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.

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

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.

Webinars – A great place for free information

On Wednesday, August 20th at 10:00 PST, ImageSource and Fujitsu will be broadcasting a webinar about optimizing your hardware called Proactive Scanner Management. During this webinar you can learn about Fujitsu scanner trade-in programs as well as the latest and greatest models available. Learn about the out-of-the-box software as well as when to consider ILINX Capture for a more robust solution. This particular webinar will be recorded and available for viewing at your convenience if you are unable to attend the live event.

Webinars are a great source of learning usually for no cost. They can provide information on hardware you are considering as well as software solutions. Topics can also include specific verticals and solutions such as the upcoming “Paperless Courtroom” webinar featuring ILINX Capture and IBM FileNet. These topics are typically covered by industry experts that have been involved in successful implementations.

Webinars are a valuable source of information and something the savvy consumer should take advantage of.

Questions or comments:

Richard A. McDermott, ECMp, CDIA+
Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.
360-943-9273 T
360-943-4449 F
http://www.imagesourceinc.com

Transactional Content Management – a catalyst for business process improvement

Despite the massive amounts of investments made in information technology there is still a need for businesses and organizations to continually ask the following questions on four main strategic business drivers:

  1. Reduce Costs: How can we complete “X” process in less time and with less cost and less labor?
  2. Increase Revenue: What can be done to improve the customer experience while shortening the sales cycle and improving our gross margins?
  3. Risk & Compliance: What must be in place in order to prevent unauthorized access and/or actions to our systems and data? What ability do we have to audit and report on the activities within the system?
  4. Competitive Advantage: What can be done to give our customers a “WOW” experience? What can be done to reduce the time from sales order-to-cash to improve self-funding our growth?

The strategic business drivers listed above when reduced down to their basic elements often translate into some type of process that is driven by documents and data. There are many systems that help affect this change like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM); however, they can often times fall short because they are great at processing data, they just aren’t equipped to deal with documents like an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system.

What is Enterprise Content Management or ECM? The Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) Continue reading

ImageSource implements groundbreaking paperless courtroom solution, featuring ILINX® technologies

Stanislaus County Superior Court is a pioneer in digital courtroom document processing, as featured in a recent article in the Modesto Bee. Not mentioned in the article is the fact that their successful solution was implemented by ImageSource and features ILINX technologies.

Stanislaus had the vision, and we helped them get there. The technologies used—ILINX Capture and IBM FileNet—have been designated as a solution of choice by the California Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). The addition of ILINX eForms was added to further streamline courtroom processes. The powerful combination of technologies used offers a robust, scalable and easy-to-use option to automate courtroom processes enterprise-wide.

The family court division has been paperless since early spring of 2014 and is being expanded to traffic, civic and criminal cases, and eventually to the entire courthouse. Clerks search for, and organize documents for upcoming cases based on a web calendar. Judges and commissioners access documents during cases on tablets while on the bench, eliminating a daily stack of about 40 paper case files. Legal documents that require completion during a hearing are now electronic and are filled out, reviewed, approved, signed and routed for printing on the spot. Continue reading