Pages:8 (2465 words)
Document Type:Implementation Paper
Technology Proposal/Implementation Paper
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) remains a vital entity in as far as the provision of key services to veterans in the country is concerned. The Veteran Benefits Administration (VBA), to a large extent, concerns itself with the administration of U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’ programs. This is more so the case with regard to the provision or advancement of various forms of support to not only veterans and survivors, but also their dependents. Towards this end, some of the main programs that VBA administers include, but they are not limited to; pension and compensation, rehabilitation and employment, loan guaranty, and insurance. In the year 2016, the National Archives and Records Administration (2016) released a records management inspection report which was categorical that “the VA Records Management Program lacks several basic records management fundamentals.” The relevance of VA records cannot be overstated when it comes to veterans’ benefits government accountability. In that regard, therefore, it would be prudent to implement a robust electronic records management system.
B: Fit for the Organization
It is important to note that “the mission of VBA, in partnership with VHA and NCA, is to provide benefits and services to Veterans and their families in a responsive, timely and compassionate manner in recognition of their service to the nation” (Veteran Affairs, 2012). To a large extent, the relevance of accountability, efficiency, and effectiveness in the promotion of veteran wellbeing cannot be overstated. The keeping of meaningful, proper, and accessible records happens to be in line with this mandate. However, in an assessment of VA’s records management conducted in the year 2016 by the National Archives and Records Administration (2016), it was found that “the VA has a large volume of unscheduled records, particularly those residing in electronic information systems.” In that regard, therefore, it would be prudent to implement a robust electronic records management system. Aziz, Mohammad, Mokhtar & Ambari (2017) point out that “electronic document and records management system (EDRMS) is designed to enable organizations to manage their documents and records throughout their life cycle” (10733). The authors further observe that EDRMS ought to be considered critical infrastructure when it comes to the protection of valuable information and the efficient utilization of the same at the organizational or agency level. It therefore follows that a robust, efficient, and effective records management system would come in handy in seeking to further advance the mission of VBA.
C: Implementation Plan
The implementation plan highlighted herein is firmly rooted on the fact that the implementation of a robust electronic records management system is a rather complex process that ought to be managed in a deliberate and effective manner. Towards this end, the various stages of the implementation process will be highlighted below:
I. Roadmap Formulation
In as far as the implementation of electronic records management system is concerned, the most critical tasks will be inclusive of: implementation committee recruitment; estimation of implementation costs; data migration; undertaking of testing activities; and evaluation. This is, in essence, the roadmap that defines the entire implementation plan.
II. Setting Up of an Electronic Records Management (ERM) Implementation Committee
The said committee will in this case comprise of several committee tasks – with those in each role/task being players in the various stakeholder groups identified: i.e. sponsor stakeholder group; end-user stakeholder group; solution development stakeholder group; implementation stakeholder group; and evaluation stakeholder group. Key committee tasks will be inclusive of project manager, program office advocates, application analyst, and super users. The last group comprises of those who will be the early adopters of the ERM system.
III. Cost Estimation
Figure 1.0 below highlights some of the most critical cost elements in as far as the implementation of the ERM system is concerned.
Hardware and software requirements
ERM vendor consultancy (for customization)
Training fees (payable to vendor)
Cloud ERM costs – relating to storage and backup
IV. Data Migration
Some of the most important undertakings in this case will be inclusive of:
a) Converting hardcopy records into e-records
b) Verification of data
c) Creation of an ERM database
d) Transfer of the relevant data to the ERM system
e) Legacy data verification and testing
V. User Training
The relevance of user training in the implementation process cannot be overstated. Lack of training is likely to result in unsatisfactory user adoption of the ERM system. Training will in this case be limited to several factors and/or considerations. Therefore, in this regard, we shall have role-based training buttressed by an…
…“non-compliant with various aspects of 36 CFR Chapter XII, Subchapter B.” There is need to ensure that the records management program at VBA does not go contrary to the best practices in as far as agency records creation, maintenance, and access are concerned.
Next, with the adoption of a robust electronic records management (ERM), VBA will have backups that are more reliable. At present, the document management practices at VBA leave the agency exposed to permanent content loss in some unique scenarios. Third, the project proposed will result in enhanced document control and security at VBA. Some of the records that the agency handles happen to be extremely sensitive – effectively meaning that it would be imperative to ensure that the data/information contained therein is not accessed by unauthorized third parties. This is more so the case when it comes to veteran financial records, rehabilitation data, compensation claim files, medical records, etc. With the adoption of superior security practices and implementation of sound controls, all this info would be safe from even the most sophisticated of hackers. This is more so the case given that in addition to the standard unauthorized access barriers, robust electronic records management (ERM) would also have embed audit trails.
E: Measurement Plan
There are several metrics that I would use to measure the effectiveness of the technology following its implementation. It is important to note that of key relevance on this front is whether the technology solution is technically sound, whether it was achieved on budget, and whether it was completed on time. Two of the metrics, i.e. adherence to schedule and budget would come in handy in the evaluation of implementation success. The technical soundness of the technology solution, on the other hand, would be of great relevance in the measurement of the effectiveness of the technology following implementation. In this case, the concern would be whether the technology solution has achieved the relevant technical objectives. Stakeholder satisfaction could also be taken into consideration on this front. This is more so the case when taking into consideration the potential needs as well as interests of specific stakeholder groups as has been highlighted elsewhere in this text.
In the final analysis, it should be noted that there are a wide range of key services as well as benefits provided by Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) to not only veterans, but…
Aziz, A.A., Mohammad Y., Mokhtar, U.A. & Ambari, D.I. (2017). Establishing Policy for the Implementation of Electronic Document and Records Management System in Public Sector in Malaysia: The Influencing Factors. Advanced Science Letters, 23(11), 10732-10736.
National Archives and Records Administration (2016). Department of Veterans Affairs Records Management Program: Records Management Inspection Report. Retrieved from https://www.archives.gov/files/records-mgmt/pdf/va-2016-inspection.pdf
U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (2020). About VBA. Retrieved from https://www.benefits.va.gov/BENEFITS/about.asp
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