Since the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) Engineering Directorate’s Balanced Scorecard (BSC) strategy development process began in 2005, Engineering Directorate staff have remained engaged because the strategy itself is relevant and accessible. The structure of the strategy calls for continuous efforts to educate individuals about strategic initiatives and these initiatives seek to improve daily operations for the workforce — including a specific initiative for knowledge management.
When Mike Brown heard about the warehouse filled with boxes of ECBC documents, he wondered how many more boxes existed, tucked away in the corners of employees’ cubicles, offices and storage spaces.
“Engineering Associate Director, Bill Klein approached me and explained his concern that the documents in the warehouse may get lost or damaged, so he wanted them scanned and saved,” Brown, Team Leader of the strategy’s Knowledge Management Initiative, said. “I explained how this could potentially turn into something bigger.”
That something bigger became one of the Engineering Directorate BSC’s key initiatives – Knowledge Management. The purpose of the initiative is to establish a consistent process for collecting and organizing Engineering-generated content; a process that would eventually be decentralized and adhered to by each of the Directorate’s team leaders, and even further down, by each individual.
“In reality, whatever documents – text, images, presentations – are generated today, should go on SharePoint; not printed, put in a box and then scanned into the online document library at some later date,” Brown said.
Essentially, SharePoint is a family of Windows software that is used by organizations to set up internal Web portals – or intranets – for document sharing and search, team collaboration, wikis and company news. At ECBC, SharePoint is in the process of being rolled out and will likely replace the Center’s current intranet, CBNet.
The platform is ideal to use for organizing and accessing documents used on a regular basis. However, due to file space limitations, Brown said they are looking into alternate options for hosting the actual document library.
The immensity of the project and projected number of potential documents to scan and upload to SharePoint, has been one of the recent challenges faced by the Knowledge Management team. SharePoint has a ceiling for how many files it will retain before it requires users to archive items.
“The purpose is for this to be a library of documents; and libraries don’t archive,” Brown said.
While the intent is to still use SharePoint for the user interface, the team is considering other platforms for hosting the actual document library, ones that have no limit to the amount of content stored.
In the meantime, Brown is focused on encouraging the workforce to use SharePoint on a daily basis, leveraging its many organizational and document management tools.
“Documents should be saved to SharePoint, not necessarily to personal computers,” Brown said. “But that takes an entire culture change, encouraging individual employees to use SharePoint, not just within the Engineering Directorate, but across the Center.”
Brown has established a team of individuals to account for the amount of work needed to collect, scan and organize the hundreds of thousands of hard copy documents from various teams on to SharePoint. The team consists of three students from the Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP), and a full-time Knowledge Management Specialist. To date, the team has scanned over 60,000 files.
When it first began, the initiative – as Brown expected – opened a watershed of requests from Engineering Directorate teams, requesting to hand over their own stored boxes of documents for scanning and saving to the Center’s online document library. The teams came out of the woodwork; one team turned in several boxes and promised 15 to 20 more to come.
“What we’ve seen so far is only a fraction of what’s coming,” Nick Renna, one of the STEP students, said. “The initial estimates we’ve received from several teams, leads us to believe there are at least 500,000 more documents that need to be added to the document library.”
When asked if he sees any end in sight, or if there will ever be a final scanned document, Brown seemed cautiously optimistic.
“There was nothing in place prior to this BSC initiative for employees to reference historical documents; there was no document repository,” Brown said. “There is now though. Now that SharePoint and our document scanning services are in place, it’s really up to the workforce to help us manage the remaining documents – and begin to use SharePoint for their current document management tool.”
Caption (first photo): “There was nothing in place prior to this BSC initiative for employees to reference historical documents; there was no document repository,” Brown said. “There is now though. Now that SharePoint and our document scanning services are in place, it’s really up to the workforce to help us manage the remaining documents – and begin to use SharePoint for their current document management tool.” - Mike Brown, Team Lead of the BSC Knowledge Management Initiative
Caption (second photo): Nick Renna, Brianna McClairn and Ciarra Barker (l-r) represent the “people behind the work” to scan and upload thousands of documents to ECBC’s document library. All three come to ECBC from the Student Temporary Employment Program.