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Public Records compliance heralds skills crunch

For immediate press release.

Public Records Act compliance heralds looming skills crunch

Wellington, New Zealand: With the pressure on to achieve PRA compliance by 2010, tenders for electronic document and records management systems (EDRMS) are starting to flow thick and fast. But there is a real skills-crunch looming, with few appropriately skilled individuals available in New Zealand to meet the needs of the many new projects expected to kick off in the next 12 to 18 months.

Document and records management solutions specialist TechTonics recently conducted an analysis of the public sector market to gauge the extent of the problem. After excluding organisations that already have a solution in place or that are too small to warrant a full EDRMS system, it has conservatively estimated around 200 agencies with a total of about 140,000 employees still need to implement solutions.

“We estimate that to design and deploy solutions for these 200 organisations over a steady three year period –auditing starts in 2010 – will require about 130 EDRMS experts. New Zealand has perhaps 40 suitably qualified and experienced people, and worldwide there is a shortage,” says TechTonics’ managing director Ross Bidmead.

TechTonics has plans to triple the size of its specialist Information Management team to 36 people to help meet the anticipated demand.

Bidmead points out that the technology is not the main stumbling block to successful implementations, so technical and product skills are not going to be enough to meet agencies’ needs.

“The key to success is implementing solutions people actually want to use, which means you need to understand the principles behind good design and usability. The system needs to fit the way the individual agency and its staff work, not the other way around.”

“We have seen a number of EDRMS implementations where people just don’t use the system because it is too hard and prescriptive, or it doesn’t fit the way they want to work. As a result, maybe only 10 per cent of information that should be in the EDRMS is actually being created and managed there. The rest is all over the place, in personal drives, shared folders or email boxes. That is not going to meet compliance requirements, and more importantly, it is not going to deliver any real value or productivity improvements to the business.”

For TechTonics, the minimum success criteria for an EDRMS are that 90% of documents are being captured, and the system is well-accepted by 75% of staff. It has been able to achieve this with clients such as New Plymouth District Council using a unique methodology that enables rapid deployment, minimal disruption and fast return on investment.


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