Story Contributor: Nicole Morris, Deputy City Recorder, City of Tualatin, Oregon.
Laserfiche empowered the City of Tualatin to address several issues resulting from having to manage both paper and electronic records in a digital landscape. The City needed an archival process that would comply with federal and state records retention requirements. These previously paper-based processes required printing of electronic records.
The City had no centralized location or format for official records to ensure accessibility in the future. This problem created chaos for city personnel to fulfill records requests. Not to mention that it was becoming difficult to manage the cost and space needed to store these records.
There were many key benefits the City realized with Laserfiche. Laserfiche created a secure storage location for records of all media types – paper, electronic, photos, as well as audio and video files.
For effective searching, each department created a logical folder structure and document naming standards. The City improved cross-departmental access to records with the added benefit of reduced storage space and the cost needed for paper records. Records retention now takes less time and effort and it’s not as labor-intensive.
“Our biggest process improvement was our TRAKit Permitting and Land Use Management system. The building and planning department is the biggest document producer. We worked with MCCi to create an integration to transfer finalized documents in TRAKit to Laserfiche. Workflow renames and files the document to user-friendly folders for access by both staff and the public. The integration eliminated the need to print finalized projects for permanent storage. Instead, every night the Laserfiche Workflow runs and processes closed permits,” elaborated Morris.
Permit and land-use records for new proposed development projects require a staff to review and are the most requested public records for the City. The implementation of Laserfiche integration with TRAKiT saves building, planning, and engineering staff significant time once required for records management, and makes the information needed on previous projects accessible from anywhere.
“Laserfiche released the handcuffs of a paper process. All staff now complete simple searches within the system and gain access to documents within moments. Our City does not have a city hall, we are located on eight different sites. This has allowed us to increase communications on documents types and provide access instantaneously,” said Morris.
Laserfiche also enabled the City of Tualatin to enact a rapid response plan for COVID-19. The NEOGOV and TRAKiT integrations allowed essential employees to telework while the office closed to the public. Laserfiche prepared the City for the pandemic.
In the future, the City of Tualatin plans to enact a public access portal that will allow them further transparency with the public, reducing foot traffic to city offices, and empowering more self-service. They have big plans to integrate NEOGOV within their human resources department further. With business process automation in their roadmap for the year, they hope to automate the contract routing process.
Nicole’s advice for someone starting a similar project: “Start one step at a time. One record type. One department. Gain momentum as you go. The pieces will start to fall into place, and you will begin realizing successes as you go along. Reach out to the Laserfiche community and ask questions. It is likely that someone has come up against the same problem and is more than happy to share solutions with you.”