Every situation is different, every challenge unique. You may have thousands of maps or millions of documents. You may have a digital dumping ground of irretrievable information. And on top of that you may be operating under regulations, laws, court orders, or the imperatives of a competitive business environment, all of which combine to define your challenge. That is why we work closely with each client to develop solutions to information management that meet their precise and unique needs. And in the process, we add value to what they do, as we have for these clients:
CBP is an agency of agencies, combining 16 component offices and over 60,000 employees throughout the United States. Enormous amounts of security data and sensitive records are collected by Customs officials as well as Border Patrol agents. In an effort to properly categorize and secure the data, CBP looked to Edge. Working within a federal cloud, Edge stood up a SharePoint 2013-based farm. To this solid base we added GimmalSoft, the only native records management solution to meet the stringent DoD 5015.2 records standard. Then we performed a slow rollout to different component offices.
At the same time, Edge’s records team worked with each component office to update its own records schedule and check it against the overall agency general records schedule (GRS) and federal enterprise architecture. From there, we performed a fileplan inventory to tie the data from all activities to the GRS. Once each component office was set, we eliminated redundancies and combined all 16 fileplans into one master plan for CBP.
The Student Exchange Visitor Program certifies and inspects learning institutions in the US and exchange applicants from all over the world. School certifications can run over a hundred pages each, and each school must be re-certified every two years. In addition, the young agency has inherited records from its predecessor, and must coordinate information sharing with the State Department as well as other branches of ICE. Unfortunately, with disparate systems in place, the agency lacked central direction and clear chain of custody.
Edge set up a records and information management (RIM) team to study the issue. We performed a maturity assessment, recommended RIM policies, provided data conversion, and collaborated on a SharePoint 2013 implementation with GimmalSoft in the Amazon cloud, with plans to move from the current 2010 farm.
The US Marine Corps is fiercely, and justly, proud of its legacy and no less proud of its can-do attitude. One challenge, however, threatened to defeat the leathernecks of the Corps’ small but dedicated History Division: valuable historical materials, some going back to the early 1800s, were rapidly deteriorating. Much of these books, reports, photographs, and microfilm were collected and stored well before the advent of air conditioning and climate controlled buildings and might soon be lost.
With Edge Digital Group’s help this material is being digitized so it will be available to future generations and the scans are being tagged in a Share Point database so any asset can quickly be identified and located. Using Kodak Alaris scanners and Capture Pro software, the Edge team is working through a backlog of records of everything from campaigns in African and Central America to documents captured from the Japanese at the close of WW-II. The Division looks to make most of this material available on its website to historians and interested members of the public it has so well served.
|U.S. Army's Aviation Branch Safety Office|
At the Army’s sprawling Fort Rucker facility in southern Alabama, the Aviation Branch Safety Office collects reports of every aviation incident or accident that occurs with any of the service’s roughly 3,500 aircraft. For the Branch to spot patterns and contribute to improving the Army’s aviation safety record, the data need to be accessible. Unfortunately, much of the historical information resided in paper reports in some 600 banker’s boxes and on some 500 rolls of microfilm.
Using Kodak Alaris Capture Pro software, Kodak Alaris scanners, and Microsoft’s SharePoint data management software, Edge Digital Group has captured all of this information and made it readily accessible. Now even with faster required turnaround times for Freedom of Information Act requests and inquiries from Congressional committees, the Branch is able to respond fully and quickly to all. And when asked about the value of Edge’s services, the Army’s response was typically straightforward and atypically enthusiastic, saying simply: “We’re thrilled!”
Though often thought of as Fannie Mae’s smaller brother, by any other measure Freddie Mac is an impressively large organization and a key player in the nation’s secondary mortgage market. With nearly $2 trillion in assets and about 5,000 employees, Freddie Mac operates at a level and scale that demands optimal efficiency. Because the mortgage industry is still largely paper-based, Freddie Mac’s massive and daily challenge is to digitize a torrent of documents, but by the summer of 2013 that process had come to a complete stop.
Edge Digital Group performed an assessment of the situation and quickly isolated the deficient components (hardware, software, and firmware) and the steps needed to reorganize their in-house capture operation into a truly integrated process. Introducing both the latest release of Kodak< Alaris’s Capture Pro software and a number of other upgrades, Edge was rapidly able to restart the digitization stream, which at last count exceeded a quarter million pages per month…and growing.
|Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)|
After the housing crisis and the depression that followed, it became critical that the public regain confidence in Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the dozen Federal Home Loan Banks scattered across the country. To supervise and regulate these entities, Congress created the FHFA, which in 2008 formally put Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under its conservatorship. Born of crisis and the inheritor of the duties of two earlier organizations, FHFA's inspector general's office (IG) had to quickly establish its operational independence and maintain its absolute integrity. That meant that information on all of its ongoing investigations had to be kept separate and apart from the information systems of its parent organization.
Edge Digital Group isolated over 30 gigabytes of the IG's information on a new, secure, cloud-based SharePoint system, administered by and housed at NTIS. In addition, Edge wrote sophisticated filtering and reporting programs, integrated with TeamMate audit management software, to examine audit reports and create executive overviews that identified and prioritized potential problems.
|U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)|
It seems pretty obvious that someone conducting investigations shouldn't leave all their data available to those being investigated. But as large-scale file sharing was introduced into the federal government, many inspectors general (IG) found themselves in this position with their most sensitive files sitting on their parent agency's servers. This vulnerability could lead to questions about the integrity of the data and the impartiality of the investigations. This was the critical situation faced by the VA's inspector general.
In response, Edge Digital Group created an independent SharePoint server farm for the VA's IG and migrated all existing files to this system, giving IG staff secure access from anywhere in the country. Edge then worked with the client to create a governance policy for maintaining the security of the server farm. And to help employees take full advantage of SharePoint's features, we created training keyed to the IG's configuration and even conducted train-the-trainer workshops to help disseminate this information.
|U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)|
Immigration has always played a key role in American history and since 1897 the government has maintained a historical reference library to document this rich and compelling story. This priceless collection consists of government records and genealogical research in every format imaginable: microfilm from the 1920s, large bound volumes over 200 years old, BetaMax tapes, photographs, and more. Many of these materials were quite fragile and most were simply irreplaceable. Previous attempts at digitizing the collection had failed but its deteriorating condition compelled the USCIS to try again.
Edge Digital Group didn't just offer a typical scanning service. Instead, we worked with USCIS staff to create a carefully staged plan to ensure the condition and safety of all materials. We employed special equipment that enabled us to scan the bound volumes without having to disassemble them. The data are now preserved and available to everyone from scholars to citizens. Our past has now been preserved for the future.
|U.S. Marine Corps (USMC)|
The Marines have always been the nation's most forward-deployed force, frequently off the grid and without access to the Internet. But like any fighting force, they rely on information to maintain readiness and compliance with all orders. For years, the Corps sent administrative orders into the field on paper and then on low-capacity, text-only CDs. There had to be a better way.
First, Edge Digital Group eliminated the use of paper documents and CDs, digitizing ten years' worth of Administrative Orders (AOs) and storing them as highly-compressed PDFs that retained all of the information and formatting of the originals. These AOs were stored, updated, and are now accessible via an Edge-installed SharePoint system interfaced to the web. And for those without web access, Edge introduced high-capacity DVDs delivered every quarter to every Marine base, installation, and US embassy. The approach proved so successful, that EDGE was soon engaged to digitize a good deal of other Marine information, including training manuals and critical country background reports.
|Internal Revenue Service (IRS)|
To serve their clients, tax preparation professionals need access to a mountain of information: hundreds of special forms, instruction publications, and even the Tax Code itself. In paper form these would overfill a small office. In addition to current year information, preparers also need to access earlier forms and regulations for refilings and actions that span multiple years.
To answer this need, for the past 16 years Edge Digital Group and produced and annually-updated DVDs that contain every current and past form and instruction document. Called IRS Tax Products DVD, this remarkable resource is fully searchable, contains numerous cross-links to related documents, is 508-compliant, and allows on-screen fill-in and printing. Recently, Edge created an automatically-updated desktop application that serves this same purpose.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) makes grants for victims of crime, community oriented policing, sex offender tracking, and a number of other research and law enforcement programs. But until recently all grant applications, over 17,000 of them, were submitted only in paper format. They filled an entire room at DOJ's headquarters. The Department's required to retain all proposals and to perform random audits of this collection. But to comply --to find and verify any individual proposal-- had become a nightmare.
Edge Digital Group proposed and implemented a program that quickly and accurately scanned and digitized all of these legacy proposals. Now searches take only seconds, audits are performed with ease, and what was a jumbled storeroom has been freed for more productive uses.
The Social Security Administration is awash in data, and until recently much of it was still retained on paper. One entire floor of office space at its suburban Baltimore headquarters was given over to storing just the operations manuals describing how claims were to be processed. These Programs Operations Manuals (or POMS) filled hundreds of binders and over 140 CD that even predated the internet. In this form the POMS were anything but useful. They were neither 508- nor FOIA-compliant, they were exceedingly difficult to search, and as a practical matter they were all but inaccessible to anyone in any of the SSA's other offices.
Edge Digital Group scanned the paper POMS, going back to 1991 and converted the CDs' content, combining them all into a single, easily accessible database that is now used by SSA employees and is also available to the public. Answering Freedom of Information Act requests is now dramatically simpler. The dangers and burdens of paper storage have been removed and a web interface now allows all SSA employees to see any POM. Problem retired.