Government agencies are under pressure to securely maintain historical records and documents while keeping their processes aligned with regulatory standards. If your government organization relies on paper documentation, meeting deadlines may prove challenging, and having to manually handle paperwork can slow productivity and results. This has long been the assumed status quo of government agency workflows, but that status quo is changing.
Implementing cloud-based records management software is a valuable and useful solution for most government agencies. The right platform can overcome common hindrances with traditional document management, making it easier to update or delete outdated or inaccurate content. Document workflows within a government agency can impact security risks, employee engagement and productivity, and compliance policies. Proper government document management can control these issues, eliminate costly procedures, and reduce confidentiality breaches.
What is government document management?
Government agencies are responsible for a wide range of documents that span hundreds of years of history. Government documents, especially on a federal level, are often spread across many locations, systems, and networks — and sometimes in other regions or even countries. Communications and requests regarding these government documents must be handled promptly, transparently, and most of all, securely.
There are often a lot of regulations and requirements when it comes to how government documents are managed and accessed. The location and security of different types of documents vary depending on their content, so they are often classified and categorized accordingly. This system is known as government document management, which refers to a government agency's ability to monitor, control, and store documents. This regulation process is vital to protect against hackers and data leaks.
Government agencies manage many different documents at the city, state, and federal levels. Examples include:
Maps and geographic information
Business licenses and loans
Resource and statistical reports
Photographs and web records
Publications and regulations
Electronic messages and recordings
Financial records and reports
Governments often track these federal records with the help of a document management system to streamline the information retrieval process. Managing documents properly prevents the loss of critical or sensitive information and makes content easier to find. Paper records can be scanned in to create electronic files to allow for more convenient access. Today, document management usually involves electronic recordkeeping and software to store documents such as PDFs.
When classified documents are stored as paper copies or digital copies on a physical device, keeping them secure and confidential is challenging. There’s a greater risk of critical information getting damaged, lost, or stolen. Manually processing paper documents takes up more time, because it entails scanning, filing, and delivering. But a physical document storage system can lead to a lack of accuracy and productivity. A cloud-based document management system enables a digital approach that simplifies the process and enhances data security, which is why ..most government organizations switch to electronic document management systems. With an electronic document management system (an EDMS), agencies can simplify how they scan, organize, archive, and delete documents. An EDMS also allows agencies to maintain confidence in their permanent record security and management. Without an EDMS, even electronic files can be at risk for loss or infiltration.
These systems are beneficial to maintaining confidentiality for a few reasons:
All processes are electronically tracked to limit document editing and distribution to those with permission
Document management systems that improve efficiency and eliminate security risks can reduce operating costs
With an EDMS, government employees spend less time filing physical paperwork and more time upholding citizen satisfaction
These systems provide the perfect advantage for making a government organization's operation process smoother and preventing confusion and disorder.
Document management in government
Document management for government use is especially critical because it protects the integrity of classified information. Both paper records and digital documents fall under the categorization of federal records, according to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The immense volume of documentation and information that government organizations are responsible for requires solutions that improve processes and keep these records secure. However, information management is often challenging with so many networks and guidelines to satisfy.
A document management system is essential for storing federal records that are NARA-compliant and easily accessible. Some of the most common features in an EDMS include:
Access to information about each document, including the title, description, and date of storage or modification
Collaboration features for editing and monitoring changes
Tracking and retrieving tools for previous versions of documents
Security features that protect documents and manage permissions for people who can access them
Compliance regulation support for all documentation and records
Administrative tools that control the workflow of documents to different agencies or employees
With these convenient features, government agencies can focus their time on more meaningful tasks. Many of the efficiencies of automation also allow less opportunity for vulnerabilities and public frustrations. This system helps government agencies share and update records by minimizing response time and identifying fraud. Communicating with multiple agencies or external partners can become stressful if documents and records aren't appropriately tracked. This issue often leads to time delays and increased operating costs.
A cloud-based EDMS also enables users to access necessary material instantly, no matter their location. Government employees, public servants, and citizens can access public records online, often without visiting the department in person. With an EDMS, voting, court, and property records are readily available, increasing engagement with the public. The automated advantage also significantly benefits the public sector by reducing paper usage and storage.
Government agencies and departments often face budget constraints, so meeting deadlines and providing mobile access is essential for cost reduction. Eliminating manual data entry also helps consolidate documentation down to relevant, essential information and reduces inaccurate data.
Additional benefits to records management software for government agencies can enhance supervision and organization. Advantages include:
Scanned documents get converted into searchable digital formats
Agency employees can search and retrieve files on demand
Government personnel can share or transfer documents securely and instantly
Forms processing is much more efficient with the replacement of paper documents
Electronic data and records don't get lost, damaged, or misplaced
Document trails allow consistent tracking of record changes, viewings, and distributions
Record compliance aligns with inspection regulations
Modernizing government document management is essential for seamless document intake, preserving security, and maintaining compliance. The fast processing that comes with an EDMS allows for citizen satisfaction and improved operational productivity. Refined processing optimizes daily procedures and workflows and makes it easier for employees to comply with documentation protocols.
Manage files in accordance with government records policies
Tracking, controlling, and monitoring government documentation is essential to align with regulations and policies. These policies are often referred to as recordkeeping requirements, which define and outline government personnel responsibilities for handling, creating, or maintaining federal records. Government policies and requirements also specify particular records and documents that agency systems must include.
Effective record management also assists government personnel in:
Preservation of history
Planning and operations
These elements are crucial for archiving essential functions and protecting federal records. Precise document-management policies can also help prevent unlawful, accidental, or unauthorized removal and destruction of official records, which is a necessary step for compliance. When controlling the processes of managing files, all aspects must be accounted for. Government document management also emphasizes identifying possible issues or alterations that may require improvement.
Document management includes the entire records lifecycle, which consists of three different stages:
Creation of document or record
Document or record maintenance and use
Regulating, disposing, or destroying temporary records while transferring permanent ones to NARA
Articulating records policies is essential for ensuring accurate document management and recordkeeping. For example, documents vary in their retention schedules based on whether they get transferred or destroyed at the end of their lifecycle. Changes or updates in formats, indexes, status reports, glossaries, and correspondence must also comply with government policies to maintain internal control.
This practice also ensures compliance within any government agency or department. Government organizations must adhere to rules that manage data protection and other regulations relevant to their operations and processes. Some of these operations might include establishing adequate security procedures for sensitive, classified, or confidential information. These security measures prevent exposing or sharing records and reports to the public or with employees and organizations who should not have access.
Government records management can upgrade document management systems to align with records policies by:
Developing reliable security system features that keep information safe
Retaining and disposing of files or information according to policy requirements
Reducing or eliminating document duplication with secure, constant access for authorized users
Implementing and enforcing records and documentation policies for all employees
Streamlining document retention and destruction procedures
Agency personnel may use government-owned or personal devices and accounts to manage relevant files. However, file management can be challenging to sustain without an EDMS that properly allocates records or business information. Automated systems improve efficiency and productivity, especially for agencies managing and transferring millions of documents. An EDMS can organize these files with ease while complying with record retention and policy requirements.
Without this powerful tool, public or private documents can be easily mishandled, leading to fines, penalties, or even fraud. Appropriate document and record management is vital for compliance with NARA regulations for preserving and archiving.
Why government chooses to go paperless
Going paperless has many advantages for any organization. For larger agencies responsible for thousands of records, going paperless is critical. Spending hours trying to find a document or file is frustrating and difficult. Paper-based documentation is time-consuming, as it takes much longer to file, scan, and organize physical documents than electronic ones. With an EDMS, files and records can be managed with a few clicks, allowing employees to focus more time where it counts.
Paper documents are also inconvenient, as they must be mailed or hand-delivered to the appropriate personnel, leading to time delays that can affect decision-making. Electronic systems allow instant access to necessary documents and files, reducing frustration and speeding up tasks. Switching to a paperless office is the most efficient way to meet growing demands, because advanced technology is equipped to manage documents effectively and keep procedures consistent.
This type of software can also accommodate smaller budgets by reducing administrative labor costs, coordinating organization, and simplifying search and retrieval. Common reasons why government agencies choose to go paperless include:
Convenience: Documents and contracts can be signed electronically, eliminating the need for additional meetings and travel
Cost efficiency: Increase savings on paper, ink, mailing, and other supplies
Security: Confidential data and information stays secure with software encryption and authorization features
Space efficiency: Paper records and bulky documents require large amounts of storage space, but an EDMS can hold thousands of files in one system
Time efficiency: Manual processing is often tedious, so instantly sharing, editing, retrieving, or deleting files saves employees time
Accuracy: Changes and updates across documents, policies, and regulations are constantly monitored, so there’s less room for error
Compliance: Document management applies policies to electronic documents, improving compliance with requirements and retention schedules
Automated systems also help agencies stay on track with regulations and policies that are constantly evolving. With paper documentation, any communication or action that requires approval often involves tedious procedures, leading to inaccuracies. Tracking down signatures or monitoring the progress of a physical document entails tons of paperwork, introducing delays and mistakes. Modernizing documentation can improve regulatory processes that increase transparency with the public.
In addition to transparency, going paperless can also enhance accountability with secure and compliant collaboration software. Accountability is imperative in organizations that want to improve efficiency. Automated systems that provide consistent reports, monitoring, tracking, and adherence to standards can help with accountability. Modernizing government agencies with robust security and version control is another reason to go paperless. Unclear policies or procedures with paper documentation can lead to confusion or misinterpretation, allowing more room for unethical behavior and a lack of accountability.
With digital documentation, workflow inconsistencies are easily recognized as each file is tracked and controlled. Document management system software can also help identify or detect outdated or incorrect information, ensuring that visibility and approval processes are more efficient.
Government document management solutions
Government document management is helpful in many different areas of recordkeeping and regulation compliance. Agencies of different sizes have various requirements and policies. A document management system can help meet these needs and provide effective solutions in all departments. Software solutions allow organizations to simplify and automate their procedures in many ways, including:
Incorporating electronic files with existing software
Reducing the risk of duplication
Restricting access to sensitive documents
Managing workforce files
Creating records from form requests
Monitoring expiration dates
Streamlining new-hire and onboarding paperwork
Reviewing and comparing contracts or policies
Automating document workflow
Document management solutions streamline the process of managing records and notify users about changes, renewals, and approvals. Software solutions can also implement payment features for employee payroll or copies of specific records and documentation. Customer service and citizen satisfaction will improve with reduced wait times for copies of personal or property records. With paper documentation, these processes are often tiresome and inconvenient.
With an EDMS, customers can easily access request forms and documentation online, where they can fill out their information and manage their needs. This convenient approach also applies to sharing files and documents across departments within an agency or organization. With paper documentation, it may be difficult to recall information about signatures, policies, records, or other data. A digital system can reduce that confusion and accommodate every department's needs.
Access to important documents is also necessary in an emergency, natural disaster, or other related situation. These scenarios are another aspect to consider when implementing a document management system. Without a software solution, these occurrences would make accessing indispensable records and other correspondence very challenging.
Meeting the requirements of government initiatives with management solutions is beneficial for service offerings to the public and convenient for employees and personnel. Improving the workflow process can also help raise performance and quality standards. All government agencies want to maintain transparency with the public while keeping their own processes manageable and productive. With a document management solution, there are plenty of opportunities to enhance employee engagement and user experience simultaneously.
Another advantage is that these solutions deliver services faster and reduce staff requirements to fulfill tasks, emphasizing work that provides more value. These systems can also help prevent revenue loss by reducing the likelihood of fraud or other issues with audit trails that validate all forms, processes, and information.
Document management software is the best solution for reducing costs, improving productivity and accountability, and making strategic decisions. Record management software is valuable for long-term efficiency and success that empowers employees with secure collaboration tools. With the consistent growth and advancement of modern technology, the demand for instant information and mobile access is rapidly increasing. The most effective way for government agencies and organizations to meet these needs is to use software solutions built for accomplishing goals.
Box solutions for government agencies
All organizations benefit from systems that enhance their performance and innovation. Government agencies can rely on a content management platform to manage their classified documents and help uphold their retention schedules. This type of cloud-based platform also improves security and productivity, reduces operating costs, and supports compliance. With Box, government organizations will be more confident in their document management with an easy-to-use, automated platform. The Content Cloud provides simple integration and a cost-effective solution to speeding up approvals and engaging employees.
Some of the Content Cloud's essential features include:
Consistent, easy user experience
Emphasis on collaboration and security
Purpose-built productivity tools
Ability to manage, create, share, process, and sign documents
If your agency is switching to a paperless system, the Content Cloud gives you the right tools to meet your standards. The Content Cloud fulfills all your content requirements and needs, reducing confusion and disorganization.
The instant access to document retrieval, new-hire paperwork, finances, and other administrative services is convenient with our secure and compliant collaboration platform. Making decisions, transferring documents, and securely managing sensitive files becomes a much more effective process, increasing communication and transparency in your agency.
See what Box has to offer
At Box, we focus on providing you with the right services to protect your files, encourage cooperation, and empower your people. We designed the Content Cloud to accelerate your workflows, improve collaboration across departments, reduce risk, and simplify case management.
We are proud to offer resources, training, and support to our customers and help improve the online experience for citizen and employee engagement. With our solution, your agency can speed up document intake and enable your team to work, share, and access documents from any location. Contact us today, or download this e-book to learn how we can help you accomplish your goals.
Contact us today to learn how we can help you accomplish your goals
**While we maintain our steadfast commitment to offering products and services with best-in-class privacy, security, and compliance, the information provided in this blogpost is not intended to constitute legal advice. We strongly encourage prospective and current customers to perform their own due diligence when assessing compliance with applicable laws.