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More and more modern leaning governments looking to become more efficient are reviewing how to implement paperless systems but realize they must still allow some paper into the mix.
Document Management Systems
a. In order to have a Paper on Demand (paperless/green) electronic system it is critical to have a mechanism to securely store documents. You now have the choice of hundreds of decent Document Management Systems which have been in existence for four or more years.
b. I want to share once again a basic diagram that gives to you how everything fits together.
Internal Connections in your Organization’s Building made through WiFi, Cable, Fiber, etc.
Outside Requests From Public/Clients — Transmitted via cable, phone lines, satellite, etc. both into and out of your government’s IT Center
How it Works With Main Records Management System – The need still remains to have excellent metadata (field names) in your main records management system where your government or business data is kept. The records management system will find the documents needed through a key name or key number within your Document Management System. All data then appears on your internal screens quickly and efficiently.
What is Stored – A Document Management System can have multiple features but one of the main features is to have scanned paper documents, emails, audio files, video files, pictures, etc. These documents are stored inside the Document Management System’s secured area by case number or another key number much like a paper file folder.
c. E-Discovery: All documents going into the Document Management System have OCR (optical character recognition) embedded so all words can be searched.
Two examples out of many are:
(1) When a law suit is filed against your organization, information plays a key because the opposing party will want everything you have from email to any other documents on file. You are able to put in a name or partial name to search thousands of documents quickly and accurately such as Robert Morrison or Morrison.
(2) When you just want to see how many occurrences for a name may be in your entire Document Management System such as “Test City” you can see all the cases regarding this.
In most cases though you will be able to search your main records management system and make the connections to solve your query needs. However, there are instances where the Document Management System can be better used.
a. Efficiency: To create efficiency the Web has become a vehicle to give to the client not only static information through easy searches which creates transparency of what a government is doing but also to have various sections of the WEB become interactive.
b. Interactive: This refers to when a citizen/client can enter information into fields on the WEB and as an example offer a donation to a nonprofit organization, or buy a product with a credit card or give comments to their elected officials. Credit cards have their own regulations that must be followed. Presently, the web site on its top header can show HTTPS and a green bar highlight going across the address URL (Uniform Resource Locator) to show the highest level of security.
The screens on the WEB many times are close in similarity to the screens in your main records management system that are used when people call you and do not want to use a WEB site. Both entries go to the same data base where orders are then processed and Email, text or paper correspondence is sent back to the citizen/client.
Organizations can yield great benefits when they create paperless systems and by so doing increase their revenue allowing computer systems to do most of the work.
Scanning Paper from a Delivery by the US Mail
a. We must remember that there are still people out in every community that do not want to do everything electronically. Therefore, although we may want to save as much cost as possible, we must still provide a paper environment coming into us. We must also allow for telephone support as many people do not trust that a web site will be fully reliable in processing their order.
I recently had an experience where my wife had a problem in processing an order even though we knew our Email and password was correct. It kept refusing the proper data. We finally got the system to operate properly and were able to place the order and receive an electronic confirmation.
b. How to Make Part of the Process Electronic – Scan any paper documents received and a live person will place the document data into your order process including the main records system and the Document Management System. From this, paper confirmation(s) are sent back to the client and again stored in your Document Management System and in in your main data base. It is also possible to try and have the OCR recognized electronically and entered into the systems required.
Author: Robert Morrison has extensive experience both in management and information technology. He feels that government is actually big business and both must conduct itself in similar ways. He is a former CIO, Deputy Business Administrator and Deputy Public Safety Director in the local government sector. He is also a member of the Central Pennsylvania chapter of ASPA (American Society for Public Administration).