APVMA opens up to open source

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has opened up its tender for a new EDRMS platform to include open source options, promising to consider these equally alongside proprietary software.

The APVMA is a statutory authority with around 170 staff in Canberra in charge of assessing and regulating the approval and sale of all agricultural and veterinary (Agvet) chemical products.

In general, the APVMA’s IT environment is a virtualised server infrastructure of windows and Solaris servers. The desktop fleet consists of 200 PCs running Windows 7, 64 bit and Microsoft Office 2010. The APVMA has a number of bespoke and third party proprietary business applications, a web presence and online application submission capabilities.  

The APVMA is seeking a solution to manage existing digital documents stored in separate repositories and existing physical records. The organisation wishes to move progressively toward the minimisation of paper records and documents in favour of fully managed electronic documents. The APVMA also wants a greater capacity to share information and to support collaboration, both internally and externally, through electronic channels.

The APVMA is looking for a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) based electronic document and records management system (EDRMS) solution or Enterprise Content Management system, with additional functionality.

According to tender documents, “The solution should have strong digital and physical records management and hybrid records management functionality to manage both digital and non-digital records elements, and strong Workflow or business process functionality.

“Optional additional functionality includes:
* Collaboration tools, including secure website portal Access.
* Case management system.
* Customer relationship management.
* Content approval and Workflow, management, content publishing to the Intranet, Internet and Extranet.”

Following a 2011 review of its information and records management processes, it was decided there was a need to move to digital from its present managed record keeping environment which is entirely in hardcopy.

The APVMA has approximately 172,000 paper records. Of these about 110,000 are located offsite, either with our offsite storage provider, or with the National Archives of Australia.

Physical records are comprised of paper files, volumes of scientific data (monographs) in paper, CD-ROM, DVD, floppy disk or microfiche, and physical objects such as product labels and product containers, e.g. unused empty product containers in plastic or metal and published and unpublished monographs. 46% of the collection is Retain Permanently or, legislatively ‘keep forever’.

The current records management system is RecFind, which manages all administrative records and scientific data in paper from creation, and product related files when they are archived to offsite storage. Product related files are tracked via an internal system called iEARS.

The complex IT environment at APVMA includes in excess of 94 separate repositories, and multiple in-house systems built on various platforms including Ingres RDBMS, SQL Server and Access db. The current environment also has a number of disparate record repositories, such as shared directories and specialised third party business systems.

The APVMA is in the process of developing and implementing a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) environment, consequently, the APVMA’s IT environment is in transition.

The APVMA is hoping to deploy the new EDRMS by October 2012.