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OMB issues records management guidance

When agencies build or purchase new information technology systems, they should make records management and archiving capabilities be part of the system, decreed the Office of Management and Budget earlier this month in a memo signed by Karen Evans, OMB's administrator for e-government and information technology.

The memo also suggested purchasing such software through the General Services Administration's SmartBUY program.

There's one small problem, according to Tony Byrne, who runs CMS Watch, an analyst firm for enterprise content management software. Namely, there is only one records management product on the SmartBUY list, from a company called Meridio, now owned by Autonomy. And Byrne writes that while it does records management, it is not a full archiving solution (a charge the company disputes, see below). Byrne writes:


You don't need to be a genius to figure out what's going to happen next. Harried federal managers trying to complete their IT business cases are going to budget for a slew of Meridio licenses -- "that's what Karen Evans told us to do" -- licenses that in turn will almost surely sit unused.


Byrne chalked this error up to oversight, however, and agreed with OMB that agencies are increasingly forced to face record management issues. And others felt that increased use of SmartBUY, for any sort of software, is a good idea overall.

"If a number of different agencies are paying for the same software separately, it is only logical that they should band together to get the best possible deal for the taxpayers, as well as to share experiences and expertise and provide feedback to the vendor," e-mailed Owen Ambur, who is the former senior architect at the Interior Department's Enterprise Architecture Repository, as well as ex co-chair of the Federal CIO Council's XML Community of Practice.

"Indeed, if I were Karen, I'd give serious thought to requiring agencies to provide a pretty good sole purchaser justification for acquiring any software product without engaging other agencies in cooperative purchase and maintenance agreements," he added.

*Update (4/15/08): We got an e-mail from the folks at Meridio who say the company's software does indeed include archiving capability: "The SmartBuy price list does have Zantaz Enterprise Archive Solution listed and available upon customer request. Zantaz EAS provides on-site software for mailbox management, archival of content including text, voice and video, and automatic categorization and analysis of archived content."





Posted by Joab Jackson on Apr 11, 2008 at 9:39 AM


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