eRecords 2019: Using ECM Tools and Embracing Digitization

To wrap up our 2019 eRecords blog recaps, we’ll look at two more sessions that discussed how to use software to streamline the management of government records.

Using ECM Tools to Streamline Court Order and Subpoena Processing

John Rokenbrod is an educator and self-proclaimed “jack of all trades”. He works for the Bryan Independent School District, which he described as fairly large and spread out considering the relatively small size of the city.

During the 2018-2019 school year, the district processed over 170 requests and subpoenas for records such as surveillance videos and student records (for custody, child support, or other criminal or civil cases). The requests mainly came from law enforcement and other government entities. They also processed over 430 orders to seal or expunge records.

In the past, processing these hundreds of requests manually was time consuming and had a wide margin of error. But now, using a variety of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) tools, the district – via John’s expertise and dedication of his time – was able to streamline and automate the work so that not only are they working more efficiently, but also lowering that margin of error. He emphasized that not all software fits one size, so he shared a lot of resources for finding free, open source tools as well as the more popular paid applications.

John walked us through the typical steps involved in processing records requests and subpoenas so that we could see just how complicated things can get. He also showed screenshots of his own in-house application that organizes all of the steps and pulls information from other sources. For example, letters and affidavits can be auto-generated. He’s also introduced hardware into the mix – such as using iPads to scan documents from the records warehouse rather than lugging boxes back across town to scan in the office.

Download the PDF of this presentation to see the full effect of John’s streamlining using ECM tools.

Embracing Digitization: How to Innovate Document Processing and Leverage Automation

The City of Austin is known – in records management circles, at least – to have a forward-thinking approach to managing government records. But even they have had digitization challenges that many can identify with. Legacy systems and hardware no longer working, OCR errors, and lost institutional knowledge due to personnel changes.

To solve these recent challenges, Austin implemented Joint Application Development (JAD) sessions. These are described in the presentation as “highly structured, facilitated workshops that bring together customer decision makers and IT staff to produce high quality deliverables in a short period. It consolidates months of meetings and phone calls into a structured workshop.”

Using several city business areas to illustrate some of the work they’ve done to overhaul their document management system, presenters Dorothy Garretson, Adriana Vazquez, and Alexander Webb from the City of Austin and Chris Legnon, IQBG, Inc. show before and after examples of data entry automation, improvements in image quality, using business rules to control metadata, and even some ability to recognize handwriting (specifically pencil marks in boxes on a form).

Some of the lessons learned include the importance of involve subject matter experts for their feedback and buy-in. This involvement facilitates a better understanding of what is needed from the document management system and how the final result can deliver solutions that truly improve and make processes more efficient.

Download the PDF of this presentation to view all the business cases that saw improvements from JAD sessions at the City of Austin.

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