DOJ Tackles Business Processes to Support Records Management

The agency is exploring new tools that support both content and program management.

The Department of Justice records office manager is emphasizing the unit’s approach to business processes in its technical effort to complete its transition to electronic recordkeeping with all federal agencies in 2022.

“In terms of business foundations, I think we fail or make mistakes when we’re just looking to acquire tools and put them in place. Business foundations support our business readiness to use those tools,” said Jeanette Plante, director of the agency’s Office of Records Management Policy, Electronic Discovery, and FOIA, at an FCW event last week.

The agency seeks to create and retain a specialized workforce with the skills necessary to support both the mission and the foundations of the company, Plante noting that the business unit is just as important as the technology.

“The kinds of technical tools that we need, and where we need a good, integrated working relationship with the IT side of the house, are the automated tools that help us run a program,” Plante said. . “We need data maps, we need tracking tools, we need relational databases.”

As such, the agency seeks to integrate technical tools not only for content support, but also for program management.

DOJ is doing this in part by modernizing its Court Cases Control Calendar, a database that contains all of the agency’s case calendars and provides access to streamlined inventory creation mechanisms. The platform also allows components to create file plans and taxonomies.

“We need deduplication applications and electronic research aids,” Plante said. “We have to move to electronic information, but these are commercial actions. The tools serve the business function and are not actually document management applications.

The DOJ is also looking to implement more tools for searching, storing, and accessing eDiscovery.

“I have IT staff who basically deal with the details, but who actually work for the IOC. We have, through a memorandum of understanding, defined and organized how we jointly manage the element of discovery, because there are so many factors that require sophisticated computational knowledge and so many factors that require sophisticated business knowledge,” Plante said.

The agency is setting up an ecosystem for document and information management to better manage repositories, processes and stakeholders. It currently has a model of the different layers of connections between people, repositories and communications, and plans to use it to identify where it needs additional policies and standard operating procedures.

“We plan to use this ecosystem model as a business tool to help us better define who we should be working with, what input we need to provide to these partners to try to manage records and information management,” said Plante, adding that there will be ongoing collaboration between IT teams and business units for future new systems or tools.

Plante also proposed a unified agency information management strategy to identify common goals. Such a plan would provide a better understanding of the limits and value of all records and information management efforts.