With the mission of shaping legislation and promoting cooperative action among Florida’s municipal governments, the Florida League of Cities represents over 400 cities, towns and villages throughout the state. The organization, based in Orlando and Tallahassee, serves as the primary provider of critical services for member organizations, including insurance plans, pensions, loans, legal consultation and policy research.
As its membership base grew, the League faced an influx of documents and service needs that its previous document management system, Alchemy, couldn’t handle without instability issues. To build a stable, long-term content management plan for the whole enterprise, which houses 16 departments and 170 employees, the League turned to Laserfiche ECM based on its widespread use among Florida governments.
“We selected Laserfiche because of its reputation as an industry leader,” says Chris Noyes, Business Systems Analyst for the League. “Laserfiche was chosen not only for its reputation and ROI, but for the stability and scalability it would provide our internal operations.”
In fact, purchasing Laserfiche prompted the organization’s IT department and business units to collaborate on new, more efficient ways of structuring business processes.
“For the first time in years, we have directed significant resources into dissecting our existing processes and reengineering them to fit new business conditions using Laserfiche. It has forced us to rethink how we do business—in a positive way,” says Noyes.
Initiating Change in Insurance Units
The League initiated partnerships between IT and business units during its first Laserfiche deployment in the worker’s compensation claims department, which handles more than 180,000 documents from doctors, providers and the state every year.
The IT department started by mapping out the entire claims process into large-format flowcharts and then hosted inter-department meetings where IT staff and business heads worked together to identify antiquated paper processes, identify business goals and create a strategy for improving the flow of claims information.
Within six months, this collaborative effort resulted in a completely reengineered claims processing cycle. Instead of manually passing multiple copies of documents around the office, claims adjustors and clerical staff now use Laserfiche Workflow, a business process management tool, integrated with a backend SQL database to automatically route claims to the right adjustors in both the Orlando and Tallahassee offices.
“We’ve gained efficiencies by creating a centralized intake department. The printers are silent and there isn’t an army of personnel moving documents between cubicles,” explains Noyes.
The claims department saved 3,400 labor hours in just the first year of using Laserfiche and reduced a process that once took up to 24 hours to complete to just a few hours. With files in a central location, the department’s special investigations team no longer needs to rifle through the contents of CDs and DVDs and can work more proactively during insurance fraud investigations.
The League’s Property and Liability Claims Center, comprised of statewide field members who assess losses from natural disasters, also implemented Laserfiche to automatically push property claims received by phone to claims adjustors in the field through a completely paperless process.
An integration between Laserfiche Web Access, an online version of the Laserfiche digital document repository, and the League’s risk management software automatically links claim files, bills and state forms together in an online portal that’s quickly accessible by field members.
“In the event of a regional disaster, Laserfiche Workflow promptly notifies our response team and coordinates claim information between our offices and field staff,” says Noyes. “We know immediately if a member has incurred a loss and can act upon it quickly, greatly improving customer service.”
The Property and Liability Claims department is now routing more than 55,000 claim documents a year and has reduced printing expenses by 80%, saving more than $9,000 in operational costs.
With these time and cost savings, insurance staff in the Worker’s Compensation and Property Claims Centers can redirect their efforts to adjusting claims instead of performing back-office tasks like printing faxes and alphabetizing checks. Claims staff are collaborating more quickly with other departments, like underwriting, finance and risk control—the League’s ultimate goal.
Laserfiche + Great Plains + iPads = Automated Mobile Accounting
When other business units realized what interdepartmental document collaboration and Laserfiche’s ease-of-use had achieved for the insurance groups, suddenly everyone wanted to get in on Laserfiche Workflow, says Noyes.
“Laserfiche Workflow is easy to understand even if you don’t have a lot of technical skills. It’s a tool that helps logically show how information can flow efficiently through the organization. You start seeing light bulbs go off in people’s heads,” he explains.
The League’s Finance department requested a more streamlined solution to its check printing and invoice approval process. Clerks were spending 30 hours a week just matching checks with supporting documents generated from multiple applications.
Using Laserfiche’s integrative abilities, the IT department combined Laserfiche Workflow with Great Plains, the department’s ERP system, the League’s Microsoft CRM system and RightFax faxing software to streamline this process. Laserfiche acts as integrative middleware that updates member information between the databases and pushes customer information through the approval process, from the arrival of fax documents to the printing of a check or invoice.
The IT department also connected Laserfiche with the Apple iPad, giving management the ability to review and approve invoices off-site. Staff can simply access their desktop remotely and open Laserfiche to view files. In the future, the IT department plans to migrate the department onto Laserfiche’s iPad app, an app that allows employees to securely create, upload, view and act upon content from wherever they are.
The department has saved over 500 labor hours using this Great Plains and Laserfiche Workflow integration. Instead of relying on staff to pass information back and forth, Laserfiche now automatically routes 800 invoices a month, significantly improving check turn-around time for vendors and customers.
“Laserfiche Workflow handles our manual processes while also adding value, security and accountability to the process,” says Noyes.
Accounting staff has enthusiastically embraced the solution, which Noyes credits to Laserfiche’s integrative capability. Because Laserfiche works with, not against, applications that users are already familiar with, IT was able to create solutions that didn’t burden staff with learning an entirely new system.
“The more you can integrate Laserfiche with your existing applications, the happier and more productive your users will be. Laserfiche allows for so many different methods of hooking into your existing systems, whether they are off-the-shelf or custom-built,” explains Noyes.
Merging IT Requirements with User Acceptance
In total, over 155 employees across the League use Laserfiche and the organization manages two digital repositories that house over 10 million pages from various departments. With Laserfiche, the League has reclaimed 700 square feet of office space, allowing the organization to add more staff and service more customers as business grows.
“Potential costs savings are everywhere, and the business process analysis combined with the Laserfiche toolset can greatly increase productivity,” says Noyes. “You can translate a single solution that you come up with into an interoperable process across your organization.”
IT approaches every implementation as an opportunity to learn a department’s business needs and to create solutions that employees are comfortable learning and using. The result is a collaborative mindset that empowers staff to discover their own innovative ways of configuring Laserfiche.
For example, Noyes says finance staff brainstormed a new method for indexing and routing their annual renewal packets. Their solution ended up reducing the task from a two-week project into a four-hour activity.
“Through the business process discovery, departments have come together, collaborating like never before. Technology Services is now a partner with the other business units, giving the non-technical folks more ownership of the tools they use every day. We’re not just a service utility anymore.”
Noyes says the League plans to use this collaborative spirit to thoroughly evaluate more business processes and continue to deploy Laserfiche across the enterprise. IT also plans to provide more iPads with the Laserfiche Mobile app to staff to power mobile content management.
“We have just scratched the surface to uncover the potential uses of Laserfiche within our organization,” he concludes.