8 benefits of electronic records management in government

Following in the footsteps of the private sector, an increasing number of public sector organizations are starting to process paperwork without the paper.

Governments agencies are among them, with many now realizing the downsides of conducting business via paper-based forms and processes. Paper takes up a lot of physical space, is difficult to search through, and incurs costs associated with printing, photocopying, and mailing. Electronic records management (ERM) can address these issues and provide additional benefits.

“The customer base for electronic records management in government is really large, and the record-keeping regulations are very stringent,” says Bryon Kroger, founder and CEO of Rise8, a full-stack digital transformation firm for the public sector. “There are various policies, acts, and laws related to the keeping of records. However, records management becomes very unruly very quickly when you’re operating at scale.”

Electronic records management involves overseeing records in digital form. Instead of manually managing hundreds of thousands of paper documents, governments that adopt an ERM solution can use it to digitize documents as well as organize and store them, making them easier to manage.

If you’re part of a government agency that’s still using paper-based processes, consider how the many benefits of electronic records management could transform your agency’s operations for the better.

8 benefits of electronic records management

“Electronic records management drives data efficiency,” says Kroger. However, in order to work effectively, there are two key elements to consider. “The first,” he says, “is the actual keeping of records.” This refers to policies regarding record keeping, such as how long to keep certain records, as well as systems for record keeping.

“The second is actually being able to understand and make sense of the data within the records,” says Kroger. “This can be very challenging when the data is stored on paper or even in programs like Microsoft Excel.”

Governments require record-keeping solutions that make it easy to find and analyze data. With the right ERM solution, governments can more effectively make use of their records.

Here some benefits an ERM tool can deliver:

1. Increased searchability

Paper documents are notoriously difficult to search through and search for. If they’re not organized properly, it can be almost impossible to find a particular document quickly and easily. And if an employee or citizen is looking for a specific piece of information within a document, that may be even more difficult to find.

With electronic records management, searching for documents or data takes a matter of seconds using the search feature found in ERM software.

2. Greater transparency

With an electronic records management system, government agencies can promote transparency, giving citizens a window into certain government operations. Many people want more information on how the government is using their tax dollars, for example.

With an ERM solution, government agencies can make certain financial documents accessible online. Government employees can also more easily fulfill records requests by emailing digital documents to requesters.

3. Automated workflows

An electronic records management solution allows government agencies to automate processes that involve records. For example, if a citizen wants access to a certain record from many years ago, they can easily access the record on their own using a citizen-facing interface of the ERM solution. This saves government employees time from tedious tasks such as approving records requests and searching through dusty filing cabinets so they can focus on higher priority workflows.

4. Reclaimed office space

One of the biggest benefits of electronic records management is the reclamation of office space. Consider the sheer number of filing cabinets it takes to store tens of thousands of paper documents. When those documents are all digitized, that office space becomes available for desks, meeting rooms, collaborative space, waiting areas, and more.

5. Minimized security risks

Many government records are confidential and are governed by tighter security protocols. Locked filing cabinets, unfortunately, aren’t difficult to access.

However, with electronic records management, governments can add in layers of online security protocols to reduce the likelihood of security breaches and data theft. Many electronic records management solutions offer features such as permission-based access to documents or audit trails so records remain in the right hands.

6. Reliable backups

Once a paper record is damaged or lost, the information it contained is gone forever. This isn’t the case with digital records. Electronic records management involves having backup digital copies of important records, so even if a digital file is accidentally corrupted or erased, it’s still possible to recover the information.

7. Increased compliance

Governments must follow strict regulatory and legal stipulations for certain documents. An electronic records management solution ensures proper administration of all records; it also creates audit trails and tracks record flows. This helps governments not only follow compliance rules but also maintain documented proof of compliance.

8. Heightened productivity

All the benefits above combine to create the most important benefit, which is the overall increased productivity among government employees. Whether it’s because they spend less time searching for documents or because certain processes are automated, they can complete menial tasks more quickly and easily. This enables them to handle a larger workload and focus on more high-value tasks, ultimately providing better outcomes for citizens.

Jotform Enterprise: Electronic records management for the public sector

Electronic records management supports government departments and agencies as they begin their digital transformation journey, offering benefits for public sector leaders, government employees, and citizens.

Jotform Enterprise can function as an electronic records management solution to help governments collect, manage, organize, and store information — everything from forms and reports to data tables. A highly secure solution with many integrations to other popular apps, Jotform is easy to use for employees and citizens alike. For government agencies and departments that value productivity, transparency, and security, Jotform Enterprise is an excellent choice.

Photo by Startup Stock Photos

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