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The Region 10 Information Management Program sought an assessment of their Information Management Strategic plan ‘19-’22 and its 5 goals in how it is meeting stakeholder needs, goals and objectives. R10 has many unique factors compared to other regions given the nature of its coverage area, the disconnectedness from other regions, and IT limitations due to the ability to integrate information siloed with enterprise solutions. For instance, historically it has been difficult to integrate into the larger Forest Service and conflicts with the legacy approach vs standardized agency-wide solutions. These are largely due to network / connectivity issues and how this work has been performed in the past. Regional Information Manager’s (RIMs) are focused on “National Integration” for programs and data, R10 faces its own unique challenges. 

These challenges require tactical solutions aligned to several goals – true implementable guidance within the next two years with tasks aligned to core functions, mission benefits, and specific improvements and gains. 

Problem and Solution

Information Management was challenged to support the Alaska Region’s data stewards and national integration for programs and data. This required tactical solutions aligned to our goals – true implementable guidance within the next two years with tasks aligned to core functions, mission benefits, and specific improvements and gains. Information Management sought to understand meeting various stakeholder types and roles (District, Regional Office, National Forest), various levels of familiarity with Information Management and types of engagement – using data, technical limitations (e.g. network access), engagement with IM staff, value of our products and services, and support of governance and coordination.

After having the approved plan and conceptual framework for meeting future requirements, the question set was created for supporting the Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threat (SWOT) analysis. The core of the survey concept focused on describing and characterizing the As-Is (aka Current Situation) current SWOT of the IM practices with input from R10 IM prior to interviews. Xentity executed 10 interviews, with a minimum of 5, based on coordination with the TPOC and COR. We created an initial quick collation of the notes to compare early finding trends in the areas selected. This reaction and input will help guide where the GAP Analysis Report with Recommendations will focus. 

Outcome and Benefit

Data resources needed by the Region were identified, accessible, stewarded, and managed throughout their lifecycle. Also, regional information management technology solutions and infrastructures meet user requirements in our remote environment. They are also secure, integrated, and managed throughout their lifecycle. We developed technology solutions that are effective, modern, and innovative. Also, we supported the Chief Information Officer communication and collaboration efforts in the Region. Furthermore, regional employees are informed, trained, skilled, supported, and inspired in the latest technology to meet business needs. Our efforts also encouraged and supported innovative solutions and analytical techniques for Regional information management products and services to meet user needs. Finally, regional governance authorities, structures, and processes were established, integrated, transparent, understood, and business driven. 

Survey Outcomes

  • Continue our data acquisition efforts and prioritize high-value projects
  • Align efforts to top Regional Forester priorities and policy driven projects
  • Align more data with specific project and program needs
  • Find creative ways to provide more application enhancements to support data stewardship

Survey Findings

  • More Data desired for Climate, Infrastructure to support local project level needs
  • Web, Mobile, GIS and NRM application enhancements sought
  • Great service and support
  • Network issues continue to impact productivity
  • More data steward and “gapfilling” support welcomed