Tuesday, February 05, 2008

 

Electronic Document Management in Government Agencies

Article: "The Promise of Paperless (The long-promised benefits of document management are coming to fruition)".

This article outlines several recent government initiatives aimed at facilitating the exchange of information and improving collaboration among various government agencies. By converting their paper-based document repositories into electronic format that can be easily queried and shared among multiple users, a number of state and local government organizations have achieved significant improvements in process efficiency and operational costs. In Hillsborough County, Fla., the Planning and Growth Management Department began using an electronic document management system to keep track of all the documents associated with the development of land (e.g., building permits and construction plans). Typically, an application for a new development project has to be reviewed by multiple divisions inside and outside the agency and if a paper document is being reviewed in one division, then another division cannot review the information at the same time. In contrast, applications submitted in electronic format can be easily reviewed by multiple parties simultaneously, which leads to reduced application turnaround time and improved service.

As another example, the Coroner's Office in Kane County, Ill., has recently replaced handwritten and typed documents with an electronic document management infrastructure (COAS). Previously, case information had to be entered manually multiple times on approximately 60 different forms and COAS helped eliminate this redundancy and simplify the data entry process. The organization reports a 50% reduction in the time spent on cases as a direct result of implementing COAS.

D-O-C-U-M-E-N-T Checklist:

D - Data types and document types
Government organizations tend to maintain large collections of documents that pertain to their activities and purpose. Some agencies manage a very broad and diverse set of document types that range from vehicle registration records to construction permits and court transcripts.

O - Organizational transactions and processes
Some familiar examples of “document-heavy” government processes and transactions include processing vehicle registration applications and the oversight of land development projects.

C - Context
Many government agencies are accumulating large volumes of data and are facing increasing challenges in managing and sharing their documents. Electronic document management systems are being implemented to reduce the amount of paperwork, facilitate collaboration, eliminate redundancy, and improve process efficiency.

U - User types and special user requirements
The primary “users” of electronic document management systems are government employees or their respective departments.

M - Models, patterns, or standards that apply or that are needed
A key requirement for an electronic document management is the ability to share information in a way that enables multiple authorized users to access and operate on the data simultaneously. This feature is essential to achieving process efficiency when a document must be reviewed by multiple cooperating departments.

E - Enterprises and eco systems
The ecosystem consists of a large group of government agencies that need to collaborate and exchange information in an efficient, reliable, and secure manner.

N - The needs (business case) driving the enterprise(s)
The push towards paperless document management is primary driven by the need to reduce operational costs and improve efficiency due to budgetary constraints.

T - Technology constraints and opportunities
One important constraint is the issue of migration from legacy systems – all existing documents must be scanned (or imported by other means) into an electronic repository. At the same time, electronic document management enables content-based search, which can be seen as an important opportunity to improve process efficiency.

Andrey Ermolinskiy


Comments:
The descriptions of the "Data/document types" and the "Needs" in this case are similar to the ones in the UPS case I described. These entities are plagued with large collections of different types of documents. Filling out forms manually is difficult and error-prone. By “going paperless,” these companies or agencies are trying to increase efficiency and reduce cost.

As mentioned in the “Technology” section, migration from legacy systems is likely to be an important issue. I am wondering if these agencies are simply going to scan documents and leave it at that. Without further processing (such as some sophisticated OCR or an employee keying in the data), the retrieval of these documents using content-based search would be difficult because the data would be embedded in the scan as a whole, not as discrete elements.
 
There is no doubt that document automation to facilitate e-governance would be highly beneficial and more so, as discussed in class, for developing countries. However, for these countries, there are more constraints on the people side to contend with than just technological issues. A high percentage of the population is not computer-literate. Making government work paperless would also ensure much more transparency leading to a decline in corruption, but the people in power, more so, the middlemen, who take their cut in just about every stage of a government run process, won't let that happen easily. Hence, along with technological issues, a paradigm shift in the mindset of the population would also need to be inculcated.

~Ruchi Kumar
 
Excellent article and a solid DOCUMENT analysis. But I'm really skeptical of the approach taken by Hillsborough County, as explained by Patrick Cosgrove:

He says Hillsborough has no plans to launch a countywide rollout using a single vendor, but instead will invest in document-management systems on a department-by-department basis.

I understand that with such a wide variety of document types it might not be easy to have "one size fit all," but Hillsborough is likely to pay a lot more to acquire the document management systems if it buys them from different vendors. Furthermore, it will incur much greater training and maintenance costs because of the differences between systems. And finally, it is likely to make it more difficult to combine information from different systems to create composite information services and you know that they are going to want to do that. In a couple of weeks we will read an article about E-government in Ireland that has a much more elegant approach to distributed service architecture.

bob glushko
 
Thanks for the excellent content...
Congratulations...
Fantastic Post...
Regards,
SBL - BPO Services
 
I think document management could be useful for every organization with 150 or more employee. A lot of business processes will gain more efficient by using DMS. This is a very clear article, congrats!
 
Thanks for sharing this information about "Electronic Document Management in Government Agencies".
Regards,
Document management services
 
Well, I do not actually imagine it may work.
 
Hi there! great post. Thanks for sharing a very interesting and informative content, it is a big help to me and to others as well, keep it up!
Electronic document management system allow for immediate transfer of documents between departments, whether they’re in the same office or around the world. In fact, our systems have been deployed in more than 1,000 sites worldwide.

 


Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life.








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