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How Agencies Are Wasting Space and Money on Documents Blog Feature
Kevin Lancaster

By: Kevin Lancaster on November 1st, 2012

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How Agencies Are Wasting Space and Money on Documents

GSA Schedule | Government | Technology | Resources and Insight | Contracts | 1 Min Read

It is no mystery cloud migration has captured the attention of government agencies and government contractors the past several years. Agencies are required to find new innovative ways to save resources, be more efficient, and maintain security standards and are at very different stages in their development towards a mature IT portfolio and cloud environment. One of the biggest challenges facing agencies today is how to migrate legacy systems and documents to cloud infrastructure and ensure they are retrievable.

Agencies are wasting money on storage and server space for millions of paper and digital files. In a fiscal era where every dollar counts, document management and consolidation is taking center stage in the IT community and contractors should recognize this as a complement to cloud infrastructure. A key feature of document management is scanning all legacy paper documents into digital documents. This requires agencies be mindful of the size of digital documents and make sure they can be opened properly on all computers and are fully retrievable.

PDF/A is the archiving standard for digital documents. The International Organization for Standardization has named PDF/A the accepted format for universal document sharing. Have you ever tried to email someone a document and they were unable to open it for formatting reasons? PDF/A standardization ensures files are compatible with all computers. The next step in increasing efficiency is compressing these documents down to 1/100th the original to reduce server and cloud storage.

As agencies move at a snail’s pace towards a long term goal cloud virtualization, many are looking at ways to reduce cloud storage capacity and save money. The optimization of scanned documents and images is a simple, non-invasive process that is fully customizable. An excellent example of an agency struggling with document management is the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and sub-agency the Veterans Benefits Administration with 57 regional offices. An inspection conducted by the VA Office of Inspector General found inadequate storage, inadvertent loss and misplacement of files, and unsafe storage methods in VBA offices. The sheer volume of paper records was incomprehensible. More information on this report can be found here.

This is one example where agencies physical document storage was limited and security compromised. One solution for the VA and agencies facing similar challenges is to scan all paper documents into PDF/A format, compress down by 100 times, store virtually, easily migrate to a cloud environment, and retrieve at any point. This is a long term solution with relatively minimal implementation costs. The future of cloud infrastructure starts with confronting the issue of legacy documents and choosing the most cost effective path in document management.


About Kevin Lancaster

Kevin Lancaster leads Winvale’s corporate growth strategies in both the commercial and government markets. He develops and drives solutions to meet Winvale’s business goals while enabling an operating model to help staff identify and respond to emerging trends that affect both Winvale and the clients it serves. He is integrally involved in all aspects of managing the firm’s operations and workforce, leading efforts to improve productivity, profitability, and customer satisfaction.

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