Finance says Digital 2020 timetable still on track

The Department of Finance has denied its Digital Records Investment Moratorium for non-corporate Australian Commonwealth agencies will impact the government’s Digital Continuity 2020 Policy, despite its own timetable admitting a proposed Whole-of-Government platform will not provide full record-keeping capability for another six years.​

In response to IDM’s report Finance puts industry off-side with EDRMS lockout, the Department  has also said it is incorrect to state that it is undertaking a pilot rollout of its own in-house cloud records management solution

“Finance is taking a research approach to testing and proving the use of innovative technology for records management.  As part of Finance’s research, we are testing how machine learning capabilities can be used to modernise records management across the APS.  

“Should this be successful, the outcomes will be released to the market to develop further. Finance does not intend to develop a software solution.”

The project to develop a Whole-of-Government Digital Records Platform received $A9.1M funding in 2017 under the Public Service Modernisation Fund. After rejecting industry submissions as insufficiently innovative, Finance announced in January it intends to go it alone with a solution that rejects the traditional EDRMS model.

It wants a platform that applies artificial intelligence (AI) or ontology management to provide auto-classification capabilities,

“[Our] findings are consistent with those of Mariano and Woodbridge (2017) of Gartner, who surveyed 14 of the most popular content services and records management vendors, identifying whether and how they are expanding their capabilities through automation and use of evolving and disruptive technologies such as AI technologies. The Gartner survey found that most vendors’ automation capabilities are through rule-based classification and not AI technologies. The Gartner survey also stated that a high number of the vendors are investing in AI technologies for records management, which indicates that while vendors are moving toward use of AI, they are not yet at production stage with their capabilities.”

The Department says it has already been approached by a number of parties interested in the Australian Government Records Interoperability Framework and how this product could work with future solutions. It wouldn’t reveal their identities, claiming “the information is commercially sensitive and it is not appropriate to release it.”

In a document outlining the proposed platform to be developed after the pilot phase running until June 2019, Finance states, the solution will be “capable of processing all records in its first year from pilot agencies, scaling to all government records in unstructured systems in Year five.”

According to the Digital Continuity 2020 policy, all agencies have a 2020 deadline for recording business interactions, decisions and authorisations digitally.

Asked how they could manage this if the whole of government records management platform will not be capable of processing records in some unstructured systems until 2025, Finance responded: “Managing information digitally is not dependent on implementation of a records management solution. “

Finance also denies the moratorium prevents agencies being able to upgrade their existing solutions, even though upgrades will only be permitted “on the basis that a critical business failure is likely to occur without new investment or upgrade.”

“No exemptions have been sought under the moratorium,” it states.



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