US President Obama faces many challenges as he enters the executive office. His new administration is set to tackle the economy and many in the document management industry are looking to them for signs of increased regulation when it comes to records management and retention.

While such a topic may not seem like it would be a priority for the new president, those immersed in the industry know that good knowledge management is key to solving some of the biggest problems facing the country. Like the economic crisis.

During his campaign, Obama acknowledged that the economic situation, in which we find ourselves knee-deep in bailouts and debt, was caused by a lack of regulation and a disregard for compliance standards. With recent studies showing companies woefully unprepared to archive and manage e-documents, the government is even further behind.

But with the new administration built upon values of transparency and accountability, many in the industry are hopeful that change has come, bringing with it more enforcement and productive initiatives that will help address and prevent future records management calamities, economic and otherwise.

An Administration of Archival and Retention

CMSWire had the opportunity to speak with Mr. T. M. Ravi, President and CEO of Mimosa Systems about what the Obama presidency may mean for records management and retention processes.

As you may recall, Mimosa provides information management and content archiving solutions and has recently launched a new version of its NearPoint email archiving solution. With a vested interested in the area of records management, Mimosa is encouraged that companies will be moved to adhere to stricter guidelines and standards. If executed properly, standards and guidelines can save lots of money, fix crucial elements of the economic infrastructure, as well as demonstrate principles of good governance.

Ravi is optimistic that new federal and state policies will hold more companies accountable for their actions, or rather their inaction. With more legislation being passed, like the Presidential Records Act, US citizens are gaining greater access to electronic documents.

As we enter a new phase of government, led by a president with experience engaging with social media -- from his Blackberry to his YouTube chats -- an explosion of e-information is inevitable, as is the urgent need to archive, search and access it. Ravi advises the administration to do the "right thing" and use the insurgence of e-communication generated by the Commander-in-Chief to improve the way the communication records are managed.

Not only will proactive steps in knowledge management serve to aid the administration, they will also help companies be proactive about how they classify, retain and meet compliance issues within the realm of e-discovery.

A poor economy increases litigation, forcing companies to release relevant but hard to find documentation. By implementing archiving solutions, like those offered by Mimosa, organizations can archive all types of electronic information, from IMs, text messages, word documents and photos.

By storing the information on a separate system, like Mimosa's NearPoint does, documents are captured, indexed and searched securely, out of users' control. Investigations are made easier and streamlined to save time, money and uphold the principles of good governance.

Awareness and Accountability in 2009

Within the last quarter, Ravi notes that Mimosa has reported an increase in ediscovery awareness. Though companies are cutting back on expenditures, they are making compliance a priority and putting money into archiving solutions for their budgets in 2009.

Noting the first wave of archival growth after the Enron debacle in 2002, Ravi pointed out that economic crises usually increase accountability and interest in records retention. The time is right for an improved framework of new regulations that work to avoid current situations to emerge.

US Chief Technology Officer

Finally, there has been much discussion about a cabinet-level CTO who would, among other things, play a critical role in an economic recovery plan. Ravi is hopeful that if such a position was created, it would help to modernize the front and back office systems.

Such modernization and innovation would help citizens interact better with government services, as well as help to reduce costs associated with many government assistance programs, like medicaid and medicare.

As US productivity reaches its peak for the first time in approximately twenty years, so does the amount of information being generated. Ravi emphasizes the importance of a technologically savvy person to oversee the development of innovative compliance solutions at the government level.

Change We Can Believe In

There is no doubt that the Obama presidency brings hope to many people. There is also no doubt that an enormous amount of information needs to be managed and processed. Many of the difficult situations facing the administration can be aided by better regulatory standards as well as the implementation of archiving solutions.

A commitment to improving knowledge management, however can be made at any level. From companies, to local, state and federal agencies, this is a change is we can all believe in.