AINS Aligns with CFO Council Technology Best Practices

In February 2020, the Technology Committee of the Chief FOIA Officers (CFO) Council released a report on best practices and recommendations for utilizing and deploying technology in agency FOIA programs. In the report, which followed more than a year of in-depth study assessing the “maturity and current technological ability” of multiple federal agencies, the Committee produced a list of ten best practices for FOIA officials. Here is how AINS facilitates goals set by the report:

1. Senior Management Support

AINS understands the need for Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and CFOs to be aligned when transforming FOIA operations. FOIAXpress is the number one FOIA request management solution chosen by federal agencies, thanks in part to its top-notch security. AINS was one of the first small businesses to attain FedRAMP certification for its data center. Our team also has the agility to deploy FOIAXpress through AWS, Azure, and on-premises according to agency needs.

2. Clear Records Management Policies

The Committee recommends “sound records policies, enforcement, and technical tools to implement them.” FOIAXpress enables NARA-compliant digital records management and can support any file type of virtually any size.

3. Clear FOIA IT Requirements

Our product delivery team has proven experience working with agencies to configure the application to the precise business requirements of the organization, facilitating communication throughout the delivery process.

4. Interoperability

FOIAXpress Public Access Link (PAL) is interoperable with the National FOIA Portal and can be integrated with any external system through APIs and web services. FOIAXpress also offers seamless integration with Pay.gov for streamlined tracking of request fees.

5. Shared Services to Reduce Cost

FOIAXpress has been deployed on an enterprise model across multiple federal agencies, including the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. However, FOIAXpress licensing can be scaled to any agency or office to accommodate differences in budget and number of users.

6. Public Access to Records Online

FOIAXpress PAL provides a public reading room for online access to frequently requested records. This alleviates the burden on the agency to process the same request many times over. PAL is built for accessibility, including compliance with U.S. Section 508.

7. Updated Recordkeeping Systems

The Committee recommends that FOIA offices engage with program offices regularly and ensure “nonreleasable information is segregated and meta-data tagged” within recordkeeping systems for prompt delivery. FOIAXpress offers a variety of recordkeeping features for easy access and filing. The FOIAXpress Collaboration Portal allows non-users of FOIAXpress to locate responsive documents and work with FOIA staff to deliver documents and complete requests, reducing the burden on the agency’s FOIA office to locate documents.

8. IT Component

Our software-as-a-service model provides hosting, maintenance, and support for FOIAXpress, significantly easing the O&M strain on resources, infrastructure, and ultimately budget. This allows the agency to invest in training and empowering end users and system administrators to take control of their solution with the full support of AINS.

9. Leveraged Budget

FOIAXpress is competitively-priced and can be leveraged to meet the budget of any agency or office. Our advanced reporting features will demonstrate the year-over-year growth in request volume and various performance metrics to make the case to management that your FOIA office requires additional resources.

10. Networking

The annual AINS User Conference is the top networking event for FOIAXpress users and FOIA professionals. The 2020 AINS User Conference will be held on October 28th at the Washington Marriott at Metro Center in Washington, D.C. The event is free for employees of government agencies.

If you want to learn how FOIAXpress can help your agency meet the recommendations of the CFO Council, please email us at info@ains.com.