“Recognizing Value from a Shared
RM/DM Repository: Canadian
Government Perspectives”
Cheryl McKinnon, Hummingbird
Heather ...
the information lifecycle and records continuum, software vendors began adding elements of
records management administrati...
 Portal framework — providing a consistent user interface for business-to-employee (B2E)
users (they may be employees wit...
mere lip service to the concept of improved IM practices. Treasury Board, in conjunction with
Canada’s National Archives a...
suite addressing a wide range of IM requirements that was flexible, customizable and available
from a single vendor was th...
By early 2003, 33 departments had acquired over 37,000 seats of the RDIMS solution, with the
majority of the seats rolled ...
universities in BC realized they needed to take a more systematic approach to the care of their
records. In Coquitlam’s ca...
From an information technology perspective, the desired solution focussed heavily on search and
retrieval and version cont...
“enterprise”, and the new solution was christened the “Coquitlam Enterprise Document
Management System” – CEDMS.23
Early i...
(Figure C3). They can further customize the type of access these trustees are granted by making
selections in the Access R...
At the secondary term level, the DOCS RM Properties / Term Change form (Figure C6) was
customized to include the Access da...
development variance permits) to their appropriate records series code in the CEDMS file plan.
CEDMS looks under the appro...
applied corporate-wide to paper records since January 2000, it really only affected administrative
staff in charge of fili...
Figure C7
Users also are slowly beginning to value the system’s Make Record functionality. While few
appreciate all the el...
The system also drastically decreased the time spent on file label preparation. At the beginning of
the calendar year, the...
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“Recognizing Value from a Shared RM/DM Repository: Canadian Government Perspectives” - 2003 ARMA Conference Proceedings Paper


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2003 ARMA Conference Proceedings paper outlining Canadian government examples in content and information management. A historical piece, with focus on Canadian Federal RDIMS initiative up to 2003 and City of Coquitlam. Background to ARMA session co-delivered by Cheryl McKinnon and Heather Gordon

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“Recognizing Value from a Shared RM/DM Repository: Canadian Government Perspectives” - 2003 ARMA Conference Proceedings Paper

  1. 1. “Recognizing Value from a Shared RM/DM Repository: Canadian Government Perspectives” Cheryl McKinnon, Hummingbird Heather Gordon, City of Coquitlam Proceedings Paper Electronic document and records management technologies have been on the market for decades. Beginning with imaging systems that allowed the conversion of paper documents into electronic format, technologies then evolved into DOS-based systems that allowed the tracking and cataloguing of word-processing documents along with search and retrieval tools. The present world includes systems allowing 24/7 web-access to electronic data in an unprecedented number of formats. While there are many common elements between document and records management systems, it is only in the last few years that these two areas have reduced the overlap with the emergence of technology that truly merges the two management systems. The two case studies to be presented in this session will review government organizations at a federal and a municipal level. Each has chosen to deploy a shared repository approach to electronic documents and records. The RDIMS Initiative in Canadian Federal Government, and the CEDMS project at the City of Coquitlam will be reviewed here in order to discuss the benefits of proceeding with an integrated, shared-repository approach to information management for not only government, but any organization serious about a consistent method by which to manage electronic data. The concept of integrating records and document management technologies is not new. For years integration at various levels has existed between popular RM and DM products. Integration could exist at a programmatic level (transfer and duplication of data between the two), a metadata level (common user/group management, common categorization) or at the database level (shared, not duplicated or synchronized data). 1 Integration techniques that are done at a superficial level leave the organization with two separate repositories of information: documents vs. records. Two sets of administration tools, two sets of user/group definitions, two security models are all characteristics of the early days of RM/DM integrations. Most early integrations (late 1980s-mid 1990s) were done at this basic level and generally benefited organizations looking to bridge the gap between management of paper records in the RM system and electronic documents in the DM system. The development of Electronic Records Management functionality to supplement the paper management capabilities of RM systems moved the need for integration onto another level. Now there was the possibility of an electronic object residing in one or more repositories, depending on its categorization, and whether it had been “declared” a corporate record. Again, typically a “transfer” approach was taken to integration, often resulting in the removal of the electronic document from the DM system, as it was migrated to the records repository. This was often necessary in order to allow the RM tool to apply the lifecycle management rules to the electronic record as it would to the paper. While fulfilling the needs of the corporate records office, such integration methods were often awkward for typical knowledge workers: introducing the requirement to be aware of, search, manipulate two separate repositories of information, and two sets of software applications. The next phase of integration emerged in the middle-late 1990s. Responding to market pressures for a more seamless approach to RM/DM integration, as well as advancing theories of 1 An excellent source of information on the approaches, benefits and drawbacks of the various integration models for ERM/EDM can be found in the working papers of the AIIM Standards Committee on “Integrated EDM/ERM”. See: http://www.aiim.org/standards.asp?ID=24484
  2. 2. the information lifecycle and records continuum, software vendors began adding elements of records management administration to core DM systems, and some DM functionality to RM systems. Enhanced search and retrieval, better handling of electronic objects, integration to mainstream office applications (including email) were characteristic of the enhancements made to RM systems. DM vendors began to add capabilities to set basic lifecycle rules on documents, enhanced ability to manage paper items, and ability to migrate documents and metadata to alternate media for long term storage purposes. The market today is moving rapidly into a model of a truly “shared” repository for a broad range of knowledge assets – document and records management being the cornerstone. Beginning in the late 1990s, vendors developed and integrated the full suite of RM/DM features into a single product that organizations can deploy at either departmental or enterprise levels. Shared databases, shared metadata, shared security models and administrative tools have minimized the deployment burden on IT, given a comprehensive view of documents and records to records professionals, and provided the end users with a simpler and more intuitive approach to creating, categorizing, accessing, sharing and securing corporate data. In this age of unprecedented concern over the handling of electronic data for regulatory and other compliance issues, the distinction between records and documents may not always be crystal- clear for typical knowledge workers. An organization subject to financial or other disciplinary actions for poor information management practices needs to look at a comprehensive and consistent approach to managing electronic documents (including the persistent problem of email). Industry analysts, trade groups and vendors themselves are also validating the shared repository model. Gartner Group, among the more influential analyst groups has defined a category of information management technology it has named the “Smart Enterprise Suite”.2 Such single- vendor bundles of integrated modules should and do include many of the following capabilities:  Content management — including document management and Web content management, extending to digital asset management and support for rich media  Collaboration — including messaging, alerting, real-time application sharing, presence and threaded discussions  Multichannel access — providing connectivity to a range of desktop and mobile devices via a mix of connectivity methods is supported for both content management and collaboration  Information retrieval — including information categorization, taxonomy generation, profiling and expertise location  Expertise location and management — to dynamically profile users and facilitate access to their tacit knowledge  Community technology — enabling functionality for building and maintaining online communities  Process management — targeting not the repetitive tasks supported by traditional workflow, but the ad hoc and dynamic activities characteristic of knowledge workers 2 M. Gilbert, F. Caldwell, S. Hayward. “The Smart Enterprise Suite is Coming: Do We Need It? Gartner Group, May 2002. Available at www.gartnergroup.com.
  3. 3.  Portal framework — providing a consistent user interface for business-to-employee (B2E) users (they may be employees within the enterprise or those within the extended enterprise of value-chain partners3 Hummingbird Enterprise along with several of its competitors in this market space has been positioned as “Visionaries” in the emerging SES technology sector.4 The “Smart Enterprise Suite” approach to information management is the logical extension to the shared-repository approach to records and document management. An SES platform extends the content created, collected, managed and categorized by the organization into a collaborative, interactive repository which manages content and information from variety of sources, and which can be accessed by a diverse set of users and applications. How has government reacted to the evolution in electronic information management practices and technologies? This seminar will look at two examples: the federal Government of Canada (GoC) and the City of Coquitlam. The GoC has been at the forefront of a developing a consistent vision of information management across various departments and ministries. As recently as May 2003, the Treasury Board Secretariat published an updated “Management of Government Information” guideline.5 The mission of TBS is “dedicated to helping the Government of Canada manage its human, financial, information and technology resources prudently and in a manner that best supports the government objectives and priorities”.6 The “Management of Government Information” (MGI) is a powerful statement on the direction that Canadian federal departments must go in order to manage its electronic assets for both present and future needs. The policy recognizes that “the Government of Canada is increasingly using information technologies to serve Canadians and to record its business - which requires it to ensure that information collected or made available electronically must be accurate, complete, relevant, and clear, and is accessible and usable over time and through technological change”.7 Giving direction on how information should be created, used and preserved in the context of government activities, the MGI policy recognizes three fundamental principles: that “all employees are responsible for the management of information under their control and custody”, that information management requirements must be built into program design and processes” and that information management is most effective in a culture that values information and adopts supportive governance and accountability structures”.8 The main policy objectives are: all information under the control of federal departments is to be effectively managed throughout the lifecycle of the data; maintaining compliance with privacy legislation, official language requirements; and insurance that information is readily available to serve public objectives and programs.9 Each public servant is mandated to apply information management principles, document their activities and decisions, and be aware of information management issues and communicate them to the IM and IT specialists in their branch. Senior managers are to be accountable for the implementation and execution of the MGI within their realm of responsibility and are asked to be “champions” of information management practices.10 The MGI policy is not 3 Ibid. 4 M. Gilbert, F. Caldwell, S. Hayward, G. Phifer. “The Smart Enterprise Suite Magic Quadrant for 2003”. Gartner Group, March 2003. Available for purchase at www.gartnergroup.com. 5 The original “Management of Government Information Holdings” was published in 1995. 6 Treasury Board Mission Statement, found at: http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/common/us-nous_e.asp. 7 Treasury Board “Policy on the Management of Government Information”. See: http://www.tbs- sct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/ciopubs/tb_gih/mgih-grdg1_e.asp#pre . 8 Ibid. 9 Ibid. 10 Ibid.
  4. 4. mere lip service to the concept of improved IM practices. Treasury Board, in conjunction with Canada’s National Archives and National Library will all monitor the activities mandated under the MGI policy. Annual reports and audits from each department will be used to assess the success and failures of information handling practices. The renewed MGI is part of an overall strategy of improved information management practices in the GoC which has evolved over decades. In the early-mid 1980s, several pieces of legislation began push federal departments to pay more attention to record-keeping practices. The 1983 Access to Information and Privacy Act mandated that governments provide open access to non- sensitive information upon public request; the companion privacy legislation outlining the careful balance between a renewed impetus to openness, with personal privacy guarantees. In 1986, a security policy was issued, defining more clearly how information pertaining to sensitive issues (whether personal, commercial, or that of national security) should be dealt with. By 1987, the National Archives Act asserted a more “top-down” level approach to information management by obliging government departments work with, and obtain consent from the National Archives with respect to information handling and disposal issues. The mid-1990s presented two significant challenges to the GoC. The introduction of personal computers during this period empowered a wide range of federal workers to take more control over the creation and capture of electronic information as part of their duties. On the other side of the coin however, was a series of large-scale layoffs of employees in an attempt to bring the deficit under control.11 An estimated 6%12 of the staff cuts affected clerical workers – secretaries, administrative assistants, file clerks; the job category that typically served as the underpinning to traditional records keeping practices. This combination proved to be a dangerous one: an explosion of content creation, coupled with inconsistent or non-existent practices for information management. Two “scandals” erupted during this period which pushed information management practices and concerns to the front page: The Somalia Inquiry and the Krever Commission Inquiry. The Somalia Inquiry was an investigation into misconduct of certain troops serving as peacekeepers in Africa. The question quickly arose as to when senior defence staff knew about the activities, and whether a coverup had occurred. The investigators questioned whether full disclosure of information had occurred, and the issue of document sabotage, alteration or unauthorized destruction was raised. An unprecedented one-day, all staff search of DND records occurred in April 1996: essentially all normal worked ceased, while tens of thousands of DND staff searched records. The Krever Inquiry was established in 1994 to investigate the safety of Canada’s blood supply in the wake of HIV and hepatitis transmission through the health care system. Once again, allegations of document destruction and tampering were raised, purporting to hide evidence that disease transmission was known to senior health executives and that no action was taken until too late. It was in this era of information management crisis that the Treasury Board moved to address document and record keeping practices – particularly electronic – with the release of a Request for Proposal for a comprehensive, integrated DM/RM solution to be rolled out throughout the GoC. The “RDIMS” solution (Records, Document, Information Management System) sought a user-friendly, comprehensive electronic document, records, image management system with integrated workflow and reporting that could be deployed in either of Canada’s official languages. While the requirements were written in the mid-1990s, the RDIMS solution can be viewed as a precursor to the “smart enterprise suite” approach to information management. An integrated 11 See: http://www.parl.gc.ca/english/hansard/previous/163_95-03- 02/163GO1E.html. 12 Ibid.
  5. 5. suite addressing a wide range of IM requirements that was flexible, customizable and available from a single vendor was the objective. The RDIMS RFP was issued in February 1996 as a direct result of the work done by the “Electronic Work Environment Management Board which was established in 1994. “Document and records management was determined to be a key operational priority of the Board. Accordingly, an interdepartmental steering committee was established to provide leadership and guidance for planning, evaluating, and implementing a system for document and records management based on a common requirements statement”13 The EWE board agreed that existing information management practices were inconsistent across departments and that existing systems were not adequate to meet the needs of an increasingly electronic workplace. The vision of the solution was to go beyond what was then considered traditional document and records management – office documents and paper – and look to a flexible application that could accommodate new forms of information as technology advanced: email, digital photos, video and sound. A work environment that was responsive to the “functions, work processes and information needs of all employees” was stated as an objective for the proposed solution14 . Easing the workload of the federal employee by enhancing the ability to “create, manage, retrieve, and re-use information intuitively and seamlessly at the right time, in the right place, in the right format, and in a cost effective manner”15 was a key objective and criteria for solution selection. Compliance with legislative and policy requirements, including public access to information was also a driving force behind the RFP. Canada’s federal Access to Information legislation in 1983 opened a broad range of public data to the public, and the ability to effectively manage, categorize, locate and disseminate both electronic and traditional paper information was key. Cost savings was also a goal, specifying the motivation “to operate in an effective, efficient and economical manner”.16 Core guiding principles also were specified in the RFP. In addition to the technical requirements, the information management guidelines that the system would serve were outlined: recognition that IM was not limited to a single discipline such as records or IT; that information was a resource to be shared; that the status quo for IM was unacceptable, that basic RM/DM/IM practices needed to become pervasive and not disruptive to users, and that the integrity of electronic objects would be maintained.17 The contract was awarded to CGI, a large Canadian systems integrator in 1998. The solution included core document management products from PC DOCS (now Hummingbird Ltd.) Document management, imaging, basic workflow, supplemented by records management modules from PSSoftware (now Open Text) and Provenance (now Documentum) and reporting tools from Crystal Decisions encompassed the “RDIMS” desktop suite. Hummingbird’s RM product was added to the contract at a later date. The contract also specified an initial pilot phase of 250 users, which was successfully completed at the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs. The contract was structured as a “Shared System” initiative; thus allowing any and all federal departments to benefit from a common integrated application at a price point that was more attractive due to the large and comprehensive scope of the contract. 13 Public Works and Government Services. “Records/Document/Information Management: Integrated Document Management System for the Government of Canada, Request for Proposal”. Ottawa, February 6, 1996, pg. 58. 14 Ibid. p. 61. 15 Ibid. 16 Ibid., pg. 62. 17 Ibid., pg. 63.
  6. 6. By early 2003, 33 departments had acquired over 37,000 seats of the RDIMS solution, with the majority of the seats rolled out. The requirements of the system are reviewed on an ongoing basis with vendors and integrators in order to keep it relevant and technologically current as the market and requirements shift. A highly structured governance structure keeps the momentum for the project going and ensures that the government’s ongoing requirements are understood and accommodated. A Release Management Working Group, to which each department sends a representative, meets weekly in order to share implementation lessons, voice new requirements, and check on the status of outstanding issues. Regular and formalized communication channels between the government representatives, the integrator and the vendors have proven critical to success. What is unique about the committee structure is that it gives the very diverse departments the ability to share best practices, lessons learned, technical tips and to develop a common strategy for information management in the GoC. Sub-committees focused on issues such as records management, change management, training and others feed back their findings to the main group. Critical to the ongoing support of this “Shared System” initiative is its backing by the highest levels in the GoC. An ADM (Assistant Deputy-Minister) level steering committee focused on IT/IM issues was formulated in 1999, and the Chief Information Officer of the GoC, as part of the Treasury Board Secretariat, has absorbed responsibility for IM issues across the GoC.18 The RDIMS initiative has garnered attention worldwide for the cohesive approach the GoC has taken towards information management – with document and records management as the cornerstone. Canada is consistently ranked at the top of various surveys on e-government programs19 . The “Government On-Line” initiative, mandated to deliver on line services in accordance with the priorities of citizens and businesses, is also responsible to the Treasury Board and CIO office; establishing an organizational link between IM practices and the flood of electronic transactions received from and sent to constituents and other stakeholders. Canadian government organizations at provincial and municipal levels have also looked to the RDIMS model as a guide as they grapple with the very similar issues in electronic document/records/information management. One such organization, the City of Coquitlam, located in British Columbia, also has adopted the vision of a shared repository for records and document management as it developed its vision of information management at the local government level. Coquitlam’s EDM/RM Solution Background and Requirements As in most other organizations, staff members at the City of Coquitlam create electronic documents using various desktop software applications. These include the traditional Microsoft Office suite of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, as well as a few other specialized applications such as Corel Draw, Visio, Acrobat and AutoCAD. Prior to the implementation of an EDMS/RMS solution, these documents were saved to any one of several department, user or application specific online locations, with retrieval based on employee memory of the document’s file path. When the document was completed, it was printed, signed and a hard copy set aside for filing. It then was classified, filed, retrieved and disposed of according to the rules prescribed by the city’s corporate records management program. The origins of this program can be traced back to the early 1990s. With the passage of British Columbia’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act in 1994, local government and 18 Treasury Board Secretariat. “Review of the Shared Systems Initiative”, November 1999, pg. 6. See: http://www.cio-dpi.gc.ca/ssi-isp/documents/critical-docs/initiatives/1999/initiative_e.pdf 19 Accenture. “The Government Executive Series: e-Government Leadership – Realizing the Vision; Innovation Leaders: Canada”. 2002. pg 2. See: http://www.accenture.com/xdoc/fr/locations/france/pdf/grasecan.pdf
  7. 7. universities in BC realized they needed to take a more systematic approach to the care of their records. In Coquitlam’s case, a review of its recordkeeping practices and analysis of the new FOIPPA workload resulted in the creation of a full time position to deal with FOI requests and records management in 1997. Reporting directly to the City Clerk, the new Records Management Coordinator dealt almost exclusively with freedom of information requests in the first year of the program. Subsequently, a decision was made to create a new position of Assistant City Solicitor to take on the FOI responsibility combined with more general legal duties. This left the Records Management Coordinator free to devote their time to the development of the records management program.20 The immediate priority was the creation of a corporate-wide file classification system and records retention schedule, but the Coordinator also was responsible for the city’s micrographics program and corporate archives. There also was an expectation, on the part of senior management, for the Coordinator to pay a key role in the selection and implementation of a system to manage electronic document-based information. By January 1, 2000, the file classification system was developed and applied corporate-wide for non-electronic records, and by January 1, 2001, the retention schedule component of what had been dubbed the “City Records Classification and Records Schedule System,” or CRCRSS, was in place across the organization. On April 15, 2001, City Council approved three key records management policies, including one dealing with records retention and disposition. This policy declared that all recordkeeping must be carried out according to CRCRSS. The one deficiency in the RM program was that it did not address the control of corporate electronic records and it relied, for the most part, on manual and semi-automated techniques for managing the city’s paper-based records. The three new policies clarified that the program’s principles extended to records in all media formats, but there was no system in place to easily apply those principles to the electronic recordkeeping environment. As a result, there was limited corporate control over where electronic records were stored, how they were indexed, the number of duplicates that were created, or how they were handled when they outlived their administrative usefulness. The negative results were significant: considerable staff time spent finding documents, with a proportional decrease in efficient customer service; unnecessary duplication of documents resulting in more difficult retrieval, loss of version control and increased digital storage costs; and, from a risk management perspective, the inability for the City to provide evidence of its actions when required for legal, legislative or financial reasons. The city’s senior management recognized that the proliferation of desktop computers and the decentralized electronic recordkeeping practice they promoted played a large role in creating these inefficiencies. By the late 1990s, a number of key senior managers were suggesting the answer lay in electronic document management technology – a solution that would make it simple for staff to share document-based information, to track multiple versions and to retrieve documents quickly and efficiently. The technological groundwork for such a solution had been laid in the early 1990s, in the city’s 1991 Five Year Information Technology Strategic Plan. This strategy called for the automation of the city’s major business functions, including its procurement and payment, payroll, permit application tracking, and tax, utility and other revenue collecting processes. It also recommended the automation of its basic records management functions. Throughout the 1990s, the report’s recommendations were addressed one by one, with the city taking a best of breed approach to the selection of major business applications. The development of a “regional town centre”, complete with a new city hall building, allowed the city to upgrade its area network to service three main campuses linked by fibre optic cable capable of transferring data at rates up to 100 MB per second. Desktop hardware and software also was standardized. By 1999, all recommendations except the one dealing with records management had been addressed, and attention turned to the city’s document management needs. 20 In April 2003, the position was reclassified and renamed Records and Information Management Analyst
  8. 8. From an information technology perspective, the desired solution focussed heavily on search and retrieval and version control functionality, since those two areas were causing the most obvious difficulty for end users. As discussions between IT and records management staff progressed, however, it became clear that the city needed more than just a document management application - the solution needed to evolve into a full fledged records management system that would manage documents and records across the organization and regardless of record medium, and that would ensure that the electronic records created within the system were complete, reliable and authentic. Taking as its inspiration the federal RDIMS initiative, the city seized an opportunity presented by the Municipal Information Systems Association of British Columbia (MISA-BC) to lead a project to produce a generic request for proposal for an integrated EDMS/RMS standing offer that could be used by any local government in BC. A systems analyst was hired by Coquitlam on temporary basis in the summer of 2000 to write the RFP with input and financial support from 13 other municipalities. In drafting the document, the systems analyst relied heavily on the US Department of Defense’s 5015.2 Records Management Standard, but also examined such standards as the European Commission’s Model Requirements Specification (MoReq)21 Without the buying power of an organization as large as the federal government behind it, however, response to the RFP was low, and the standing offer, although eventually awarded and publicized by MISA-BC, was rarely pursued by municipalities. The City of Coquitlam itself desired a broader range of proposals, and so, in early February 2001 issued a request for proposals for a system that would manage the city's electronic and paper- based documents and records, and which would include components related to document workflow, imaging and access to records over the World Wide Web. The proposals were evaluated by two groups of staff members. The Functional Evaluation Team consisted of 24 employees representing all departments, and was responsible for evaluating the functional requirements specified by the RFP and the ease of use of each solution proposed. The second group, consisting of senior managers, was responsible for evaluating each proposal from the point of view of technological requirements and growth capacity, support services quality, proponent stability, implementation strategy and timelines, and price. The Executive Committee also was responsible for negotiating the contract with the preferred proponent. Seven proposals were received in response to the RFP and, of these, three were judged to be complete and went forward for evaluation. The three short listed proponents made presentations to each of the evaluation groups between March 28 and May 12, and Concerta Consulting’s proposal of a 415-seat Hummingbird DOCS Open 3.9.0 and DOCS RM 3.9.0 solution was selected as the best solution to meet Coquitlam’s needs.22 The contract was awarded by City Council on June 4, 2001, for $354,166 worth of client and and server software, consulting time, a production scanner, and imaging software. Design From mid-June to mid-July, two consultants from Concerta worked closely with the Records Management Coordinator and Systems Analyst (who served as project leaders) on basic system design. During this phase the servers and database were configured, system defaults were set, forms were designed, and the file plan and retention schedule were imported. This phase also saw a terminology shift from the use of “electronic” in the proposal and evaluation phase to 21 United States, Department of Defense, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence Design Criteria, Standard for Electronic Records Management Software Applications (DoD 5015.2-STD) (Washington, 2001); European Commission, Requirements for the Management of Electronic Records (MoReq Specification), prepared by Cornwell Affiliates plc. (Bruxelles-Luxembourg, 2001). The International Standards Organization’s 15489 standared was only in draft form at the time. 22 Concerta Consulting Inc. is a Vancouver-based consulting company specializing in document management systems and has extensive experience implementing systems similar to the one proposed for the City of Coquitlam in numerous sites across Western Canada. Their current clients include a number of Lower Mainland municipalities, including the City of Richmond, the District of West Vancouver, the District of North Vancouver and the City of Port Moody.
  9. 9. “enterprise”, and the new solution was christened the “Coquitlam Enterprise Document Management System” – CEDMS.23 Early in the design phase, a number of key decisions were made, the most critical of which was that the integration with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Visio would be mandatory, not passive. Passive integration of the Hummingbird product allows users to click Cancel on a Profile form and be taken to the network or local drive structure through the familiar Windows dialogue box. With tight, or mandatory, integration, clicking Cancel merely takes the user back to their unsaved document. This results in both documents and records being captured in the system, and documents are registered as soon as they are saved. Secondly, it was decided that the document profile and search forms would be kept very simple. The Profile form (Figure C1) contains only six mandatory fields (identified by red field labels), and two, the Entered By and Application fields, are automatically completed by the system. The Title field is a 255 character free form field, while Author, Document Type and Code are validated fields linked to look up tables. The Correspondence Tracking fields may contain data if users wish, but they autofill when email is imported with the names of the message originator, addressee, cc’d individuals and the name of the company of the originator if that individual is in a staff member’s Outlook contacts list. Key date information is captured in the History section of the form, and a field is provided for Source Record Date, to be used to record the date of a scanned image’s original record. The Made Record field autofills with the date a document is turned into a read- only, and completely unalterable, Record. The Search form (Figure C2) was designed to look as similar to the Profile form as possible. Users may search on any and all Profile fields, as well as the document contents (which are keyword indexed), or any combination of Profile fields and contents. Figure C1 It also was decided that, by default, all documents would be viewable and editable by all system users. This approach reflected senior management’s desire to promote collaborative work and information sharing. Controlled through the Security section of the document Profile form, the onus is on users to decide if they need to restrict a document in any fashion. The one exception is for Human Resources staff members, whose security default is set to their own HR security group. To secure a document, users simply tick the box by the word Restricted on their Profile Form, and the document then can be retrieved only by the person(s) in the Entered By and Author fields. Clicking on the Access button takes the user to the Document Access screen from which they can choose to grant access to various groups (corresponding to the network Active Directory security structure) or individuals 23 Nearby City of Richmond’s Hummingbird solution, implemented in 1996, is called REDMS. Figure C3 Figure C2
  10. 10. (Figure C3). They can further customize the type of access these trustees are granted by making selections in the Access Rights section. To encourage users to use the default security setting for all but the most confidential or sensitive documents, users were made aware of the system’s audit trail functionality. Referred to as document “History” by Hummingbird, the audit log is set to track the following transactions on a document: edit, view, classify, edit profile, print, mail, new version, version deletion, and make record (Figure C4). From a system administration perspective, it was decided to allow only two users in the organization to hold system administrator rights – the CEDMS Systems Analyst and the Records Management Coordinator. Only the Records Management Coordinator has Records Manager rights in DOCS RM, which allows them full access to all RM functionality, including the creation of file plan terms, creation of storage and disposal actions, and the use of storage management and final disposition functions. Nine clerical staff across the city currently hold what were dubbed “Records Administrator Rights” which allow them to use CEDMS’ storage management functionality to prepare active records for transfer to semi-active storage, and these employees and an additional 18 clerical staff have the rights to create and maintain new case files and volumes in the file plan. Ordinary users have no RM rights except those allowing them to view the file plan and assign documents to open file volumes. A decision also was made to not allow any users other than the System Administrators to delete documents. In part this related to a concern that, with access being completely open by default, users easily could delete other user’s documents by accident. To deal with test documents, documents imported twice and so on, it was decided to allow users to queue documents for deletion, but to do so, they must display a document’s Profile form and change the file classification in the Code field to a special code for “Trash”. In addition to these key decisions, the other major challenge during the system design phase was the importing of the existing file plan and retention schedule (Figure C5). Since its inception, CRCRSS data had existed in an MS Access database and was made available to staff through printed reports and data exported in Word format. The file plan, a basic block numeric system with a functional block level and primary and secondary levels underneath, was fairly easy to translate into the hierarchical term structure used by DOCS RM, and was imported using a SQL script written by Concerta. Figure C4 Figure C5 Figure C6
  11. 11. At the secondary term level, the DOCS RM Properties / Term Change form (Figure C6) was customized to include the Access database’s fields for active, semi-active and total retention periods and final disposition data, as well as fields for Office of Primary Responsibility, arrangement notes, appraisal rational, and flags designating certain series as personal information banks or vital records. The top half of the Term Change form remained as it came out of the box, and drives all file numbering, file closure and rollover, and file movement and disposal rules. As such, the Term Change form now serves as the city’s official Records Retention and Disposition Authority for each individual records series. Deployment In mid-July 2001, the newly designed system was rolled out to a pilot group of approximately 25 staff members in the City Clerk’s Office and Information, Communication and Technology Division. These end users spent the next two months testing the system (which was set up using passive integration until the roll out was complete). The pilot group also tested the training materials and documentation developed during the design phase by the Records Management Coordinator and Systems Analyst. Some minor changes were made based on user feedback, but by far, the most troublesome aspect of the pilot came from system instability related to running on a Windows 95 platform. Desktops across the city had been upgraded in 1999 so that all contained, at a minimum, a 450 Mhz CPU and 128 Mb of RAM, and all were running MS Office 2000 on a Windows 95 platform. The CEDMS roll out was timed to coincide with ICT’s upgrade to Windows 2000, and the EDMS/RMS desktop clients were rolled out with the new Windows 2000 image.24 PCs were upgraded on a department by department basis that coincided with the CEDMS training schedule. That training, and the actual roll out to the city’s entire complement of 415 desktops, ran from mid-September to mid-December. Because senior management wanted all staff using Word and Excel to attend CEDMS training, it was determined that outside professional trainers would be too expensive. Instead, the training was carried out in-house by the Records Management Coordinator and Systems Analyst, who conducted 42 four hour training sessions for over 360 staff during the roll out period. The original intent was to provide training customized to suit the needs of each department, but this was quickly revisited once it was realized how much time would be required to develop such specialized training modules. In the end, all staff received the same training, which included a brief demonstration of how to save a document and retrieve it, followed by a more in depth, hands on, field by field examination of the Profile form and more advanced search techniques. Other topics included version control, the Make Record functionality, attaching documents to email messages, importing email to CEDMS, and a 45 minute explanation of the file plan structure and how to search it. On January 6, 2002, passive integration was switched off and use of the EDMS/RMS became mandatory for all users. By this time Concerta also had developed an integration between CEDMS and the city’s permit application tracking system, AMANDA. Users of this system were able to create and retrieve MS Word documents through the AMANDA interface, and these documents were saved in a secure directory on one of the network drives. With plans to switch CEDMS to mandatory integration at the end of the training phase, the EDMS had to be integrated with AMANDA in order for Word to function properly through that interface. The integration developed by Concerta allows AMANDA users to click on their usual “documents” button within a permit application folder and select one of their many Word templates. The integration pulls data from the AMANDA database and uses it to complete the Title field in the CEDMS Profile form for the new document. It also pulls the Author and Entered By fields data from the user’s system login and defaults the Document Type to “Letter,” the type representing the majority of templates. The structure of AMANDA permit numbers makes it possible to link various types of applications (such as zoning, building, and 24 In September 2002, all desktops were upgraded to Intel Pentium 4 1.8 GHz machines with 504 MB of RAM and 19 GB hard drives running MS Office XP on Windows XP v2002 SP1. Business applications database server runs Oracle 8.0.5.
  12. 12. development variance permits) to their appropriate records series code in the CEDMS file plan. CEDMS looks under the appropriate series for the application number and, if it locates an open file with that number, places that file number in the Code field. If it does not, it creates the file and first file volume for the new permit application and inserts that number in the Code field. As a result, AMANDA users are provided with an automatically completed Profile form, which they can either accept as presented or edit (for changes to Author, Document Type or access restrictions.. Another decision that had been made very early in the planning process was to bring all important or useful legacy documents on the network into CEDMS. To that end, throughout the training period and during early 2002, staff members were encouraged to clean up their private network space and shared departmental folders and import any documents they wished to keep into CEDMS. The Records Management Coordinator provided guidelines regarding the kinds of documents that would be valuable to import (including those relating to active case files and those used as templates) and the Systems Analyst carried out a number of bulk imports for staff with large numbers of forms and template documents. Then, during the first week of April 2002, all Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Visio documents were deleted from the network user drive, and during the first week of July 2002, all such documents were deleted from the network shared drives. Results and Lessons Learned One of the key factors driving the ambitious implementation timeline was a commitment to City Council to use the EDMS/RMS to make the regular Council meeting agenda package available on the city’s website prior to meetings by September 2001. This package, often up to 800 pages in length, contains the order of business for the meeting and all reports going forward to Council for information or action. Up until that point, only the Order of Business had ever appeared on the website and the package itself was distributed in hard copy. One of the benefits of the EDMS/RMS solution was to enable staff to scan the package, or parts thereof, assemble it electronically and post it to the site, thus broadening its distribution and reducing printing costs. A commitment also was made to senior management to complete the roll out by the end of the calendar year. Meeting these commitments demanded the implementation schedule be very condensed. While this meant the system was up and running very quickly, it demanded virtually full time dedication to the project by the Records Management Coordinator and Systems Analyst, with many of their regular duties being put on hold. Had these two staff not been full time employees, and had the basic records management components of file plan and retention schedule not been in place beforehand, the project deadlines would not have been met. The natural tendency of human beings to resist change and alter work habits provided another challenge. In the EDMS/RMS environment, saving documents and searching for them is a very different process from what people were used to in the old MS Windows and Office environments. There was a significant degree of resistance to document security being open by default and, in general, to any attempt to centrally manage electronic recordkeeping. Some staff strongly felt that the electronic documents they created were their own property and that the employer had no business attempting to manage them. Training presented its own set of challenges. Some staff were quite adept at exploring the software independently – using online help and experimenting with various functionality on their own. Other staff members were hesitant to explore the software, while still others ignored any sort of documentation (from online help to Coquitlam specific manuals and tips) and phoned for assistance the moment something did not work as expected or they found they did not know how to carry out a particular function. Added to that was a wide range of computer skills. Since training sessions were mandatory for all staff members using MS Word or MS Excel, sessions included attendees who were extremely computer literate as well as others who had difficulty with basic keyboard skills. By far the most difficult aspect of the system to get users to understand and embrace, however, was its records management functionality, and in particular, the file plan. While the file plan had
  13. 13. applied corporate-wide to paper records since January 2000, it really only affected administrative staff in charge of filing. The EDMS/RMS brought the need to understand the file plan to the individual computer desktop, in most cases to senior and middle managers and front line operational staff, all of whom had little time or inclination for filing. The structure of the file plan allowed users to choose a “Help” category that would flag a document for follow up by administrative staff, but the volume of electronic documents created compared to paper documents caused many overworked administrative staff to demand that users at least make an attempt to classify documents themselves. Those users strongly resisted doing so, in part because the file plan was seen as difficult to understand (despite a useful search functionality provided by DOCS RM), but also because it meant giving up their network or personal directory structure in favour of the hierarchical structure imposed by the corporate classification scheme. A number of users also resented the new reliance on the retention schedule as a tool for managing their electronic records. While some were relieved they no longer had to think about when to delete their documents, many were loathe to relinquish that control over retention decision making. Despite the challenges, two years after the roll out began, the implementation is considered a success. Over a dozen file formats are integrated with CEDMS, including MS Word, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint, MS Outlook, Acrobat, Visio, Notepad, Internet Explorer, Volo View Express, JPG Image, TIF Image, GIF Image, DOCS Binder, DOCS Report Viewer, and Winzip. Specifically, the system contains over 125,000 documents and records, including 68,000 Word documents, 20,100 Excel spreadsheets, 31,300 pdfs (including 3,700 Council minutes, 5,100 bylaws, 16,000 form survey certificates and 5,000 utility as constructed drawings), and 3,500 email messages. Excluding bulk imports of images from approved backlog scanning projects, an average of 10,000 new documents are created in CEDMS each quarter. The system also manages over 37,000 file volumes and almost 2000 physical boxes. An early benefit came from the system’s version control functionality. As soon as all staff had access to the system, those who were used to working collaboratively on reports and project documents found it much easier to keep track of the most recent versions of such documents. The only difficulty in this regard proved to be document security. A number of staff insisted on securing all their documents to themselves, a department specific group or to a small number of individuals, making it impossible for other staff needing to refer to or edit the document to access it. With the passage of time, however, security restrictions have become less common, with only about a third of the documents in the system having some sort of restriction placed on them. After about a year, users began to appreciate the system’s search functionality as well. At first, they were unconvinced and found searching for documents difficult. As more documents were saved to system, however, and as increasing numbers of users recognized the benefits of being consistent, accurate and descriptive when assigning document titles and of keeping access rights open as much as possible, they began realizing that they were locating information much faster than in the past. They also could be assured that a document did not exist if they could not find it in CEDMS – a benefit of both the clean up of the network shared drives and the decision to make the use of the system mandatory. Both those decisions meant staff members need only look in one place for MS Office-based documents – the document management system. One of the early victories in retrieval proved to be a request for copies of the 1971 zoning bylaw and the 1972 building bylaw (both repealed in 1996) and their amendments in the context of a third party legal action. Before the EDMS/RMS, such a request would have involved an administrative staff member working off a report generated from an Access database and going through physical bylaw files to pull certified copies, if they existed, and making copies of each bylaw where copies didn’t exist. This would have taken days, given that there were over 900 amendments to the zoning bylaw and just under 40 amendments to the building bylaw. Some federal grant funding had enabled the city to scan all its Council minutes and bylaws and import the images to CEDMS, and pulling the information together for this request was as simple as specifying some basic search criteria for document type and title and then simply printing out the pdf images over a couple of hours.
  14. 14. Figure C7 Users also are slowly beginning to value the system’s Make Record functionality. While few appreciate all the elements that make a document a complete and reliable record, they view the Made Record flag as a useful indication that a document is no longer a draft. This functionality also is slowly allowing electronic records to replace paper as the “file copy” of ordinary letters, memos and email. The next step in the system’s development will be to deal with the assembly and profiling of compound electronic records and those with stamps, annotations and seals. At present, the official copy of these more complex records still is considered to be the paper version. From an information technology perspective, another benefit proved to be the freeing up of a significant amount of the city’s disk space. This was accomplished in part through the deletion of legacy documents on the network shares, but also because of the system’s integration with MS Outlook. The latter allowed users to email references or pointers to the original document in the database, rather than copies of the document to fellow CEDMS users. This dramatically decreased document duplication caused by emailing attached copies of documents, which in turn were saved in various network or local disk locations. From a records management perspective, a surprising early benefit of implementing the system proved to be an improvement of the file plan structure itself. Since all electronic documents suddenly were affected by the file classification structure, a number of people contacted the Records Management Coordinator to say that they couldn’t find an appropriate spot for their documents. In a number of cases, these documents were found to exist only in electronic form and thus never had been encountered in past physical inventorying exercises, yet they sometimes represented entirely new functions. In these cases, new categories were added to the file plan to accommodate them. Additionally, users who had never shown an interest in discussing their records with the Records Management Coordinator asked to discuss the parts of the file plan relevant to them, resulting in changes to the structure in areas that had perhaps not had much previous input from records creators (not for lack of trying on the part of the Records Management Coordinator). That ability to play a role in developing and maintaining the structure, and the increased familiarity with it, has led to a respectable 3% misfile rate. The system also drastically reduced the time spent on transfers of physical records to semi-active storage and is proving to assist in streamlining the process of destroying records (or transferring to archives) as well. Before the EDMS/RMS, administrative staff in each department or division completed transfer forms by hand and attached hard copy (sometimes hand written) box contents lists to the form. The Records Management Coordinator then entered the box level description from the transfer form into an Access database, assigned shelf locations to the boxes and then sent hard copy location reports (run from the Access database) to the owners of the records. Depending on the number of boxes to be transferred, the process often took days. Using CEDMS’s storage management functionality, transfers are as simple as scanning file label barcodes as the files are placed in boxes. This selects the virtual representations of the file volumes in CEDMS and these volumes then are moved into virtual boxes using basic drag and drop functionality. The virtual box has a location and shelf position number assigned to it and the file volumes inherit that location information automatically. Locating a file in storage is a simple matter of finding the file volume in the CEDMS file plan and viewing its properties (Figure C7) – that screen shows the unique number of the box containing that file and the box’s shelf location number.
  15. 15. The system also drastically decreased the time spent on file label preparation. At the beginning of the calendar year, the Records Management Coordinator runs a process to rollover all year- based file volumes to the new year, and then runs a Microsoft Query-based mail merge to create a document containing all labels for the new year. The labels (complete with bar codes) are printed in the city’s on-site printshop and distributed to the relevant departments who then need only attach them to new file folders. In January 2003, over 7000 labels were created in this manner. None of these benefits would have been realized if senior management staff had not recognized the value of adding an RMS component to their vision of the EDMS and tightly integrating the two technologies. The project itself would have failed had there not been open and respectful communication between the Clerk’s Office and ICT, communication that evolved into an extremely positive working relationship between the two units throughout the planning, design and implementation phases of the project. The project also would have failed without senior management’s desire and commitment to implement such a comprehensive system across the organization. Their endorsement of the basic system design decisions (especially the one related to mandatory use) meant that staff had no choice but to learn how to use the system. That approach was softened by system champions at the end user level, but without it, even today the system would be used by only a core group of staff and mostly for collaborative records going through the Council approval process or related to Council decision making in some way. With use being mandatory for basic Office applications, while a considerable shock and cause of distress at the beginning, with time and practice, as well as some refresher training in early 2003, the system has become accepted by most users, and many have come to recognize, appreciate and even champion its usefulness. The next major project will be to upgrade to DM/RM 5.1, but after that, the city probably will be developing the imaging and workflow component of the system. There are a number of imaging backlog projects either underway or being evaluated, and it is anticipated these will continue over the next few years, along with analysis of functions where imaging and workflow could be brought into active file management procedures. Within five years, the disposal processing functionality of CEDMS will be in full use as electronic records become due for destruction or, more importantly, transfer to archives. By then, the system will have to include policies and procedures for dealing with access to and preservation of the city’s permanently valuable electronic records. Among the decisions to be made will be those concerning file format, preservation media, data refreshing and migration schedules, and rules around how we ensure the authenticity of those records as they are moved from one technology to another over time.