Posted Wednesday, July 20, 2016 by Greg Tipping

Time to Update Your Human Services Document Management System?

Now is the time for human services agencies to modernize their approach to document management.

In fact, as we publish this blog post, four out of five agencies are either actively in the process of doing so or planning to in the future, according to research from the Center for Digital Government.

CDG surveyed more than 200 state officials about their document management priorities, preferences and plans, and then produced an infographic, with support from Laserfiche, summarizing 10 key points from their research. Here are some of the stats we found most interesting (you can also see the full infographic at the bottom of this post):

  • Nearly half (48%) of respondents said current solutions are not easy to use, while one third said current solutions fail to meet their safety and security needs.
  • When it comes to justifying the need for a solution, 38% of respondents said integration with other systems is their greatest challenge.
  • The three main drivers in selecting a document management solution are security (60%), ease of use (49%), and cost savings (45%).

Looking specifically at human services agencies, we recognize the importance of simplicity, security, and safety when it comes to evaluating document management solutions. We also know you need a solution that increases your ability to meet mandates and frees up your time to better serve clients.

divider-footer.pngDoes your current system meet these needs? If not, maybe it’s time for you to modernize your approach to document management, too.

When it’s time to upgrade, remember to ask these key questions – Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How?

WHO should we partner with?

Many document management systems – especially at the enterprise level – are rolled out in a one-size-fits-all fashion; however, this generic approach doesn’t work for human services. If you choose a solution that hasn’t been designed with your workers in mind, you risk them not even using it. Further, you need more than a vendor. You need a true partner who knows your business, your industry, your end users, and your clients backwards and forwards, and someone who can help you get the most out of your investment.


WHAT’s in it for me?

Upgrading your document management system means you’ll likely need to upgrade your business processes, too, which can be scary for change-leery management and end users alike. When you’re justifying the need for a new system, remember the “What’s In It For Me?” principle and be able to share audience-specific, factual benefits of the upgrade. For example, communicate specifically how a new/different system will make caseworkers’ jobs easier, or how it will increase operational efficiencies and improve ROI. Knowing the answers to this question will also come in handy as you evaluate the best vendor to meet your agency’s exact needs.


WHEN is it time to upgrade?

In addition to knowing what benefits are most important, consider the following questions: Is your system up to date with current work processes? Has it kept pace with the latest technology? Are there other factors deterring your caseworkers from using it (or causing them to create additional workarounds)?


WHERE do your workers need to access documents?

Clients and caseworkers alike expect to get information how and when they want it, which opens up a host of new options for submitting and managing documents. Smart phone apps. Self-service portals. Things like these add a new level of complexity to document management that likely wasn’t even fathomed when your current system was implemented. Your solution must provide options that match up with your clients’ and caseworkers’ expectations.


WHY should we upgrade?

The less time your workers have to spend managing documents, the more time they have to actually manage their cases and interact with their clients. So, by upgrading, you’re saving time, increasing efficiency, and improving service. Simply put, a better document management system can lead to better outcomes for the clients you serve.


HOW should we get started?

As you evaluate your options, don’t overlook this key component: the types of training and resources available to help caseworkers learn the new system. What support will your vendor provide? What’s the format of the training materials? Are there flexible training options for caseworkers managing already demanding workloads? What internal support will you need?


Ready to Search for a New Solution?

Download our guide, "Technology Toolkit: An Essential Buyer's Guide for Human Services," for more advice on how to search for the right solution to enhance service delivery, align with key agency initiatives, and support workers’ needs, both now and into the future. Get in touch to learn more about our next-generation solutions for adult & aging, child support, child welfare, and economic assistance.



10 Things You Should Know About Document Management in the Public Sector [Infographic]

Laserfiche infographic

Greg Tipping Greg Tipping is the Chief Services Officer and Vice President of State Operations for Northwoods, where he is responsible for project implementations throughout the country.