Giant NMCI records deal set

Records management — long derided as a federal mandate without a budget — received a huge boost June 22.

Electronic Data Systems Corp. officials were getting ready to sign a records management subcontract with Australia-based Tower Software to add the company's software to its $6.9 billion Navy Marine Corps Intranet procurement.

"This obviously dwarfs anything else in records management," said Frank McGovern, president of Tower Software. EDS apparently will use Tower to supply electronic documents and records management software to 360,000 Navy Department users through the NMCI procurement.

How was the department able to fund records management? It didn't have to pay for it directly. Department officials required the winning NMCI vendor to provide desktop records management software to all users, McGovern said. That requirement made the vendor — EDS — pay for the software and deployment and ensure that it works.

If EDS eventually calls on Tower Software to provide services, the subcontract could be worth more than $100 million over the next eight years, McGovern said.

The Defense Information Systems Agency's Joint Interoperability Test Command at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., has certified Tower Software's TRIM under the Defense Department's 5015.2 records management standard. Like the other 5015.2-certified software, TRIM gives a unique code to each record and identifies records that have to be delivered to the National Archives and Records Administration, and it notifies users when they can destroy particular records.

EDS and the Navy Department will be able to assign administrator and security privileges for records management to particular users, McGovern said. TRIM will enable the department to archive e-mail messages and attachments, as well as paper records, financial management documents and documents in Microsoft Corp. PowerPoint, Word and other applications, he said.

McGovern said he didn't know how EDS was going to store the records. "We just delivered to the table a tool," he said. "How they use it is up to the folks responsible for the deployment."

Tower Software's next-largest enterprise customer has 10,000 users, but McGovern said that "the skills are the same" for a larger enterprise like the Navy Department, so his company and its software will be up to the NMCI challenge.

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