Oct 19 2011

How Paperless Initiatives Increased Government Efficiency

Spotlight on Document Management

Until recently, if you lived in Wayne County, Mich., obtaining a birth certificate, marriage license or building permit was a paper-based process. So, too, was requesting an inspection or filing a complaint.

In fact, 90 percent of the county’s processes were paper-based, and CIO Tahir Kazmi sought to change that.

The first step toward efficiency was to define the services Wayne County delivers and focus on the business processes that support them. “Once we knew how to perform these different processes in an efficient way, I looked for technology to manage the structured and unstructured data,” Kazmi says.

He found a solution in OpenText ECM Suite 2010, an enterprise content management product.

Paperless Processes

Workers use wcLink, the electronic workflow the county developed using OpenText components.

“Each and every business process is captured on the portal, then electronic workflow takes over. Any document created becomes part of that service request,” Kazmi explains.

Three Wayne County departments piloted the workflow system in June, and wcLink went live in August.

Already, the paperless initiative is improving service. For example, because Michigan was particularly hit hard by the housing crisis, the county offers a mortgage foreclosure prevention program. The county used to process fewer than 500 applications per year, but now handles about 4,000 per year because of the efficiencies that paperless processes deliver.

Productivity is especially important for Wayne County, which previously had about 6,000 employees but now must manage with a staff roughly half that size, Kazmi points out. “Fewer people are able to handle more work because of this technology.”

The county tapped Kofax scanners and Toshiba multifunction printers to digitize its historical documents.

The enterprise content management deployment has allowed the IT department to remove about 30 percent of its printers and save on paper and toner cartridges.

Kazmi estimates that Wayne County invested about $6.5 million in the workflow deployment and expects to recoup that within a year. Whereas it previously took up to six months to process a permit, the county can now do so within 60 days and is working to shrink that to 15 to 30 days. “Citizens will see more and more of a benefit,” he says.


“If you want to double or triple your productivity and reduce your staff by 20 percent to 30 percent, go paperless.”

— Tom James, CIO, Miami-Dade County (Fla.) Clerk of Courts [brands] OpenText, Kofax, Microsoft, EMC

“Being environmentally sustainable and saving money drove our desire to go paperless.”

— Jill Jordan, assistant city manager, Dallas

“Records management helps reduce the risks associated with managing paper and electronic content.”

— Rich Grudman, program administrator, content management, San Diego County (Calif.)

By the Numbers

7 Number

of core components of an enterprise content management suite: document management, web content management, records management, image-processing, social content, workflow/business process management, and extended components

SOURCE: “Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Content Management,” (Gartner, 2010)



Percentage of organizations that have deployed Microsoft SharePoint across the enterprise for content management

SOURCE: “Using SharePoint for ECM” (AIIM, 2011)



Number of sheets of paper the average U.S. office worker uses per year

SOURCE: “Cutting Paper: Counting,” Environmental Energy Technologies Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory



Improving efficiency is the top driver of document and records management projects.

SOURCE: “State of the ECM Industry 2011” (AIIM, 2011)


18 months

Period by which 60 percent of organizations receive positive payback on their investments in scanning, capture and business process management

SOURCE: “Capture and Business Process: Drivers and Experiences of Content-Driven Processes” (AIIM, 2010)


No. 7

Rank of data/document management and storage among Top 10 technology priorities

SOURCE: Gartner EXP (January 2010)


Creative Input

EMC’s Captiva InputAccel enterprise capture platform provides a way for organizations to digitize paper documents. The product handles document capture, classification, extraction, validation and delivery to backend systems through API-level integration.

With support for hundreds of scanner and multifunction printer models, the platform can also capture documents from e-mail, fax and other digital sources. InputAccel can identify scanned documents based on barcodes, page separators or patch codes, or by using EMC’s intelligent classification technology.

Reducing manual data entry and streamlining the flow of information to enterprise applications enables state and local governments to optimize business processes. Users don’t need to perform any coding to develop capture processes because InputAccel provides a drag-and-drop process-design application.