NEOSTEK: Precision Records Information Management To Facilitate Modernization

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Amina Elgouacem, President A recent report from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) states that 97 percent of federal agencies have either met or will meet the target to manage all permanent records in electronic format by the end of 2019. However, with just a few months to go before the deadline, many agencies are still struggling to figure out how they can meet the specific mandates that accompany this migration. The mandates refer to the Managing Government Records Directive M-12-18 and the more recent policy M-19-21, which require that all e-mails must be managed electronically in a records management system—no more “print and file.” It also demands that all permanent records— since 2009—must be delivered to NARA in electronic format only. “Our strength lies in our ability to combine records, expertise in information management, and knowledge of policies; We ensure that the systems comply with the mandates,” states Amina Elgouacem, President at NEOSTEK.

As a specialist in government records management, NEOSTEK has been addressing the federal government’s challenges associated with records and information management since 2011. NEOSTEK strives to do away with outdated notions of record management, such as “filing paperwork,” to bring forth their vision of IT modernization to transform present-day government organizations into a digitalized workplace.

Identifying the Problem and Navigating Digital Records Management

A majority of organizations that approach NEOSTEK houses a substantial number of siloed systems and processes. One aspect that the company usually finds missing from their file management workflows is the business architecture. The architecture provides clients with interconnectivity between business processes that capture the data while considering how data comes in from external stakeholders and how it is created. “Having a holistic picture of how information is connected through different departments and organizations—within the agency or outside—is very critical,” says Amina. The picture provides a common vision, to overlay governance and plan for IT modernization. “Clients should be able to measure the data within the data— which is the foundation of everything NEOSTEK does,” Amina adds.

NEOSTEK notes that in many cases, government agencies have a vague idea of where to start their pursuit of file management modernization. This can be attributed to the fact that a majority of these agencies don’t have the IT knowledge to figure out their approach to records management using the software, as opposed to manual, paper-based processes. “In an ideal scenario, a government agency that brings in IT functions like a CIO and the records management policy office. When the officials in-charge of IT, along with senior leadership are at the table, their interests would be best aligned to moving the organization toward a digital future,” says Amina. However, this is rarely the case, as most often, heads of government agencies would perceive records information management (RIM) as a project where a team comes in, delivers a solution, and walks out.

We have implemented the first comprehensive, end to end records and information management solution in the federal government. We have been recognized as the number one service provider of the year in the InfoGov conference

“Nonetheless, organizations need to understand that RIM is a program, which is supposed to be continuous, just like data privacy or security initiatives,” says Amina. Every time a system is updated or a piece of data or document comes in, clients need to take privacy into consideration. RIM has to do the same. From the moment information is captured to the time it is used and archived, what follows is the transformation of the system to an entirely digitalized construct.

Consultative Diagnoses and Remediation— Putting the Power of Data to Work

RIM is a critical topic because the data itself powers all underlying operations of an agency. “We have seen some customers purchasing Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tools to manage documents, but then they don’t achieve a proper implementation with the correct data and metadata. You can overlay any data analytics tool, but if the data is not correct and you don’t have confidence around it, then it won’t make sense,” says Amina. She further states an example, where a Federal agency submitted a report to Congress with the number of distinct “entities” to justify the funding they should receive. The report showed one million entities last year, which came down to just 10,000 the following year. But in contrast, the funding requested for the current year was higher. This made the department face a crucial question from the government: “Why are you looking for more funding if the number of entities is less than the previous year?”

As it turned out, the reason for this discrepancy was the term “entity” having two meanings. In the previous year, “entity” referred to the number of people, while this year, it was a reference to the number of organizations. The example showcases that without proper governance over data elements, organizations can no longer hold confidence over their output data, and as such, no data analytics tools can help put that data into good use.

NEOSTEK acknowledges the importance of data confidence and uses the NARA maturity model—a self-assessment tool—to audit an organization and identify where they are in their digital RIM journey.
This helps the company to create a roadmap that shows how a client can comply with the specific mandates necessary to be fully data confident. NEOSTEK also offers a proprietary iterative and flexible engagement methodology, which allows them to understand their clients’ business processes better and carry out process re-engineering, if necessary, to contextualize data (and metadata) the right way. “We have implemented the first comprehensive, end to end records and information management solution in the federal government. We have been recognized as the number one service provider of the year in the InfoGov conference 2016, and have made it to the Inc. 5000 list, four years in a row,” says Amina.

"Our strength lies in our ability to combine records, expertise in information management, and knowledge of policies"

Industry Leading Performance through Teamwork and Partnership

NEOSTEK stays ahead of the curve in terms of both policy and mandates, implementing end-to-end record management solutions for the federal sector, with integrations that have been recognized by the U.S. National Archives.

At the fundamental level, applying IT to bring the digital transformation for government agencies needs relevant skills and talent. It requires people with knowledge in technology solutions as well as a strong understanding of compliance mandates. “We hire people with different skill sets and backgrounds who complement each other in their work,” says Amina. This formula has been instrumental in NEOSTEK’s growth. It allows NEOSTEK to innovate freely and drive more value for their clients—be it in the commercial or the federal space.

While the federal side offers more expansive projects and contract periods, the commercial side often requires senior-level expertise to go in and complete the task at hand under tight timelines. In both cases, the team needs to be flexible and competent enough to engage the client with utmost dexterity. No matter the background of the solution seeker, NEOSTEK’s team won’t pigeon-hole their clients into a given technology. The team will look at the problem at hand, the goals that the customer is trying to accomplish, and provide results. “We provide the right approach tailored for their problems and the technology solution set that will solve their problems,” Amina says.

The Runway Ahead

Within the U.S., NEOSTEK currently operates in the DC area, with solid plans to expand into many other states. More recently, their work has been focused on educating agencies on the mandates M-12-18 and M-19-21—areas where NEOSTEK has significant experience—to help them comply. As agencies are more eager to implement RIM solutions now, NEOSTEK wants to help them understand the benefit and the utility of the company’s tools and technologies, and how RIM solutions can be applied to their organizations.

“Organizations are on the path to digitalization, and they need to face facts and acknowledge the changing technology scene,” says Amina. Many of these government agencies today use more and more phased approaches where they want to have a pilot or assessment phase. “The pilot phases can help them see the benefits of implementing enterprise information management solutions,” she adds. NEOSTEK is all geared up for this, with the right partnerships and the right products, to take both federal and commercial organizations into the next level of IT modernization.


Arlington, VA

Amina Elgouacem, President

NEOSTEK is a company that delivers Information Management and IT consulting firm helping U.S. Government clients put information to work with SharePoint, and CRM. The company is founded in the year 2010, and is based in Arlington, VA. With a team of experts, the company focus to deliver best of Information & Technology Strategy, Information Architecture, Information Governance, Information Management, Application Development, SharePoint, Dynamics CRM, Cloud & Mobile, Enterprise Content Management, Intranets, and Records Management to the customers. The company also through digitization, XML conversion and OCR offers Large volume scanning and digitization offers Optical character recognition (OCR) and Extensible Markup Language (XML)