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Survey: Nearly Half of Federal Agencies Not Confident They Can Meet Looming Deadlines for Improving Records Management Practices

Days away from a key deadline to digitize and streamline their records management practices, almost half (46 percent) of Federal agency records and information management professionals do not believe, or are unsure if, the requirements are realistic and obtainable. That’s the core finding of a new report titled “Federal Records and Information Management: Ready to Rumble?” from MeriTalk, a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT.

The study, underwritten by storage and information management company Iron Mountain® Incorporated (NYSE: IRM), showed that three out of four Federal agency records and information management professionals believe the Presidential Directive on Managing Government Records will achieve its mission of enabling modern, high quality records and information management. However, Federal records and information management professionals indicate that better-trained records management personnel (53 percent) and dedicated funding (51 percent) would most help them to meet the Presidential Directive deadlines.

Issued in August 2012, the Presidential Directive aims to transform Federal records management by requiring agencies to transition to electronic recordkeeping for all permanent records by 2019 and comply with various statutes and regulations. While 55 percent of the survey respondents believe the Directive will improve compliance with Federal records management statutes and regulations, this optimism is tempered by agency skepticism that they will be able to comply with the approaching Dec. 31 deadline, requiring agencies to identify all permanent records in existence for more than 30 years, as well as report on progress toward managing those records in electronic format:

  • Just over half (54 percent) of records and information managers say they will be able to identify all permanent records by Dec. 31
  • Seventy percent of respondents say they have very little progress to report in regards to electronically managing permanent records and email, while just 18 percent say they have made significant progress and are ready to report today
  • Ninety-two percent of respondents believe their agency must take further steps to meet the Directive requirements

Survey respondents believe that successful compliance with the Directive will deliver additional benefits, including improving accessibility in records search (50 percent); increasing the overall efficiency of agency operations (45 percent); making search, eDiscovery, and Freedom of Information Act response practices easier (38 percent); increasing government transparency (33 percent); and decreasing the cost of records and information management (33 percent).

“The Presidential Directive – in combination with Sequestration, the ‘Freeze the Footprint’ mandate, FOIA, Open Government, and other information-centric actions like the Open Data Policy – have Federal agencies at an information management tipping point,” said Megan Kriebel, general manager, Government Services, Iron Mountain. “Agencies are trying to balance ever-expanding record volumes with flat or shrinking budgets, all while racing to meet mandates that require a fundamental shift in how they store, access, and manage records and information. Agencies can more easily meet the Directive deadlines and find cost savings by carefully reviewing records management practices, engaging agency leaders, and working with industry partners.”

“Federal Records and Information Management: Ready to Rumble?” is based on an online survey of 100 Federal government records and information management professionals in October 2013, asking respondents to assess their agency’s likelihood of meeting the Presidential Directive deadlines. The call for more training and budget closely mirrors findings from two previous surveys, a March 2013 MeriTalk/Iron Mountain report, “Federal Records Management: Navigating the Storm”, and a survey Iron Mountain conducted in advance of the adoption of the Presidential Directive in July 2012.

This report has a margin of error of +/- 9.55% at a 95% confidence level. To download the full study, please visit www.meritalk.com/readytorumble. For more on Iron Mountain’s recommendations for meeting the Presidential Directive, visit ironmountain.com/governmenttoolkit.

About MeriTalk

The voice of tomorrow’s government today, MeriTalk is a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT. Focusing on government’s hot-button issues, MeriTalk hosts Big Data Exchange, Cloud Computing Exchange, Cyber Security Exchange, and Data Center Exchange – platforms dedicated to supporting public-private dialogue and collaboration. MeriTalk connects with an audience of 85,000 government community contacts. For more information, visit www.meritalk.com or follow us on Twitter, @meritalk. MeriTalk is a 300Brand organization.

About Iron Mountain Incorporated

Iron Mountain Incorporated (NYSE: IRM) is a leading provider of storage and information management services. The company’s real estate network of over 64 million square feet across more than 1,000 facilities in 36 countries allows it to serve customers with speed and accuracy. And its solutions for records management, data management, document management, and secure shredding help organizations to lower storage costs, comply with regulations, recover from disaster, and better use their information for business advantage. Founded in 1951, Iron Mountain stores and protects billions of information assets, including business documents, backup tapes, electronic files and medical data. Visit www.ironmountain.com for more information.

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