About the Digital Records Transformation Initiative

The future of Australian Government records management has been a topic of discussion and debate across the Australian Public Service (APS) and external electronic digital records management systems (EDRMS) vendors for many years.

The Digital Records Transformation Initiative (the Initiative) is an Australian Public Service (APS) wide initiative focused on supporting the development of modernised digital records and information capability across Australian Government non-corporate commonwealth entities. The Government has agreed to modernise the common function of recordkeeping by taking advantage of new technologies, particularly those that automate the capture and classification of records.

Background

  • On the request of the Deputy Secretaries’ Efficiency Working Group, a Pre-Feasibility Study was undertaken by a newly established Digital Records Management Working Group, which found there was sufficient commonality of the records management business process pattern across agencies to undertake a Feasibility Study into a Whole of Government EDRMS solution.
  • October 2015: Finance commenced a Feasibility Study (to examine the business, technical and financial costs and benefits of a Whole of Government EDRMS. The Study focused on EDRMS that manage an agency’s unstructured data. A major finding of the Study was that industry, users and the records management profession agreed that current records management practices are not sustainable due to the rapid growth of government data. To effectively manage this growth, recordkeeping should happen automatically in the background, rather than being the responsibility of end-users.
  • Early 2016: Finance undertook a Request for Information with the purpose of understanding innovation within the records management industry. The results of this activity indicated that industry was not yet developing a service capable of automating records management in the Government context.
  • September 2017: Finance hosted a series of Market Days to investigate the records management industry’s capabilities to provide a whole of government platform based on the proposed approach found in the Position Paper on the Indicative Strategy for the Development of a Whole of Government Digital Records Platform. Key strengths demonstrated included connectivity to external systems, automation using rules-based approaches, and the move in the market towards microservices architecture. Apparent gaps were around the support for a machine learning auto-classification approach and support for ontology management, which are key to the proposed approach. The panel found that automation capabilities were mainly demonstrated through rules-based classification rather than through Artificial Intelligence technologies.
  • Early 2018: Finance undertook a 12-week Demonstration of Concept (the Demonstration) to test the concept of automating records capture and categorisation via machine learning and semantic data technologies. It tested some concepts gained from market days, industry engagement, initiatives in other jurisdictions and studies that formed part of the Initiative.
    Through the Demonstration, it was concluded that while the Government is best placed to describe its functions, industry is working towards automation and would be best placed to provide the digital records management systems that would be compatible with the government-developed Australian Government Records Interoperability Framework (AGRIF).
  • November 2018: Finance released the Digital Records Transformation Initiative – Sourcing Strategy Discussion Paper. More information is available here.

For further information, please contact: digitalrecordstransformation@finance.gov.au.

Last updated: 04 December 2018