Category: Government

Government

ECM and open government Sunshine Week sheds light on value of software in improving records management

ECM and open government: Sunshine Week sheds light on value of software in improving records management

Early one morning, during my state tenure, I watched the departmental file and e-mail server disappear in the company of some state security officers. Its contents were at the center of an investigation into how and why a lucrative tax credit was passed in my state. This was a first for me. Previously, I had not really thought about e-mail and electronic documents as being public records. Soon thereafter, a formal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request was made for all paper files. This provoked a huge and lengthy effort to find, copy and turn over all documents. Today, nearly a decade later, we are much more schooled in the public records, or FOIA, request. But that doesn’t mean the issues have been fixed. Concerns about the delays in addressing were highlighted this week when Ohio Auditor David Yost unveiled a new state program to track the time taken by municipalities to meet public records requests. The program seeks to address that by requiring logs to track requests and how long it takes to respond, which the state will then review for compliance with the municipalities individual records request policies. This program comes on the heels of the national Sunshine Week, when the federal government unveiled a new website devoted to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), foia.gov. All of these new developments are reactions to concerns about how public money is being spent, scrutiny that has been heightened by the tight budgets everywhere. Some counties and cities, however, are more than prepared for this effort – those with enterprise content management solutions.

Defining Total Cost of Ownership of Government Software – Part II: The “C”

Last time, I wrote about the quest for finding the real "total" in total cost of ownership (TCO). As you consider the "cost" of TCO, I would like to offer some thoughts that might be useful as you evaluate document management projects and cost proposals. During my time at my housing agency, it took me three times to get one line of business application right. I am not proud of this. When the prices came in, I was told to pick the lowest price and I did, despite my knowledge that the product's low price meant that I wouldn’t get updates. Also, I knew my users would hate the interface. But the worse part of the failed deployment was that users had months of discomfort as they transitioned to a new system, only to have to do the same thing again when we brought in another system. How do you estimate this "cost”?
Graduation rate expectations and budget cuts: The state of ECM in higher education in 2011

Graduation rate expectations and budget cuts: The state of ECM in higher education in 2011

Ten years ago, the U.S. was considered the most educated in the nation. Today, it ranks 12th among 36 developed nations. Realizing this, the Oval Office is pushing to improve this measure. Specifically, the goal it’s presenting is to increase the number of college degree-holding U.S. citizens from 40 percent to 60 percent in the next 10 years. But, of course, here’s the catch – the keepers of the budgets – the states – are almost all cutting education funding, making a spending increase for universities to get more staffing very, very unlikely. So how in the world are colleges and universities going to graduate an extra eight million people with two-and four-year degrees by 2020 without additional funding or resources? Since the down economy hit, the “do more with less” mantra has been quite loud – and the federal push will likely elevate it to a full-blown yell. If colleges and universities are going to even come close to meeting these goals, they’d better learn quickly to put this mantra into practice. But it’s the question of how to put it into practice that trips them up. Luckily, University Business recently tackled a similar initiative. Throughout the year, they’ve been featuring higher education institutions which have taken steps in the right direction to maximum efficiency, which, most of the time, is led by an enterprise software deployment or two.
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.
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.