Local governments go paperless with ECM

The local governments of London Borough of Hackney, England, and Wayne County, Mich., are using enterprise content management (ECM) software created by OpenText Corporation to drive down their costs by reducing paper use and improving their services to constituents.

OpenText’s ECM software allowed for the London Borough of Hackey and Wayne County to make improvements to their productivity through reducing their operational costs.

The software cost Wayne County just under $1 million dollars, but the total cost of the project, including buying new hardware, was about $6.2 million, according to Tahir Kazmi, chief information officer of Wayne County.

“We are still in the process of quantifying the cost, but look at it this way, when ordering office supplies, it used to take eight to 10 weeks, now the same process is four to five days,” Kazmi said.
Use of the ECM software the technology department of Wayne County’s staff size is reduced to 67 people from 180 and yet there is more productivity according to Kazmi. Taxpayer expenses are also reduced and customer satisfaction has increased to 99.9 per cent.

Wayne County decided to use the software to go paperless and become an “e-government” using online and computer-based documents. The county is the largest in Michigan and ranks 13th across the country, so they had a lot of government documents to deal with according to a press release by OpenText. The county serves two million citizens.

The government of Wayne County searched for “an integrated technology foundation to transform, integrate and streamline systems, data and processes across the organization,” as said in the press release by OpenText.
Then, they chose OpenText’s ECM Suite, which gave the county “an electronic workflow engine automating Wayne County’s internal and external business processes, while allowing replacement of paper-based processes; it also integrates with existing ERP systems,” according to a press release by OpenText.
“We help them (governments) get rid of paper,” said Lubor Ptacek, the vice-president of product marketing at OpenText.
Similarly, the London Borough of Hackney was able to reduce its office space by half, cut operational costs, retrieve documents faster and improve customer service through the use of OpenText’s eDOCs document management software.
“Maintaining paper files is an expensive proposition while getting access to those records is time consuming at best,” said Ian Williams, Hackney Council’s corporate director of finance and resources. “By converting all that paper to searchable, electronic formats, we have been able to dramatically reduce our office space needs and still meet our legal requirements for document retention.”
The OpenText ECM Suite has three major components: Lifecycle, Transaction, and Engagement. Lifecycle has to deal with document management, records management, rights management, email management, archiving and eDiscovery. Archiving makes efficient use of storage containing email, records and documents, while eDiscovery allows for electronically stored information to be easily managed.
Under the transaction component to the suite the users like the municipalities are able to manage their business contracts and exchanges case by case. An especially useful part of this software is that it was able to take pictures of documents and transform them into digital copies. This made it easy to transfer hard copies of paper documents such as emails and faxes into digital content, which reduced the papers, kept around the office and used office space when workers discard the hard copies. The engagement component to the software is that it allows for easy creation of blogs, wikis, and collaborative work
spaces where government workers can work together online. It also helped the government manage their web content and social media. Visitors to the government site can talk among themselves and answer each others questions online.
There is also a portal created for the municipality websites so that authorized government employees can access exclusive government documents. Each individual has their own login and home page showing documents accessible by them. The portal is specific to each employee.
“With OpenText’s help, Wayne County is becoming a technology showcase and enabling us to demonstrate how an efficient government works in the best interest of its citizens,” Kazmi said. “By giving constituents, government employees, and officials better access to information, the OpenText eGovernment solution improves accountability, provides greater efficiency, responsiveness, transparency, and compliance while lowering expenses.”
Both municipalities won GlobalStar Enterprise Awards at a Content World event for their implementation of ECM. 

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