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Electronic Records Management (ERM) Initiative November, 2005

Guidance for Building an Effective Enterprise-wide Electronic Records Management (ERM) Governance Structure

(PDF Version Available)

The nature of electronic documents monitoring (ERM) projects-via concerns of ownership and accessibility at the core-makes them right candidates for advancement and procedure within an efficient administration structure. This document provides guidance to federal firm records administration staff as they work through information modern technology (IT) officials and also other company stakeholders to implement and manage enterprise-wide ERM.

This document specifies administration and also its prestige to the success of IT jobs, the objective and also function of that governance, exactly how project-certain governance (such as those instituted for enterprise-wide ERM) fits within and alongside other established administration frameworks, and the threats attendant in the absence of good governance. It is arranged to assist those considering enhancements to their existing administration structure determine additional mechanisms and philosophies that they have the right to employ on ERM and also various other IT tasks. The guidance is written of five sections, adhered to by an Appendix of Reresources for Governance Structures:

Appendix: Resources for Governance Structures


The strategic emphasis of the Electronic Government (E-Gov) Initiative is to make use of commercial finest methods in essential federal government operations. The National and Records Administration (NARA) is the controlling companion for the ERM E-Gov Initiative. NARA"s ERM Initiative gives a plan frame and also guidance for electronic records monitoring applicable government-wide. NARA"s ERM Initiative is intfinished to promote efficient management and access to federal firm information in assistance of increased decision making. The Initiative will carry out federal agencies guidance in controlling their electronic records and allow agencies to carry digital documents to NARA. These documents create the structural support for ensuring a level of unidevelop maturity in both the Federal government"s administration of its electronic records and also its ability to transport digital records to NARA.

This is the fourth of 6 files to be produced under the Enterprise-wide ERM Issue Area, providing guidance on implementing digital records monitoring.

Subsequent records will certainly consist of guidance for arising and launching an ERM pilot job, and a "lessons learned"l paper from EPA"s proof of idea ERM pilot and various other agencies" implementation experience. The guidance documents are aimed at helping federal agencies understand also the innovation and plan worries linked through procuring and deploying an enterprise-wide ERM mechanism.


This advisory guidance specifies IT administration, providing illustrations regarding effective governance mechanisms and the benefits acquired by agencies when employing them. It need to be supplied in conjunction through existing Office of Management and Budget (OMB) plans in OMB Circulars A-11 and also A-130, and in various other OMB guidance for regulating information systems and also information modern technology (IT) jobs, and with various other NARA records administration regulations and also guidance. Roles and also duties, specifically via regard to the important facets of governance structures-Leadership, Accountability, and also Oversight-are addressed in terms of their contribution to the success of IT project governance.

The primary audience consists of those agencies that are implementing an enterprise-wide Electronic Records Management (ERM) mechanism and wish to encertain its success by adopting great governance techniques. As the values of good administration apply to any IT job, this document has actually wider application than ERM.


Governance framework ensures that the voices of stakeholders are heard, formalizes quality decision-making, and also is the vehicle with which complex IT jobs are successfully applied. The administration framework will certainly help those responsible for enterprise-wide ERM projects:

Articulate a unified vision and also recognize the scope and emphasis of ERM within the company Identify legal, plan, bureaucratic, capital, and technological demands and also other obstacles to achieving integration via existing repositories and devices Define and sanction job objectives, work, and timetables Garner support from various other firm decision-makers Monitor planning, implementation, and administration activities Define ERM operational requirements Overcheck out commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) evaluation and also implementation Resettle obstacles to implementation Resee device performance and also make referrals concerning devices renovations, renovations, and following phases (Harris, 2000, p. 23).

What is IT Governance?

The term "lgovernance"l can be used to the public arena (i.e., governments), corpoprice entities, and information technology (IT). For the objectives of this guidance record, we have actually embraced the meaning employed by the UNITED STATE Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs (n.d.) "as the collection of business regulations and standards worked out by monitoring to administer strategic direction and also encertain that missions are completed, risks are controlled appropriately, and sources are provided responsibly."

Governance is accomplished through business structure and also performance measurement, which specify boundaries, authorities, responsibilities, and also work (United States Army, n.d.). The goal is to produce an enterprise-wide structure for regulating IT that will certainly advance the strategic mission of the firm, establishing priorities for IT projects that are aligned with the agency"s goals, and also resources initiatives that are very valued by the firm, its staff, and also the public. On the project level, a administration version identifies and defines the tasks and also relationships among groups established to encertain that tasks such as ERM are successfully applied and continue to function over time, with enhancements made to repeatedly improve an agency"s technique to ERM. It develops the decision-making authority of those teams and also renders them accountable for their undertaking. This framework facilitates ample consideration of ownership and access pertains to likely to arise throughout the indevelopment lifecycle (manufacturing, arsenal, use, monitoring, maintenance, conservation, and also disposal or irreversible retention).

Governance models include formal components (e.g., Memoranda of Understanding, charters, statutes, and administrative directives) that carry out the authority for the enterprise-wide ERM and the facility of a governing body, for instance; informal facets (e.g., collaboration, culture, and effective communication) need to also be addressed. (NASCIO, 2005). Governance duties might be worked out via (advisory) boards, (executive) steering committees, councils or comobjectives. These mechanisms are not mutually exclusive and also are typically current in combination.

The kinds of administration frameworks put in place depfinish on:

The requirements of the organization The dimension of the firm, how it is arranged, and also its society Its method to IT and ERM (central vs. decentralized or distributed) Its existing innovation facilities (and anticipated alters in the information architecture) The number, availcapability, and also expertise of staff, consisting of the skill sets required for advancement of an ERM operational strategy and also ultimate deployment. An firm have to choose the administration plan that finest supports its business strategy while being compatible through its society. No matter what IT administration mechanism is used, it have to facilitate decision-making, ensure alignment in between innovation and also service purposes, and also connect administration principles and also decisions. (Ross & Weill, 2004). This communication consists of not just those directly associated in the task as members of the team or advisory boards, yet the remainder of the company too, whose staff both produces and also supplies the documents connected in the ERM job.

The a lot of effective method for project-specific administration is one where IT and also business monitoring make decisions together. While joint decision-making can take much longer and also needs a good deal of administration attention, especially when members of committees or work groups are geographically spread, the mixed strategy makes the most sense for tasks such as ERM where issues concerning ownership and accessibility are paramount.

Tips for good ERM project governance

Develop a compelling organization instance for your ERM job, a set of company and practical demands for ERM, and specify programs and also document types/layouts that are both in- and also out-of-scope. Build on existing IT project governance frameworks that overview and overcheck out their strategic and operational missions within your firm. Actively style IT governance frameworks (as opposed to letting governance take place by default). This ensures that those that should have input into the decision-making process are had (senior management; IT; records supervisors, producers, and also users). Develop a device for communicating task standing and developments reporting to the ERM team, administration, and also stakeholders (producers and also users of company records). Maintaining a central repository for decisions made through regard to your ERM project will certainly assist newcomers to the team understand also the rationale for prior decisions. Adopt easy governance structures that are easily taken by all. This urges human being to make use of the mechanisms in place to resolve any problems that may arise throughout the job (e.g., ownership of and accessibility to records). Limit the variety of decision-making frameworks to minimize confusion regarding whom to consult once. Resist regular redeindications of your governance structure so that staff can conveniently remember those via whom they must confer/consult. Establish certain task deliverables and a timetable for delivery that has been agreed to by all staff impacted by the shift to ERM at your company. Design procedures for taking care of exceptions so that all significant decisions relating to the job will certainly be made within the governance framework. Educate supervisors as to just how to use governance mechanisms. Sources: P. Weill (2004, March); P. Weill and R. Woodham (2002, April); J. Ross and also P. Weill (2004, June 15); & Deloitte, Touche, Tohmatsu (2004, December)

Why IT Governance Structures are Needed

Planning complicated IT jobs involves an variety of political, organizational, legal, technical, social, and personnel concerns ideal encountered by a team charged via the duty for the successful outcome of those jobs. By subjecting each task to a series of questions designed to assess dissimilar tasks, governing bodies deserve to compare projects versus company priorities, apportioning resources accordingly.

Proper administration processes are crucial to managing IT projects correctly. ERM administration frameworks and also policies assist management in making critical decisions to guide the work. Committees consisted of of all stakeholders working via IT experts ensure that the ERM solution meets the requirements of the company, in terms of legislative and regulatory needs, and also all its individuals.

The benefits that ERM governance brings to an agency include:

Joint duty for planning and executing ERM, shared by document producers, individuals, agency administration and also staff functioning alongside IT personnel Clearer understanding of objectives and also expectations for ERM Clearer visibility of concerns and also priorities connected through ERM, such as ownership and also versioning of documents; combined file plans, documents schedules and also retention periods; accessibility to records; defense classifications; and privacy considerations Transparency and also much better comprehension of ERM-connected activities and also performance Alignment of ERM with business requirements of the company, demonstrated by the selection of priority document teams in initial phases of ERM implementation Imshowed worth shipment through business process and also workflow enhancements Optimized expenses for IT investments in ERM solution Management of records management-connected threats Improved quality of service by a staff able to determine and retrieve required documents properly.

These benefits are depicted in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Benefits of having an IT administration structure


When employed with IT tasks such as ERM, governance structures:

Ascertain that all IT projects even more the objectives and also priorities of the firm Improve the ability of an agency to share data and also create widespread systems Clarify and also enforce plans equally throughout all tasks Reduce the disputes that arise when roles and also responsibilities are not plainly characterized Ensure that corrective actions are taken via regard to problematic IT tasks, reducing the number and also severity of failures with oversight and correct administration.

Governance Bodies

Appropriate administration procedures are critical to regulating IT tasks effectively. IT administration structures and plans help ERM management in making important decisions regarding reresource alplace, setting meaningful, measurable targets to guide the work-related. Committees consisted of of all stakeholders functioning through IT experts encertain that the technology solution meets the demands of the firm, in regards to legislative and regulatory requirements, information design and infrastructure, and also all its individuals, within the firm, other agencies, and the general public.

Agencies will take various philosophies to administration. Some will certainly have actually a permanent steering committee operating as an umbrella under which all project-specific administration frameworks run. Governance models employed for ERM must be as straightforward as possible. The less complicated the administration model-the easier for staff to understand-the even more commonly staff will certainly utilize the recommended practices and also not look for methods to circumvent the prescribed procedures. In a straight-forward manner, the framework need to clarify roles and obligations for all participating in the governance of an agency"s ERM job.

An efficient method for ERM governance is composed of 3 components: One group charged through strategic decisions for ERM, committing firm resources to the project; another responsible for operations, including the breakthrough of steps regarded ERM; and a third that addresses technical issues connected with the ERM solution. Each have to have actually wide representation, via care taken in terms of all at once composition (in-depth and appropriate, with all members able to add to the conversation in a substantial way) and also individually, through members selected to take part able to perform so without compromising other projects or duties.

Whatever name you choose to provide to these groups (e.g., boards, committees, councils), each has its very own set of duties and also recommended complace, as described listed below.

The executive committee creates vision, scope, and also objectives for enterprise-wide ERM, making vital decisions by allocating sufficient financial sources and also appropriately trained staff, sanctioning jobs and also timetables, and setting systematic, measurable targets for the task. This committee oversees the planning, implementation, procedure, and also management of ERM. Defining scope establishes realistic borders so that landmarks can be got to. This is specifically vital throughout initial planning stperiods and ERM tasks designed for phased implementation, manifesting itself in decisions such as the forms of records or departments chosen for inclusion in the pilot testing of the ERM solution. Founding realistic limits permits all to understand also who is responsible for what in relation to the ERM job and also the level of authority a group has actually in making decisions about ERM. This deserve to minimize difficulties encountered regarding such worries as ownership of records and also perceived infringement on conventional turf. Examining the agency-wide operational benefits sought via ERM will aid measure performance against objectives. Ensuring that criteria and also "finest practices" are met. For ERM, this includes: Depending upon the agency"s administration policy and also framework, decision-making authority may rest through the ERM executive committee or this committee might make references to an IT steering committee responsible for all enterprise-wide IT tasks. Members of the ERM executive committee need to encompass your agency"s Chief Indevelopment Officer (CIO), senior financial main, a senior records manager, and also executive level managers who approach ERM in the conmessage of other significant agency-wide IT efforts and also the service of the certain firm. These are the people via "the power to designate company sources and also commit personnel to obtain the task done. They have actually the ability to drive the project forward," rerelocating barriers along the means (Harris, 2000, p. 28). The operational committee, such as a documents council, defines ERM for the company from a service perspective. Its members understand the role ERM plays in allowing the firm to function effectively and efficiently. The operational committee develops an agency"s ERM policy facilities, obtaining the executive committee"s approval for the initial job architecture. Gradually, this committee is responsible for recommfinishing renovations to the system. These recommendations are most likely to facility on organization processes and alters in workflow. The operational committee is responsible for updating procedures as they relate to evolving record and also documents administration requirements. Members of the ERM operational committee is composed of representatives from IT, legal, compliance, finance, documents administration, humale resources, and also vital regime police officers. All technique ERM from the perspective of their major function and appreciate just how the job will affect their work-related and also that of their colleagues, both as producers of papers and documents and as customers of them. The technological committee assesses the current technological setting and the technical plans and solutions that allow ERM. Its members are responsible for day-to-day activities regarding digital documents monitoring and are responsible for surveillance device performance, making referrals concerning systems enhancements and also enhancements from a technical standsuggest. Another primary obligation of this committee is the integration of the ERM solution right into the agency"s existing indevelopment style, assuring that it occupational through the other major devices deployed in the company. The technical committee should make recommendations to the executive committee through regards to levels of technical staffing specialization compelled by the ERM job. In enhancement, it is responsible for assuring that the staff is trained to take part in the project. Members of this committee will have expertise of prior enterprise-wide tasks and also "llessons learned"l from those installations. These have the right to aid prevent problems that can arise in technology-pushed tasks.

Subcommittees, work teams, and ad hoc committees might be establimelted as important, focusing on particular problems, to lug out research study regarded ERM, or develop thorough documentation required by the task. These teams administer the majority of of the references for the ERM initiative, bringing the results of their research study and determination to the correct governing body for evaluation and also endorsement (Harris, 2000, p.26).

Membership in these work groups/ad hoc committees should consist of a cross-area of representatives from the agency, at miscellaneous levels-upper and also middle management, agency staff, individuals, documents managers, and engineers. Engaging essential stakeholders in the early stages of ERM planning so that they help define the initiative can prove invaluable as the task moves forward. As with any kind of committee framework, operating actions have to be arisen that resolve exactly how they will conduct business and make decisions (e.g., elect chairs, create procedures for voting, deal with problems, attend to transforms in committee membership as people are reassigned within their agencies).

Governance mechanisms can be advantageous in addressing the tensions between central (headquarters) and neighborhood manage. Recognizing that this will certainly be even more crucial for some agencies than others, the composition of these committees and also teams need to encompass representatives from offices roughly the nation. This will certainly assure that issues affecting non-headquarters offices are raised and addressed.

Operational and also technological committees have the right to minimize these tensions by explaining the rationale for retaining main control over particular ERM attributes, for example:

Loading the documents schedules and retention durations Starting the folders Required metainformation Glossary of terms Templates for Net peras and standardized alternatives for menus.

Other ERM-connected activities are best left to local regulate. Instances include:

Individual accessibility and password assignment/monitoring Program training Aid desk functions.

The administration structure employed by your ERM task should carry out for continuous interaction among the various committees associated. Assuring correct management, accountcapability, and also oversight of your ERM project will carry out some of the vital channels of communication, avoiding some of the surprises innate in large IT tasks. This is an efficient means to break dvery own obstacles that exist within an agency, through individuals from different departments and also areas working together to implement ERM.

Essential Elements: Leadership, Accountability, and also Oversight

Governance structures are used to organize the process of on-going management and oversight of IT projects. The size and also scope of enterprise-wide ERM jobs demand also significant Leadership, Accountability, and Oversight to assistance and regulate the resources compelled for successful implementation. This area of the guidance describes just how these 3 essential facets for excellent administration relate to one one more if appropriately installed within the governance mechanisms defined over.

Leadership provides direction and guidance on how an company will employ ERM and also carry out its IT investment in the enterprise-wide initiative. It lives not in one individual however at multiple levels, each with clearly defined management roles that deserve to be defined as follows:

The executive committee offers a leadership function by setting objectives for ERM that are in line via the agency"s organization demands and also priorities. This manifests itself in the selection of areas and/or types of records to be included in the initial phases of ERM implementation. It is the executive committee that will drive your ERM project forward, rerelocating impediments to successful implementation. The operational committee provides management by occurring plans for ERM, i.e., the certain policies and also processes that are associated via all non-technological facets of the project. The technical committee takes a leadership function by establishing in area the technical plans and remedies that make enterprise-wide ERM feasible.

Leadership should additionally come from department executives, regimen administrators, and IT supervisors. These individuals have the right to market commitment, sponsorship, and assistance for enterprise-wide or inter-company IT projects, commenting on the benefits of agency-wide benefits of ERM in a selection of venues. Many of these people will be asked to sit on a committee offering input and/or oversight for your ERM job.

The perboy that chairs the executive committee is the the majority of visible representative of the project. The executive committee chairperson articulates the vision for enterprise-wide ERM and also supporters its goals and also objectives. He/she has a certain responsibility to field inquiries concerning initiative deficiencies or failures in addition to touting its successes. It is important that the chairperson of the executive committee have actually all set accessibility to senior monitoring within the firm that deserve to leverage financial and also other resources in support of the project. (National Criminal Justice Association, 2001)

Accountability at all levels is a critical facet of IT job administration. Roles and also duties for each member of eincredibly committee and also team affiliated in an enterprise-wide IT task such as ERM must be plainly construed. Tasks that should be perdeveloped by people and groups connected in the ERM project have to be recorded and also the groups organized responsible for accomplishing those work within the compelled timeframes and also allowable budget. Eventually, the public will host agencies accountable for use of their taxation dollars for tasks that allow them to request and attain records within a reasonable amount of time and also a minimum of effort.

Specific authority and powers must be designated so that individuals and groups deserve to attain their assigned work. It need to be clear:

The degree to which a group can make decisions on its own, when a group or individual must be asked to administer input to a decision, and also as soon as it is more correct to refer the decision to the executive committee. When and how each committee exercises the powers granted to it. The executive committee bears the duty for specifying functions and duties of each group and also the means in which the groups communicate with one an additional. Clarifying these collaborative initiatives minimize the likelihood that conventional turf wars will impede the progression of the job.

The duty for documenting accountcapacity goes into the plans for ERM produced by the operating committee. This group updays steps, sees that the training considered necessary for ERM at the firm is lugged out, and also provides all of this indevelopment available to the firm via a mutual device, such as an interior Net web page.

The technical committee is primarily organized accountable for the smooth operation of the ERM solution, whether controlled in-house or outsourced. The responsibilities of these builders need to be spelled out in governance papers produced for the job via mechanisms for dealing with problems that may arise likewise had. This is particularly vital wbelow the technical expertise is lacking at the neighborhood level and also other offices might have to assume obligation for ERM in a number of places.

Expectations of accountability are regularly expressed as performance goals. Some agencies have actually employed operational scorecards to develop meant outcomes and report results. Performance actions for the early on stages of technology task implementation are necessarily different from steps employed for those that have actually been operational for some time; the individuals/groups affiliated are likely to be different as are the skill sets forced at these stages. These have to be delineated and also modified over time and made obtainable for all to consult.

Oversight ensures that IT operations and projects bring about reliable operations and also enhanced services from a strategic, tactical, and also program-specific vantage allude. ((California) Legislative Analyst"s Office, 2003). Oversight of ERM tasks is offered by senior monitoring teams, frequently subsets of the executive committee, who:

Rewatch the expected outcomes of a project against the realities. While the executive committee will certainly have actually set the objectives of the ERM task, all who get involved would certainly have actually agreed that these were reasonable objectives to be completed, given the time, budobtain, and also number of trained personnel assigned to the project. Continuous security of progress, through assistance provided when subjobs enrespond to delays, deserve to keep the all at once job on-schedule. Verify compliance via steps, requirements, and requirements, legislative or otherwise. Monitor expenditures for IT project, intervening as soon as expenditures exceed benefits of the project. This security initiative serves to increate the overall IT budgetary procedure and other plan decisions.

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Oversight for ERM projects rests greatly on records supervisors that must delineate appropriate management procedures for agency staff (record and records producers and also users), specifying the additional measures compelled for ERM, such as metadata tagging. Records managers, in conjunction via IT, will desire to modify existing training for ERM as the brand-new mechanism is brought on-line. Oversight for the smooth operation of the ERM solution lies via IT that may recommfinish some modification of process or customization of software application to the operational committee. Figure 2 offers an introduction of the Leadership, Accountability, and also Oversight duties for each of the administration bodies.