New Zealand's chief archivist Richard Foy is investigating the impact of Office 365 and other Microsoft technologies on government record-keeping.
Archives New Zealand, Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga's first digital report on the state of government record-keeping, released today, includes the results of a survey of information management practice of public offices and local authorities.
It also flags an investigation into the use and impact of Office 365, which is being adopted at pace across government.
The majority of government information is now created and managed within a Microsoft technology environment, the report said. That includes Office 365 and other Microsoft applications, including SharePoint Online.
"Forming a view on how Office 365 might positively or negatively impact on effective public information management is a key part of our work in 2018/19," the report said.
The project has already identified productive areas for further work.
"This research is continuing to investigate Office 365’s potential to change how organisations create and maintain records; how enduring access to information is assured; how government information can be used and re-used within and across organisations over time; and how the timely and effective transfer and/or destruction of information is done," the report explained.
"We will continue to work alongside information management personnel, and Microsoft, to ensue Office 365 and similar products are procured and utilised in a way that enhances government information management."
The survey helped define the key challenges for information management in government (see chart below).
Among other challenges mentioned were the roll-out of Office 365, the transition to digital, lack of awareness/technology literacy amongst users and shadow IT and alternative tools.
Foy said Archives was one of the most important institutions for our democracy.
"It’s our role to ensure that effective and trusted information management enables past, current and future governments can be held to account," he wrote in his foreword.
"To me, Archives’ essential role in enabling government accountability is epitomised by our involvement in the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions.
"Our work with the Royal Commission, and the agencies responding to it, is helping them manage and digitise their historic public records to support the inquiry’s work."
This year's report was released digitally to demonstrated Archives' commitment to easier, digital access to information.
The State of Government Recordkeeping 2018/2019 report highlights important work such as the information management survey of 254 organisations, the Open Government Partnership (an international agreement by governments to create greater transparency), the development of an information management audit programme, disposal transformation and looking at Office 365 with good information management practice in mind.
“The survey’s findings will feed into improving information management systems across government,” Foy said.
“I also very much hope our shining a spotlight on the information management performance of the public sector will elevate the mana and importance of those whose role includes information management – traditionally an under-resourced and under-valued role.”