5 Considerations for Effective Municipal Document Management

Proper storage and accessibility of records is crucial for any business wanting to compete in the 21st century. For government entities, such as city and county offices, it’s more than just improving workflow and saving money. Municipal document management also helps government agencies meet legal requirements.

Paper is History

There are many problems with maintaining a paper filing system in today’s government office. It’s expensive, time consuming, and poses a serious liability risk in the event of a fire or natural disaster. Workers are constantly required to look up filed documents by hand, and they’re often stored across multiple sites.

A digital system is clearly the way to go in a modern office, but what kinds of features do you need to consider when choosing a document management partner? The ideal solution has to meet the following five requirements.

1. Centralize Your Records

First of all, a proper document management solution makes all of your records accessible to everyone who needs them. Even if you’re past putting paper in filing cabinets, many offices still have documents scattered across multiple computers, on portable hard drives, or even in email. The first crucial step is making sure one employee’s sick day isn’t crippling the whole department.

A good document management system not only stores your documents in a secure shared location, but also allows workers to search for exactly what they need. Imagine being able to do a quick search (similar to Google) instead of going through a file cabinet or trying to remember whose computer has the records you’re looking for.

2. Make Documents Accessible Across Departments

Securely sharing government documents outside of your office can be a difficult task. Your document management system needs to take the hassle out of giving access to those who need it.

Solid security that’s compliant with Sarbanes-Oxley requirements is an absolute must. Look for a system that includes double-ended encryption for maximum security as well as the ability to audit which records have been shared and with whom. An ideal system will allow you to set up a custom portal for sharing your secure documents easily.

3. Secure Signatures

The need for signatures on official documents often drives the argument that paper has to stay in the office workflow. Not true. With proper security protocols and tracking, electronic signatures are legally binding and far more effective than creating and filing paper documents.

Your document management system needs the flexibility to include electronic signatures while adhering to the standards and regulations your organization requires. With a proper system in place, collecting electronic signatures will be incorporated seamlessly into your workflow.

4. Digitize Existing Records

What are you going to do with the paper documents you already have? Your digital document solution needs to take scanning documents into account. This ensures that your existing records (and any holdout paper documents you receive along the way) are merged seamlessly into your new management system.

Ideally, this should include a barcode system that enables you to scan  multiple documents at once, preview your scans for accuracy, and work well with email attachments too. Your new system shouldn’t fight with your old one. It should make it easier for you to transition everything to a more usable digital format.

5. Assign and Automate Tasks

Finally, look for a document management system that goes beyond storage and retrieval and helps to automate your workflow. With the ability to assign tasks and rules to your documents, you can ensure that proper procedures are followed for every document, every time.

Task management helps you make sure that documents follow your rules and procedures during their creation. Does a certain form always need approval from a department head? Set up your document so that it can’t be entered without it. Clerks can even automate records retention schedules for easy compliance.

The Modern Municipal Office

The sheer volume of documents that need to be created and stored on a daily basis is enough to keep any municipal employee busy. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your municipal document management system works for you. By eliminating paper, centralizing your records, and making sure you’ve got access to the features you need, you’ll be able to bring your office into the 21st century with ease.

Go Find It meets all of these criteria and more! Find out how we can help you today.