The scope of effort and coordination it takes to run a government organization is difficult to grasp, especially when it comes to task management. Sometimes a single request involves dozens of people and hundreds of emails, documents, and records, and separate departments that have unique policies and systems to manage the process. Suddenly, mapping out what has already happened and what still needs to be done becomes more challenging and can result in mission-critical deadlines being missed. Additionally, security and compliance become problematic due to lack of transparency and oversight between disparate, ungoverned systems.
Many tasking technologies have been deployed to solve various aspects of the challenges mentioned above. Some have been short-term solutions that resulted in systems needing to be replaced a few years later as requirements changed. Others have been too cost-prohibitive to expand across the organization and often required additional investment in a vendor’s stack.
To change the game, agencies need to look at enterprise tasking solutions that can cost-effectively scale by automating processes, delivering multiple point solutions on a single platform and using scalable technologies such as open source and cloud.
In order to better understand why enterprise tasking is important to the Department of Defense (DoD), as well as other federal agencies, GovLoop spoke with Keith Winderlich, Task Management Specialist at Alfresco.
“Enterprise tasking can include tasker management, staff actions and other tasking related processes. It needs to include process management for the automation of tracking and assignment, content management for the tracking of requests and authoring of responses, and records management to ensure compliance,” Winderlich said. He explained that when departments within organizations are tasked with a project, they develop their own requirements and solutions. This is problematic because task management in isolated systems stovepipes the process and makes it less efficient and more expensive. “It creates redundancies, allows for classified information spillage, and makes compliance with records management mandates very difficult.”
With enterprise tasking, an agency involves everyone in the organization, giving all personnel the ability to collaborate on the same easy-to-use system with appropriate security and policy limitation and insight into what’s happening as needed. This is particularly valuable, yet challenging for DoD, which must put everything through the chain of command and have extremely strict security standards. Assigning down the chain of command and approving back up requires complex tracking and oversight. And, in addition to hierarchical approval, DoD personnel often have to collaborate across the organization.
To satisfy the requirements for a modern task management solution, “Alfresco offers a platform that integrates content, process, and records management into a single, cost-effective solution, enabling everyone in the organization to become a user without being locked into any proprietary technology,” said Winderlich. The unified solution platform is easy to integrate and allows DoD and other agencies to function more efficiently by creating transparency throughout the task management process, automating workflow, eliminating redundant content and records management, and securing information across the enterprise.
As an open source platform – the only one certified to the DoD 5015.02 standard “Alfresco is able to meet DoD security and compliance standards and eliminate vendor and technology lock-in,” Winderlich explained. The flexibility and cost effectiveness of Alfresco as a tasking platform allows DoD and other government agencies to deploy solutions that fit their specific needs.
The Joint Staff will be deploying an enterprise tasking and records management solution using the Alfresco platform with an emphasis on configuring and automating various workflows. With the new solution, they will manage eight workflows including staff actions, correspondence and FOIA requests.
Ultimately, enterprise task management solutions offer collaboration and flexibility, accountability and transparency, and the ability to avoid missing deadlines. This gives senior leaders the visibility over simple and mission-critical tasks that they did not previously have, making task and records management much more efficient.