For better or for worse, we live in a world that is highly digital. When I’m at a restaurant and someone is on a cell phone at the next table, I lean towards thinking it’s for the worse. But when I think of all the advances made in information access, communication, and collaboration - and how this has improved our daily lives - I think the digital world is a great place.
It’s interesting when I talk with people about the role digital transformation and modernization is playing in their lives. For some, it’s access to better healthcare and advanced medical treatments. For others, it’s the power to get the next “hot thing” delivered to your doorstep the next day via Amazon.
I have the great fortune to work in both the technology and government sectors. I’m the child of a military officer and was also a military and government agency spouse for many years. So when I think of some of the biggest technology challenges affecting our government, I think of how they affect me as a citizen, how they affect agencies and their employees, and most importantly, the men and women who serve our country.
For example, I’m pretty sure that everyone knows what cybersecurity is and why it is important. It protects information from falling into the wrong hands. What’s interesting to me is that most people don’t stop to consider that protecting information starts well before the firewall technology.
Data? Content? Does it Matter?
It begins with being able to effectively manage, store, and govern information. Call it data, content, whatever you like - the terminology all sort of overlaps and blurs together and it’s all the same, right? Well, not really. Did you know that more than 80% of data is what is referred to as unstructured data? All your documents, pictures, videos, texts, social posts, emails, etc. – that is all unstructured data – aka CONTENT.
Here’s some fun facts to help put into context why this next part is so important. 90% of the digital data that exists today was created in the past two years. Additionally, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created each day - with that total number expected to double every year. And more than 80% of that is content.
So why is this important? It is important because there isn’t a function in government – from planning a military mission to getting you a tax refund – that does not require the use of content of some type. And what’s problematic is that most agencies use a multitude of different systems for storing and managing content - many of which are costly, outdated, and inefficient legacy systems. This means it’s often a slow, arduous, and painful experience for employees to find the information they need to effectively do their jobs. And although efforts are being made to modernize by adding a cloud system like Box or AWS for storage, patchwork approaches like these won’t truly modernize the way an agency manages and uses content effectively.
Modernize While Leveraging Existing Systems
To truly transform, agencies need to stop trying to add band aids and one-off solutions to their monolithic legacy systems and look at modern platforms that act as a centralized information hub to harmonize information management across the agency. This approach enables workers to quickly access content residing within existing systems and content repositories, while ensuring leadership maintains strict control and security over confidential information.
It’s this type of modern approach that will enable government agencies to better serve their employees and constituents, so they can in turn effectively serve citizens and the men and women who serve our nation (yes, I used “serve” a lot there because it’s relevant - it’s the foundation of government).
In my next post, I’ll explore what a modern approach to content management using a Content Services Platform looks like, different ways it can be used, and how it can help agencies:
- Extract critical business knowledge
- Improve operational efficiency
- Achieve faster time-to-value and lower costs
- Enhance the citizen experience
- Meet regulatory and compliance requirements