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.