e-Records 2023 – For the Win: Records and Data – Session Recap #2

Conference brand for e-Records 2023 is image of soccer ball striking back of goal. The conference theme is "For the Win! Records and Data."

Thank you for tuning in for the second post recapping the e-Records 2023 sessions.

Also see our previous post: e-Records 2023 Session Recap #1

Hiring, Retaining, and Reskilling Your Workforce

by: Megan Carey

The first session of the day was a panel discussion lead by the self-titled “future of HR” moderator Lisa Jammer (Texas Department of Information Resources). Panelists LaDawn Gray (Health and Human Services Commission), Beth West (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality), and Isela Mata (Texas Department of Insurance) tackled post-COVID challenges faced by organizations in attracting talent, retaining and caring for staff once hired, and presented actionable solutions to consider.

With Jammer moderating, the panel covered changes they have observed and how their agencies responded:

  • Challenge: Increased turnover and talent seeking something different that allows work-life balance/integration.
    • Response: Revamping agency policy and procedure to enable remote work where possible to address retention of employes. Recognizing staff skills and talents and considering them for positions that emphasize their strengths. Addressing career path development and mentorship.
  • Challenge: Mental health struggles and wellness issues exacerbated by virtual meeting fatigue.
    • Response: Educating staff on remote work tools and employee wellness support (EAP). An HR emphasis on training and empowering supervisors and managers to focus on leading and serving their employees.

The panel also addressed the perception of public service and government work and the impact it has on recruitment (both active and passive). They encouraged attendees to seek opportunities to “re-brand” by improving their image and reputation through website and social media presence, using language and photos to highlight their agency culture and the meaningful work of the agency.

All those who participated were open and eager to assist and provide guidance to attendees—reach out to them today for further insight and information.

Google Cloud Document AI : Unlocking the Potential of Government Data

by: Raul Gonzalez

In this session, Keith Athey from Google acknowledged that the volume of information is increasing at the same time that the methods of keeping information are evolving. There has been a shift from rudimentary recordkeeping into a universal acceptance of forms. As forms have become the norm, record managers invest in scanning and content management systems to store these records. However, with the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI), record keeping systems can operate at a higher level than simple organization and retrieval.

AI can review a document and induce relationships between keywords, like correlation, clustering, and association. Users can enlist AI to create a database from a document type, which can facilitate the creation of new reports or records. For example, AI can facilitate information-gathering to create a Budgetary Impact Analysis. In the past, it was assumed that AI for documents was just glorified Optimal Character Recognition (OCR) but imagine a scenario where a 500-page document needs to be read. Users can ask Google’s Document AI to analyze that document and provide a summary.

A Better Way to Get Repetitive Work Done: A Primer on Robotic Process Automation

by: Sebastian Loza

Hailing from UT Austin, Hyeeyoung Kim, digital archivist, and Elista Street, training coordinator for MS365 tools, spoke about the tools available to automate those repetitive tasks your office may already have. While automating sounds like it requires in-depth coding knowledge to be effective, Kim noted that it is easier than we might think thanks to MS265’s built-in components that can be combined to establish automatic processes with little to no coding at all! But what kind of system can you implement with these accessible components?

Street presented a case study of request forms. This process had several steps: it started with someone filling out the form, sending it to an approval committee, sending reminders to parties involved, keeping a sheet to track decisions made, and finally sending emails to those who were impacted by those decisions. This repeated each time a new form was filled out. With the help of automation, they were able to set up a system that would update the necessary fields, tracking sheets, and automatically send out emails. The form is completed online via questionnaire and then the system automatically completes the form with the context given by the requester.

Automation requires some work to set up, however the presenters pointed out that it saves time, there are less buttons to press, and those reviewing the forms only need to look at the relevant areas. This efficiency will empower control over your records. It reduces friction by making the form easier to fill and read, reduces opportunity for human error (like forgetting to send something out), and it helps your IT department since they don’t have to come up with solutions from nothing and can instead work with prebuilt components in MS365.

The Wins of Change: Using Organizational Change Management to Increase the Odds of Success in Data Governance

by: Erica Wilson-Lang

In their session, Gareth Cales and Eric Keck of ISF lead a presentation and panel discussion with Amberle Carter, Chief Data Officer with Texas Department of Family and Protective Services; Phillip Bays, IT Corporate Manager with City of Austin Public Health; and Tammi Powell, Data Officer with Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. Cales and Keck began by giving a definition of Organizational Change Management (OCM). At the project level, it is the application of a structured process and set of tools for leading the people side of change to achieve a desired outcome. At the organizational level, OCM is a leadership competency for enabling change within an organization. But what does OCM have to do with data governance? Well, any efforts to upgrade technologies, implement new systems, etc. will have a people aspect that will be aided by policies and procedures, training, changes to the workforce, etc. The panel provided tips to make a technology initiative successful, including meeting people where they are, employing frequent and open communication about the project and expectations, and integrating the goals with project management techniques.

Data Driven Decision Making

by: Raul Gonzalez

Sarah Hendricks and Matthew Milliken of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) recognize that there can be existing data that is unidentified or unreachable, which can be defined as “Dark Data.” Dark Data is created when the user does not capture or record complete information, leaving behind valuable insight that could otherwise benefit the agency legally or through increased efficiency. Hendricks states that “today’s record is tomorrow’s headline” and uses this as motivation to address missing data.

By using policy, outreach, and their current toolset (Microsoft Office Suite and SharePoint), Hendricks and Milliken gather detailed records audit data from various departments at DPS and visualize the data using Tableau. With this method, they are able to see exactly what record type, record series, volume, space usage, and disposition the departments are working with. By taking this data and manipulating it into a graphic, it is much easier for them to obtain buy-in and show proof when communicating with a department. In one situation, the team noticed an inconsistency in one of the departments. It was clear the department was either not sharing their full records usage or under-reporting their records management. The team was able to provide outreach and training to identify records and data in the department, shedding light on some of the Dark Data lurking in their organization.

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