For federal government agencies, records and information management is an important part of their everyday work. They must comply with directives and memorandums for record retention and classification. This is partly to enable them to respond to the continuous stream of FOIA requests that many government agencies receive. When FOIA request is received, government agencies must be capable of producing all records concerning the issue in question. This is where a modern FOIA software solution can help.
Manual processes of handling FOIA requests is both labor-intensive and time-consuming. Searching and reviewing documents to identify the material in the classification guidelines is a difficult and complex process. And, proper document marking can take up to several weeks. The truth is that managing, searching, and sharing documents efficiently costs the government money and time. These inefficiencies result in an inability to respond to FOIA requests in time, increased time spent on searching and accessing relevant data, and can jeopardize government compliance.
Armedia’s FOIA Software Solution helps government agencies eliminate FOIA bottlenecks and find and access the data they need quickly and cost-effectively. Our FOIA Software Solution provides automatic generation of compound term metadata and significantly improves access to unstructured data. With a wide range of tools for searching, metadata generation, and classification, agencies that seek to reduce costs, access to unstructured data, and facilitate the management, can now achieve significant improvements.
FOIA Challenges That Government Agencies Are Facing
As we’ve mentioned before, the challenge of managing, searching, finding, and sharing information on time costs the government money and time. Some of the issues regarding these challenges include:
- Information retrieval in files, document management systems, and e-mail servers at the local level lowers the quality of information in the FOIA response.
- The items that are still open after 20 days, increase the average cost of processing.
- Inability to satisfy stakeholder and citizen requirements in a timely manner places additional burdens on the employees to meet the increasing information access requests of different constituents.
- Responding to FOIA requests on time and ensuring government compliance is a complex and costly process. The classification/declassification process is usually inefficient and requires fairly big human resources and escalating costs for managing.
- As the FOIA requests increase in volume, the government agencies are facing escalating costs for managing and integrating information and large backlogs of FOIA requests.
Modern FOIA Software Solutions for Government Agencies
Over the past years, technology has significantly reshaped the FOIA industry, affecting every single thing from the document format to the means by which documents are reviewed and stored. Adapting processes to use the tech advancements has enabled FOIA agencies to decrease response times and increase transparency while becoming more organized and efficient.
Armedia has created the FOIA Software Solution – a flexible, feature-rich, open source case management system to help agencies easily, quickly, and successfully handle FOIA requests. Armedia’s FOIA software solution is specifically designed to help agencies automate, manage, search, and analyze incoming requests. With its modern approach, this FOIA solution will help agencies capture incoming FOIA requests and process incoming mailed and fax requests. Once the request is submitted, it will be automatically sent for processing to the adequate queue and reported as a business record. Also, citizens whose requests were denied can use Armedia’s FOIA Software Solution to submit an appeal.
With extensive experience in designing and implementing case management systems and with the help of ArkCase, Ephesoft, Alfresco, and AWS, Armedia can deliver FOIA software solutions that will help any agency increase its productivity, reduce costs, and deliver FOIA responses in a timely manner.
Gains of Implementing FOIA Software Solution
Implementing FOIA software solution will help government agencies become agiler, reduce workforce and costs, and increase productivity while handling FOIA requests. Some of the gains include:
- Significantly improved search for identifying concepts within content (regardless of where the content resides).
- Facilitating re-classification and declassification of documents, decreasing costs, and increasing productivity.
- Ability to better handle stakeholder and citizen FOIA requests reducing the internal costs.
- Increasing the accuracy and speed of processing FOIA requests.
- Reducing costs and time spent on discovery and legal requests.
- Reducing costs and time needed for fulfilling FOIA requests.
- Reducing backlogs of requests.
With Armedia’s FOIA software solution, your agency will experience significant gains in accuracy, efficiency, and visibility when responding to citizens and stakeholders requests.
Now, let’s see how implementing modern FOIA software solution will reduce your agency’s costs…
1. Aggregate Cost Saving
In addition to the gains we mentioned above, a modern FOIA software solution offers government agencies considerable aggregate costs savings. Even though ongoing paper management costs may not resemble as separate points in agency’s budget, they still exist and are compounded as paper records grow. Conversely, a great portion of these costs can be reduced by implementing FOIA software solution. With investing in FOIA software solution, government agencies can gain significant cost savings and productivity improvements.
2. Variable Cost Saving
FOIA Software Solution can help government agencies minimize costs by reducing storage expenses and fees for items like printing and paper. If the agency examines the variable costs connected to printing alone, it can be quite a good reason to justify the utilization of digitalized documents.
Government agencies that will reduce the costs of record handling (even by a cent per record) can gain immediate variable cost saving. For instance, if we assume that printing cost per page is $0.05, by eliminating 100 “boxes” of records (each containing 2.000 pages), government agencies can easily save $10.000. Also, by digitalizing FOIA requests, productivity will also be improved since the staff will more quickly become able to respond to those requests by accessing data electronically, rather than manually.
3. Indirect Cost Saving
Facilitating easy access to information can help government agencies streamline responses to FOIA records. Additionally, providing information required for responding to FOIA requests will no longer take up significant staff time. Easier access to records needed for responding to FOIA requests also improves productivity by removing the need to copy and forward documents to multiple clerks for review and approval.
Let’s Wrap Up
Government Agencies can significantly improve the speed of responding to FOIA requests while also significantly reduce the cost of handling and providing access to government public record if they implement FOIA Software Solution and transition to entirely digital records. This is where Armedia’s FOIA Software Solution steps in…
As FOIA requests increase in volume, government agencies can benefit by streamlining their FOIA response processes. By utilizing Armedia’s FOIA Software Solution, agencies can respond to FOIA requests more quickly and save money and time while meeting regulatory deadlines. While helping in reducing costs, our FOIA Software Solution will also help government agencies create a better deliverable, with more consistent results and improved processes.
Today, the processes of handling FOIA requests that used to take days and weeks can be completed in hours and even minutes with implementing modern FOIA Software Solution. Government agencies will significantly reduce their costs, improve services, increase efficiency, and enhance transparency. In addition to process efficiencies and cost savings, agencies can increase document security and will be protected from data loss.
Please contact us in the comments section below if you have any questions or concerns. Share this article on your social networks and help your colleagues realize why they need a modern FOIA Software Solution.