Paperless Solutions for Government Agencies
State and local governments are rife with paper -- from records to processes, paper dominates the landscape. This paper-based system often leads to government agencies being demeaned as inefficient bureaucracies. It doesn't have to be this way. In fact, some argue that the bureaucratic structure of government constitutes the most efficient and rational way in which one can organize the human activity and that systematic processes that are necessary to a civilized society. What mucks it up is paper! Maybe it's time to look at a paperless office.
Many employees in state and local government, spend as much as six hours a day managing paper. With this much time dedicated to printing, filing and searching for information, mission-critical tasks often fall by the wayside. And government bureaucracy is blamed!
Fortunately, changing technology is reducing inefficiencies and enabling government agencies and their staffs to do their jobs better and to deliver services to constituents faster. We at Paper Alternative Solutions have had a hand in meaningful changes within local government agencies -- innovations such as paperless forms, e-signatures and enterprise content management (ECM) have proven to be cost-effective changes that provide big-time improvement to government services.
Increasingly tech-savy citizens expect transparency, self-service, and the ability to get information digitally. Today's improved technologies, recognized return on investment and organizational buy-in encourages this transition.
What You Should Know
While the vast majority of government leaders believe reducing paper would save their agency money and enable better service, most lack sufficient understanding to get started. This is because while the state of "paperless-ness" is what leaders focus on, it is not, in fact, the goal.The goal is improved efficiency through processes optimization and automation, and this should be the focus of any RFI or RFQ. But, it should also be understood that paperless-ness is a critical component, so scanning or imaging of backfiles may also be part of the bid.
Some agencies may find it necessary to separate the imaging portion of a project from the process improvement portion when it comes time to go out to bid. If you do this, it's critical that the two bids be cross-referenced. A stand-alone bid for scan ning services may leave you with digital data that cannot be easily integrated into your ECM or process improvement solution. Ideally, one vendor should provide a total solution that includes scanning, ECM and process improvement/automation.
Evaluate Where You Are Before You Go Out to Bid
Most agencies have a mix of paper and electronic documents. In order to improve current processes, you will need to understand how processes are being handled today in this heterogeneous environment (paper and electronic). Some considerations include:
- How are paper records and correspondence stored and catalogued?
- Where is electronic data stored -- on a shared drive on your network; on individual computers; or, in some other system?
- What are the limitations and problems associated with the way you store paper and electronic data?
- How is information transferred or shared between departments? How secure is inter-departmental access?
- Do you have a legacy system? What are its limitations? How often do you access the legacy data?
- Where does information processing get hung up?
- Does your agency need to meet compliance criteria or specific regulations? What are they?
States, counties and municipalities want simple, scalable paperless technology, like ImageSilo® that provide efficiency, improved services and lower operating costs. Answering these questions will help you to write bid specs that will fulfill your goals. Paper Alternative Solutions is WBE certified. Government agencies looking to fulfill WBE requirements for their paperless solutions are invited to contact us.