Driving government efficiency, part 3: 4 ways to start the constituent experience right

By Darryl Wiggins on 10/18/2016 in Government

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Most constituents will only think about their local government under two circumstances: one, to complain about a pothole or a tax increase and, two, when they need to interact with government agencies to apply for a license or a permit or human services. To avail these services the constituent/government interactive experience consists of two primary functions:

  • Eligibility
  • Enrollment.

“Who is support to get stuff and what stuff are they suppose to get”

 

In today information based, interact world; the Public expects the government to know who they are when determining their eligibility to receive services

Then once the determination of eligibility has been made, the Public expects that enrollment/service delivery take hours, not days.

But when it comes to the latter – interacting with government for services – there’s a lot that can be done to make this a better experience.

With a paper-based government, these interactions always start with the need to submit documents and information to initiate a process. This is followed by department reviews, collaboration and communication, and finally a decision or a completion of the interaction.

Over the course of our lives, we do this again and again. And, while it is interesting for agencies to talk about engagement platforms, social media and apps, the stuff of local government is in these thousands of transactions that document and govern our lives. To be a responsive and trusted institution, local government needs to be both open and efficient, and it can be argued that the most profound way to positively impact that equation is to make those thousands of transactions move faster, make them easier and have them happen in the most convenient way possible for the constituent.

Lofty ideas, but there are four easy steps to make this happen. And the nice part is that they will positively impact your internal efficiency while making today’s and tomorrow’s constituents very pleased.

  1. Don’t make constituents complete paper forms. This is everything we all hate about government, even those of us that work for government.
  2. Don’t make staff type data from paper forms or pass them around to get their work done. This is one of the worst tasks you can assign to anyone. Data entry can also be error-prone, and you probably don’t have enough staff to complete this time-consuming task. Eliminating this means freeing up staff time and faster process.
  3. Don’t make staff or your constituents have to call for status updates. This is hard on your staff and the caller, it interrupts the staff trying to process the request and forces your constituents to call when they might be working and have little time to wait for an answer.
  4. Don’t make constituents come to your offices to interact with their government. This is good advice whether you have a rural county or you are trying to grapple with the heightened expectations of a new generation of constituents. People consume and expect to find things on websites and through apps on their smartphones.

Lists are great for blogs, but it may seem impossible for a local government to make these changes. It would require paradigm shifts and technology investments. But what if you could purchase one technology solution to support this list?

While there are many solutions that could help with parts of this list, enterprise content management (ECM) can handle it all and many more potential projects to improve your constituent service. There is always a temptation to buy a department solution or the latest technology trend or tool. But going paperless and being able to automate processes create web-based services and forms – this is where ECM excels.

So, as you look for the efficiency and constituent experience that will define your leadership, consider ECM as a platform for you to change their experience for the better.

 

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 →

Digi Doc TVONE Interview

http://newsone.com/3467029/wells-fargo-celebrates-black-business-owners/.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Media Contact
Janel Merritt
Digidoc dba Document Managers
Phone: 202-299-1011
Fax: 202-299-1014
dmmerritt@documentmanagers.us
http://www.documentmanagers.us
Document Managers appearance on TV One program “News One Now” News One
Washington, DC, June 27, 2016
Digidoc Incorporated is being honored as a charitable small business, by TV One’s News One Now program for taking part in The “Working Together” initiative that gives back to the local community. Document Managers, known as Digidoc, has an extensive history of participating in programs to stimulate employment opportunities in the DC, Metropolitan area.
Chief Executive Officer Darryl Wiggins stated “their business is influenced by the community, because we recognize that we have to be a part of the community to be successful Placing a focus on the community and its constituents is “just simply good business.”
Digidoc is a small progressive firm that specializes in IT solutions and services for document management and conversion. We provide advisory services to Local, State, and Federal government agencies.
DigiDoc is involved in a business partnership with the D.C. government. As part of their arrangement, they serve as an outlet for their constituents, letting them know about the programs that are available.
Created by Darryl Wiggins, and supported by Chief Operating Officer, Janel Merritt, Digidoc’s mission is to provide business improvement solutions and document management services to address the challenges facing a technology-driven, information-based market place. Through these programs, businesses are introduced to “great candidates” for employment. “We have been able to retain some of those students from year to year,” said Janel Merritt.
Document Managers, Digidoc Inc., is a small IT firm that provides document management solutions to solve the problems that face major agencies. Digidoc supplies professional services such as data scanning and indexing, destruction, shredding and hosting, training, helpdesk support, software maintenance, and IT and office equipment. Digidoc supplies enterprise content management tools such as OnBase, Filenet, and Kofax to help assist these services. Created in 2000, Darryl Wiggins has created a seasoned team of account managers to aid in the distribution of document services that help stimulate the job market. According to DigiDoc’s CEO, the relationship between business and the community is “couched as social responsibility and not good business and not part of the profit equation.” Wiggins continued, “We recognize it as being part of the profit equation.”For detailed information on Digidoc’s “Working Together” initiative, please watch out interview on News One Now: http://newsone.com/3467029/wells-fargo-celebrates-black-business-owners/.
ABOUT DIGIDOC DBA DOCUMENT MANAGERS:
DigiDoc dba Document Managers (est. 2000) has a continued mission to customize the solution to corporate needs while providing a level of care and interaction that embraces a high-touch, high-technology approach to exceptional customer service. Please visit our website: http://www.documentmanagers.us/
For more information, contact:
Darryl Wiggins dmwiggins@documentmanagers.us
Janel Merritt dmmerritt@documentmanagers.us
– END –

The portal as a citizen engagement tool: why ECM is part of the solution

BY Darryl Wiggins · 04/22/2016

portalDuring my time in state government, I was part of many discussions about portals. When I worked on a portal for a small business in 1998, they were really seen as an indication of your tech functionally. They looked a lot like electronic brochures or phonebooks. The goal? Making sure that you knew who to call in government when you need something. You could argue that many websites still follow that model.

Our expectations for speed, responsiveness and mobility have created a different set of drivers for government IT. Many local officials and state leaders are trying to figure out how to use technology to change the face they present to their constituents. Smart leaders are realizing that a portal isn’t an online phone book. It’s a giant step toward transforming government inside and out. And you can do this with one solution – enterprise content management (ECM).

Manage transactions
Talking about a portal isn’t just a discussion about a web solution – that’s an oversimplification of the demands of constituents. A nice website is great, but it doesn’t address an efficient backend that supports effectiveness in your processes. That’s why ECM is critical.

Using ECM, you can create a self-service portal to manage all kinds of government transactions electronically, from paying taxes to reporting conditions to applying for a business license or a benefit. Eliminating paper isn’t the only benefit – the ECM-driven portal accepts documents using a workflow that routes these documents and applications directly and immediately to the staff that need to respond.

Stay connected
This same workflow creates email correspondence with constituents, who can view the status of their requests when they log in to the portal – making it a two-way tool, without the staff time and effort. An ECM solution can even integrate into data systems, accepting constituent documents submitted through the portal and allowing them to be retrieved from accounting, GIS, HR, permitting and other key systems.

Lighten the load
An ECM-driven portal is quicker to deploy than a custom solution, which needs to be written again and again for each department that wants a portal presence. This kind of redundant expense is a deal-breaker for strapped governments. An ECM solution has tools to configure quickly and without expensive custom code, and it can be used across the enterprise, so more and more functionality can be added to your portal affordably, and at a sustainable TCO.

The new government portal isn’t an online phone book. It’s a way to securely begin a transaction. Using ECM and workflow lets you reduce paper and automatically route information for faster action.

Citizen engagement happens when governments provide good service. The ECM-driven portal supports the promise of a self-service government whose constituents can access what they need when they need it from their device of choice. ECM makes this feasible from both a deployment and cost perspective, and is the engine for the new government portal.

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 has 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 →

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 →

 

Driving government efficiency, part 3: 4 ways to start the constituent experience right

By Darryl Wiggins on 10/18/2016 in Government

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Most constituents will only think about their local government under two circumstances: one, to complain about a pothole or a tax increase and, two, when they need to interact with government agencies to apply for a license or a permit or human services. To avail these services the constituent/government interactive experience consists of two primary functions:

  • Eligibility
  • Enrollment.

“Who is support to get stuff and what stuff are they suppose to get”

In today information based, interact world; the Public expects the government to know who they are when determining their eligibility to receive services

Then once the determination of eligibility has been made, the Public expects that enrollment/service delivery take hours, not days.

But when it comes to the latter – interacting with government for services – there’s a lot that can be done to make this a better experience.

With a paper-based government, these interactions always start with the need to submit documents and information to initiate a process. This is followed by department reviews, collaboration and communication, and finally a decision or a completion of the interaction.

Over the course of our lives, we do this again and again. And, while it is interesting for agencies to talk about engagement platforms, social media and apps, the stuff of local government is in these thousands of transactions that document and govern our lives. To be a responsive and trusted institution, local government needs to be both open and efficient, and it can be argued that the most profound way to positively impact that equation is to make those thousands of transactions move faster, make them easier and have them happen in the most convenient way possible for the constituent.

Lofty ideas, but there are four easy steps to make this happen. And the nice part is that they will positively impact your internal efficiency while making today’s and tomorrow’s constituents very pleased.

  1. Don’t make constituents complete paper forms. This is everything we all hate about government, even those of us that work for government.
  2. Don’t make staff type data from paper forms or pass them around to get their work done. This is one of the worst tasks you can assign to anyone. Data entry can also be error-prone, and you probably don’t have enough staff to complete this time-consuming task. Eliminating this means freeing up staff time and faster process.
  3. Don’t make staff or your constituents have to call for status updates. This is hard on your staff and the caller, it interrupts the staff trying to process the request and forces your constituents to call when they might be working and have little time to wait for an answer.
  4. Don’t make constituents come to your offices to interact with their government. This is good advice whether you have a rural county or you are trying to grapple with the heightened expectations of a new generation of constituents. People consume and expect to find things on websites and through apps on their smartphones.

Lists are great for blogs, but it may seem impossible for a local government to make these changes. It would require paradigm shifts and technology investments. But what if you could purchase one technology solution to support this list?

While there are many solutions that could help with parts of this list, enterprise content management (ECM) can handle it all and many more potential projects to improve your constituent service. There is always a temptation to buy a department solution or the latest technology trend or tool. But going paperless and being able to automate processes create web-based services and forms – this is where ECM excels.

So, as you look for the efficiency and constituent experience that will define your leadership, consider ECM as a platform for you to change their experience for the better.

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 →

What Do You Mean? That Was A Record…

What? You mean that was a record?” 3 things a records manager never wants to hear

By Darryl Wiggins on 02/22/2016 in Government:

When working with state governments to assist with the development of Retention Schedules and Accession Plans, I discovered I needed to implement an enterprise content management (ECM) solution. I was required to visit the State Archives and have my project approved. It turns out that my state has standards and protocols that I needed to adhere to, this ensures that my digital solution would adequately safeguard their  records.

It has been my experience that State Archivists are big fans of digitizing records as long as their standards are being followed. These Records Professionals shared some great and exacerbating stories concerning the preservation and management of records.

Here are some of the best and worst moments I have heard and experienced in my more than 25 years of working with Records Managers in state governments:

“Wait, you mean that was a record?”

Early recognition and classification of documents that have a records management requirement can be tricky. Several archivists have horror stories to tell about the loss of documents long before the department’s designated records person could preserve them. Often, staff whose job it was to originate and collect documents, at the earliest moment of classification, didn’t know if a document was classified or what classification they should use.

My ECM project would have solved this problem, because documents are classified when they initially are archived into the ECM solution. Staff could use a classification that they are familiar with, that without any more staff input, the solution would already be configured to meet document management requirements.

“We had a flood in that room about seven years ago.”

This problem regarding records preservation has kept many an archivists up all night. The perils are many. I can recall the time in my home state; when a storm caused a roof collapse in the building neighboring our Archives. Both buildings were constructed with the same type of flat roof architecture. This pales in comparison to catastrophic events that can occur, like hurricanes and fires. The loss of records can make information retrieval difficult or in some cases impossible. In my state, where records are needed to secure Homeland Security, the insecure nature of paper documents can be devastating for archivists. My state’s archives are currently housed in a facility that is hundreds of years old. But fortunately for the citizens of our city, Mayoral leadership has seen fit to invest in a new secured state of the-art research building, with climate control and special sprinklers. But how many counties and cities can afford such a facility or the forward thinking and permanent costs associated with secured offsite storage?

My ECM solution provided redundant copies, and now even has a cloud-based back-up system housed in a secure data center to ensure business continuity. The move to digital files has made it easier to manage records  even when events compromise traditional physical storage.

“We ran out of space so people started throwing things out.”

In my home state, new government facilities are being built everyday and agencies are moving from one location to another. I can confess to hearing more than once people saying “that if they didn’t know what it was or what is was for, trashed it” This wasn’t an intentional act of negligent, just the end result of having to relocate records with no direction as to their origin or intent.  This can be true of entire agencies and departments, without early classification of documentation, whole stacks of documents can sometimes be simply thrown out. This happens whenever file space gets tight or not easily accessible… This isn’t intentional; it’s simply that agencies usually don’t have enough space to manage the tons of paper documents.

The paper doesn’t stop, unless you move to digital records and use a tool like an ECM solution to manage the records. ECM means never running out of space and never worrying that staff is getting rid of records that need to be preserved.

Enterprise content management projects make archivist happy because they solve these problems and many more that records managers face every day. Many Archivist are looking forward to the day when ECM-driven records management solution, are implemented facilitating early capture, classification and redundant preservation of government mission critical records. An ECM platform has tools that make everyday government tasks faster and cheaper to perform. It’s a win-win that helps avoid ever hearing these comments again.

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 Darryl at dmwiggins@documentmanagers.us.

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