Document management software (DMS) would not exist without the Department of Defense’s 5015.02 Standard. The creation of The Standard is one of the most significant in the world of document management and is comparable to the Wright brothers’ first flight or the introduction of the assembly line in each respective industry. But what makes it so important and how does it affect your business? Here is a brief introduction to the importance of the 5015.02-STD.
What Is the 5015.02?
Unless you work in a few very specific fields within the government, you may not have heard of the 5015.02-STD. The Standard is the result of the government’s need for a more centralized and standardized data management system. Prior to the 1990s, government agencies and private companies alike were forced to rely on completely independent and almost entirely physical record keeping systems. The record keeping systems were essentially filing cabinets full of papers created by a given agency or company, none of which made sense outside of a given organization and required a certain level of translation if they were to be shared.
The Standard took years to develop and was the result of collaboration between the Air Force, Army Research Laboratory, and the Nation Archives and Records Administration. It was born after the Persian Gulf War when the government began investigating the Gulf War Syndrome and found the relevant medical and battle records were lost, destroyed, or never created in the first place. Government agencies then began working together to unify record keeping practices throughout departments. The pivotal moment came in 1995 with the publication of the “Functional Baseline Requirements and Data Elements for Records Management Application Software” document, which quickly evolved to become The Standard.
Why Does It Matter?
So why does The Standard matter and what has changed as a result of its creation? While government agencies were the first to benefit from it, they aren’t the only ones who can take advantage of the changes. Almost all of the baseline functional requirements for records management applications are in use by corporations and small companies alike.
Prior to The Standard, document and data management was archaic, convoluted, and time-consuming. Almost all documents needed to be printed and stored as physical copies (even after computers began to trickle into the market in the 80s and 90s). The few electronic messages that were created usually could not be stored in their native formats (as printing in such a format was often impossible and digital compatibility was almost non-existent) and their integrity could not be verified when necessary. Further, trained records managers were required to classify records, requiring a significant financial investment in training and employment. This had the further effect of keeping important records in the hands of very few individuals who had to control almost all the information. Those who could benefit from greater access were left in the dark.
After The Standard was created, the entire world of document and record management changed. Now, recordkeeping and data transfer systems are part of any given company’s infrastructure and a very important part of how the company operates. Further, managing records requires very little time or knowledge. And finally, absolute standards have been set up that make communication between organizations and types of data simple and quick. As a result, all industries can benefit from greater profitability and safety.
What does The Standard mean for your company? How does it affect what happens outside of the Department of Defense or other government organizations? While it began with classified information, the systems developed and standardization was quickly and readily adopted by organizations outside of the government. The principles of discreet and classified information storage the government used for protecting top-secret information, for example, can be used by the healthcare industry to protect patient data without making access almost impossible to those who need it.
The Standard discusses everything from which PDF formats are acceptable and to be used to the necessity of maintaining backwards compatibility when new formats or versions of software are used. A primary reason you can use, understand, and archive messages from an electronic mail system that is separate from the system you use is based on The Standard. It even goes so far as to mandate how accounting IDs are managed within a system, eliminating all the guesswork and labor when setting up a database.
Putting Them to Use
All of the advances, mandates, and breakthroughs The Standard provided mean that no matter what industry you work in and what size of company you manage, document management services like those provided by eFileCabinet will make record keeping a simple task. Because the technology is widely available, you don’t need to deal in classified information to take advantage of the great breakthroughs the Department of Defense helped create in the early 1990s.