While 46 percent of federal information management professionals cite managing all types of information assets, regardless of format, as a priority for their field, many feel unprepared to handle the future requirements of doing so.
Iron Mountain conducted the study to identify the government’s information management priorities for the next 3-5 years, share agency respondents’ feedback on where gaps exist and deliver recommendations on how to improve on the necessary skillsets required to succeed.
The survey also asked these professionals what skills would be required – including specialized technical and soft skills – they believed could position them for future effectiveness and success.
More than half (56 percent) believe information security and access control will be in greatest demand from information management professionals, followed by data quality management (39 percent) and analytics capabilities – including data sourcing and integration (39 percent). In addition, projects related to data privacy (34 percent), records and information management (RIM) (31 percent) and data analytics (30 percent) are in the greatest demand over the next three to five years.
Key focus areas for future success
Areas for improvement – Agencies recognize the need for improvement of key skills in-demand. Risk management (34 percent) is most often cited as an area for improvement, followed by electronic records retention (24 percent) and RIM practices (24 percent).
Most desired skill sets – Risk management/security/data privacy (54 percent), analytics (42 percent) and content/records management (33 percent) are the most desired information management skill sets over the next three to five years.
Technical and soft skills in demand – Information security (52 percent) is by far the technical skill in greatest demand, while innovative thinking (39 percent) came in as the soft skill in demand the most. Fifteen percent noted they were very or extremely weak in fostering stakeholder buy-in and in delivering C-level and stakeholder communications.
Impactful project management skills – Ensuring compliance (32 percent), physical and IT records format management integration (26 percent) and information and data valuation assessment (24 percent) are the project management skills estimated to have the greatest impact on records management over the next 24 months.
The data indicates there are significant gaps between the skills records management professionals currently have and what they believe they will need in the future. As such, agencies should consider focusing on the following in order to close that gap:
- Evangelize a more holistic approach to information management, and prepare to sell it internally
- Meet the demand for specialized skills with a focus on information security, quality management and analytics
- Focus on soft and technical skills in need of improvement, and understand why improvement is needed
- Leverage the knowledge and mentoring skills of older staff before they retire
- Provide professional development training in the formats employees most prefer
- Create a forum for the sharing of ideas and best practices.