ECM software prevents a government paper avalanche

Recently, Mike Bilardo talked about microfilm driving government agencies to embrace enterprise content management (ECM) software. Of course, the difficulties of converting paper to microfilm, using microfilm and, ultimately, storing it is a big incentive to embrace government software, such as ECM.

But so is the paper! 

Paper is a problem in all government agencies, from health and human services to justice and public safety. But one in particular that’s been top of mind for me is the housing finance authority.

Why is paper such an issue for this agency? Just ask the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA). They take on projects that include both single-family homes and multi-family housing. And with each project or loan, more paper documents were produced – to the tune of several 300-page files. 

But these documents aren’t static. Staff conducts multiple reviews of them over decades. Because of these regular reviews, the documents needed to be kept in close proximity which, at the pace of CHFA’s projects, was consuming 1,000 square feet at their site. 

Then there was the issue of retention – 60 years to be exact. That much paper – which grew exponentially with each loan or project –  produced a real avalanche…of paper! It slowed down the staff, created unnecessary costs and made it difficult for CHFA to provide good customer service. 

That’s enough about the problems; let’s look at the solutions!

Today, CHFA finds itself safe from future paper avalanches. They have moved eight departments to an ECM software suite with more departments in progress. Plus, they have reduced the time to retrieve their project files from 12 minutes to 10 seconds or less

This makes their staff three times more productive. And that 1,000 square feet of storage has been repurposed at a considerable savings to CHFA. Even better, audits that used to take days, now take hours and there are no longer worries about losing documents. 

Using an ECM product has removed the “danger” of a paper avalanche and improved CHFA’s productivity in the process. Now that’s real return on investment.

Terri Jones

Terri Jones

Wondering what goes into a document management, ECM or content services deployment in government? Terri Jones, Hyland's government marketing portfolio manager, has your answer. In her 10-plus years in both state and local government, she's managed IT departments, implemented ECM strategies and written legislation and program policies. If that isn't enough to prove her IT expertise in government, she has also designed and implemented data systems and websites to manage compliance and funding in excess of $90 million annually. Have a question for her? Contact her at [email protected]

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