How Franklin County Deployed Laserfiche Enterprise-Wide

5 min read


• Needed to make information more accessible to those who needed it
• Safeguarding sensitive data and compliance with recordkeeping requirements is a high priority


• Centralized documents and records
• Strengthened information governance across the organization
• Simplified the audit process

Ed Yonker joined the Franklin County IT department in 2004, after spending many years in the banking industry. “Government is a different world,” he explained. “Because of its size and structure, it’s a lot harder to implement new technology and get everyone on the same page.”

With approximately 150,000 residents, Franklin County comprises 52 different departments, including the Commissioners’ Office, Human Resources, Human Services and Risk Management, to name just a few. Yonker noted that these departments “operate like 52 separate businesses under the same umbrella.”

In this kind of environment, it’s especially important to establish enterprise-wide IT standards to promote consistency and cross-departmental collaboration, Yonker said. However, it’s often difficult to find technology that’s agile enough to meet the needs of many different departments and flexible enough to adapt quickly and cost-effectively to changing conditions.

“It’s hard to convince all the different departments that they can all use the same system,” said Yonker. “Because of that, we didn’t start out thinking Laserfiche was going to be enterprise technology. But after the enterprise content management seed was planted in one department, suddenly all our departments wanted to know more.”

The Beginning: Going Digital in the Commissioners’ Office

Franklin County worked with Laserfiche solution provider ICC Community Development Solutions to implement Laserfiche, with the county’s earliest adopters being in the Commissioners’ Office. “We had some younger commissioners come in, and they were more familiar with technology and the benefits it could have for Franklin County than previous commissioners had been,” explained Jean Byers, deputy chief clerk in the Commissioners’ Office. “They selected Laserfiche for its instant search capabilities, as well as the fact that we could install it directly on the computers already in use.

“We immediately realized tremendous benefits from Laserfiche,” she added. “Documents that used to take days to find became available with the click of a button. It used to take hours to find specific text within meeting minutes that were hundreds of pages long, but with Laserfiche it only took seconds.”

Laserfiche also made it easy to share documents with colleagues, and due to its intuitive interface, Laserfiche quickly became popular with both management and staff.

The Evolution of an Enterprise Standard

As Laserfiche took root in the Commissioners’ Office, other departments began to take notice. With their focus on compliance and prudent financial management, both the Fiscal Office and the Controller’s Office deployed Laserfiche shortly after the success in the Commissioners’ Office.

“Laserfiche is great for accounts payable functions and auditing. For AP, instant document retrieval speeds and simplifies the review and approval of invoices. And with electronically stored documents, employees can quickly and easily pull the files needed to satisfy an auditor’s request, with no need to spend hours digging through file cabinets. That’s a pretty impressive efficiency boost right there.”

Ed Yonker, CIO (retired), Franklin County

Yonker notes that rolling Laserfiche out to additional departments was an easier sell than other system expansions because there was buy-in from the top right from the start.

“Whenever county purchases exceed a certain amount, they need to be approved by the commissioners,” he explains. “Because the commissioners were already very familiar with the value of using Laserfiche, they never hesitated to give the go-ahead when other departments wanted to get on board.”

The next departments to raise their hands and ask for Laserfiche were Human Services, which was particularly excited about Laserfiche from a disaster recovery standpoint, and Human Resources.

Digitizing Human Resources

The first thing the HR department did after implementing Laserfiche was to start scanning personnel files into the system and develop a folder structure that separated employees’ employment records from their confidential medical records and discipline files.

A few of the benefits of this digital transformation include:

  • Reduced paper consumption: The department used to photocopy hundreds of thousands of pages of job applications a year for review by elected officials; today, officials have access to everything they need in Laserfiche.
  • Reclaimed time from searching for information: Laserfiche’s search capabilities makes it easy for staff to find the information necessary to do their jobs, along with fulfilling ad-hoc requests from directors for material from an employee’s personnel file for various purposes.
  • Higher staff productivity: “Doing more with less” is a familiar adage for local governments, and Franklin County is no exception. The county’s Laserfiche system accelerates processes and eliminates manual tasks so that staff can focus on the work that matters.
  • Reduced document storage space and cost: The county was able to remove a large 1,500 file-capacity cabinet in addition to five other standing file cabinets, allowing for more space for staff.
  • Easier audits: Digital files and a standard folder structure streamline audits for the county and enable the HR department to easily show compliance with recordkeeping mandates. The department no longer has to stop work on all other projects in order to organize for the audits.

In addition to managing personnel files in Laserfiche, the HR department has also added recruitment documentation and union and arbitration files to the system, which has led to quicker resolution of grievances.

“Franklin County is a forward-looking organization— which is reflected in their use of Laserfiche,” said Sandy Hess, sales operations manager at ICC Community Development Solutions. “By implementing an enterprise-wide system of record, the county has been able to preserve and protect the information that’s important to the county, while enabling staff to operate in a streamlined, responsive way that today’s employees and citizens appreciate.”

Laserfiche Rolls Across the Enterprise

With some technologies, organizations hit a tipping point for enterprise adoption. For Franklin County, that tipping point for Laserfiche was the implementation in HR.

“After HR deployed Laserfiche, everybody started to ask for it,” Yonker recounts. “People saw how successful the HR implementation was, and they began to talk about what the benefits for their departments could be.”

As Laserfiche was adopted by more and more departments, the types of content stored in the system grew more and more diverse:

  • Emergency Services uses Laserfiche to manage notes from its 911 calls and cases.
  • Franklin County Jail stores inmate records and requests in the Laserfiche repository.
  • Planning, which is tasked with fostering the proper growth of communities within Franklin County, manages new development records with Laserfiche.
  • Open Records, with its goal of making government transparent to County citizens, makes plans, drafts and studies stored in Laserfiche available to the public.
  • Real Estate manages audit reports and past voting results using Laserfiche. It is also able to respond to 13,000 queries a week in a fast and efficient manner thanks to Laserfiche’s ability to email digital documents.

Although the IT Department had not initially planned to implement Laserfiche as the county-wide standard for ECM, it’s now grateful to have that consistency in place. “We got rid of a couple departments’ antiquated imaging systems in order to move them onto Laserfiche, which makes my staff more efficient because it only has to administer the one ECM system. It’s also easier from a user training perspective, since everybody’s using the same thing,” Yonker said.

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