Survey Finds Support for Presidential Records Management Memorandum

Eighty-five percent of companies surveyed say they favor President Obama’s memorandum.

  • July 30, 2012
  • SDB Staff

A survey conducted for Boston-based Iron Mountain has found that 85 percent of respondents favor President Obama’s November 2011 records management memorandum.

The survey, Managing Government Records, also asked federal records managers how confident they were with their current programs and processes, how important adopting new technologies such as cloud applications would be for the future of records management and what future impact the President’s Memorandum would have on the managing federal records.
The survey was conducted in anticipation of a July 31, 2012, federal directive from the White House and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
The memorandum calls for agencies to cut costs and aid public access to records.
The survey also has found that respondents are less confidence in their ability to manage digital data and to use newer technologies such as cloud storage—two of the central areas marked for improvement in the memorandum.
The survey sought to understand records managers’ attitudes toward the memorandum and the overall health of their current programs as well as to identify their concerns for the pending directive. Key findings include:
  • 85 percent of respondents said they personally supported the president’s memorandum,and 93 percent said their agencies have prioritized improving records management processes.
  • 100 percent of respondents indicated they were “strong” when it came to protecting records, and 97 percent said they were “strong” when it came to complying with the Federal Records Act.
  • Only 9 percent said they were “very strong” when it came to using cloud-based applications, and only 51 percent indicate they are comfortable in their ability  to store and manage electronic data.
  • Federal records management teams that partnered with other departments, such as IT and legal, had higher confidence in the effectiveness of their records management practices than those who didn’t partner.
  • 71 percent cited a need for training as their top concern, while 68 and 61 percent named staff and budget resources, respectively, as additional worries.
“The results support what we’ve been hearing from federal records managers,” Sue Trombley, Iron Mountain managing director of consulting, says. “They have embraced the presidential memorandum and rightly see it as an opportunity to further improve their programs. While the requirements and mandates outlined in the memorandum are significant, it has become clear that broader, cultural changes will need to take place before government organizations are fully prepared to comply with the forthcoming federal directive. The directive encourages federal agencies to take the necessary steps to make those changes, including developing a strategic plan, collaborating with key stakeholders, embracing new technology, committing to training and education and aligning with industry partners, all helping to shape the future of records management.”
The survey, conducted by KRC Research, interviewed 100 federal workers involved with records management at their agencies.