Compliant Public Disclosure Starts with Smart Records Retention

If there’s one message I consistently hear from customers today, it’s how big of a deal public disclosure is for the government and how we need better solutions around it. That being said, you would not believe how many of these organizations don’t feel that they have a good handle on their content.

In Washington State, public disclosure refers to the release of all documents and content to the person making the request. These documents at minimum need to be available for the requestor to view. There are some exemptions to this, such as sealed case files.

Good public disclosure practices really start with one thing: good record-keeping (and destruction). We hear time and time again from customers that they’ve never thrown anything away for fear that the document may be needed at a later date. While they may be thinking that this is the best way to avoid throwing anything away that should be kept, it also means keeping records that should have been destroyed.

Some aren’t aware of the fact that when a public disclosure request comes in, organizations are required by law to turn over any documentation pertaining to the request (as long as it is subject to disclosure). That means that if documents haven’t been destroyed and fall under the specific request, those documents need to be turned over as well, even though they are past the retention period. This poses a huge risk in regards to potential litigations.

Getting your records in order may seem like an overwhelming task, but here are some steps you can take to move toward better practices related to retention and disposition of records.

  1. Understand YOUR Organization’s Requirements for Record Retention and Disposition
    Every organization is different. Certain records have to be kept longer than others, some records might need to be sealed, others may need redaction before they can be turned over, etc. Each organization, each department, even each business process may have different requirements around records. Determine and document what the requirements are so that when you start to do an inventory of content, you have a definitive plan regarding what needs to be kept and for how long. Click here for a link to the Washington State Records Retention Schedules.
  2. Where are my Records?
    Identify where records are kept. Are they stored on a network share? In a file cabinet? In a content management system? Somewhere else? Are they in paper form? Electronic? Are there video files? Regardless of where the documents are kept, the regulations are around how you get the content organized, not the file format or how hard the collection process is. This will help ensure that there are not duplicate documents, and if there are, that only the pertinent copies are kept so as not to be a factor in a potential litigation.
  3. Perform an Analysis and Inventory of Your Records
    Some organizations choose to do this internally, some hire a contractor, and some take a hybrid approach. Regardless of which path you choose, determine what content you have, what needs to be kept, and what can be disposed of before evaluating any technology. This will keep you from bringing content into a solution that will need to be immediately disposed of after the initial analysis.
  4. Choose a Solution that is Flexible and Easy
    95% of organizations I work with are looking for a solution that is easy-to-use yet flexible enough to change with requirements. They want something that can easily set up to work with current retention and disposition schedules, yet can be updated without too much effort if laws or regulations change.
  5. Trust the System
    If you’ve done the prep work correctly, then what you need to do is trust what you’ve put in place is going to work. Choose a good partner with a track record of success to help you.

These are just a few ideas to get you thinking about what can be accomplished around public disclosure, records retention and your content. ImageSource has been assisting customer partners with these types of solutions for the last 20 years. We have done everything from initial consulting through implementation and support. Below is a short list of some of offerings:

  • Expert consulting to determine your “as is” state and develop a plan to get you to your “desired” state using industry best practices
  • Assessment of your current technology and how it can be leveraged
  • Solution evaluation to perfectly match technology with your requirements
  • Solution deployment, configuration, training and rollout
  • Document collection, conversion, scanning, taxonomy definition and automated classification and metadata extraction
  • Data Migration
  • Ongoing partnership for system/process tuning, growth and support
  • Managed applications services

The ILINX platform can assist any organization with getting a handle on their content.

How to get the best bang for your buck!

Why price is not the most important factor
when purchasing imaging hardware

When shopping for new imaging hardware, many customers look at their budget and let that dictate their purchase. Now I understand that budget is an important factor, however over the last 9 years working with imaging customers, many have purchased equipment based mainly on price – only to discover that it did not meet their long term growth needs.

So in light of these discussions, here is bits of wisdom that can be used as a checklist when considering new purchases:

  • Color or Black & White (B & W) scanning? The majority of scanners automatically come with color option but can also provide B & W scanning for smaller document size files.
  • Is Speed important – scanners are classed by Pages per Minute (PPM). How fast do you need the scanner to scan?
  • How much volume are you expecting to scan per day, week or month? Volume and speed is determined by the manufacturer when they develop the scanner.
  • Manufacturers group their scanners into categories based on PPM and the Daily Duty Cycle (DDC). DDC is how many images the scanner can handle on a daily basis. So if you have a large volume of scanning to be completed on a daily basis, a small desktop workgroup scanner will not be sufficient for the volume – it would break down all the time. Here are the general groupings that manufacturers use:

Continue reading

Why Courts Need Document Management AND Case Management Systems

Document Management System (DMS) needs should be identified holistically, not just for the needs of the courtroom processes. A successful implementation will be gained through a well thought out plan and a DMS solution that can not only integrate with a courts Case Management System (CMS), but also with Fiscal, HR, Procurement, and other department’s line-of-business systems.

To accomplish a successful implementation of an electronic environment there has to be an overall vision and buy-in from all the key individuals of the court system.

  • Culture and vision which incorporates technology as part of the business strategy
  • Identify areas to integrate technology with the courts business strategies
  • Implementation of an electronic DMS to be used by all departments
  • Integration of the DMS with CMS and other line-of-business systems
  • Provide public access to documents via a web portal (e-Access)

    Puzzle_arrows

Continue reading

Getting Rid of Legacy Systems

I recently watched a segment on King 5 News around how some government agencies are using legacy systems for their day-to-day work. The article was highlighting the software program used at the Department of Licensing to process vehicle registrations, however, there are a number of additional agencies that are using legacy programs and platforms for their day-to-day processes. The segment went on to discuss how expensive it would be to update all of those systems. Continue reading

What ILINX Has in Common with Two Giants: Alibaba and Apple

I read a post recently titled Customer-centric and easy-to-use is the new business model (The Alibaba story) that really hit home. The author, Gerry McGovern, a customer-centricity guru, points out that Alibaba, the world’s biggest online commerce company, has defined a clear mission of “making it easier to do business across the world”, as founder Jack Ma put it. I think it’s safe to say that this model has merit, as the company claims the biggest IPO in the history of the world.

As a long-term Apple user, (my first Mac had a hard drive with 512 KB memory) I can say that their progressively intuitive interfaces have been a compelling reason for me to continue using their technology. In fact, the Macintosh project started with an Apple employee named Jef Raskin who envisioned an easy-to-use, low-cost computer.

Apple has stayed true to this model to present day, according to technology industry analyst Jeff Bajarin. In an article published by Time Magazine, Bajarin outlines six key principals that set Apple apart from the competition, three of which are: Continue reading

11 Questions to Ask in Order to Buy the Correct Wide Format Scanner

At ImageSource, we have many customers who call in asking for information on Wide Format Scanners. Selecting the right Wide Format Scanner for your needs is imperative, as manufacturers do not normally provide evaluation scanners for you to test.

I always recommend that customers review a software webinar demo before buying these larger scanners. The software functionality and ease of use is an important differentiator between scanner manufacturers. The incorrect software combined with a scanner that does not meet all your needs can be a costly investment that cannot be returned to the manufacturer. In this category of scanner, the cheapest price tag does not necessarily mean the best fit!

There are some basic questions that we always ask our customers in order to qualify what scanner(s) is the most appropriate. I would like to share these to help you with any future selection processes/decisions.

  1. Do you need B&W, Grayscale, Color capabilities?
  2. If Color is required, is it Color critical (such as photos and art work), or simple color (such asline drawings or printed maps)?
  3. What is the largest size original you will be scanning?
  4. Is speed important? Will this be production scanning or just occasional scanning?
  5. Approximately how many scans per month?
  6. What condition are your originals in? Poor (folded with a lot of background), Medium or Good quality?
  7. What kinds of media will you be scanning? Paper, blueprints, Mylar, stitched linen (very old documents), maps, etc.
  8. Do you need thick document scanning capabilities?
  9. Do you need a stand and catch basket?
  10. Will this be a scan-to-file application or do you need scan-to-print (copy) functions as well?
  11. Will you need to edit, modify or convert any of the images into CAD or GIS file formats?

We have been working with the major Wide Format Scanner manufacturers for many years so we are here to help give our expertise for any questions you may have. ImageSource will make it easy for you and guide you towards the “best fit”.

We are here to help!

Megan Lane
Inside Sales Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.

eCourts Blog Series: 3 Reasons Why You Should Integrate Your Courtroom Processes Today

Want to exponentially increase the value of existing and new technologies? Take an integrated rather than a one-application-can-do-it-all approach. Let each system, your case management (CMS), document management (DMS), and other line of business (LOB) applications do what they do best, and they will empower each other. Integrating these systems optimizes processes, allows for the exchange of data between systems and departments, and maximizes your technology investments.

As experienced integrators of DMS, ImageSource has taken the paperless courtroom to a whole new level that encompasses electronic form processing (real-time) during hearings, eFiling, public access, justice partners access and more—all through multi-system integration.

Example 1: Nightly and weekly audits can run against both your DMS and CMS systems. This allows the push and pull of information to update case information, and eliminates redundant, manual data entry.
Example 2: By accessing a common DMS, integrated with your CMS, your Courts, HR, Accounting, and any other departments share documentation that will streamline the collection of fines and accessibility of information.
Example 3: An integration between your DMS and Web Calendar, or other scheduling system, puts electronic documentation at the fingertips of Judges and Clerks in the courtroom, providing immediate updates and eliminating the shuffling of paper.

If you’d like to learn more about how ImageSource has successfully implemented and integrated the court systems, I invite you to explore what we’ve done for the Superior Court of California, County of Stanislaus.

April Gentry
Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.