Federal Government on Digital Data Diet

Loraine Lawson
Slide Show

Three Big Problems Big Data Will Create in 2014

When it comes to data, the U.S. federal government is a bit of a glutton. Federal agencies manage on average 209 million records, or approximately 8.4 billion records for the entire federal government, according to Steve O’Keeffe, founder of the government IT network site, MeriTalk.

“All of that paper cholesterol is bad for agencies’ health – creating legal liabilities, putting information at risk, and generally making Federal mission owners unable to operate effectively,” O’Keeffe writes. “And so, the ever-fit President Obama has put Feds on a records weight-loss program. The Presidential Directive on Managing Government Records requires agencies to transition to electronic record keeping for all permanent records by 2019 – the office equivalent of six-pack abs.”

O’Keeffe does a bit of calorie counting on the problem, relying on a December MeriTalk survey of 100 federal records and information management professionals. Among the findings:


  • Only 18 percent said their agency has made significant progress toward managing records and email in electronic format and are ready to report.
  • One in five federal records management professionals say they are “completely prepared” to handle the growing volume of government records.
  • 92 percent say their agency “has a lot of work to do to meet the direction.”
  • 46 percent say they do not believe or are unsure about whether the deadlines are realistic and obtainable.
  • Three out of four say the Presidential Directive on Managing Government Records will enable “modern, high-quality records and information management.”

It’s worth noting that those three out of five cite different gains from the effort. For instance:

  • 50 percent agree that a leaner approach to records management will improve accessibility.
  • 45 percent agree it will increase overall efficiency in their agency.
  • 38 percent foresee benefits in improved search, eDiscovery and FOIA.

The Data Integration Crystal Ball

What’s the future look like for data integration? We’ll see a shift away from data management projects to a more comprehensive, enterprise information management strategy, according to IDC.

“This march means greater interactivity and coordination among software products in the various segments of this market: bulk data movement, dynamic data movement, general data quality tools, domain-based data matching and cleansing, master data definition and control, data access infrastructure, and composite data frameworks,” Carl Olofson, research vice president for the Database Management and Data Integration Software service at IDC, said in a prepared statement.

The report focuses on data integration and access software by segment with forecasts for 2013-2017. It also covers 2012 vendor shares for the market. The full report costs $4,500, but you can see an outline of the contents in the press release.



Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jan 14, 2014 11:31 AM Larry Larry  says:
It's true the Presidential Directive is pushing for the conversion of PERMANENT Federal records to electronic format by 2019, but the long-standing estimate is that "only 2-3% of ALL Federal records are Permanent". Even going forward, there isn't much of an indication this number is going to change... and so these massive volumes being discussed aren't truly impacted by this. E-Mail *IS* addressed in the Directive, but as with most of us, an extremely small percentage of or e-mail is a record at all, much less a permanent record. The "diet/workout" the Feds need to go on with e-mail is to lean to delete/discard non-record e-mail in the 180day window established for 'transitory records' and reduce the bloat by a good 80-90%, then establish practices for managing the balance properly. The 18%, 1 in 5, 46%, 50%, 45% and 38% cited in statements above are relatively accurate across Federal agencies for the topics discussed- the deadlines in the Directive were FAR TOO aggressive to meet, especially with the lack of staff and funds available presently. This elephant must be eaten one bite at a time. Reply

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