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Director General of Culture and the Arts pushes digitisation of archives and moving to the cloud

The Department of Culture and the Arts, Western Australia, has readily embarked on a mission to bring more technology and digital services to citizens over the next few years.

One of the key initiatives in their 2016 Strategic Plan focuses on Establish efficient and effective business systems and processes.  They aim to carry this out by coordinating the implementation and use of technology for business improvement across its Portfolio, while looking to ensure consistency and connectivity of platforms.

duncan ord

OpenGov sat down with Duncan Ord, Director General, Department of Culture and the Arts, Western Australia, to learn more about the digital transformation measures that he will be driving within the Department of Culture and the Arts and what he will be focused on this year.

The office of the Director General deals with strategic planning, business improvement, risk, project and information management, Ministerial Liaison, Corporate Affairs and Audit and Reviews and has primary responsibility for liaison with the Minister for Culture and the Arts on cross-government matters.

To start off, Mr. Ord explained the overarching core functions of the Department of Culture and the Arts, as it relates to the whole of Western Australia Government. He also shared with us the key function that he will be focused on digitising this year.

“My department includes the institutions such as cultural institutions, museums, and libraries, as well as the state records office which is the area that holds a repository of the archives,” said Mr. Ord, “We are currently looking at a policy document to around a more digital strategy to store records.”

During our recent Western Australia Leadership Forum, we found out that forty-four percent of the Western Australia Government technology community thought that building skills to move to the cloud was a high priority.  More than 40 percent of our audience members were executing a cloud computing solution, while 26 percent of the audience were looking to execute cloud computing in the next 12 months.

On the topic of cloud, Mr. Ord told us that he was also interested in cloud solutions for the purpose of digitising the repository of archives which the Department is responsible for.

“We are also interested in digital archives through cloud solutions so we can hold our records over long periods of time,” Mr. Ord stated, “On the daily, we have records that we hold for long periods of time. Traditionally, our archive requires a transfer of records to our agency over a 25-year time frame.”

Digitising these records would not only make them more accessible, but streamline the archiving and transferring process.

Traditionally, the Department has not had the luxury to manage their records in such a way. Moving forward, the Department wants to change this and remove the siloes between these processes.

“With digital, we want to transfer these records immediately. We do not want to go through the historic process of creating records, making decisions to archive and then making decisions to transfer,” Mr. Ord explained, “It should really be born digital, born archival, transfer the archival instantly. With that, your record management systems must be able to speak to each other and we must have the capacity to store all of these records.”

Mr. Ord also points out that if these records are made digital in real-time, it would create added value for decision making purposes.

“Because these records are kept by the state, there is a concern about secure records which should be transferred in real-time. For instance, prison records, health records, and engineering of the state records, are all pretty important records to have on instant retrieval,” Mr. Ord told us.

One way the Department is already working with recording in real-time happens through Culture Counts. CultureCounts, is a world leading technology platform being used throughout Australia and internationally and provides the opportunity to demonstrate the full value of the [culture and arts] sector in real time. Data collected through Culture Counts will allow benchmarking so the sector can track its progress, especially as it relates to the quality of work.

If records were able to move as easily as the data from CultureCounts, then the Department of Culture and the Arts would be able to work more efficiently and provide improved services to citizens.

We look forward to monitoring the progress of digital transformation within the Department as they embrace digitisation and cloud solutions. 

Image from DCA Facebook Page

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