“I don’t think we’re utilizing half of Contentverse’s capabilities now,” says Richard Myers, “but each day we constantly strive to use more and more of its functionality.”
-Richard Myers, board member of the Henry County Board of Commissioners
Henry County, Ohio includes local government offices with approximately 25 departments, boards, and commissions, which comprises everything from a local airport to a Water & Sewer Department. It didn’t take long for the amount of paper these various agencies generated to become a problem. However, space wasn’t the only factor that motivated Richard Myers, one of board members the Henry County Board of Commissioners, to switch from paper records to electronic records.
Myers’s primary concern was disaster recovery. He saw what happened in other counties when fire, flood or other unexpected disasters destroyed years of public records. With the support of the other two county commissioners, Myers (formerly the owner of a computer software company) volunteered to spearhead an IT initiative to protect Henry County from any possible disaster or malicious activity.
Myers started by developing a list of needs:
- Scalable to Fit Growing Needs – Expand from a few departments to many departments on a flexible timetable
- Locate Public Records – Locate information faster when requested
- Create One “Main” File – Eliminate paper copies of the same file in multiple locations
- Save Space – Eliminate multiple storage facilities
- Manage Utilization and Retention Policies – Reduce data storage and meet compliancy regulations
- Plan Ahead for Additional Implementation Phases – Add additional departments and increase workflow and routing between offices
It didn’t take long for Myers to gain support from many corners. On the state level, electronic record keeping was being encouraged by the judicial branch. On the county level, engineers supported the initiative, as they were worried about maps and paper documents that were deteriorating and understood the value of going digital. Additionally, both the Board of Elections and the Clerk of Courts offices saw the value of streamlining their workflow immediately, and were eager to become early adopters.
Armed with a defined set of goals and the support of significant county departments, Myers and Judy Sonnenberg, the Clerk of Courts, began the search for an appropriate solution. They interviewed several companies, and finally decided upon Perry Corporation. Perry Corporation recommended the Contentverse document management solution from Computhink to satisfy Henry County’s defined needs.
According to Myers, there were other products that gave the impression they were more affordable than Contentverse because they charged a relatively small up-front fee. However, that fee only covered a limited number of pages, after which a per-page surcharge would be added to the cost. This left Henry County vulnerable in the event the county’s needs exceeded the original budget, something which is almost impossible to predict. Myers didn’t find this fiscally responsible. And in the end, the price-point, feature set, and benefits of Contentverse made it the easy choice, “Contentverse clearly offered the most appropriate value for our needs.” said Myers.
A second look at Myer’s wish list reveals how Contentverse met Henry County’s requirements
- Scalability – Contentverse is completely scalable and always ready to adapt to changing needs.
- Public Records Request – Contentverse enables County workers to locate information almost immediately. Keyword searches relevant to individual departments provide immediate access. The Board of Elections and Engineers already have their entire backlogs scanned and available for retrieval. The other departments are currently in the process of scanning their files. Some of the time to scan the files has been created simply because of Contentverse’s inherent ability to decrease the need for individuals to locate and transport files by hand.
- Create One “Main” File – The County had the same file located and filed in multiple departments, because each department needed some information within that file. Now, as files are added to Contentverse, access can be granted to files or certain sections of a file for multiple offices to view. This has reduced, and in some cases eliminated, multiple copies of a file, as well as the need for multiple storage locations for individual files. An additional benefit is the significant reduction in the time it would take one office to obtain a file from another office, especially if driving was involved to acquire the file(s).
- Space Savings – Henry County was overflowing with records. Most offices would have multiple storage facilities for their documents all over the county. Contentverse is helping to eliminate the need for multiple storage facilities.
- Manage Utilization and Retention Policies – There is a strategy in place to reduce data storage and meet compliancy regulations. When a document reaches its life expectancy, via automated workflow the Ohio Historical Society is automatically notified to signoff that the document can be purged from the system, saving Henry County the time and worry of this necessary action.
- Plan Ahead for Additional Implementation Phases – Adding more offices and initiating workflow and routing between offices began quicker than originally expected, mainly due to the enthusiasm of the participants. The project started with five initial departments, and Myers didn’t expect that additional departments would sign on so quickly. However, when the rest of the county offices saw the benefits that the initial five departments were getting, they couldn’t wait to start realizing the benefits of Contentverse themselves. “I guess you could say that Phase II already happened,” says Myers, “but there are still a few departments that need to be added to the system.”
Additional Contentverse Features That Henry County Is Finding to Be Valuable
“I don’t think we’re utilizing half of Contentverse’s capabilities now,” says Myers, “but each day we constantly strive to use more and more of its functionality.” Some additional features of Contentverse that Myers is finding to be very helpful include:
- Audit Trail to monitor any action taken on a document
- Print, email, and fax directly from Contentverse
- User can create annotations, redactions, revisions and versions
- Redactions are mostly being used for sensitive information such as social security number, bank account information etc.
Contentverse is growing in Henry County and being used in more and more departments:
- Clerk of Courts
- Board of Elections
- Juvenile Probation
- Family Court
A New Employment Opportunity Has Been Created
The Commissioners of Henry County coordinated the County’s Contentverse installation with a separate Service Bureau initiative at Henry County’s Department of Disability. The county was able to hire clients of the Department of Disability to do scanning for the county, and since the Department of Disability’s system also used Contentverse, compatibility was guaranteed.
Return on Investment (ROI)
“We are on track to achieve our goal,” says Myers. “In the event of a disaster, our important information will be retained.” Beyond that, Myers is enjoying great convenience with the Contentverse system. For example, before Contentverse, if a document had to be transported from the courthouse to the Sherriff’s office it was a short walk away that created “down time.” “Now click, shoot, bang it’s there! Saving 10-15 minutes for every piece of paper,” says Myers.
Even more beneficial, Henry County now has intercommunication capability with the state. Previously, the Clerk of Courts had a system that was running on UNIX, but couldn’t connect because others were running Windows. Take that in conjunction with the scanning, and the office efficiency increases exponentially.
The Final Analysis
“Even people who were initially reluctant are now sold on Contentverse,” says Myers. “We get immediate service if we need it. It doesn’t happen often, but it’s comforting to know Computhink and Perry Corporation stand behind the product.”
“In the end, Contentverse will make us more and more efficient,” concludes Myers. “And we couldn’t be happier.”
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