By: Kevin Ledgister, Marketing Manager, ImageSoft
From Work-Flop to Workflow: Stop Making Copies and Start Measuring Progress!
I once worked a typical office job where tape measurers were, for an unknown reason, scarce. And I mean scarce! Judging by how quickly they would “disappear,” you would think they were gold. Finally, our office manager decided she would keep two tape measurers, each labeled with our office’s name in permanent marker, hidden at her desk. When we wanted to use one, we would have to go to her and sign it out, committing to the date we would return it. While it was a bit ridiculous, it did provide us with some fun-loving office humor.
Context aside, can you relate to the prolonged process of communal information? Thankfully, signing out a tape measurer did not hinder our work. For many government agencies, however, the “tape measurer” is a file or critical document, and it’s simultaneously needed by multiple people. And having to share that information is most definitely obstructing their work, which means it is also impeding on the lives of the public.
A Word-of-Mouth Workflow
Because of the timeliness of government tasks, staff cannot simply wait for a document to be available. For many years, the solution has been to just make as many copies of the document as needed. More of a work-flop than a workflow, research shows that agencies spend roughly 1,000 minutes per day just making copies of paper documents.
But, as you can probably guess, the problem is that multiple copies of sensitive information from various cases are then floating around. With too many hands in the pot, things get messy – and lost. Aside from that, who is the original file owner? If the original document is needed, you would have to backtrack through all the users by word-of-mouth, or a spreadsheet that is not necessarily up-to-date. We know neither of these tactics are completely reliable, but especially when thousands of other paper documents are thrown into the mix. Or, in the case of government agencies, tossed on to any given person’s desk.
Don’t Duplicate – Just Appreciate! Workflow, That Is.
With an electronic content management system (ECM) like OnBase© by Hyland, all your interactions, notes, checklists and expirations, along with all your files are captured, indexed and stored in one, comprehensive system. Best yet, ECMs allow you to share files with anyone or only specific people. Regardless, all parties can simultaneously access the same document. And with a full audit trail, you can easily see who changed data in the system or who has handled which document and when, which upholds accountability and security when handling such sensitive information.
Not surprisingly, the first time that stakeholders are actually able to discuss work progress is often after their agency has adopted an ECM. Within just one day of having your workflow in place, staff and stakeholders will easily see the unnecessary steps that were previously taken just to share a file. And they will smile, knowing their paper-pushing days are gone.
But Wait, There’s More.
The workflow world is just one sphere of influence to be had on agencies. Thanks to the power of its capture tools, ECMs also help you eliminate manual data entry. With an ECM like OnBase, captured documents, such as forms and invoices, are automatically recognized and filed, so they’re always accessible to all parties with just a few clicks. And with a built-in case management tool, your agency can eliminate its archaic spreadsheets that traditionally tracked where files are in a process. Harnessing the power of complete integration, ECMs will automatically pull all documents and materials related to the original search.
For example, let’s visit a union trying to manage their transfer requests. Without an ECM, their staff must manually locate and pull several documents just to retrieve the information they need on each person. With an ECM, they can key a search of each person and have all their information, including recorded work hours, work history, reviews, and more, available within a double-click’s reach.
How many files does your paper-reliant office process per year? With an extra 1,000 minutes per day, how many more could you achieve in one year?
A Bittersweet Moment – You’ve Finished the Series!
If you’ve been staying with our six-part series, you now know the biggest ways in which ECMs can help the government overcome common challenges. Only counting five? Don’t worry, here’s a recap:
- Part 1: Do More with Less Money and in Less Time
- Part 2: Reduce Paper
- Part 3: Increase Transparency and Open Government
- Part 4: Meet the Needs of Constituents and Employees
- Part 5: Comply with Mandates and Regulations
- And you just read part 6!