Defense Commissary Agency’s rollout of Feith RMA IQ receives prestigious DoD CIO Award

Defense Commissary Agency’s rollout of Feith RMA IQ receives prestigious DoD CIO Award

Defense Commissary Agency’s rollout of Feith RMA IQ receives prestigious DoD CIO Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON, DC 

Pentagon leadership has awarded the Defense Commissary Agency with the prestigious DoD CIO Award for their world-wide rollout of the Feith Systems electronic records management platform, RMA IQ.

The DoD CIO Awards Program recognizes outstanding achievements in Digital Modernization from across the Department of Defense.

“The recipients of this award have demonstrated how technology truly enables our nation to perform critical missions despite the COVID-19 global pandemic,” said the Honorable Dana Deasy, Chief Information Officer of the DoD, introducing the awards.

This year the DoD CIO leadership selected Feith customer DeCA as the winner of the Electronic Records Management modernization award.

A team of eighteen from the Defense Commissary Agency were recognized at the Pentagon for their successful rollout of the Feith ERM platform.

Describing DeCA’s successful project, Mr. Deasy celebrated the agency’s “successful transition to electronic records with a fully integrated, fully automated, and cost savings records management solution that fosters rapid information sharing across the Defense Commissary Agency.”

Director of DeCA’s IT Management and Oversight directorate, Neville Gallimore, celebrated the win with the directorate, “It took a team effort from multiple functional areas and the IT Group to achieve one of the core pillars of our congressionally mandated IT modernization goals.”

“We are extremely proud of DeCA’s accomplishment winning this well-deserved award, especially during the COVID outbreak when IT Modernization was so critically important. We couldn’t be prouder to have been a part of it. We’re continuing our important work ensuring agencies are compliant with M-19-21 and becoming the standard for Federal Electronic Records Management.” said Daniel Feith, Executive Vice President of Feith Systems.

You can watch the presentation of the award here:
https://dodcio.defense.gov/

Learn more

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Kris Pettie

Kris Pettie

Kris is Feith’s Principal Government Business Analyst who provides analysis, sales engineering, proposal development, oversight of compliance with government contracting, and records management policy expertise for Feith's Government Division. Kris brings over 15 years of experience in government management consulting and policy analysis. Kris is a contributor to Feith’s Records Management University and continually seeks out new ways to engage and empower Feith’s government customers.

8 New Year’s Resolutions for Records Managers

8 New Year’s Resolutions for Records Managers

Simple tips to make the most of your year

 
Know your aim this year, have a goal, and set meaningful deadlines towards getting to that goal.  Here are eight New Years goals that we think are pretty good!
 

 

8.  Hitch ERM to your executive’s top metrics

What are the executives really focused on?  Identify those metrics and then tie Records Management initiatives to them.

Is your organization looking to reduce cyber risk? Great, that’s worth doing.  What if the primary goal is growth?  Digital modernization?  Improving workplace efficiency?  Managing costs?  With thought, it’s clear that Records Management and Information Governance matters to all these big initiatives.  Find out what matters to the executives most, and then let them know that what you do matters to that goal.

 

7.  Build on IT relationships

CIOs don’t always appreciate how essential Records Management is to the overall IT and Data strategy of an organization. 

Remind them that the archives you build and maintain are the largest long-term knowledge and information stores in the organization.  That gives the archive real value as a data source for analytics and knowledge management, and high risk as a target of cybercrime – stuff that all CIOs care a lot about.

 

6. Spend time with the “front line.”

While building new Information Management architecture, and applying it across the enterprise, it’s common to feel some kickback.

How can we lessen the kickback?  Find those ways that our plans don’t mesh well with how end-users do business!

If we want a successful ERM plan, we have to sit with the front line to see how those plans interact with the way users work in the real world.  It will broaden our perspectives, ensuring that plans match reality.

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Over 7,000 RM, IT & IG professionals have already joined us!
 

5.  Go back to the “Why”

Why do we do Records Management?  How about Information Governance?  Knowledge Management?  It may sound silly, but not everyone can answer that.  Is it to reduce risk or is it to comply with legislation?  Is it to ensure that it’s possible to find important information easily?  We need to know the reasons for what we do, and keep the big goals front and center.  Focusing on “the Why” will provide us with important guidance for moving forward. 

4.  Learn some SQL

Most of the data we interact with on a daily basis is stored in SQL Databases.  SQL (Structured Query Language) is the lingua franca of all data and information specialties. It’s the backbone of software that stores our worlds information and records.  If you know the SQL language, that gives you a superpower.  Now we can interact with information at the foundation.  It’s like seeing the Records Management matrix.

3.  Prioritize Disaster Recovery

Disaster Recovery (DR) is the enterprise-wide version of saving work. Have you ever forgotten to save a document you were writing and lost the entire thing when the program crashed?  How much did that hurt? 

Now imagine that happening to an entire company!  Yeah, that’s what it’s like when systems aren’t built for disaster proof recovery.

2.  Let someone else sweat the small stuff

An organization that never says no to a new project is an organization in trouble.  Someone needs to be the ‘bad guy’, focusing solely on the practical.  But, fortunately, that someone doesn’t have to be us. 

Instead, we can give ourselves room to explore ideas about the future of systems, processes, and departments.  It’s enough to come up with new ideas in the first place!  Let someone else sweat the small stuff for a while.

1.  Focus on Team

Most problems in Records Management aren’t technical.  They aren’t budgetary.  They aren’t even the number of hours in the day.  Scientists across industry have run the numbers, and most business problems are people problems. 

Make sure you focus on retaining the talent you’ve built and building up the talent you have.  

Nothing else you do will pay as large of dividends as focusing on your team!

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Kris Pettie

Kris Pettie

Kris is Feith’s Principal Government Business Analyst who provides analysis, sales engineering, proposal development, oversight of compliance with government contracting, and records management policy expertise for Feith's Government Division. Kris brings over 15 years of experience in government management consulting and policy analysis. Kris is a contributor to Feith’s Records Management University and continually seeks out new ways to engage and empower Feith’s government customers.
Categories Fun

Capstone Records Management in 2021

Capstone Records Management in 2021

As 2021 kicks off, it’s a familiar time when government organizations reflect on the activities of the past twelve months and begin thinking about ways to improve processes in the new year. Unlike previous years, 2020 was a year of disruption that forced many Federal Departments and Agencies to adapt and innovate in order to meet their core mission of public service. Despite a global pandemic, organizations have continued to meet their public and legal responsibilities.  

One of the legal obligations of all Federal Departments and Agencies is adherence to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) directives contained in M-19-21. For those who are not familiar, M-19-21 is an OMB/NARA directive that mandates permanent and temporary federal records be captured, retained, and managed in an electronic format. One of the tenets of M-19-21 requires that an organization have its senior official’s emails identified and managed as a permanent record. To help organizations comply with M-19-21, the Capstone approach was created by NARA to streamline the identification, categorization, and management of senior official’s email records, also known as Capstone records. 

Recently, I spoke with a government organization that required its senior officials, known as Capstone officials, to identify and manually categorize email by moving emails into a folder on the organization’s file share. Being part of a company that specializes in records management, I was not surprised to hear this manual approach is still used by many in the Federal Government. Many organizations still follow an inefficient “print and file” method for Capstone because of limited resources, inadequate funding, or lack of knowledge about records management solutions designed to simplify such processes. Leaders within the Federal Government must juggle a significant number of duties that make it difficult for them to spend valuable time and effort manually managing Capstone records. Fortunately, there are a number of certified records management solutions, including Feith’s own RMA iQ, that can ease the burden of managing Capstone records. Some capabilities that an organization should consider when looking for a records management solution to address its Capstone record needs to: 

  • Automate to identify and categorize Capstone records;
  • Provide records managers with the ability to easily modify Capstone officials and retention schedules;
  • Support the integration of existing business processes into management of Capstone records; and
  • Leverage a company with a long history of supporting the Federal Government in meeting records management compliance standards, such as M-19-21 and NARA’s Universal Electronic Records Management requirements.

Organizations that use records management solutions, such as Feith’s RMA iQ, benefit from the software’s automation and ease of use to quickly comply with M-19-21 and other standards established by NARA. In addition to compliance with legal requirements, organizations that leverage automated software can also significantly reduce the amount of time that senior officials spend complying with legal obligations for records management. By eliminating the manual tasks of identifying Capstone records, senior officials can focus attention on critical activities that serve the public and meet the organization’s mission.

For Federal Departments and Agencies that still rely on manual processes for management of their Capstone records, now is the time to consider new solutions that reduce the demands of Capstone officials. Using a comprehensive records management solution will increase productivity, improve efficiency, and reduce costs, while meeting legal obligations. As an experienced partner to the Federal Government, Feith is excited about the possibilities that a new year brings. As your organization reflects on what’s worked well and processes that can be improved, reach out to Feith and learn how we can help you meet M-19-21 requirements and other records management needs. 

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Kris Pettie

Kris Pettie

Kris is Feith’s Principal Government Business Analyst who provides analysis, sales engineering, proposal development, oversight of compliance with government contracting, and records management policy expertise for Feith's Government Division. Kris brings over 15 years of experience in government management consulting and policy analysis. Kris is a contributor to Feith’s Records Management University and continually seeks out new ways to engage and empower Feith’s government customers.

Social Media Records Management

Social Media Records Management

Federally-compliant Records Management for Social Media

Since the first presidential tweet in January 2010, sent by then President Barack Obama, the medium has exploded as a way for government officials to make public announcements.  Since his inauguration in 2017, President Trump has made Social Media not just a means, but perhaps the means, for his office’s announcements.

This shift follows the trends at large, as Social Media overtakes print for the first time in global advertising revenue earlier this year. Traditional radio announcements, TV ads and print media, are still useful ways to reach out to the broader public, but many budgets simply can’t afford traditional media’s high-cost per impression, and its comparative effectiveness is increasingly up for debate.

Social media is now recognized as a powerful and inexpensive tool for engaging the public, to make announcements, and to educate, no matter what size the agency or their budget.  It’s no wonder that every agency and office up to the President has begun to leverage these effective tools for low-cost/high-impact outreach.   

But be forewarned — many agencies forget that Social Media posts constitute official government records and need to be managed according to the letter of the law. 

NARA Bulletin, ‘Guidance on Managing Social Media Records’
The Federal Records Act (44 U.S.C. 3301) defines Federal records as any material that is recorded, made or received in the course of Federal business, regardless of its form or characteristics, and is worthy of preservation. Social media content that meets this definition must be managed according to the applicable laws and regulations.” 

NARA makes the point very clearly, but it may underplay the concrete importance of Social Media as record.

As of March 2019, 73% of Americans interviewed by Pew Research Center report that they get some or all of their news from Social Media.  It’s clear that Social Media constitutes a strategically significant method for agencies to make announcements to the public, but if they’re going to use Social Media for official business they’ll have to align with NARA’s guidance.

Feith will ensure your social media presence remains compliant with all federal records regulations and guidelines.  Reach out today to learn more about our new Social Media archive solution, backed by our complete Government Records platform:  more-info@feith.com

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Kris Pettie

Kris Pettie

Kris is Feith’s Principal Government Business Analyst who provides analysis, sales engineering, proposal development, oversight of compliance with government contracting, and records management policy expertise for Feith's Government Division. Kris brings over 15 years of experience in government management consulting and policy analysis. Kris is a contributor to Feith’s Records Management University and continually seeks out new ways to engage and empower Feith’s government customers.

Feith in the Government Cloud

Feith in the Government Cloud

We are proud to have partnered with Amazon Web Services to offer Feith in the Cloud, our SaaS environment available with all the security
and functionality you expect from Feith Systems.  We have always provided a class-leading Enterprise Content, Document Imaging and Records Management platform designed with Government in mind.  And now, by implementing Feith for SaaS through GovCloud or C2S on Amazon Web Services you will have access to our one-source solution without the need to install software on-site, patch, or update applications, purchase or support hardware, or perform nightly backups.

Feith in the Cloud includes:

  • Full access to the Feith platform
  • Full database and server support
  • Full system back-up
  • Hardware, storage and database
  • Disaster Recovery Services

AWS makes it easy for the IC to discover, purchase and deploy software packages and applications. 
Feith is one of the Independent Software Vendors that can list on AWS.  AWS makes it easy to procure services and deploy them.

AWS has contracted with the Intelligence Community through the “Commercial Cloud Services” vehicle (C2S), allowing AWS “over the fence” and into the IC.  GovCloud ensures that government customers are compliant with all applicable policies.

Cloud Computing for the US Intelligence Community

Amazon Web Services offers its full platform of services to the Intelligence Community, up to Secret U.S. security classification level.  The AWS Secret Region is assessed for security compliance under the Director of National Intelligence, Intelligence Community Directive and National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Compliance for the US Government

AWS GovCloud allows for government customers and partners to comply with multiple government security polies.  GovCloud addresses security and compliance issues faced by government agencies using the cloud.

Feith is dedicated to providing our entire platform through your browser.  That means you can run in the cloud without worrying about the costs or security implications of manual software installations and upgrades.  You’ll be able to perform tasks, review documents, search the archive and visualize all without installing a thing.

The best way to provide value for your organization is a single, integrated and rock-solid solution that incorporates key ECM technologies: electronic content capture, records management, workflows, reporting, case management, task management, legacy integration and evolving security.  While each of Feith’s technologies are powerful tools on their own, the integrated Enterprise suite is where everything
comes together.

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Kris Pettie

Kris Pettie

Kris is Feith’s Principal Government Business Analyst who provides analysis, sales engineering, proposal development, oversight of compliance with government contracting, and records management policy expertise for Feith's Government Division. Kris brings over 15 years of experience in government management consulting and policy analysis. Kris is a contributor to Feith’s Records Management University and continually seeks out new ways to engage and empower Feith’s government customers.

Universal ERM Requirements

Universal ERM Requirements

The Universal ERM Requirements serve as a resource for agencies looking to use a technology solution to assist with managing their records. By referring to these guidelines, agencies can determine what ERM functions are critical, while also considering their personal needs and financial priorities.

Agencies should refer to this document when they’re deciding on an ERM system. The protocols are broken down into “must have” and “should have” recommendations, and agencies must make sure their ERM system, at least, complies with the “must have” requirements.

With the M-12-18 deadline approaching, agencies who haven’t tackled their electronic records yet should consider the solution offered by Feith Systems & Software Inc. The Feith team of subject

matter experts have guided countless government agencies during their transition to managing electronic records across their lifecycle. Furthermore, Feith’s software ensures that agencies comply with both NARA’s Must Haves and recommendations – Feith supports every requirement of the new Universal ERM Requirements.

Here are some examples of how Feith’s system can help your agency align with NARA Universal ERM Requirements:

NARA Recommendation:

“The record system must have the ability to prevent illegal access, alteration, or deletion of records.”

  • Full Attribute-Based and Role-Based Access controls for every document and data row in the system.
  • Set legal-holds to prevent deletion of records.
  • Meets the DoD 5015.02 standard for managing controlled, classified, and sensitive documents.

How Feith Helps Agencies Align With This Requirement:

“Any actions changing the level of access, altering the record, or changing the location of the record must be documented and tracked into an audit log.”

  • The Feith platform contains a full audit-trail of every change in the system. No action in the system flies under the radar of the audit system.
  • Full system log contain who, what, when, where, and how a setting or piece of metadata was changed.
  • Track and dashboard individual users, groups, roles, and their respective actions.

“Records of current and former employees must be managed in a manner that supports searching in response to information requests, including FOIA and agency business needs.”

  • Full-text and content search across all documents, including emails and their attachments.
  • Adjust search parameters to simplify search processes.
  • Advanced search allows Power Users to find things in creative ways.

“Ensuring usability of records includes converting records to usable formats and maintaining the link between the records and their metadata through the conversion process.”

  • Captures records in their native formats, but will also generate readable PDF formats for web review, redactions, and production for legal.
  • Transfers files in correct file format and with complete metadata to NARA.

“Ensuring usability of records includes carrying out system upgrades of hardware and software while maintaining the functionality and integrity of the electronic records created in them.”

  • Maintains records for entire lifecycle.
  • Whether On-Premises or in the Cloud, the system is easy to upgrade, and the records are provably secure throughout the process.

Government agencies should make sure their ERM system adheres to the Universal ERM Requirements established by NARA; Feith’s solution makes it simple for agencies to comply with these regulations.  

To learn more about how Feith helps agencies meet the NARA M-12-18 mandate and Universal ERM requirements, contact the Feith team!

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Kris Pettie

Kris Pettie

Kris is Feith’s Principal Government Business Analyst who provides analysis, sales engineering, proposal development, oversight of compliance with government contracting, and records management policy expertise for Feith's Government Division. Kris brings over 15 years of experience in government management consulting and policy analysis. Kris is a contributor to Feith’s Records Management University and continually seeks out new ways to engage and empower Feith’s government customers.

Feith Systems brings leading Records Management software to GSA Schedule 36

Feith Systems brings leading Records Management software to GSA Schedule 36

Feith Systems brings leading Records Management software to GSA Schedule 36

WASHINGTON DC (2018) — In an effort to increase the access and availability of their records management platform within the US Federal Government, industry-leaders Feith Systems and Software, Inc. have signed on to the GSA’s popular new Schedule 36 (51 600) for Records Management solutions.

The General Services Administration’s updated Schedule 36 seeks to modernize procurement for electronic records management software.

As Feith is now the only Department of Defense 5015.02-certified records management system on Schedule 36, the move to adopt the new category was particularly important to departments and agencies dealing with classified records workloads.

The GSA began moving critical Electronic Records Management software and services under Schedule 36 at the end of 2017. As the Dec. 31st, 2019 deadline of the Managing Government Records Directive quickly approaches, this and other moves to highlight Electronic Records are imperative.

Further, establishing an electronic records management program becomes increasingly important as NARA announced intentions to stop accepting paper-based records in 2022.

At the request of several organizations in the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community and in an effort to simplify procurement of their software, Feith Systems has decided to adopt the new schedule, and finalized a move onto Schedule 36 as of November.

The new schedule provides vendor certification for most of the major areas of Records Management: desktop applications, electronic messages, social media, cloud, digital media, databases, shared drives, and engineering archives. With Feith’s unique ability to support all of these major areas, this was viewed by Feith executives as a strong argument for moving to the new schedule since it emphasizes Feith’s strength across records domains.

As Feith is now the only Department of Defense 5015.02-certified records management system on Schedule 36, the move to adopt the new category was particularly important to departments and agencies dealing with classified records workloads.

For more information about the new GSA Schedule 36 SIN 51 600, navigate here.

Learn how Feith helps over 30 federal organizations with document and records management. 

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Kris Pettie

Kris Pettie

Kris is Feith’s Principal Government Business Analyst who provides analysis, sales engineering, proposal development, oversight of compliance with government contracting, and records management policy expertise for Feith's Government Division. Kris brings over 15 years of experience in government management consulting and policy analysis. Kris is a contributor to Feith’s Records Management University and continually seeks out new ways to engage and empower Feith’s government customers.

The EU General Data Protection Regulations & Why it Matters

The EU General Data Protection Regulations & Why it Matters

Let’s talk big picture…
The way we use Personal Identifying Information (PII) has vastly transformed the digital economy in recent years. Advancements in technology that captures, stores, organizes, and analyzes PII have made way for some pretty remarkable means of increasing efficiency and generating greater revenue. And who’s not a fan of that?

So how’s it changing?
Going into effect May 25th 2018, the EU’s new GDPR has serious implications for worldwide companies, so be sure to pay attention. These new regulations warrant that the rights of any individual residing in the European Union will be enforced, even if their data is being processed by companies outside the EU. The focus of the new regulation is to increase user rights as well as increase accountability for people storing or processing data.

If you’re looking for evidence that they mean business, just look at the fines. Up to 20 million euros or 4% of a company’s annual worldwide revenue, whichever is greater. By the way, once the new GDPR goes into effect, that will also include subsidiary companies and partners, even if a subsidiary was not directly involved in processing the data in question. The GDPR also makes it easier for individuals to bring private claims against organizations, including breaches that result in non-material damages. You heard right, individuals can receive compensation for emotional damages as well as financial. Sound a little daunting?

Start planning now…
There are several techniques that organizations can employ to remain in the good graces of the GDPR’s supervisory authorities. The big ones are Anonymization and Obfuscation. By removing PII from data sets, the process of anonymization renders the subject of the data anonymous.

Obfuscation ensures that existing data can’t be traced back to a specific individual. It’s a means of processing information that isolates certain identifying data and organizes it in separate places so that a person might be identified only by combining information from multiple locations.

Kind of a mouthful, huh?
Let’s break it down some more. The whole point of these tighter sanctions is to protect users from being specifically identified based on the information being gathered from their data. There’s no denying the value of the information and in fact one of the pillars of the EU’s Digital Single Market directive is to “[maximize] the growth potential of the digital economy.” The new GDPR is simply aiming to ensure that individuals, and organizations that store and process PII, are all on the same page and level playing field.

The light at the end of the tunnel…
If you’re in an industry dealing in PII (financial, medical, educational, employment) just to name a few, these new regulations make it more important than ever to have a strong Enterprise Content Management system with seamlessly integrated Records Management. Furthermore, having an open line of communication with your ECM system provider to communicate your changing needs will be an invaluable tool in navigating the changing landscape of data protection regulations.

These regulations aren’t so scary if you truly have control over exactly how your data is organized, who can access it, and when it gets disposed of. And if you don’t already have these capabilities, then you’re not getting the most use out of your data anyway.

Just think of these new sanctions as a great excuse to improve efficiency within your organization by adding structure to your data.

After all, the tighter you run your ship, the smoother the sailing.

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Kris Pettie

Kris Pettie

Kris is Feith’s Principal Government Business Analyst who provides analysis, sales engineering, proposal development, oversight of compliance with government contracting, and records management policy expertise for Feith's Government Division. Kris brings over 15 years of experience in government management consulting and policy analysis. Kris is a contributor to Feith’s Records Management University and continually seeks out new ways to engage and empower Feith’s government customers.
Categories Fun

10 Hard-won Records Management Insights

10 Hard-won Records Management Insights

Here are ten RMA insights, that you don’t want to learn the hard way.

1. Auto-Categorization is not a magic antidote. If you aren’t careful about tagging and organizing your data, you’re making a lot of manual work down the road.

2. Organization is a magic antidote. Get organized upfront. It’s easier to provide structure to data from the beginning, than it will be to structure your data after the fact.

3. Keep It Simply Systematized. Use as few categories as your process allows. The fewer buckets you’re categorizing into, the easier it will be to maintain those categories (but make sure to see 4 below).

4. Metadata is your friend. Make sure your metadata is complete, and will allow you to separate a single category into multiple ones later, if need be. You don’t want to have to separate a category manually, believe me.

5. Be like a Ninja. The more transparent the Records Management process is to your end users, the more likely it is to succeed. Wherever possible, be like an RMA ninja.

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Over 7,000 RM, IT & IG professionals have already joined us!

 

6. But also like a Shark. The rules and regulations are always evolving. If you’re not moving your RMA process forward, you’re falling behind, or worse.

7. ‘Business Continuity’ is not just Jargon. It’s not, we swear. If your RMA system doesn’t aid business continuity, it’s not properly supporting your organization. Know it, live it, love it.

8. You’re leaking records. Records in the hands of partners, or on employee cellphones and laptops, are often just as responsive as the ones you keep on site. Know where your organization leaks records.

9. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. Implementation is key. Get it right the first time to save yourself a lifetime of headache. If you already got it wrong, please accept my condolences.

10. Make friends, a bunch of them. Get buy-in from other departments before you need them for your next project. You’ll thank us later.

Want more of our hard-won insight? Give us a call, or check out our Records Management University event!

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Kris Pettie

Kris Pettie

Kris is Feith’s Principal Government Business Analyst who provides analysis, sales engineering, proposal development, oversight of compliance with government contracting, and records management policy expertise for Feith's Government Division. Kris brings over 15 years of experience in government management consulting and policy analysis. Kris is a contributor to Feith’s Records Management University and continually seeks out new ways to engage and empower Feith’s government customers.

Troubleshooting in 20 Questions

Troubleshooting in 20 Questions

No matter how many possibilities you plan for, you can’t always prevent problems from coming up.

For a technical support representative faced with the responsibility of getting things working again, there’s one technique we use every time, with every problem situation.

If you’ve ever played the game 20 Questions, you know that there’s a technique to finding the correct answer to a completely unknown problem — If you try to guess at the very beginning you won’t get the answer. You have to cut the possibilities down, by asking broad questions:

“Is it alive?”
“Is it man-made?”
“Is it larger than a toaster?”

There are millions of possibilities, but by asking those questions that cut the field in half, we can get to the correct answer pretty quickly. The trick is to make sure that you start at the very highest level. You have to ask questions that divide your remaining possibilities in half each time. In this way, just like in 20 Questions, you should have a fairly solid idea of what’s wrong in about 20 questions – every time, no matter how complicated the problem is.

To ensure you’re cutting things in half, try to keep the questions binary in nature, for instance:

“Did it work before?”
“Is it happening to just one user, or more than one user?”
“Is it happening on just one machine, or more than one machine?”
“Can you reproduce the problem at will, or is it intermittent?”

Soon you will find a once unwieldy problem is cornered into one of 2 or 3 possibilities, each of which can just be directly checked to determine if they are, in fact, the root cause. Of course, once the root-cause is identified – then you can begin the joyous process of fixing it!

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Kris Pettie

Kris Pettie

Kris is Feith’s Principal Government Business Analyst who provides analysis, sales engineering, proposal development, oversight of compliance with government contracting, and records management policy expertise for Feith's Government Division. Kris brings over 15 years of experience in government management consulting and policy analysis. Kris is a contributor to Feith’s Records Management University and continually seeks out new ways to engage and empower Feith’s government customers.