By: Kevin Ledgister, Marketing Manager, ImageSoft
Music to Everyone’s Ears: Better Serving Constituents and Employees with ECM.
“I just love frustrated phone calls from residents!” said no government official ever.
When you’re serving an entire state, county, or even a city of people who all “want their answers now!”, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. And as if the natural demands and conformity laws of your job don’t stress you enough, the hoops you jump through just to play your part surely will. Why is that? Because paper drives so many of the government’s processes, including the management of records, contracts, cases, photos, and other sensitive information. I light-heartedly refer to any office like this as a “paper prison” – it’s a term of endearment, really.
Moving from desk to desk, and sometimes even to other locations, clerks and staff waste time they typically don’t have just on finding documents for people at the counter who have their own timelines to attend to. And if you’ve already read Part 3 of this blog series, you know this old-school system also doesn’t bode well for transparency, as there is simply no secure way for your public to self-serve their informational needs.
With an enterprise content management system (ECM), also commonly referred to as an electronic document management system (EDMS), you can easily meet all of your constituents’ needs, and not drive your staff crazy while doing so.
Too Much Time on My Hands
A good song by the Stix, but an even better “problem” for you and your constituents to have! With an ECM, not only do you not have to jump from file to file, you don’t have to click from system to system. All of the information your customer is asking for is stored on one, connected platform, and within a few click’s reach. This facilitates much faster responses, such as responding to public housing status updates or making better decisions because you now have all the edits and notes to a plan. So, what would you typically churn out in a few months to a year gets returned to your customer long before they have a chance to call and check the status.
A shout-out to the country music fans of government agencies, particularly Miranda Lambert. But, contrary to the song, many processes for constituents can be described as anything but automatic. One of the best features about an ECM is its automation. When a citizen submits an electronic request form, such as a request to address a pothole or a civic complaint, it’s automatically routed to the right person for further development. No more sitting on someone’s desk until they get around to it. ECM also ensures accountability and can notify supervisors when cases are not being handled according to the department’s policies.
Legal documents are even integrated with the court’s CMS, so you don’t have to worry about running over to physically file or find a case. With a click of a button, all necessary documents, discovery materials, and contracts are shared and accessible to the appropriate parties. So you can take your time with the old-school traditions you do like to keep, like cassette tapes and window cranks, while still keeping up with society’s fast-paced demands.
Born to Run
Maybe you aren’t an actual runner but, like Bruce, you might always been on-the-go. But just because you travel doesn’t mean you have to keep your public waiting. Inspectors can submit work order requests on-the-spot from their laptop. People in public works can pull up plans, manuals and schematics from a layer’s map on their iPad. Invoices can be approved during a break at a conference from a mobile phone. In the age of the mobile workforce, people expect that you’re not completely disconnected from them just because you’re on the road, off-site, or even on a plane. With an ECM, you can keep up with the mobile workforce. Simply grab your smartphone or tablet, pull up the document you need, and consider it signed, sealed, delivered!
Remember that ECMs with all of this functionality, like OnBase by Hyand, is also making life much easier on constituents. Empowering your employees with the tools they need allows them by to serve constituents faster and easier with mobile-accessible content and overall communication.
What Are You Waiting For?
Because I truly believe there are still Nickelback fans still out there!
But really, when you free your staff from “paper prisons,” you’re also making an investment in the people you serve. Not only will you see a dramatic upswing in productivity, but doing your job in this workflow will be like music to your ears – without upset constituents calling in the middle of your favorite guitar solo.
Look Back to Keep Moving Forward with ECM
If you’re not following our Paperless Process Blog, check out the rest of our blog series “6 Ways ECM Can Help Government Overcome Challenges” – Parts 1, 2 and 3. In Part 1, we discuss the ways a digital workflow adds value to your operations. Part 2 focuses on slaying the paper dragons that want to take over your office. And Part 3 speaks to leveraging ECMs to strengthen transparency.
Coming in Part 5: Complying with Mandates and Regulations
If you adopted an ECM, what kind of benefits would your constituents enjoy?