Driving self-service in government

 

By Darryl Wiggins on 03/22/2016 in Enterprise content management, Government

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In every level of government, self-service is one of the driving forces behind investments in IT systems and solutions. Paper-based processes hinder the ability of government staff and constituents to obtain the documents and information they need on their own, making systems that remove paper – like an enterprise content management (ECM) solution – crucial to self-service goals in government.

Replacing paper forms with eforms, and providing constituents with an online portal to review and request information speeds up processes and reduces the number of interactions required to complete them. It also means staff no longer has to drive from branch to branch acquiring the documents they need.

But equally important is finding an ECM solution that can accomplish these goals without adding a heavy burden on IT departments. Below, listen to Kevin Keller, IT manager for the state of Nebraska, describe how OnBase by Hyland enables most agencies in Nebraska to create paperless, self-service environments – without the hassle of slow and expensive custom coding.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=c8Cx68cOHUk&list=PL1P_sExxi-9PxlNjCpxZbZOS1B8sblI72

To learn more about ECM and OnBase from the people who use it every day, visit our website http://www.documentmanagers.us

About Darryl Wiggins

Wondering what goes into a document management or ECM software deployment in government? Darryl Wiggins, Document Manager’s Principal and CEO, has your answer. In his 25 plus years in partnering with both state and local government, he’s managed Major Accounts for Xerox, implemented ECM strategies and program policies as the owner and Founding Partner for Document Managers. If that isn’t enough to prove his IT expertise in government, he has also designed and implemented data systems and Public Portals to manage vendor payments, and Federal Audit compliance. Have a question for him? Contact her at dmwiggins@documentmanagers.us.

View all posts by Darryl Wiggins →

 

By Darryl Wiggins on 3/11/2016 Records Management in Government

Establishing eligibility is one of the most common, and paper-laden, processes in government. From human services to business licensing to permits and more, government process often starts with a paper application, supplemented by supporting documents. These documents are dropped off, faxed or sent and the great mystery begins. Common questions at this point include, did someone receive the documents and how long will it take to get a decision? Your customers are right to ask these questions, after all, their well-being or their livelihood depends on this process and its conclusion. So what does your intake process say to your customers? Not sure? Consider these questions. Does the process require use of fax, mail or drop-in rather than web submission? Online, self-service capabilities have taken government by storm and for good reason. This makes access very convenient for applicants since it can happen without a visit, a fax machine or the unknown of the mail. And, online options can ensure a reduction in paper and its associated costs for your staff while ensuring that your customer’s application is not lost. You can even use a web-based solution to prompt applicants to fully complete an electronic application, saving time later over incomplete or error-prone applications. The point is, starting with an electronic application on a website is an expectation now, but it is one that has benefits for your agency as you evaluate applications. How do your applicants know what’s happening with their application? Sending your application off to an agency can be scary for your applicants. And your staff, burdened with the extra tasks required to manage all that paper, can’t move towards decisions as quickly. They are also interrupted by phone calls, from the applicants, from their colleagues, trying to figure out how long it will be before they receive a decision. In a world that uses paper, there isn’t an easy automated way to notify applicants of each stage of applicant review. And, if your staff stops to answer calls and send letters to notify applicants, they have less time to finish the reviews. It’s a difficult place to be, and your customer service may not be all it can be as a result. How long and how much do you spend sending out “needs more information” or even, rejection letters? Delivering programs and managing registration requirements also includes a great deal of correspondence to those who are not eligible. Many programs and processes have far more people turned away than helped or registered. This means that your staff are overwhelmed by applicants who will not be eligible or be registered. And, the reality of this workload ratio means that far more time can be spent on those you were not meant to help. What’s the answer? See the first question. The use of a web-based, paperless system can automate tasks including the creation of correspondence. This saves staff time and allows you to deliver answers, even rejections faster. A fast answer, even the wrong one, is better customer service and it helps your staff to eliminate backlogs in notification to your applicants. As these questions illustrate, your intake process needs modernization. Moving to a web-based submission process with electronic forms can change the service equation offering you the chance to meet customer service expectations while removing significant and low-value tasks from your staff. Moving away from paper can help you do more with your existing staff and it presents a modern front to timeless government process. Your online presence, or the lack of one, speaks volumes to your customers, are you comfortable with that?

About Darryl Wiggins

Wondering what goes into a document management or ECM software deployment in government? Darryl Wiggins, Document Manager’s Principal and CEO, has your answer. In his 25 plus years in partnering with both state and local government, he’s managed Major Accounts for Xerox, implemented ECM strategies and program policies as the owner and Founding Partner for Document Managers. If that isn’t enough to prove his IT expertise in government, he has also designed and implemented data systems and Public Portals to manage vendor payments, and Federal Audit compliance. Have a question for him? Contact her at dmwiggins@documentmanagers.us.

View all posts by Darryl Wiggins →

Why going paperless enhances agency compliance – 3 ECM tools that make a difference

By Darryl Wiggins on 3/7/2016 in Government

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I spent most of my government career, in the Private Sector, marketing to agencies that have a combination of state and federal funding sources. Because of this, I have seen significant issues around compliance responsibilities – including program delivery, reporting, long-term compliance and even HR and accounting policies that were layered on top on top of obligations as a state agency.

Not surprisingly, the scope and breadth of this compliance is usually very complicated. As the government hired new staff members, there usually is no clear way to train them and teach them about compliance policies and procedures. And, if there we any gaps in understanding of how rules were applied, these knowledge gaps are usually passed on through an informal training process. The consequence has been errors that are usually discovered later by auditors, which inevitability cause Agencies to lose funding and gain additional scrutiny.

Government’s strategy to cope with compliance burden, more often than not, is to buy data systems, from vendors, who understood the types of programs being delivering. Within the database, by virtue of fields, this provided staff with the most rudimentary of tools that ensured that certain basic project tasks are performed. Except, this usually isn’t enough. Because databases typically don’t dynamically notify staff about tasks, times processes or even tell managers which tasks are seriously overdue.

This is where I see my customers’ really needing help.

 

Enter enterprise content management (ECM).

There are three key pieces of a robust ECM solution that support the delivery of programs and services in the public sector.

  1. Workflow

Let’s start with the piece that also has the potential to reduce the workload for your program staff: Workflow. Imagine a process where electronic forms replace paper, grantees upload and submit documents and payment requests via an online portal and your staff receives notifications when work has arrived for them to review.

Now imagine that these notifications automatically route to a manager if they are approaching overdue status. Workflow automation helps your staff members know what work has arrived and what deadlines are approaching, supporting them in their compliance tasks.

  1. Dashboards

In the paper-driven world of service delivery, work is divided into task-driven, individual grants and grantees – or other transaction processing – and overall management of programmatic delivery, funding and expenditures. The ECM-based automation that you deploy to ensure individual transactional compliance gives managers and directors visibility into the overall performance at the program or agency level using dashboards.

Imagine that you can see how many applications or contracts are awaiting review, how many clients were interviewed in the month or how many activities are overdue. ECM with embedded dashboards provides a level of service delivery transparency that helps managers understand bottlenecks or areas that need action or attention.

  1. Policy administration and distribution

Lastly, but critically, going paperless has a huge potential benefit in policy administration and distribution. The public sector is full of policies, many which are updated every year. There are ethics requirements, rules, regulations, codes and ordinances that must be preserved for the future, even if they are changed.

You can securely maintain all of these using ECM. But, ECM can also manage their distribution by notifying relevant staff the moment staff saves them into the ECM repository. Once policy documents are stored, notifications go out to staff to read and acknowledge them – and to take a test to ensure the policies are understood.

ECM also simplifies audits and compliance. When auditors visit, managers can easily run and show reports that demonstrate how the policy administration and testing capabilities of your ECM solution are part of the overall effort of your agency to sustain compliance with regulations governing service delivery.

Many times, we consider an ECM investment to prevent the paper avalanche, but ECM represents more than that. Removing paper is the best way to build a sustainable and compliant agency that will achieve high performance year after year, whether your key staff retire or the rules change every month. ECM makes policy administration and compliance the backbone of your agency’s efforts, freeing you to focus on getting things done for constituents.

About Darryl Wiggins

Wondering what goes into a document management or ECM software deployment in government? Darryl Wiggins, Document Manager’s Principal and CEO, has your answer. In his 25 plus years in partnering with both state and local government, he’s managed Major Accounts for Xerox, implemented ECM strategies and program policies as the owner and Founding Partner for Document Managers. If that isn’t enough to prove his IT expertise in government, he has also designed and implemented data systems and Public Portals to manage vendor payments, and Federal Audit compliance. Have a question for him? Contact her at dmwiggins@documentmanagers.us.

View all posts by Darryl Wiggins →