New ways of working

BIS is a ministerial department, supported by 50 agencies and public bodies, with 3,600 staff spread across over 20 sites in the UK.

BIS is a policy department, meaning most of their work processes involve collaborating on policy development and communicating with Ministers. Hence, information and knowledge management is key to the success of BIS as an organisation. They are covered by the Public Records Act and need to hold, review and release a proportion of their records to The National Archives.



  • Better information management by enabling collaboration and simplifying records management.
  • Easier to collaborate on documents and simple to declare as records.
  • Easier to change and update properties.
  • Clear on what was a working document and what was a declared record.
  • Users were now more hidden from the complexities of the File Plan due to automatic filing of documents.
  • Flexible working as documents in EDRM platform are available remotely from mobile devices.

The Old World

  • 50% of the departmental staff used Matrix (based on HP Trim) & the other half used shared drives.
  • 70 shared drives in total, based on the departmental structure from about 10 years previous.
  • Information stored on the shared drives was not reviewed or treated as records. No clear owners for a lot of the information, with the outdated and valuable information mixed together.
  • Limited search functionality made it difficult to extract useful and meaningful results.
  • Posed the department significant risks dealing with FOIs, Subject access requests and enquiries, and a big hindrance to the business in accessing full corporate records. 

The New World - Information and Records

BIS structured their information into 3 keys parts;

1. My files – personal area for every user.

2. Team sites – for active working documents and collaboration with in place records management managed by departmental teams.

3. Records Management Site – where documents and folders have retention periods applied; and managed by departmental records officer.

Each team site has a document library with circa 10 top level folders. Each of these folders is linked to a records management folder, meaning any documents created underneath can be declared as a record at the click of a button, seamlessly.

As part of their new ways of working initiative, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) chose Zaizi’s Electronic Document and Records Management (EDRM) platform as a service via G-Cloud. The initiative enables BIS to move to a more flexible ICT enabled workstyle which transforms how and where the 3,600 BIS staff work and how they collaborate to deliver value to the UK economy.

Data Migration

  • The old EDRM was a simple dumping ground where documents were filed away for archiving and never accessed again. People kept copies of records in their shared drives in case they needed to access it again.
  • In the new Alfresco based EDRM Platform, BIS focused on better information management that did seamless records management and placed greater emphasis on collaboration and knowledge management.
  • All 4.6TB (14 million items) of the old EDRM records were migrated into the new EDRM platform as read only items with the old permissions and file plan structure.

Digital by Default: New ways of working

Watch this key webinar where there will be opportunity to learn from the major IT transformation occurring within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

  • How better organisation and cross department data access can benefit public service and enable efficiency gains.
  • How concerns on governance, data security and DPA can be addressed.
  • How to evaluate the potential for your organisation.
  • Key stages you need to consider in any collaboration programme
  • How to achieve a successful implementation
  • Case study from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills ( BIS )

Download the BIS Records Management case study

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