After the recession, the City of Long Beach turned to technology to cut costs—and create innovative ways to improve citizen services. To this end, it produced a three-pronged service delivery plan that would earn it numerous honors as a top ten digital city in the U.S.:

  • Consolidate information and communication technology services.
  • Increase transparency and collaboration across the enterprise.
  • Digitize processes, forms and workflow.

With a shared understanding of the value new technology could bring to Long Beach, the city tasked its technology services department to spearhead a citywide information management overhaul.

IT’s Strategy: Consolidate and Standardize

 

Long Beach has worked hard to consolidate technology functions while still providing flexibility for departments to run efficiently. For example, in 2009, Long Beach replaced its departmental IBM FileNet system with a Laserfiche enterprise content management (ECM) system that could be used citywide.

The city’s ongoing strategy to consolidate services and decrease costs has paid dividends. By implementing Laserfiche, it has cut annual ECM support costs by 50%.

Other cost-saving IT consolidation efforts include:

    • An enterprise-wide online phone system expected to save $165,000 annually.
    • Virtual servers and workstations expected to generate $100,000 in energy and hardware savings over three years.
    • Cluster databases that reduce licensing and hardware fees.

 

ECM and Open Government

 

In April 2011, the Long Beach City Council adopted an open government policy identifying transparency as a core function of local government, which has become a top priority for staff and citizens alike.

“Long Beach is dedicated to fostering open, transparent government where everyone in our community can easily participate and engage,” explains City Clerk Larry Herrera. Herrera further notes that the City Clerk’s office uses Laserfiche to help deliver improved, cost-effective service. “Previously, we needed 28 people to answer citizen questions quickly and accurately. Today, with a staff of 17, our customer service is better than ever before.”

As more and more records are added to Laserfiche, information access improves and storage costs decrease. The document types stored in Laserfiche include:

  • City contracts
  • Campaign finance reports
  • Statements of economic interest
  • Council agendas and staff reports
  • Election ballots
  • Sample ballots
  • Voted returns

Long Beach has made all city contracts executed as of 2011 available to the public through Laserfiche WebLink, a read-only public portal. With 24/7 online viewing access, the city simplifies citizen information access and saves time for both requestors and city staff.

ECM Across the Enterprise

 

The Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) also relies heavily on Laserfiche, using the system to make gang injunctions, citations, restraining orders and accident reports available to officers in their patrol cars.

By leveraging technology and optimized policies and procedures, the department has decreased violent crime despite significant budget cuts. In the city’s first year using Laserfiche, the department reduced gang-related murders by 53.8%. In addition, the new system allows officers to spend less time on administrative tasks and more time keeping the streets safe.

Other departments that have worked to digitize paper processes include:

  • Financial Management
  • Human Resources
  • Development Services

For example, Long Beach began streamlining accounting processes by integrating Laserfiche with its business intelligence (BI) system. This integration streamlines expense research by making images of invoices available to authorized users through the BI interface.

Elements of Success

 

Fortunately for the city, its citizens, leadership and staff were in full support of its Laserfiche initiative.

As a result of its collaboration between city leadership, staff and citizens, Long Beach has used technology to position itself as a leader for the future.

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