As one of the most populous cities in New York state (after New York City and Buffalo), the City of Rochester relies on its IT department to increase efficiency between city departments and enable more effective public services. Servicing over 14 departments including Public Safety, Police and Fire, the city’s IT teams need systems that can power the city’s many interconnected processes.
“Trying to really understand how the different departments interrelate and how their processes flow from one area to another is really important,” says Lisa Bobo, CIO for the City of Rochester. “Also important: finding ways to be more transparent with all the information that we hold in the department.”
After a thorough study of how to redesign and modernize multiple city processes together, the city saw Laserfiche’s strength in business process automation, workflow and document retention and management as an opportunity to use one platform to improve many functional areas.
Automating Freedom of Information Law Requests
The city’s initial improvements came from using Laserfiche to build a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) portal that enables citizens to submit public records requests online.
Previously, it would take staff up to five days to start processing new records requests using paper request forms. With the new portal, citizens can now file new requests via a simple online form and inquiries are immediately sent to the relevant city department for review and approval. Throughout the process, citizens can check the status of their request at any time in the FOIL portal.
An internal Laserfiche progress dashboard also shows department managers the status of open requests and how long it takes each staff member to fulfill them, providing critical data about the city’s efficiency.
“We have gotten really positive feedback from users about the system,” says Harriet Fisher, Senior Business Analyst at the City of Rochester. “One user, in particular, said, ‘This is the best thing since sliced bread!’”
One Platform for City-wide Projects
In addition to reducing processing time for FOIL requests, the city’s police department is currently using Laserfiche for five internal processes, and the accounting department relies on Laserfiche as the backbone of invoice processing. Laserfiche’s user-friendly interface ultimately allows the city to see a quick return on its investment for automation projects and open new avenues for shared services across departments.
“It allows us to easily manage the creation of forms, the development of workflow and security in a way that you do not need to be an application developer,” says Greg Luna, Enterprise Process and Systems Manager at the City of Rochester. “It really is a nice departure from the in-house developed applications—to think out of the box about how we can re-engineer processes, and Laserfiche makes it easy for us to do that.”
- The city can digitally process over 4,000 FOIL requests each year in half the time that it used to take.
- More transparent reporting on task efficiency demonstrates the city’s commitment to public service.
- The city can prove standardized records retention across city operations