Digital Transformers: Pages of Extinction

Act 1: The Set-uptransformers

The dreaded office relocation happens to most of us at one time or another. But moving can present us with unexpected opportunities,as was the case for one of our customers recently.

The plan to move offices to a new building uncovered a dilemma for this particular agency – how to deal with a paper stockpile that had been accumulating for some 20 years.

QSA was approached to partner in a project aimed at reducing the agency’s ‘paper mountain’, and identifying factors contributing to the generation and over-retention of paper records. This meant facing several key challenges:

Source: 123RF


Act 2: The Plot Thickens

We were able to provide advice on how a combination of business process and recordkeeping reforms would be needed to achieve the goal of digital transition.

Gaining executive support was a crucial factor in tackling this issue. Our partner agency was lucky with their management leading the shift from paper to digital by promoting business benefits to staff.

A number of quick wins helped. Reviewing excessive retention periods, scheduling permanent records for immediate transfer, and disposing of records that were past their due date enabled ‘problem’ areas to be addressed directly.

New delegation requirements to allow easier digitisation disposal sign-off were put in place. A Digitisation Disposal Policy is currently being developed for implementation by the agency.

This case provided us with the chance to give our Born Digital, Stay Digital draft guidance a test-run and bust a few myths in the process:


Act 3: The Resolution

Transitioning from paper to digital can reap rewards for those who take the plunge! In this case, embedding recordkeeping reforms into normal business practices saw a range of benefits for the agency involved:


  • disposal of over 9K temporary value files
  • transfer of over 13K permanent value files to QSA

Cost benefits

  • savings of over $72K pa in storage costs

Quality improvement

  • reduction of over 37% of record retention periods
  • transformation of existing paper-based processes
  • streamlined access and disposal delegations
  • increased digital awareness across the agency.

But wait…there’s more…

This collaboration also helped us gain some insight into how our own policies, advice and processes could be improved to better prepare agencies for the transition to digital recordkeeping. The experience led to the development of a more streamlined version of the GRDS; a new series of Mythbusters* and practical advice; and an overhaul of QSA’s online recordkeeping resources.

The (Inevitable) Sequels

If you have a recordkeeping success story that you’d like to share, please let us know. You can contact us at any time via email, Twitter, Facebook or Yammer. We plan to introduce an online Proposed Case Study form as part of our Website Refresh program in the very near future. Stay tuned…


* Mythbusters can be found on the website:


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