Survey Indicates Federal Government Feels Unprepared for Future Information Management Requirements
Forty-six percent of respondents ranked managing all information and data as the most urgent driver, yet lack key skills to meet this imperative
RESTON, VA – June 1, 2016 – While nearly half (46 percent) of federal information management professionals cite managing all types of information assets, regardless of format, as a priority for their field, many feel unprepared to handle the future requirements of doing so. This according to a new survey from Iron Mountain Incorporated (NYSE:IRM), the global leader in storage and information management services. Iron Mountain conducted the study to identify the government’s information management priorities for the next 3-5 years, share agency respondents’ feedback on where gaps exist and deliver recommendations on how to improve on the necessary skillsets required to succeed.
The survey also asked these professionals what skills would be required – including specialized technical and soft skills – they believed could position them for future effectiveness and success. More than half ( 56 percent)believe information security and access control will be in greatest demand from information management professionals, followed by data quality management (39 percent) and analytics capabilities – including data sourcing and integration (39 percent). In addition, projects related to data privacy (34 percent), records and information management (RIM) (31 percent) and data analytics (30 percent) are in the greatest demand over the next three to five years.
“This survey provides an important view into the state of federal records and information management, both where the government is now in terms of capabilities and, more importantly, where agencies need to focus their information management practices in the future,” said Michael J. Lewis, vice president and general manager, Iron Mountain Government Services. “The Managing Government Records Directive has set key deadlines for email in 2016 and permanent records in 2019 that have accelerated agency efforts to make sure they have full control over all their information. However, these challenges will continue to grow if left unchecked, and RIM professionals will need to identify and close any gaps in their skillsets to handle these future information challenges.”
The survey identified some key focus areas for future success, including:
- Areas for improvement – Agencies recognize the need for improvement of key skills in-demand. Risk management (34 percent) is most often cited as an area for improvement, followed by electronic records retention (24 percent) and RIM practices (24 percent)
- Most desired skill sets – Risk management/security/data privacy (54 percent), analytics (42 percent) and content/records management (33 percent) are the most desired information management skill sets over the next three to five years
- Technical and soft skills in demand – Information security (52 percent) is by far the technical skill in greatest demand, while innovative thinking (39 percent) came in as the soft skill in demand the most. Fifteen percent noted they were very or extremely weak in fostering stakeholder buy-in and in delivering C-level and stakeholder communications
- Impactful project management skills – Ensuring compliance (32 percent), physical and IT records format management integration (26 percent) and information and data valuation assessment (24 percent) are the project management skills estimated to have the greatest impact on records management over the next 24 months
The data indicates there are significant gaps between the skills records management professionals currently have and what they believe they will need in the future. As such, agencies should consider focusing on the following in order to close that gap:
- Evangelize a more holistic approach to information management, and prepare to sell it internally;
- Meet the demand for specialized skills with a focus on information security, quality management and analytics;
- Focus on soft and technical skills in need of improvement, and understand why improvement is needed;
- Leverage the knowledge and mentoring skills of older staff before they retire;
- Provide professional development training in the formats employees most prefer;
- Create a forum for the sharing of ideas and best practices.
Conducted by market research company Market Connections, Inc. this blind online survey of 200 federal employees included only respondents knowledgeable or involved in day-to-day decisions and recommendations regarding their organization’s records and data management. Respondent agencies represented civilian government, the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community. For more information, including additional survey results, white paper and associated infographic, visit www.ironmountain.com/NextGenIMPro.
About Iron Mountain
Iron Mountain Incorporated (NYSE: IRM) is the global leader for storage and information management services. Trusted by more than 220,000 organizations around the world, Iron Mountain boasts a real estate network of more than 80 million square feet across more than 1,350 facilities in 45 countries dedicated to protecting and preserving what matters most for its customers. Iron Mountain’s solutions portfolio includes records management , data management , document management, data centers, art storage and logistics, and secure shredding , helping organizations to lower storage costs, comply with regulations, recover from disaster, and better use their information. Founded in 1951, Iron Mountain stores and protects billions of information assets, including critical business documents, electronic information, medical data and cultural and historical artifacts. Visit www.ironmountain.com for more information.