Friday night on week before last, two LTTE light aircrafts entered Colombo on a suicide mission. Unlike previous attempts this time they couldn’t accomplish the mission and both aircrafts were gunned down by security forces. However one aircraft crashed in to the Inland revenue department building in Colombo, recalling us the 9-11 attack !. Luckily it was at night and no one was inside the building. However it looked like the building has been damaged extensively and I was wondering what has happened to all the data that was there at that time. According to my understanding they had most of the documents only in the original format, which is obviously paper, without any digital copies. Later it was announced that all the data is intact and they could continue to work in few days.
Anyway this was an eye opener for everyone here, showing how vulnerable our records are. The good news is that several government organisations has just started on digital archiving. (However i believe that most government organisations maintain their vital records in microfilms.) I remember when we started selling these services few years back; it was quite difficult to convince the decision makers as there was no local example to showcase. The sales cycle was 1-2 years and sometimes even several years long . Interestingly we found more opportunities in forms processing rather than in document imaging. In contrast private sector organisations adopted this technology very fast, especially in banking and financial services. However now things are better with government organisations, especially after the birth certificates conversion project that was completed last year.(I will discuss about this project in details sometimes later.)