Colorado’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages a wealth of information across eight divisions, including:
- Colorado Division of Forestry
- Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife
- Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining, and Safety
- Colorado Division of Water Resources
- Colorado Geological Survey
- Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC)
- Colorado State Land Board
- Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB)
According to Application Support Manager for the CWCB, Susan Lesovsky, the DNR purchased Laserfiche, the leading Content Services Platform, in 2005 to replace a legacy IBM system that lacked an out-of-the-box web interface, optical character recognition (OCR) functionality, and the ability to automate business processes. “Our old system was pretty much limited to search and retrieval,” she explains.
She notes that a top priority for implementing Laserfiche was making it easier for their citizens to stay informed about government activities. “Ultimately, our customer is the public, and our success is measured on how we provide and process information for them,” Lesovsky says.
“Laserfiche allowed us to increase the transparency of information to the public, and it’s done it in such a way that we don’t have to worry about connections or cost,” expressed Lesovsky.
Laserfiche Enables Citizens to Cut Through Red Tape
“As one of only two recommended content management systems for the state of Colorado, Laserfiche epitomizes all three E’s: efficiency, effectiveness, and elegance,” Lesovsky shares.
She explains how easy it is for citizens to access information such as meeting documents. A few of the options the public may access are:
- The current year’s materials available on the Board’s website in a table that provides direct links to PDFs stored in Laserfiche’s repository.
- Archived materials accessible through a custom search box (created using the WebLink Designer) on the lower right side of the same page or through the link.
- The custom search box is limited to three fields (title, date range, and document type) to streamline access and reduce user confusion.
“We used the WebLink Designer to create custom searches because we noticed that our users would get overwhelmed when presented with a long list of templates and fields,” says Lesovsky. “Each custom search focuses on a particular program area or topic and uses a limited set of search criteria within the associated template.”
Quick, easy, and efficient searches support Hickenlooper’s goal of driving the “three E’s” into government operations.
Lesovsky explains, “In the past, people came to our offices to request information. Laserfiche provides a simple and elegant way for the public to get access to the information they need whenever they need it.”
Integrations Are “Mission-Critical”
By integrating Laserfiche with other software applications, the DNR makes information even more accessible. For example, by integrating Laserfiche with ESRI ArcGIS, staff can click on a stream and retrieve associated court documents. At the same time, public users can quickly access information associated with flooding and flood hazards in the state.
To see the public-facing integration in action Visit Colorado’s Flood Decision Support System page. Once there, follow these steps to search for flood information:
- Click on the Flood DSS Map Viewer.
- Agree to the disclaimer.
- Click the Documents tab in the top menu.
- Enter your search criteria in the pop-up window. For example, select:
- Group: Historical Flooding.
- Document: Historical flood photographs.
- Type: Photographs.
- Hit the search button.
- A new window displays the results (produced on-the-fly by an encoded URL string) in a grid format.
It’s the integrations with applications like ESRI ArcGIS that make Laserfiche “mission-critical.”
According to Lesovsky, “When you integrate Laserfiche with business-specific systems, you embed it into your existing workflow processes, and it becomes integral to how you operate.”
Electronic Content Management (ECM) Enables Online Forms Processing
Laserfiche is a particularly effective ECM solution for the DNR because different divisions can configure it to meet their unique needs.
For example, the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) uses Laserfiche to enable an electronic form application that provides an interface for oil and gas operators to enter and submit permit forms and supporting documents.
A separate application allows oil and gas operators to upload well logs and then import them into Laserfiche. The biggest benefit of processing permits and well logs with Laserfiche is time. Senior Data Analyst, Ken Robertson says, “We used to shuffle files from one person to another until they were approved, and then we scanned everything into the system. Having the operators upload their attachments to their documents saves an average of 15 minutes of scanning and indexing time for our staff, not to mention the time saved on data entry.”
He goes on to explain that having everything available electronically at the beginning of the process allows multiple people to work on the same forms simultaneously, further reducing processing time.
“Not only do we save time,” Robertson says, “but the approval process is now more transparent for the public.”
Lesovsky adds, “Laserfiche is powerful, flexible, and easy to use. Even though all our divisions use the same system, we can all use it a little differently.”
Lesovsky is particularly excited to use Laserfiche across organizations. She explains that the CWCB already conducted a feasibility study and has a grant in place to make it happen.
“Colorado State University has an ECM solution other than Laserfiche but a healthy collection of water information. The Colorado Water Resources Development & Power Authority and the Colorado River Water Conservation District currently use Laserfiche, with useful water document repositories. By connecting our systems and using common metadata, we’ll be able to search for information across all four entities and gain a complete picture of accessible water information in the state,” explained Lesovsky.
She says that the DNR is also working on integrating Laserfiche and Microsoft SharePoint, “Most of our divisions use SharePoint for their external websites. Right now, people must conduct separate searches if they want to find content stored in both Laserfiche and SharePoint. What we’re looking to do is enable searches that return results from both systems at the same time.”
All in all, she says, “Laserfiche is a great tool. The bottleneck now is just finding the time to make it do everything we want it to do.”