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Located just outside of Richmond, VA, Hanover County serves a population of more than 100,000 residents. During tax season, keeping up the books for the constituency can be a daunting task for the Commissioner of Revenue’s Office, which manages all of the county’s real estate, personal, property and state income tax information.
The department purchased Laserfiche to eliminate paper processes and decrease the time staff spent finding and filing tax records.
It began using Laserfiche as a digital file cabinet and digitized over 85% of its tax documents in the first year.
When the department’s systems administrator, Amy Johnson, attended a user meeting hosted by the county’s reseller, Unity ECM, she saw how other organizations were leveraging Laserfiche’s advanced functionality. She knew Hanover County could use Laserfiche to do more than document search and retrieval.
To take advantage of Laserfiche’s newest features, the county upgraded to Laserfiche Rio and started revamping entire business processes.
Improving Document Approval with Workflow
Even without a background in IT, Johnson quickly began using Laserfiche Workflow to automate important departmental processes.
For example, every year the office completes statutory assessment worksheets to measure the personal property assets of each local business in the county. Before Laserfiche, compiling and processing these worksheets prior to review led to significant printing costs and time delays.
- An integration between Laserfiche Quick Fields and the department’s AS/400 database has the eliminated cumbersome, upfront manual data entry.
- Laserfiche Workflow automates the entire records approval process. New worksheets are immediately searchable in Laserfiche from managers’ desktops, allowing staff to quickly review worksheets and better serve customers.
- With Laserfiche Snapshot, an image capture tool, the office has eliminated redundant printing of records. “Snapshot seems like a minor thing, but it was a huge benefit for us because we don’t have to print paper anymore,” says Johnson, estimating that the system saves the office from printing about 15,000 pages a year.
Automating Records Management
The county also relies on Laserfiche as an automated backbone for records management and retention. With paper, each staff member dedicated at least one day a week to sorting records for filing. Laserfiche has eliminated the need for this rotating position by automatically filing and storing approved documents by type and name for the six-year retention period.
“Everything we do is linked onto a foundation based on Laserfiche Records Management Edition, which allows us to log our records according to state records management standards,” says Johnson.
Johnson says that upfront planning with every employee involved in the process has eased the office’s transition to digital document approval. When she began using Laserfiche Workflow, Johnson invited all the managers responsible for approving documents, along with the division manager, to join her as she drew out the process on a piece of paper. The group discussed every step together and determined how the managers would prefer to approve worksheets in Laserfiche.
“Time spent diagramming upfront will more than pay itself back later. Because we took the time to evaluate our documents, we ended up eliminating a lot of junk in our paper files,” notes Johnson. “It’s also really important to give staff ownership over the process.”
Tapping into the Laserfiche User Community
Beyond her work at the county, Johnson is also a leader of the Laserfiche User Group in Virginia, a consortium of Laserfiche users that holds quarterly meetings to foster the exchange of ECM knowledge. The group has grown to include more than 100 members throughout the state.
“The user group is so beneficial for networking and talking with other users. It’s a great place to hear about the lessons that other users have learned,” says Johnson.
Additionally, Johnson cites the annual Laserfiche Empower conference, reseller support and technical white papers as invaluable resources for improving her skills in using the software.
“Our implementation is so successful because of the community. Laserfiche listens to feedback and uses it to shape its next release. Everyone’s so approachable and helpful, and that makes it easy to like the product,” she says.
Gaining Top Value
Adopting new software functionality as it becomes available has helped Hanover County gain top value out of its ECM system. With these new tools, the county is truly leveraging the power of its constituent data in digital form to help transform the way county business is accomplished.
“Laserfiche is the one tool on your desktop that actually does what it’s supposed to do and what you ask it to do,” notes Johnson. “It’s one of my favorite parts of my job.”