HUNTSVILLE, AL, – When city government here converted to a new digital document management system early last year, the implementers knew they were getting a more user friendly application. What they couldn’t know was how much of an impact it would have on their deployment plans.
“It’s changed everything,” says Gina Smith who is spearheading the conversion to the new system, based on Laserfiche software, as the applications manager in the Huntsville IT Department. “We now have people clamoring to learn the system and departments lined up wanting to be the next to go digital.”
Of perhaps greater long-term significance, the rapid acceptance of the new system has prompted the IT Department to accelerate its plans to go beyond using the Laserfiche system solely as an electronic library. “We plan to make documents available to the public on our Website for the first time this year,” Ms. Smith says. “The next important step will be to integrate the system with other applications such as our accounts payable program.”
She adds: “The new system is already saving us lots of time with document retrieval. When we start to use it to streamline tasks such as reviewing invoices, the potential for productivity improvements goes up exponentially.”
Prior to the conversion to Laserfiche, Huntsville had scanned 1.3 million pages of documents into the prior system, which is no longer marketed, in 10 years. There had never been more than a handful of users and the number was dwindling. “It was not user friendly and broke down a lot,” Ms. Smith says. “People were literally going out of their way not to use it.” All that came to a head when the vendor notified the city that they were no longer going to support the system.
In the fall of 2005, Huntsville put out a request for proposals for a replacement system which attracted seven bids, including one from N&L Enterprises, a Huntsville-based Laserfiche Value Added Reseller (VAR). “Laserfiche had a solid reputation as a solution for local governments and was definitely feature-rich enough to meet our needs,” Ms. Smith says. “Two factors made them stand out, however. First, we felt very comfortable with Laserfiche’s look and feel, which was very much like what our people were using for the rest of their work. And second, they had local representation through a well-respected company.”
Not only was N&L Enterprises locally based, they had a close working relationship with another Huntsville-based Laserfiche VAR, Southern Technologies Group (STG), that had extensive data conversion capabilities. After a thorough analysis, STG was able to create a path from the legacy system into Laserfiche and completed the conversion in less than two weeks. N&L Enterprises’ Bruce Avilla made himself available to train anyone interested in learning the new system as it went live.
“Everything happened so smoothly that we had to feel that we had made the right decision,” Smith says. “The tide started to turn in favor of people wanting to work with the system in the training sessions.”
By the beginning of this year, the number of Huntsville staff using Laserfiche had grown from fewer than 10 to more than 60. The number of departments digitizing their files had grown from six using the old system in limited ways to 10 using it as part of their daily routines. Departments now on the system include Information Technology Systems, Planning, Facilities Projects, Inspection, Court, Police, Finance, Engineering, Clerk/Treasurer and the City Cemetery. After taking 10 years to scan 1.3 million pages of documents into the old system, Laserfiche users scanned more than 700,000 pages into the new system in less than a year.
“This is happening mostly because the new system is easy to use,” says Ms. Smith. “People see having Laserfiche as an opportunity not a problem. That’s brought us to the point where we are ready to make full use of the system’s more sophisticated capabilities.”
Situated in the picturesque and historic Tennessee River Valley in Northern Alabama, the City of Huntsville has a population of 180,000 and is one of the fastest growing cities in the South. A thriving center for aerospace and military technology, its major employers include Redstone Arsenal, Cummings Research Park and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
About N&L Enterprises
Founded in 1966, N&L Enterprises (www.nlisc.com) is the number one reseller of Canon office automation equipment in North Alabama, serving a wide range of corporate and government customers. They have been a Laserfiche Solutions Reseller since November 2004. N&L Enterprises is part of the Global Imaging Systems, Inc. group of companies.
Founded in 1987 and based in Long Beach, CA, Laserfiche (www.Laserfiche.com) develops scalable digital document management solutions that enable a wide range of organizations to operate more effectively. Supported by a network of more than 1,000 certified Value Added Resellers, Laserfiche solutions can be found in more than 25,000 business and government offices worldwide. Laserfiche products are known for being both broadly applicable and easy to use and maintain.
Laserfiche Media contact:
Francine Marlenée – 562-988-1688 ext. 211, firstname.lastname@example.org