Enterprise Content Management (ECM) technology is helping to transform how government delivers services. The post below briefly highlights ECM technology and the benefits of ECM. Government is certainly in a transitional period as to how services are delivered, and core to this transition is freeing government of the burden of paper, and placing workers, staff, and employees on high value tasks, leaving the monotonous work to technology.
In many respects, it is clear to see that government is in a transitional period as to how services are delivered. In a time when resources are decreasing, and demand is increasing, government has no choice other than to become more efficient and streamline services to improve customer service and service delivery.
One technology that is certainly reshaping government, and reducing monotonous tasks, is Enterprise Content Management (ECM) software. ECM allows employees to be more efficient and productive, focusing on high-value and mission centric tasks. For instance, rather than manually entering organizational data, organizing files, and physically delivering materials to coworkers, the key is that ECM allows automation to free government of the burden of paper. The automation by ECM provides the opportunity for agencies to improve workflow and allow employees to use their time efficiently, rather than focusing on document management tasks. Briefly, Enterprise Content Management Systems allow organizations to:
- Capture documents
- Process case management requests
- Access documents and information anywhere
- Integrate with other transactional applications in an agency
- Measure and monitor customized reports, and store documents.
ECM technology shows that there are some tasks that computers and software systems can simply do faster, cheaper and more efficiently than human workers. By removing document management tasks, workers morale and productivity will increase, as workers are placed into roles in which they can use their skills, and work towards the most important goals of an agency.
One case study in particular that shows a philosophical shift in government and how ECM can be deployed to transform government is from Cobb County, Georgia. Cobb County is home to approximately 670,000 residents. As Cobb County experiences population growth, there is a pressing need to continue to provide high value services and quality customer service to constituents. As the community grew, so did the number of related services the County needs to provide. One of the core challenges that the county faced was controlling paper documents across the county government. Hyland Software provides a great case study on Cobb County.
The case study states, “Locating information fast was a challenge [for Cobb County]. Papers were piling up. When the county ran out of space, it began storing documents in boxes wherever they could find room.” Clearly, this was not an efficient way to manage documents and provide access to resources across the County. The report highlights that there was document redundancy, challenges to retain confidentiality, and officials witnessed inefficiencies in the workflow of employees. Quickly, Cobb County realized they needed to implement an enterprise solution across the county to help support population growth and increased demands on services.
The challenges previously faced by the County of using clipboards, having loose documents, and maintaining confidentiality were overcome with an ECM solution. The software also uses mobile devices to help process information, improve collaboration and provide increased security for government documents.
For me, Cobb County and ECM technology is another indication of a new way for government to do business, improve workflows, and operate more efficiently in a resource tight environment. What ECM creates is a new philosophy on how to best approach governance, whether it is at the state, local or federal level, the fundamental change we are witnessing is the need for agencies to quickly transform, scale offerings and shift to new ways of delivering services. ECM provides the chance to easily collaborate, improve transparency efforts, and use resources more strategically within an agency. Importantly, ECM reduces the paper burden felt by many government employees, allowing them to quickly access and share documents, and focus on high value tasks, rather than being buried by paper.