Welcome to my Weblog. This site is dedicated to my thoughts, views and understanding on anything that touches upon records management, archives management as well as information management in Malaysia. I believe in becoming a 'functional and meaningful' information professional, the term I refer to as person who can function in many ways possible for the betterment of this discipline. Interested parties, may reproduce or quote materials published with the condition that they are credited to Comments must be accompanied by names or pseudonyms. Anonymous postings and those containing profanities and obscenities will be rejected.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Is our ERMS software complied with Arkib Negara Malaysia and MAMPU's requirement

Dear all,

Implementing Electronic Records Management System (ERMS) in organization is not simply purchasing the on shelf ERMS software from vendors, install it and there you go. It is not similar to buying any application software useful for your work. In Malaysia, most organizations, most people misunderstood of implementing ERMS to simply purchase the software and then use it. Understanding what transpire in ERMS software is critical to the successful implementation of ERMS in your organization.

There are great challenges in managing e-records to users and professionals in records because of the nature that the e-records existed and created. e-Records is complex, created in different formats and types, very sensitive and not stable as compared to paper records. Due to complexity of the e-records, the methods and approaches of managing them are also different. These differences are on the basis of characteristics of e-records created, format and type of e-records, technicalities and technical complexities, technological platforms and others.

Managing e-Records require proper fulfillment of records management requirement in place before the roll out of the system. What does it means? It means that, using the available software does not necessarily ensure that e-Records is managed well, does not mean that the ERMS is in place in your organization. Prior to use the ERMS software, there is a need to do business process analysis of the current state of affairs as to identify readiness level of the organization to move into full pledged ERMS environment. Moreover, it is critical to identify that the current records system is 'healthy', file classification system is appropriately done, filing system is up to date, retention and disposal schedule is implemented and appraisal process is practiced though out the records system. If any of the component has defect, not appropriately practiced, or wrongly practiced, then corrective actions need to be taken first before ERMS could be deployed.

However, in some instance, organization could opt for deploying ERMS regardless of the current records system provided that it is not mix together and business process is controlled, managed and appropriately implemented. This require detail understanding of the current business process and introduce new business process should the former requires revamp due to many reasons.

At the end of the day, the critical aspect is to understand and check whether our ERMS software is compliance with Arkib Negara Malaysia and MAMPU's requirement, and whether selected ERMS software fulfilled the requirement of electronic records management in the context of organizational operation in Malaysia.

Government agencies are subject to government regulations and guidelines in the selection of an ERMS or EDMS. Federal guidelines are set forth in the MS2223: 1 and MS2223: 2 together with other Directives, Functional Requirement for ERMS as stated by Arkib Negara Malaysia. Bear in mind that even though an ERMS or EDMS may meet all the guidelines, it may not meet all the requirements for your agency. You must carefully examine if the ERMS or EDMS supports: 

  • Adequate security for the protection of not-public records.
  • Adequate access to public records.
  • Ability to capture and manage electronic records (if your ERMS has this function) in a way that meets legal requirements for parameters such as trustworthiness, completeness, accessibility, legal admissibility, and durability.
  • All electronic formats included in the official definition of a government record.
Each vendor’s ERMS or EDMS has different degrees of functionality. In an ERMS or EDMS designed for the private sector, the functions available may not allow you to meet your legal requirements. For example, an ERMS or EDMS designed for the private sector may be unable to:

  • Manage all the required file formats that constitute government records
  • Preserve the record’s required metadata
  • Ensure trustworthiness
  • Provide adequate security of not-public information and records
The following basic process for selecting, implementing, and managing an ERMS or EDMS should serve as a baseline for you to develop a more specific process for your agency. The basic process includes:
  • Needs assessment. The first stage is to work with internal stakeholders and understand your legal obligations to determine your unique needs. If you wish to use the ERMS or EDMS for records management, be sure that you identify trustworthiness, completeness, accessibility, legal admissibility, and durability as needs. Be sure to think of not only your immediate needs, but also your long-term requirements.
  • Vendor selection. You will need to carefully select an ERMS or EDMS vendor. You may need to issue a request for proposals that sets forth your legal requirements and vendor selection criteria. You may also contact other government agencies with similar systems. In short, you will want to gather as much information as you can about potential ERMS or EDMS as they are used in government agencies.
  • Implementation plan. You will need to work with the vendor and internal stakeholders to develop a comprehensive implementation plan. The plan should include a:
    • Technological implementation plan that outlines how and when the system will be installed and tested
    • User implementation plan that includes training and system rollout
    • Deployment. As detailed in your implementation plan, you will need to install and test the system, and train users.
    • Management. As you use the system, you will need to continue to manage and refine your use of the system.
Throughout each of these stages, you will need to document the entire process, including needs assessment, implementation, management, and refinement. You will also need to document the system itself, including hardware, software, operational procedures, and security measures to ensure records in the system remain trustworthy over time.