We designed and built a new, cloud-based IT infrastructure, making it easier for 3600 government staff to securely access, update, review and share data.
Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
- Product management
- Process automation
- Cloud services
A new government policy department, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), was founded in July 2016. It was created by the merging of two existing government entities, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
BEIS is closely linked with around 50 agencies and public bodies, and much of its work involves external collaboration. In order to shape and lay out its policies, the department must securely share information on a broad variety of topics, from student loans to innovation grants. The BEIS is covered by the Public Records Act and needs to hold, review and release a proportion of its records to The National Archives.
BEIS’ current records management system was outdated. Much of the data lacked clear ownership and staff found it hard to search for, share or update information.
To address this, BEIS asked us to:
- build them a new, cloud-based electronic documents and records management (EDRM) platform
- help them migrate existing data into this new system
We worked with BEIS to design and build a new, Alfresco-based IT landscape offering the following features.
- Better information management, including seamless records management.
- Clearer ownership, with documents and folders subject to retention periods and managed by departmental records officers.
- New functionality, making it easier to search for, change and update properties.
- Clarity around what is a working document and what is a declared record.
- Staff are now able to access documents remotely, using their mobile devices.
- 3600 staff onboarded on new platform.
- Clear system of ownership ensures data is better managed, and easily traceable.
- New flexible workstyle aids collaboration, with staff able to access data from mobile devices.
- The BEIS is better able to deal with freedom of information requests, subject access requests and other enquiries.
Lots of data, coming from lots of places
The process of migrating data was complex. The transfer involved the movement of over 4.6TB – 14 million items – into the new platform. This data came from a variety of core departments, including UK Trade and Investment, The Office of Manpower Economics, the Low Pay Commission and the UK Space Agency.
We needed a plan to consolidate this data in a way that would suit the needs of the new platform. We did this by migrating it into the new EDRM platform as ‘read only’ items, while retaining the old permissions and file plan structure.
Existing data stored in ad-hoc manner
BEIS described their old EDRM as a “dumping ground”, in which many documents were filed away for archiving and often never accessed again. Without any central storage facility, around 50% of the department kept data in around 70 distinct shared drives, based on a decade-old departmental structure.
The new system introduced a clear system of ownership, with data overseen and managed by departmental records officers.