A major change was coming that would impact the entire USMC all at once with a tail end of 10 to 15 years of continued influence. A new Department of Navy (DON) application was scheduled to be deployed to replace the legacy Marine Corps Action Tracking System (MCATS) that has been around for almost 20 years. The replacement was scheduled to occur at one time across the Corps creating a huge organizational change.
CHALLENGE: The Hartwood Consulting Group needed to figure out how to effectively reach out to the stakeholders, determine what resources were available, and hope to establish a communication effort that would provide awareness, continual updates and at the same time set the stage for pre-deployment and post deployment collection of concerns and issues related to the projected deployment schedule.
SOLUTION: Hartwood Consulting Group worked closely with the client to generate a strategic communications plan that was comprised of multiple avenues of communications. Hartwood first presented a plan that was filled with objectives but was light on activities due to the lack of knowledge available on options for communication. Over the course of the 8 months preceding the deployment of the replacement system, Hartwood worked to complete the strategic communications plan with over 6 different versions being reviewed, modified, and then accepted.
RESULT: As the plan matured, a multi-pronged communications plan was approved, implemented, and tracked that allowed for members of the Hartwood team to conduct over 55 Customer Engagements in person via VTC, 2 Corps wide Town hall meetings, the generation of MARADMINs for distribution and the creation of a Pre-Deployment Communication Package that was distributed to POCs established during the customer engagements.
Communications governing Marine Corps Records Management (RM) have been historically scarce. With only a handful of bulletins, MARADMINs, and clarifying policies, most RMs have been forced to almost exclusively rely on the Marine Corps Order and SECNAV (Navy) policies to ensure programmatic compliance. As the Records, Reports, Directives & Forms Management Section (ARDB) made attempts to update policy and business processes, a strategic communications plan failed to materialize. This unfortunately, resulted in disparate knowledge base and disaggregated information dissemination throughout the RM community.
CHALLENGE: In an effort to meet compliance with the OMB M-19-21 mandate—which requires all federal agencies to transition to electronic RM (ERM) processes by 31 December 2022—ARDB contracted Booze Allen Hamilton to configure a SharePoint solution known as the Marine Corps Tool for Information Lifecycle Management (MCTILM). Unfortunately, while MCTILM was deployed across most of the western region of the Marine Corps, the contract abruptly ended, and the RM community was left without clarifying guidance. This gap occurred in conjunction with the Marine Corps’ pilot of the DON Task, Record, and Consolidated Knowledge Enterprise Repository (DON TRACKER) for which an implementation plan was largely lacking. Upon their awarding of the contract in 2018, Hartwood was not only immediately forced to contend with these opposing systems, but also a critical manpower shortage, a forthcoming service inspection by the National Archives & Records Administration (NARA), an overhaul of policy which consolidated 6,000 Standard Subject Identification Codes into just over 712 record schedules, overhaul of the Records Management Knowledge Sites (RMKS), and little to no means of communicating these changes to the masses.
SOLUTION: After triaging critical information gaps, Hartwood leveraged its Training and Graphic Design personnel to develop more than sixteen products for immediate publication and dissemination across the enterprise. This included a quick sheet series, broken down by RM role, multiple slick sheets outlining each phase to ERM compliance, and a host of trainings, end user guides, and a Frequently Asked Questions guide which was posted to the Command Records Operational Support Site (formerly RMKS) as well as the ARDB public facing site.
RESULT: Thanks to these mitigating efforts, RM customers now have the ability to access and download information in a centralized location. They are also to review, at leisure, materials that are specific to the Marine Corps’ ERM migration (which differs from that of the Navy) and explicitly support both CROSS and MCTILM compliance. Hartwood continues to develop products in support of ERM and looks forward to creating a curriculum of self-guided instruction that will help move the Marine Corps and the RM community into the digital information age.