Electronic Records Management & M-19-21: The Basics

Last Updated on June 9, 2023 by Sarah Gayda

Questions and answers on the transition to electronic records and how Colligo can help

The deadline to comply with National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) memorandum M-19-21 is fast approaching. By the end of this year all US Federal agencies must transition to electronic records, a daunting challenge and massive undertaking for many.

In advance of the looming cut-off date, we want to answer some basic questions we’re hearing among customers and industry colleagues, so you can be prepared.

What is M-19-21?

Memorandum M-19-21 states that all Federal agencies must go paperless and move record keeping and business processes to a fully electronic environment by the end of December 2022. Containing the subject Transition to Electronic Records, the memorandum directs all Federal agencies to:

  • Ensure that all Federal records are created, maintained and managed in electronic format with appropriate metadata
  • Plan for closing storage facilities for paper records

Who is impacted by M-19-21?

Only United States Federal agencies must comply with M-19-21.

Why did the US Federal Government issue this directive?

The short answer is to save money. Creating, using, storing, and finding Federal records in paper format is costly to taxpayers. The directive will also help with efficiency, accuracy, and better storage of records.

What is electronic records management?

Records management refers to the “efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use, and disposition of records, including the processes for capturing and maintaining evidence of and information about business activities and transactions in the form of records,” according to AIIM. Electronic records management or ERM is simply records management in electronic form or digital records.

Are you prepared?

With the basics covered, the next question for Federal government agencies is are you prepared? And how can we help you?

How can Colligo help?

Saving you time and money, the Colligo Enterprise Suite supports your efforts to comply with M-19-21 by:

  1. Enabling the automatic or manual application of metadata, depending on your agency’s needs. M-19-21 stipulates that “By 2022, Federal agencies will manage all permanent records in an electronic format and with appropriate metadata.” Colligo add-ins make it easy for users to tag files and electronic documents — including multiple file types such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and emails and attachments — to find files faster.
  2. Ensuring that all your digital records or electronic files going forward are captured, tagged, and stored according to government regulations. While the mandate can seem overwhelming, we typically offer the following advice: start now and start somewhere.
  3. Improving search and discoverability as a result of the accurate application of metadata, which saves your users time and reduces risk to your organization.
  4. Allowing you to get more from your Microsoft 365 investment. Given that 85% of government employees use Microsoft productivity software, public agencies must ensure they’re getting the most from the platform.

Where can I find more information about metadata?

We’ve got some great educational resources:

What if I still have questions?

We can help. Get in touch for more information about M-19-21, metadata, or how Colligo can support your digital records management and compliance efforts.

Get Monthly Insight

Stay informed with Colligo blog posts, webinars, white papers, MVP interviews, and product news.
Learn how we protect your data in our Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe at any time.
Start a 14-day free trial today!

Our customers report significant time and costs savings.

See what we can do for you!

See what we can do for you!