The City of Riverside, CA, has been a shining example of Laserfiche in action since implementing Laserfiche in 2001. In fact, due in part to her efforts with Laserfiche, the International Institute of Municipal Clerks (IIMC) awarded City Clerk Colleen Nicol the designation of Master Municipal Clerk in 2002.
But in the last two years, Nicol and her staff have shined even more brightly in the Laserfiche Luminary Community by hosting guided tours of their offices so prospective cities can see Laserfiche in action. “We just enjoy sharing our success and trust it will help with their decision making or implementation,” she says.
It has. Nicol and her staff have hosted Bakersfield, South Pasadena, Thousand Oaks and Fontana—all California cities now using Laserfiche. Nicol was faced with an even more interesting opportunity recently when reseller Mike Dillon of National Technology Solutions told her that Boulder City, NV, was looking for new and better ways to utilize its existing Laserfiche program—especially its most recent addition, Agenda Manager.
“This was the first time we hosted a city that already had the product installed so the conversation there could be more in depth,” Nicol notes.
Pam Malmstrom, City Clerk of Boulder City, was well aware of Riverside’s success. “I met Colleen at the IIMC Region VIII Annual Conference in Tucson, Arizona this year and was impressed with her knowledge and enthusiasm about Laserfiche,” she says. On Dillon’s recommendation and Nicol’s invitation, Malmstrom and her staff paid Riverside a visit.
Once you have stored your published agendas into Laserfiche, by clicking on View/View Metadata/View Links, we can add the agenda report and minutes that correspond to a particular agenda. That way when someone does a search and pulls up the agenda, report, or minutes, they can view the links and view the corresponding documentation for that particular meeting without having to do a separate search.
For example, if my search revealed that my item was on an agenda for October 24, 2008 and I previewed the agenda to find out what item number it was, I could then look at the links and go directly to that report number (thanks to our naming convention) rather than search the reports. I could also look at the minutes through the links rather than search the minutes. This saves a lot of time and frustration.
This function is within the repository and is available after we place the .TIFF image of the reports into our folder structure. We could also link any resolution to the minute action if we needed to.
There, Riverside staff were able to provide in-depth instruction on the use of Agenda Manager and actually provided a manual of user/submitter/approver instructions for Boulder City to take home. Senior Deputy Clerk Cheryl Balz shared some tips for processing agendas, incorporating additional committee agenda preparations, and showed Malmstrom’s staff some tricks with Laserfiche metadata linking to make research easier (see sidebar). The Riverside Police Department showed BC’s PD representative more advanced uses of Audit Trail and other modules, and Roz Vinson offered copies of their structure for BC staff to take home to Nevada. “They were very receptive to our demonstration, had lots of questions for their reseller, and our staff and were excited about their future Laserfiche usage,” says Balz.
Boulder City was understandably grateful for the experience—and emboldened to expand its own use of Laserfiche. Says Malmstrom, “It was great to see how another city used Laserfiche and it reaffirmed our staff was on the right track in setting up our file and information formats in a similar fashion.”
The way Nicol sees it, she’s just paying forward the same service she and her staff were shown when they had their own questions years ago. “I recall how helpful it was to see the installation at Buena Park when we were first considering Laserfiche,” she recalls. “To see the solutions in action in an operating City Clerk’s Office brought the features to life and underscored the efficiencies, work flow improvements, and cost savings.” She’s confident her guest cities take away the same benefits. “At the conclusion of every tour, without exception, the visiting organization emphasizes the value from seeing the product in action and having our team of people who actually perform the work, as well as our technical staff, available to share ideas and solutions.”
Even now, as Nicol campaigns for the vice presidency of the IIMC in next year’s election, where she hopes to continue to inspire other municipalities towards greater efficiency and improved public service, she doesn’t hesitate to offer her office as an example when the opportunity arises. “Whether we’re referred by a reseller or I meet someone at a conference and the topic of Laserfiche comes up, I readily offer to demo the products,” she says. “We enjoy bragging about what a good tool Laserfiche is.”