdf
- RIMPA website - links to some useful papers on EDRMS implementations and functional specifications for recordkeeping systems. See www.rimpa.com.au/resources/community-contributions/
- State Records NSW, Future Proof blog post: Digital recordkeeping at the University of Sydney, January 2010, available at: www.futureproof.records.nsw.gov.au/digital-recordkeeping-at-the-university-of-sydney/
- State Records NSW, Future Proof blog post: EDRMS business rules, April 2011, available at: www.futureproof.records.nsw.gov.au/edrms-business-rules/
- State Records NSW, Future Proof blog post: Selecting software for managing records, August 2009, available at: www.futureproof.records.nsw.gov.au/future-proof-update-august-2009-selecting-software-for-managing-records/
Note: In the preparation of these FAQs we also learned a great deal from the excellent presentation by J Ellis at the inForum RIMPA Convention, Darwin, September 2011, EDRMS – solving the tricky implementation issues. This is available on the Members Only part of the RIMPA website. See www.rimpa.com.au.
RIMPA members may also benefit from looking at the history of discussions about EDRMS on their listserv.
Published 2012 / Revised February 2015, September 2015, March 2016 (references only)