Recent concerted efforts on the part of the Librarian and Archivist of Canada have led to a formal recognition of recordkeeping as a horizontal issue for the Government of Canada (GC) - an issue requiring resolution and priority action - and culminated in a mandate from the Clerk of the Privy Council to hold Deputy Minister roundtables discussions on Recordkeeping (RK) and Information Management. These discussions took place in the fall of 2006.
To achieve a state of recordkeeping within government that provides for accountability and establishes recordkeeping business value, the DM Roundtable discussions resulted in the creation of Assistant Deputy Minister sponsored Working Groups that would focus on a number of critical requirements, beginning with the development and elaboration of a GC Recordkeeping Regime. As it is being conceptually proposed and practically designed, this Recordkeeping (RK) Regime represents an administrative paradigm shift that requires broad cultural change and new ways of approaching recordkeeping at multiple levels: from policy and infrastructure to capacity and tools.
Based on this position, the Treasury Board Portfolio Advisory Committee asked Library and Archives Canada (LAC) to conduct assessment projects for the purpose of more closely delineating the proposed RK regime and the outcomes that might be expected once it was introduced. The subject of this summary report, Documentation Standards and Function-based Analysis at the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), is one such project.
In support of initiatives for developing the GC RK Regime, LAC has created - and is in the process of finalizing - a Guide to Developing Documentation Standards for Government Programs, Activities and Results. Documentation standards will be a key component of organizational recordkeeping within government departments and agencies. A principal aspect of every documentation standard will be the establishment of the business context for recordkeeping. This entails identifying and describing structured inventories of organizational business objectives and functional requirements, in the nature and form of business process maps.
The objective of the Documentation Standards and Function-based Analysis at ACOA project was to identify and describe information components necessary for implementing an effective recordkeeping regime at ACOA. In so doing, a Business Information Relationship Model (BIRM) for ACOA was developed. The BIRM depicts, and will help facilitate, the interrelationships amongst the business, information, applications and technology elements necessary to improve the business of government, and to provide the various information views required by central agencies (TBS, LAC, etc.), departmental/agency management, and other stakeholders (e.g., departmental/agency staff, partners and clients).
The main enabler for this objective was the work at LAC to create the Guide to Developing Documentation Standards and to establish and implement a Canadian approach to function-based analysis and classification.
Phase I of this project involved applying the LAC Business Activity Structure Classification System (BASCS) approach to function-based analysis - to identify and describe structured inventories for the ACOA program activities of 'contributions', 'policy research' and 'advocacy'. This report focuses on the contributions program activity which is associated to the Agency's 2008-2009 Report on Plans and Priorities and, more specifically, to the Agency's Strategic Outcomes No. 1: Enterprise Development - Competitive and sustainable Atlantic enterprises, with emphasis on those of small and medium size and No. 2 Community Development - Dynamic and sustainable communities for Atlantic Canada. The program activity also forms part of the Agency's Program Activity Architecture (PAA) which, within the context of its strategic outcomes, is linked to the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Act and the resulting mandate that drives the business of the Agency.
In setting the business context for recordkeeping, this phase of the project focused on using BASCS to identify and describe the function and business processes (sub-functions and related activities) that support the Agency's Strategic Outcomes Nos. 1 & 2, and to identify and describe how these manifest themselves within the Agency's business.
In particular, Phase I encompassed work to:
Note: developing the ACOA BIRM and defining the relationships between its components will assist in documenting how the Agency has structured its Business Service Architecture to respond to management and operational requirements, and in establishing the framework for developing a suite of Documentation (Recordkeeping) Standards aligned to the Agency's business and operational needs.
While work to set the Context for Recordkeeping, to establish a function-based structure for ACOA and to develop Documentation Standards for ACOA considered all three of the Agency's strategic outcomes, this phase of the work focused on the PAA program activities and sub-activities related to Strategic Outcomes Nos. 1 & 2.
Figure 1 identifies the focus area Provide Funds: Contributions. This business service is associated with the strategic outcomes (and their related program activities) represented below.
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Mandate (derived from the Act)
To "increase opportunity for economic development in Atlantic Canada and, more particularly, to enhance the growth of earned incomes and employment opportunities in the region."
Strategic Outcome #1
Competitive and sustainable Atlantic enterprises, with emphasis on those of small and medium size
Strategic Outcome #2
Dynamic and sustainable communities for Atlantic Canada
Strategic Outcome #3
Policies and programs that strengthen the Atlantic economy
Strategic Outcome #1 and Stategic Outcome #2 lead to the following two points: Provide Funds, and Contribution, which when combined represent ACOA Services
The approach to the work was based on the expected outcome for this RK Assessment Project, and on the vision and the overall outcome associated with establishing the GC Recordkeeping Regime.
Project Outcome: A BASCS function-based structure for ACOA is defined and Documentation Standards are integrated into the Agency's Business Architecture (with accompanying business rules) in alignment with the attributes of related ACOA case and document content types, and are instrumental in enabling ACOA's Recordkeeping Regime.
The approach consisted of gathering information, developing information structures, identifying and defining relationships, and understanding the linkages to be defined between the Agency's business and the evolving Recordkeeping Regime.
Figure 2 below, outlines the objective, project approach and project activities related to Phase I work.
Project Approach and Associated Results (Detail)
The activities conducted during Phase I generated the following results:
|Activities||Outputs / Results|
|Conduct investigative research into ACOA operations and business practices.||Derived the main business function from the mandate, and explored the relationships between the ACOA PAA and the Agency's supporting Business Service Architecture.|
|Analyze the business service architecture of ACOA.||Documented the Context for Recordkeeping and the Business Service Architecture at ACOA. Analyzed and documented the ACOA case file structure and content type model and their related attributes. Demonstrated the highest aggregate level of the ACOA business and information architecture at which documentation standards can or need to be established and at which records can be created (Service Level 4 - Business Activity).|
|Develop a BASCS function-based model structure for ACOA business.||Developed a BASCS function-based model structure for ACOA, identifying the Agency's function and sub-functions (and their related generic business processes and activities), and their relationship to the ACOA PAA and Business Service Architecture. In the Business Service Architecture, sub-functions manifest themselves at Level 3 Services. Documented how the LAC definition of function and BASCS principles of analysis were applied to ACOA business operations.|
|Identify and analyze the elements that compose a Business Information Relationship Model (BIRM) for ACOA.||Created the first draft of an ACOA BIRM, which identifies the touch points and relationships between the management and operational components that enable the delivery of programs and services, and meet reporting and compliance obligations at both the agency and GC level.
The draft BIRM identifies 10 components. Components 1 - 3 are defined in this report. Component 4 - content types - will be defined (for Provide Funds: Contribution) during Phase II. Components 5 - 10 will also be addressed - to a level to be determined. The high level BIRM for ACOA is illustrated in figure 3.
|Analyze and document alignments between the ACOA PAA and its business service architecture.||Documented the Agency's Business Service Architecture's relationship to the PAA (how it supports the enablement of PAA strategic outcomes and program activities). Reviewed and documented one example of an ACOA Business Service activity (Managing a Recovery Case) enabled by ACOA's current Microsoft.Net infrastructure.
Note: the Agency's technology and business architectures are being re-platformed on the Microsoft Office SharePoint Solution (MOSS), upon which document management functions will be enabled and within which case file attributes will be modified to support Documentation (Recordkeeping) Standards.
|Establish the framework for the creation of documentation standards in Phase II.||Developed a draft framework to adapt the Guide to Developing Documentation Standards to the development of Documentation (Recordkeeping) Standards within the ACOA case file and document content type attribute structure. In Phase II, Documentation Standards will be developed and applied to the Provide Funds: Contribution business service, and tested to assess traceability, accountability and transparency.|
ACOA - Business Information Relationship Model:
List of equivalents based on BASCS Hierarchy model:
The ACOA Business Architecture Enables Delivery of PAA
The PAA consists of the following:
3 Strategic Outcomes:
1.0 Enterprise Development
Competitive and sustainable Atlantic enterprises, with emphasis on those of small or medium size
Program Activities & Sub-Activities
2.0 Community Development
Dynamic and sustainable communities for Atlantic Canada
Program Activities & Sub-Activities
3.0 Policy Advocacy and Coordination
Policies and programs that strengthen the Atlantic economy
Program Activities and Sub-Activities:
Function of ACOA:
to support and promote opportunity for economic development of Atlantic Canada through policy, program and project development and implementation and through advocacy of the interests of Atlantic Canada in national economic policy, program and project development and implementation.
BASCS Model for ACOA
ACOA Business Information Model
Content Types *Example Only
Phase I findings will be factored into Phase II work, (i.e., documenting business service architecture Advocacy and Policy and development of Documentation Standards for ACOA). Also, it is reasonable to assume that these findings and the methods used to reach them would be applicable to most GC organizations that have already in place (or are in the process of developing) a business service/information architecture, and need to develop a regime that aligns recordkeeping to the business outcomes of their organization.
The findings are:
For ACOA, the development and implementation of an agency recordkeeping regime that connects to the overall business architecture, and which is supported by an information architecture and technology innovations, will lead to important service improvements and enhanced operational capabilities that include:
By leveraging the current ACOA business architecture and through incorporation of Agency Documentation Standards, a related benefit will be realized insofar as that ACOA will develop a framework capable of providing a structured description of its information assets - and of their relationship to business processes, business management responsibilities, and IT systems.
One of the critical success factors in realizing the Phase I outcomes was having access to the resources with the knowledge and engagement needed to provide the right perspective and context as it related to developing a department's recordkeeping regime. In the case of ACOA, the Director General of Service Transformation and CIO was available for consultation and input throughout the process and for each aspect of evaluation. As CIO, he was able to provide the team with relevant input from the IM, IT, Business Service architecture, and recordkeeping perspectives. As DG Service Transformation, he brought the context required to focus work on developing a business centric recordkeeping regime. It is reasonable to assume that in small to medium-size agencies, this type of input could be obtained from a relatively small number of sources (see figure 4), with the result that buy-in to the process is facilitated. In larger organizations, this may prove to be a more significant challenge as the responsibilities for the components identified are often distributed amongst multiple individuals. In such cases, change management and a communication strategy increase in importance.
Evaluation, Documentation Standards, Recordkeeping Regime
Client: Function Analysis, Recordkeeping, Business Architecture, Information Management/Architecture, Information Technology N.B. Small, Medium Agencies may centralize access
Final level: individual contacts for each of the aforementioned sectors.
The next phase of this project (Phase II) involves:
Note: the next generation technology platform (i.e., MOSS + updated Business Architecture) planned by ACOA will support the mapping of these inter-relationships and will demonstrate the application of documentation standards within the attributes of the case type. This functionality will further enhance the Agency's ability to implement a dynamic and intuitive recordkeeping capacity that is aligned to the ACOA business environment and outcomes, and be capable of managing records in an accountable, traceable and transparent manner.
The Phase I outcome and outputs of this project provide LAC with information needed to develop guidelines for applying the BASCS approach to function-based analysis within any GC organization, and to identify critical success factors in implementing business centric documentation standards and activating a transformative recordkeeping regime.
From a project specific perspective, we can conclude that: