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CHIPS Articles: Department of the Navy Enterprise-Wide Electronic Records Management

Department of the Navy Enterprise-Wide Electronic Records Management
By Charley Barth - July-September 2002
"The Department of the Navy Electronic Records Management System (DON ERMS) Working Group has a mission to promote best practices in information sharing and ensure ready access to essential information that documents the actions of the Navy in all areas of business, defense and operations. The TRIM product and the supporting NMCI architecture ensures the Navy is equipped to provide a robust foundation to support the enterprise-wide requirement for ERM and EDM solutions. The Department of the Navy is excited to become the world’s largest electronic records management customer."

Although electronic records management (ERM) tools are not widely used within the Navy and Marine Corps at this time, the implementation of the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) is poised to bring about a fundamental transformation. This article focuses on the steps the Department of the Navy Chief Information Officer (DON CIO) has taken to lay the groundwork for implementation of a successful, enterprise-wide ERM solution under NMCI. These critical initial stages are the same for any large enterprise attempting to implement an effective ERM solution across their organization.

Software Selection

The first step is to identify organizational ERM needs and set up the tools capable of meeting them. The DON required the winner of the NMCI contract to provide for the "retention of electronic information files consistent with applicable DoD (DoD Standard 5015.2-STD) and DON policy (SECNAVINST 5212.5D)," as part of the basic service for all NMCI seats. Potential products were evaluated on their usability, functionality, reliability, cost, NMCI compatibility, scalability, evolution, and best value. Other considerations included their ability to integrate with Microsoft’s product line and leading database management systems. The evaluation team wanted to ensure that the product chosen would provide the best ability to meet current and future Navy and Marine Corp requirements.

After extensive evaluation, TRIM by TOWER Software was selected as the Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) records management application to be provided with every NMCI seat throughout the DON. TRIM is a single product that provides capability for both document and records management. TRIM meets both DoD and DON standards. Furthermore, it interfaces with leading database management systems such as Oracle and SQL Server. TRIM is a proven solution that has been installed at over 1,000 sites in 30 countries.

Implementation Costs

There are five main cost components to NMCI ERM system implementation: product licensing, software installation, integration, record storage and training. Every NMCI seat requires a license and installation of the TRIM software. Additional NMCI requirements include training for users and system administrators, as well as a basic level of storage capability (additional storage is available to commands based on their ERM needs). ERM integration services (the mapping of existing business processes to TRIM) are not included in the basic NMCI seat cost, but can be obtained under the contract or from other vendors.

Cultural Impact

Before ERM technology can be effectively implemented, it is necessary to address the cultural impact of an enterprise ERM solution. The DON CIO has stepped up to this challenge with the support of KPMG Consulting to establish an Electronic Records Management Systems (DONERMS) Working Group, consisting of Navy and Marine Corps records managers, the DON CIO, and other key DON ERM players. Critical to the success of this effort was the inclusion of EDS, KPMG Consulting, and Tower Software to ensure optimal ERM utilization of the NMCI ERM tool and infrastructure. Through the working group, the DON CIO produced both an ERM policy and an implementation guidance document, and facilitated the ERM education of users under NMCI.

DON CIO ERM Policy Document

Successful ERM implementation across a large enterprise requires the establishment of a corporate roadmap supported by the organization’s leadership. The DON CIO developed and published an electronic records management policy for the Navy and Marine Corps. The policy mandates the use of TRIM software for electronic records management under NMCI. If an existing ERM system is in place, the DON policy requires the command to develop a migration plan to TRIM. The policy does allow for waivers, but the DON CIO must approve all waivers. DON CIO ERM policy is the critical component for ensuring an effective enterprise-wide ERM solution under NMCI.

DON Implementation Guidance Document

With enterprise ERM policy in place, the DON CIO shifted focus to developing implementation guidance for ERM under NMCI. The implementation guidance outlines a detailed six-step process for implementing an ERM system. The steps include: (1) establishing a records manager project team; (2) performing requirements definition; (3) performing a business case analysis; (4) developing strategy; (5) designing the system; and (6) implementing an electronic records management system.

The DON CIO Implementation Guidance will provide a step-by-step process for implementing an ERM system.

Road Shows

In order to education Navy and Marine Corps end users on ERM policy and implementation guidance, the DON CIO, Tower software, KPMG Consulting and EDS have been traveling to different locations to present ERM briefings and product demonstration.

The presentations serve as an open forum to talk to end users, gather and refine requirements, and provide guidance on managing electronic records. Users not only learn about the ERM system under NMCI, but also about the federal regulations that require government agencies to establish records management programs. These regulations include the Federal Records Act; OMB Circular A-130; and Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 36.

What’s Next

As NMI infrastructure and connectivity become available to DON personnel all over the country, more and more users will have TRIM on their desktops. NMCI provides the Department of the Navy with the opportunity to implement a standard enterprise-wide approach for managing its records and documents.

The TRIM solution will allow personnel to create, retrieve, track, store and manage vast amounts of electronic information with remarkable efficiency, while meeting the requirements of DoD standards.

DON CIO website:

Charley Barth is the DON CIO program manager for records management.

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