Part 2: Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) – The Need for Redaction

Last week I posted a write-up on how document capture helps agencies respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Because FOIA requests continue to be paper intensive and requires searching for paper documents to satisfy a request, many agencies are making investments into document imaging for the purpose of turning paper into electronic information that can be quickly searched on, accessed, and delivered to the requestor electronically rather than through the mailing of paper documents.

How you turn paper into electronic information is the basis of what the goal is. But let’s not forget one key requirement which is how you will handle the redaction of sensitive data before sending those digital document images out. 

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Document Capture Helps Agencies Respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request

For those not familiar with FOIA, it stands for Freedom of Information Act, and helps create transparency between government and the public. For example, a citizen may request safety records of a nursing homes or information about bids for capital equipment purchases or other large expenditures. For some agencies, these request can number in the thousands per year and results in millions of documents being delivered.

Challenges with responding to FOIA requests

FOIA requests continue to be paper intensive and requires searching of electronic and paper documents to satisfy a request.  This has created some serious inefficiencies within agencies when responding to these FOIA requests including:

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Leveraging Capture Shared Services throughout the Organization

Repost: I wrote this blog post for the AIIM Capture Community. You can view it there as well.

I just got back from visiting with a couple large EMC customers, and one topic we discussed was the concept of building a shared services model to support their use of document capture.  Each customer was at a different stage – one had several capture projects in production that involved capturing highly regulated business documents along with non-sensitive documents, whereas the other client was just rolling out their first few document capture projects.  In both cases, a common goal is to leverage their capture investment across many parts of the business, ultimately creating a shared services model for capture.

For some organizations, to get to a shared services model will require standardizing on one enterprise capture platform and moving away from managing several capture products across the organization. The goal being to eliminate the maintenance and support requirements and costs, that go along with having multiple products which frequently provide overlapping technology.

The back office mailroom represents one of the key areas where capture is used today, and from a logistical shared services model, provides a facility where centralized capture can be deployed and expanded as new business units and processes are brought online. On the other hand, pushing capture to the front-office is what many businesses are trying to do with their most critical business processes, but this can introduce other complexities and decisions that need to be made when building out a shared services model that supports distributed capture.

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