Business systems are systems that help your agency to achieve their goals. They create or manage data about an organisation’s activities and are designed to support undertaking a specific business process or processes.
All agencies use business systems and applications to do their work. Larger agencies might use hundreds of them every day.
These systems and applications have many purposes – to monitor financial expenditure, to deal with services provided to customers, to prevent fraud or injury, to hire new employees, to manage data, etc. Policy Requirement 5 of the Records Governance Policy is concerned with what systems and applications your agency uses to create and manage records.
Among all the business systems and applications your agency has that can create or hold records, your agency should have systems approved for use and systems that are not approved for use.
If your staff are not using approved systems it may be because:
- they’re not sure what systems or applications are approved
- the official processes involved are out of date and unusable
- they involve processes or applications that are difficult to use or not fit-for-purpose
- there are no formal consequences to not using approved systems.
What Policy Requirement 5 requires agencies to do is to make sure that only approved business systems and applications are used to hold records.
The main reason for this is to improve discoverability. If you know where records are, you have a better chance of finding them when you need them.
If a system or application isn’t approved, people may not know to search it when looking for particular records or the records in that system may not be monitored or maintained properly. The records may be inadvertently disposed of too.
You should determine what business systems and applications your agency currently uses – approved for records or not. What records do they create or hold? Who puts them there? Who uses the records in there? What for?
This will allow you to determine what business systems and applications are currently in place and how people are using them. Then you can determine what business systems and applications are or should be approved.
What should be an approved business system or application is entirely up to you.
You know your work best and only you can determine what business systems and applications you need to do that work.
You should think about:
- Who will be responsible for approving the business system/application
- Who uses the records in the business system/application and what they use them for
- What functionalities does the system/application have and what does it need (e.g. to search, to maintain records, etc)
- Who else has an interest in those records (e.g. finance, another agency, or the community)
- Who will be responsible for monitoring/maintaining the business system or application
- Who will be responsible for monitoring/maintaining the records in the business system or application (e.g. IT, the records management team, the team that created the records)
- Anything else relevant to the business system/application or the records in it.
Once you have your list of approved business systems and applications you can begin to think about how to transfer over any records in non-approved systems and applications over.
You should also think about:
- What education campaigns or training might be needed to ensure staff use the approved business systems and applications
- What resources or tools might help staff use the approved business systems and applications (e.g. factsheets, business rules, etc)
- What processes need to be in place during any transition period
- How non-approved systems and applications will be monitored
- Whether non-approved applications need to be locked down or removed.
Consolidating where your agency keeps its records is an important part of being able to meet the other elements of Policy Requirement 5 – being able to discover and access records as well as monitor them.
Want to know more about meeting Policy Requirement 5? Have a look at our blog post that unpacks it.
If you have suggestions for future blog posts or there’s something about the Records Governance Policy you’d still like answered, get in touch! Leave a comment below, contact us by email, telephone, blog, Twitter– we want to hear from you!