Army enlists e-records aid

The U.S. Army Recruiting Command announced last week that it had selected an electronic document management solution that would automate the paper-intensive process associated with attracting recruits and tracking their progress toward enlistment.

With e-RecordsManager, a joint product of Documentum Inc. and Impact Systems Inc., the recruiting command will consolidate its off-line and online records to help more than 600 guidance counselors manage and access personnel records to help recruits find their niche. The new system also helps the command meet the Defense Department's recordkeeping requirements.

The command's headquarters at Fort Knox, Ky., provides command, control and staff support to the recruiting force — more than 7,200 active and reserve component recruiters working out of more than 1,600 recruiting stations across the United States and overseas.

The recruiting and enlistment process has traditionally required hundreds of paper forms and data elements, including copies of birth certificates and driver's licenses. For each recruit, a physical packet of information was hand- delivered to one of 65 Military Entrance Processing Stations.

"The recruiter puts together a paper packet, and the guidance counselor works with that and creates more paper, and then the paper is stored," said Gary Bishop, chief of Web applications at the Army Recruiting Command. "This should get us into a paperless environment." E-RecordsManager will enable the electronic transmission, storage, management and disposition of the recruiting information. The system, which incorporates records management software from Impact Systems and content management software from Documentum, is sold by both companies.

Bishop is overseeing the selection of the software and some of the hardware and said the project is wrapping up the "requirements-gathering phase" and should begin development by Nov. 15.

The system will track information for recruits from their first interview through enlistment. The application is also integrated with Microsoft Corp.'s Outlook and Lotus Development Corp.'s Notes Mail, which means that e-mails can be captured as records and managed through the program's life cycle.

E-RecordsManager is the first product built on the Documentum 4i eBusiness Platform that is certified as compliant with DOD's 5015.2 set of records management standards, said Monte Wilson, vice president of government operations at Pleasanton, Calif.-based Documentum.

"The biggest thing is that it makes the actual recruiting process easier," Wilson said. "Right now, it's a very paper-intensive environment to find the best fit for a recruit. Someone could have a specific interest, but the recruiter doesn't have the information and a guidance counselor makes the recommendations.

"The goal is to introduce a whole new wave of efficiency in the recruiting process, and with the nation's needs right now, to get that up and running as quick as we can."

In addition to electronic records, e-RecordsManager also manages physical records, keeping track of their storage life and location. The system then can manage documents in both controlled and uncontrolled environments, Wilson said.

In a controlled environment, a record's life cycle is regulated from cradle to grave. Rules enforce how long a record is kept and mandate its destruction after that point.

Electronic Data Systems Corp. is the prime vendor, and the Documentum and Impact Systems software part of the project costs about $470,000, Wilson said.

For the record

The 5015.2 standards, which were established in November 1997 and amended Oct. 12, 2001, by the Defense Department chief information officer, John Stenbit:

* Establish mandatory baseline functional requirements for Records Management Application (RMA) software used by Defense agencies in the implementation of their records management programs.

* Define required system interfaces and search criteria to be supported by the RMAs.

* Describe the minimum records management requirements that must be met, based on current National Archives and Records Administration regulations.

The general requirements are the ability to manage records; accommodate dates and data logic; implement standard data; and access information from their superseded repositories and databases (backward compatibility).

Detailed requirements mandate that agencies implement file plans records schedules and filing systems that only authorized users can view, create, edit and delete.

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