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Document Management: The Essential Benefits for Municipal Clerks

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Brian Ocfemia
Brian Ocfemia, Engineering Manager

Municipal activity centers on clerks. They are the heartbeat of any municipality, and one of their key roles is document management. If you need a document for any reason, all roads lead to the clerk.

However, despite their role, the clerk does not have superhuman powers. They are limited by time and technology. With increasing demands and pressures, any significant document management limitations cripple their ability to work effectively.

Major Document Management Concerns

We mostly hear three main concerns from clerks about their document management:

  1. Time spent manually purging documents: If you add up the annual time it takes to identify and manually purge records and documents that have expired, it adds up to many, many hours. Tedious and repetitive, this work takes clerks away from more pressing duties.
  2. Locating documents: If manual documents are misfiled, locating them becomes a nightmare. Do you search every file cabinet? Every folder? Misfiling happens with paper-based systems, and locating those documents wastes massive amounts of time…that is, if you’re able to find the document. Lost or misplaced documents are an unfortunate consequence of manual document management.
  3. Disaster recovery: Clerks fear disaster. Fire, theft, or a natural disaster can permanently destroy manual records. When city business depends on these documents or auditors need to see them, this loss is embarrassing and irreparable.

Document Management Benefits for Cities

Thankfully, many cost-effective document management solutions now exist that not only eliminate these problems but also increase operational efficiency.

  • Scanning and storing: Cities can scan and store all of their documents electronically, eliminating reliance on paper.
  • Document backup and disaster recovery: All documents are stored either on a server with full data backup and disaster recovery, or in the cloud with similar protection. Even if a fire or natural disaster destroyed city hall, your documents would be safe.
  • Archiving for Open Records Requests: You need to archive your email and documents for any open records requests.
  • Remote anytime access: Instead of having to go to city hall to access a document, a document management solution allows you to have access to your documents at all times. Even if you’re working from home or traveling, you will have access to any needed document.
  • Authorization and access rights: With a manual system, some physical security is required to enforce access—and it’s never perfect. But with online document management, you can set up permissions to make sure that only those with authorization can access documents. Documents can also be encrypted and protected from malicious access.
  • Automated workflows: Document management systems allow you to implement automated workflows to improve operational efficiency. It’s very reassuring to know that a document will be processed in the same way—with appropriate checks and balances—every time. Version control can also help eliminate redundant or duplicate documents.
  • Audit readiness: When auditors come calling or regulations must be followed, it’s a lot easier to know that your document management system provides a transparent, automated methodology for storing, archiving, and authorizing access to all documents.

For a relatively low cost, clerks can be enabled to handle these challenges through a robust document management system. Just applying state records retention processes automatically to save a clerk days each year will allow the document management solution to pay for itself—many times over.

If you’re interested in taking a fresh look at your document management processes, contact us through the form below.

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