Enterprise-wide Records Management Enhances Customer Service for the City of Bellevue
"We were looking to gain operational efficiencies that allowed fewer resources to provide more accurate, timely service delivery where and when our customers needed it most."
City of Bellevue is the fifth largest city in the state of Washington, responsible for providing many traditional city services. Their obligations to their constituents and several smaller neighboring communities include public safety, transportation, public record keeping, planning & community development and parks & recreation.
In early 2005, the city was challenged with moving to a new city hall. The move included an initiative set before the public to provide a one-stop ‘Service First’ customer environment. To achieve this goal, city management knew they would have to replace outdated manual paper-based business processes and consolidate customer service windows across the city’s many diverse departments. They were looking for a system that would not only resolve their records management needs, but also serve as infrastructure for future technology initiatives such as web-based services and electronic workflow.
Bellevue turned to Olympia-based solutions provider ImageSource®, selected due to their extensive experience with other similar city government-related projects. A history of successful integrations and solid customer references cemented the decision to employ ImageSource.
An Overwhelming Need for Centralized, Accessible Records
Before implementing the ImageSource solution, City of Bellevue was primarily using paper-based business processes to support their records management needs across twelve departments housed in at least five separate buildings. Each office was using varied manual work methods to receive, route, process, search, and store the 2700+ records received and produced each day. Because the departments operated independently, customers were required to go to the ‘correct’ city office for their particular business need.
All of these independent records systems lead to decentralized information and siloed subject matter experts across the city’s departments. Duplicates of many documents were maintained in multiple locations in paper format, on the intranet, on the Internet and on microfilm. Routine document processes such as versioning, distribution, and accessibility to important decision-making information were cumbersome and prone to error in the outdated manual system. A lot of valuable resources were spent on routine office processes such as sorting, processing, routing, tracking, filing, searching and locating information.
“We were looking for a standardized way of interacting with our external customers, regardless of the departmental service requested,” said Nancy Richards, City Records Manager.
The city defined the following business objectives that needed to be solved through the implementation of an enterprise-wide records management system:
- Reduce storage space
- Improve access to information
- Automate routine business processes
- Recapture valuable resources (human, financial and storage space)
- Use industry-standard technologies that were easy to update and modify
- Improve audit trails
- Build foundation for future technology
"The solution allowed city management to fulfill its vision of providing a consolidated one stop customer service experience, ‘ServiceFirst’ in the new city hall. Without the ImageSource solution set, it would have been impossible to attain this goal."
- Nancy Richards, City Records Manager
Core Enterprise-wide Solution Designed and Implemented in Less Than a Month
The ImageSource solution was specifically designed to provide access to electronic records. Now city staff can scan more than 2,700 documents received or created by the city each day. Each record is then assigned a unique index using Kofax® Ascent Capture software. ImageSource ILINX Release Script seamlessly injects these records into the Stellent® Image and Business Process Management software. This allows users to securely access information and related material at their desktop with just a few keystrokes. Further, many of these public records are available on the Internet and accessible to the public through self service options. By enabling public access, additional operation efficiencies and savings for the city have been achieved.
Ease of Expansion Fluidly Across Twelve Departments
Following the initial installation, the city added each department’s document collection, beginning with the City Clerk. “The flexibility and design of the ImageSource solution allowed us to move very smoothly and efficiently from department to department,” comments Richards. “We now have over 32 document types city-wide.”
“The productivity gains are real,” continues Richards. “The ‘system’ owns the document, rather than a department or individual. The ability to provide those documents to the correct user at their desktop, rather than in a paper format has allowed the organization to focus on improvement of these processes. Now, the documents are in a single location supporting the distribution, web access, security and auditing needs of the city.”
Employees and Constituents Gain Simple Accessibility to Millions of Documents
Today City of Bellevue has a state of the art enterprise-wide imaging and records management solution supporting the entire city as one business process, not many independent business offices. From city clerk to the fire department, the system handles over 4 million pages accessible to more than 200 of the 1200 city employees. Additionally, the public has access to many highly requested documents via the Internet.
An Integration that Surpasses Goals
“The combination of new technologies and the ImageSource team’s commitment to working with us to optimize each step of the business process allowed us to realize our goal,” says Richards. “We set out to solve a number of business objectives with this project that were not only met, but in many cases exceeded because of the business relationship we developed with ImageSource.”
Expandable for the Future
“We wanted to make sure the system we implemented would support other future technology initiatives such as electronic workflow and additional web services,” says Richards. “We saw this new records management system as the foundation for the new way we were going to be doing business in Bellevue and did extensive research to make sure that we had the right technologies and solution provider to support us in this effort.”