CIO Review >> Magazine >> December  2013 Government Technology Special issue

Laserfiche: “Doing More with Less” Just Got Easier

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Benita M Despite economic optimism, local government budgets aren’t booming. But that hasn’t slowed the demands of citizens or government employees. So how can government organizations improve citizen service, cut costs and stay compliant with ever-changing legislation like the Affordable Care Act? The best place to start is with government’s most valuable asset—information.
At their root, government organizations function as information brokers. When information is properly managed—when it is accessible to the right people at the right times—everything within government organizations runs more smoothly. Staff members work faster, citizens are happier and costs go down.

So how can government organizations manage their information more effectively?
More than 5,000 local government entities in the US use Laserfiche enterprise content management (ECM) software to improve their approach to information management, including half of the Center for Digital Government’s list of ‘Top Digital Cities and Counties’.

Available as both a Web-based and a desktop solution, Laserfiche ECM systems include: Records management automation that lowers the cost of compliance; Powerful, DoD 5015.2-certified security features that protect confidential information; Robust document management functionality that eliminates the need for paper files; Workflow functionality that enables organizations to automate standard business processes and Windows-like interface that minimizes user training and improves productivity right away.

Loudoun County, VA, used Laserfiche to cope with a population spike (84% growth over 10 years!) that led to a disproportionate increase in citizen demands. For example, county caseloads doubled while staffing levels stayed the same.
Today, 1,500 employees across 21 departments within the Loudoun County government use Laserfiche to secure and manage their information and to automate processes such as accounts payable, payroll, case management, property assessment appeals, and records management. In the year after implementing this system, the county saved $240,000 and was able to achieve better service delivery due to better information access and sharing.

Of course, when taking this kind of enterprise approach, usability is extremely important. Some ECM vendors make their money selling complex software that requires heavy investment in professional services. This leads to: Unpredictable costs for adding or changing system functionality, Limited effectiveness due to bottlenecks in expert availability and Lack of user acceptance because the software is hard to use.

In fact, one Laserfiche customer switched from a legacy ECM system to Laserfiche because the cost of changing a template field on one of the customer’s forms would have cost $20,000 with the old vendor! With Laserfiche, the customer was able to change the template field himself, at no extra cost. Government organizations that, like Loudoun County, are looking for a cost-effective and user-friendly ECM system should look no further than the recent Info-Tech Research Group’s report on ECM, which named Laserfiche a Champion and noted that it offers the most ‘bang for your buck’ in terms of features, usability and stability.

As Laserfiche continues to refine its product, its enthusiastic user community provides a source of strategic inspiration for what’s next. In fact, Laserfiche’s newest project—a social/collaborative module that allows organizations to build communities of practice around technology projects—was motivated by user requests. This new module will allow government organizations to harness the power of social media while maintaining control of the conversation. By crowd sourcing institutional and citizen knowledge, governments will be better able to create a record around decision making.