Transforming public sector mailrooms: Digital solutions for the future

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Public sector mailrooms are now digital data hubs as Australian and New Zealand government departments and agencies recognise the need for greater capabilities including security, flexibility, and automation to meet citizen expectations.

Damian Naylor
Damian Naylor
Vice President, Digital Solutions - APAC at Iron Mountain
4 June 20247 mins
AU House of Parliament

Information is the lifeblood of public sector departments and agencies, which makes their mailroom one of their most vital assets for maintaining connection with the citizens, customers, and other organisations they service.

Over the past 20 years I have witnessed a significant evolution in the role of the mailroom, as it has become a cornerstone of an agency's data capture and digital workstream routing.

The increasing sophistication of mailrooms and the growing list of requirements they must service has pushed many public sector departments and agencies to build fast, reliable, and secure mailrooms. But for many, this investment presents an opportunity to adopt modern digital capabilities that can streamline and enhance existing processes and create pathways towards adopting new information management strategies.

Today, the question for most agencies and departments isn’t whether they need a digital mailroom, but rather who they should partner with and what capabilities they need to meet current requirements while paving the way for future information management improvements.

Today's requirements and tomorrow's possibilities

When building a modern digital mailroom, certain capabilities are essential.

  1. Security:

    As the ingestion point for large volumes of sensitive information, including personal and financial information relating to citizens, customers, and suppliers, digital mailrooms must meet the highest possible levels of security. The increasingly digital orientation of mailrooms has also heightened the need for providers to meet the highest standards of cybersecurity protection.

    And despite the rapid advancement of digital technologies, the physical component of mailrooms means agencies and departments also require suppliers that can provide the latest capabilities in physical security, such as Iron Mountain’s national secure mail screening service which includes x-ray and tactile screening to provide certainty that the content of all incoming material is safe for the people receiving and handing it.

  2. Flexibility:

    Modern organisations need access to information quickly. For mailrooms, this translates to ensuring that incoming information is quickly and accurately classified and routed to its intended recipients.

    Traditional digital mailroom services have tended to see these processes hard-coded into their systems, which has meant that classification and routing can become less responsive to the changing needs of the organisation.

    Modern providers who make use of low-code/no-code technologies provide the ability for users to quickly design and implement new workflows so that any changes can be implemented rapidly, are scalable and can adapt to future operational needs.

  3. Automation:

    As the volume of data and information increases, organisations that persist with manual, traditional data sorting methods will be traversing the data age with one hand tied behind their back. The difference between manual sorting and Iron Mountain’s high speed mail processor that can process and digitise high volumes of structured and unstructured data is stark.

  4. Human oversight:

    Despite the emphasis on automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning for faster and more accurate data extraction, digital mailrooms also require skilled human oversight and management to ensure that processes run smoothly under all circumstances.

    This 'human in the loop' capability relies on the presence of experienced quality control personnel who can spot potential problems ahead of time and recommend solutions that can help to bring a culture of continuous improvement to the processes of a digital mailroom.

  5. Information management:

    As departments and agencies continue their digital transformation journeys, the mailroom will play an increasingly important role in their overall information management capability. This may be especially true for citizen-facing services, with Australians today having expectations of public sector agencies that are set by what they have come to expect from the best private sector service providers.

    Making the best use of information for citizen services means partnering with digital mailroom providers that possess experience across all aspects of the information management lifecycle, from how information is ingested and routed, through to how it is analysed and used, how it is stored, and if necessary, how it is deleted or defensibly destroyed.

Relationships built on experience and trust

Changing digital mailroom service providers can be a disruptive process, but it can also present an opportunity to adopt modern digital capabilities that streamline and enhance existing processes and create pathways towards the adoption of new information management strategies.

For over 40 years, Iron Mountain has been assisting Australian government departments and agencies with all aspects of their physical and digital information management needs. Backed by a global organisation, significant investment in research and development, and a suite of supporting capabilities—ranging from intelligent document processing to asset lifecycle management—we provide comprehensive solutions. Our tools and services enable the operation of the most demanding digital mailrooms, supported by a team of professionals who understand the nuances of managing digital and physical information in public sector environments.

This experience means we can create a smooth transition pathway for agencies and departments as they migrate away from their legacy providers. It can ensure that migration processes are implemented quickly, thoroughly, and securely, reducing the transition time and any potential disruptions for staff and service delivery.

Whether an organisation is seeking to simply secure the future operating model of its mailroom for the short term or create a platform for new capability in the long term, Iron Mountain has the experience, the services, and the people who can help.