Every day, a public sector workforce across federal, state and local governments in Australia trying to find key information or facts wrestles a multiplicity of systems and sources.

It could be correlating the delivery of services to expenditure or measuring the effectiveness of programmes that span across agencies and jurisdictions.

Decades after the concept of a ‘paperless office' was floated as a means to eliminate the filing (and misfiling) of printed copies and manila folders being passed and posted between key staff and stakeholders, the efficiency drag and productivity losses associated with printed documentation still lingers on.

Agencies need to be both confident and cognisant that their information and content management strategies can span across multiple channels.

Removing paper processes used to be primarily framed as an environmental benefit, but the real power of digitisation comes from creating a ‘single source' of the truth.

The secret to creating a productive, collaborative and functional paperless information environment is consolidation — knowing what you have, where it is and managing who has access to it.

Empowering staff to work collaboratively
For successful government agencies, this means empowering staff and managers to dynamically attribute access privileges, classifications and business rules and metadata to electronic documents and content as they are created, irrespective of the platform or document type being used — a report, a ministerial, a spread sheet or video, audio or web content.

And let's face it — there will always be paper somewhere.

Information governance specialists like Objective Corporation are also playing their role too, not only by working with government to create robust and easy to use systems, but also by imparting knowledge in a paper that addresses the key elements of information management for a successful digital government.

The good news is that for government organisations transitioning to digital-first footing, is often the most opportune time to put in place business process and workflow efficiencies that deliver big productivity gains and return on investment — like instant access to information, when, where and how it is needed without the cost and drudgery of file and application conflicts.

Importantly, as the urgency of Australia's digital government mandate escalates, agencies need to be both confident and cognisant that their information and content management strategies can span across multiple channels.

That could be correlating and archiving important speeches and consultations captured as video, audio, social media, transcripts and associated web assets as well as the drafts that were fed into the final product.

Equally, cohesively digitising paper assets so that important documentation is accessible, secure and properly retained remains an essential element of any digital transformation.

Key Steps to Consider

  1. Digitise paper documents;
  2. Classify all content as soon as it enters the organisation;
  3. Establish secure and controlled access to information;
  4. Identify emerging content channels and how to manage them.

To find out more about the steps to make Australia's digital government mandate work for your agency or organisation, download this insightful guide.

This blog post originally appeared in The Mandarin on 16 February 2017. See the original blog post here.