Forest Service growing its enterprise content ecosystem

The Forest Service is on the lookout for new content management technology best suited to its dual role as a quasi-scientific agency with long-term data preservation needs and as project-driven agency actively managing millions of acres of public woodlands.

The Forest Service fields more than 40,000 employees with sizable seasonal workforce surges. Its central storage repository contains more than 250 million documents, 150 terabytes of data and 70 thousand permission groups.

“As a land management agency, the need for managing unstructured content is quite a bit different than many other agencies and private enterprises,” the Forest Service wrote in its request for information.

The agency’s records are associated with specific land management projects and need to be retained indefinitely. At the same time, users have accumulated a significant amount of unstructured content on departmental PC’s and laptops. 

Forest Service users also lack guidance for storing records on a local device, a significant problem since, “at least two-thirds of the existing unstructured content is still outside the current ECM repositories,” the agency said.

Bottom line? It would be expected that the new ECM systems will triple in size in the short run, and to continue to grow in the long run.  Here are some CMS features on the Forest Service’s wish list:

  • The ability to provide file synchronization and sharing, integration with major off the shelf systems and integration with existing applications.
  • Easy access to  the most up-to-date data wherever, whenever and however it is accessed.
  • Content organized for the many different perspectives, needs and contexts.
  • Efficient on-demand access to information even in remote areas of the National Forests
  • Federated record management across all repositories, including the opportunity for auto classification and analytics. 
  • Tools that allow “people to find information and discover, connect and collaborate with others; and that enables information to discover, connect or link to other information.

If it were putting out an RFP today, the Forest Service said would require full integration with electronics records systems and forensic electronic discovery tools.

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