Meet the Software Company Helping the Federal Government Digitize Its Documents

By the end of the year, your image of what government agency offices look like may no longer involve a maze of filing cabinets.

After December, all federal government agency records must be created, managed and stored electronically.

And where there is a mandate requiring electronic documents, there is always software that follows closely behind. A company, IBM, has been at the forefront of digitization since its inception by doing the same for airline tickets. Now it has released a new tool, known as capture suiteto help agencies digitize their documents in accordance with the Federal Agencies Digital Orientation Initiative (FADGI). This tool builds on the Birmingham, Alabama-based company’s ongoing work with several federal agencies in DC.

FADGI, which was launched in 2007, has established measurable goals for the digitization of documents, archives and other historical documents. They measure qualities as varied as cover file specifications, color encoding, data storage, physical environment, backup strategies, metadata, and workflow on a scale of 1 to 4 ( the higher, the better). Getting a rating of 3 means a document is of good enough digital quality that you can sufficiently extract and archive all of its information.

Or, as vice president of IBMl Susheel Jean In other words, the document is sufficient not only for the warrant requirement, but also for the original to be destroyed.

“Nobody needs to store these physical documents if it’s not legally required for some reason,” John said. “You no longer need to physically store them and you can destroy them.”

Using a mixture of hardware and software developed in C#, Ibml converts documents such as land records, mortgages and others that are typically rendered in legal or A3 size (the software is not typically used for larger documents such as maps). The Ibml software recognizes a document, extracts the information and then makes it available.

John calls it a “smart scanner” because it can understand abstract information. Typically, he said, IBM customers have a minimum of around 30,000 records or documents that they try to scan daily; This amounts to around 700 pages per minute.

Sushiel John. (Courtesy picture)

“Digital transformation has become a priority in the thought process for everyone, whether you’re in government or not,” John said. “There are so many benefits to doing this.”

According to John, this process offers several benefits to federal agencies beyond what the terms of reference suggest. Digitizing records enables virtual workflows and helps employees work faster, he said. He also believes documents will be better protected because while there is less chance of people having access to a physical record, digital documents can be protected with cybersecurity locks and keys. There is also potential for increased transparency as documents that do not need to be protected can be posted online for voters to view. And more transparency, hopefully, means more accountability and better government.

“Overall, processes and operations within governments are improving and you are able to develop better service to the customers themselves,” John said.


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