Category: Government


FAA loses 119,000 planes: A lesson in records management and ECM

I read with interest Friday how the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has lost track of 119,000 aircraft. In case you missed it, the Associated Press reports “119,000 of the aircraft on the U.S. registry have ‘questionable registration’ because of missing forms, invalid addresses, unreported sales or other paperwork problems. In many cases, the FAA cannot say who owns a plane or even whether it is still flying or has been junked.” Holy high-flying cow. Now, I’m pretty new to the world of enterprise content management (ECM), but I have to believe the FAA has some sort of document management system in place. What it is, I don’t know, but at first blush – or in the way it’s described by AP’s intrepid reporter – it doesn’t seem to be working. Or on second thought, maybe it’s working all too well. Could be the FAA’s system includes a component like exception reporting, which either confirms the existence of required documents or spots broken transactions and missing documents, then notifies the appropriate stakeholders about said missing items. It’s up to the stakeholders to go looking for them. Can you imagine the look on someone’s face when that exception report came through? Gulps are rarely audible, but I bet this one sounded like a bass drum.
When the back office is the place to start in government - Flipping around the document management decision

When the back office is the place to start in government – Flipping around the document management decision

Many government agencies buy document management software first and foremost for compliance. In my agency, we had some serious rules around the use of community development and affordable housing funds. Documents had to be maintained for 35 years, but also had to be accessible for annual reviews and the annual outside audits from federal and state agencies. So, in these very forward-facing areas, records management and workflow have strong support communities. Most people understand the value of the line of business systems they use – ESRI, Emphasys, Tenmast, Harmony, Curam, CourtView, etc. And, they get how enterprise content management can and should be integrated to make these systems really effective. But what about the back office? As government shrinks, it becomes more and more difficult to accomplish the basic tasks of tracking contracts, paying the bills, doing inventory or handling human resources. Even filing may be a problem because administrative staffs are often the first positions to go.
The no wait waiting room in government - document management drives constituent service

A “no wait” waiting room in government? Document management drives constituent service

One of my favorite jobs was working in the National Main Street Program. I love Main Streets because the program focused on making communities inviting and able to serve their residents and visitors better. The idea was that people immediately get an impression about your community or your business according to by the atmosphere that they experience when they walk in the door or drive down your Main Street. I often reflect on the lessons I learned there and how they apply to the long lines and grumpy people at the service counters and waiting rooms of government agencies. When people need to do business with their local government, their first impression is formed by the "waiting room." Waiting is one of our least favorite things in life. And, when this is combined with the fact that government offices are open when most people have to work, you have a situation that puts the constituent in a frustrated mood even before they begin their wait. But, just like the businesses in the Main Street Program, more thought could go into how this experience feels for your constituents.
The human in government human services: When document management comes to the rescue

The human in government human services: When document management comes to the rescue

Working for housing and community development agencies gave me many glimpses of health and human service agencies, both governmental and non-profits. As a result, I know many case managers, folks who’ve dedicated their professional lives to helping others through programs like homeless prevention, nutrition, vocational rehabilitation and foster care. What’s so hard about dedicating your life to this profession? The job itself is a challenge: these case managers deal with a never-ending line of people, people who are in the throes of the most difficult and painful human experiences. If you can believe it, actually doing the job is sometimes even more difficult. The regulatory complexity for their efforts – establishing eligibility for various types of assistance – is off the charts. While it’s formulated that an unemployed person needs temporary financial assistance, access to some food, eviction prevention and job retraining, the actual process to access those programs is needlessly complicated.

Four ways government can put “Housing First” by handling compliance with ECM

One thing that government tries to do is fix things that are not being taken care of by the private sector. You’ll find this happening quite often in the affordable housing department. Perfect example: The flip side of our last decade’s real estate boom was that entire segments of the population could not afford housing. In my department in Arizona, we struggled to fund housing across a wide spectrum of income levels and situations – from emergency housing for the homeless to housing for veterans with disabilities to rental housing for working families who just couldn’t afford Arizona's rising house prices. To do this, we had to mix funding from sources as diverse as IRS tax credits, HUD and state funds from a Housing Trust Fund.
Part II: Bringing the work to the worker (in government)

Part II: Bringing the work to the worker (in government)

I caught up with Fran (again, don't judge my video skills), who works in the IT department at a city in the western U.S. I wish I had chatted with her before adding the last post - she was all about offline ECM capabilities! Off camera, Fran mentioned many, many more field workers that could benefit from offline capabilities. In particular, she serves the Parks and Recreation department, so the first two that came to mind were the people who make inspections, such as to playgrounds, as well as the tree trimmers.