The information management field prioritizes numerous types of information assets, but federal IT professionals feel they may not be adequately prepared to address future prioritization requirements, according to a recent survey by Iron Mountain Incorporated.
Iron Mountain’s report, “Constructing the Next Generation Information Management Professional,” was conducted by market research company Market Connections, Inc. and is based on an online survey which polled 200 federal employees involved in record and data management for their organization.
Organizations represented included civilian government, the Department of Defense (DOD), and members of the intelligence community.
The survey’s findings revealed that while 46 percent of these professionals believe managing multiple format information assets will remain a strong priority, they feel unprepared to properly handle such expectations. Other areas for improvement were polled as well.
“Projects related to data privacy, records/information management and data analytics are perceived to be in the greatest demand for agencies over the next three to five years,” the report stated. “Risk management is most often cited as an area for improvement. This is followed by electronic records retention and records and information management practices.”
By sharing respondent’s feedback, it is hoped that gaps can be better defined and it can be determined where improvements are most necessary and crucial.
“This survey provides an important view into the state of federal records and information management, both where the government is now in terms of capabilities and, more importantly, where agencies need to focus their information management practices in the future,” said Michael J. Lewis, vice president and general manager, Iron Mountain Government Services.
The survey additionally requested feedback on what technical or project management skills would be beneficial for professionals to build.
Results show that 32 percent of respondents identified working to guarantee compliance as the skill set with the strongest impact, 54 percent identified risk management/security/data privacy as a desired skill, and 52 percent highlighted information security as a technical skill in demand.
In an exclusive statement to Homeland Security Today, Tyler Morris, Director of Product Management at Iron Mountain, said “This survey highlights the need for agencies to look more broadly and determine the most effective approach to managing all of their information – both physical and digital – in order to limit risks and drive value from that information. That said, the skills required to do so are the same skills that the survey results indicated were in demand.”
Morris added, “In order to meet the information management requirements of the future, government information professionals are goingto need to hone their ability to manage risk, security and privacy, as well as integrate analytics, enhance electronic records retention and strengthen core records and information management capabilities.”
Survey findings have led to the following report recommendations, which encourage concentration on efforts to close gaps and boost preparedness:
- Evangelize a more holistic approach to information management, and prepare to sell it internally;
- Meet the demand for specialized skills with a focus on information security, quality management and analytics;
- Focus on soft and technical skills in need of improvement, and understand why improvement is needed; Leverage the knowledge and mentoring skills of older staff before they retire;
- Provide professional development training in the formats employees most prefer;
- Create a forum for the sharing of ideas and best practices.
Knowing what gaps need to be filled and what skills are needed to fill them, can help leaders to strategically plan while data management professionals refine and grow their knowledge base. Collectively, putting appropriate efforts in place now can lead to future information management success.