“Our application integrations let that employee go from the system of record back to the repository without having to switch between applications,” Picard says. As long as they have an internet connection, “everything they need is at their fingertips, no matter where they are.”
Implementing holistic, end-to-end paperless strategies has many facets, however, and North Dakota is not alone in facing accounting challenges such as transitioning traditional payables functions into a fully paperless environment. The North Dakota Information Technology Department is actively working to address any hurdles.
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States Enable Documentation from a Distance
It was a different kind of public health emergency that initially found Kristopher Stenson, state records manager with the Oregon State Archives, touting the potential benefits of his department’s electronic document and records management system. The cloud-based Oregon Records Management Solution, which the state established in 2011, gives state and local agencies across the Beaver State Software as a Service access to an EDRMS tool called Micro Focus Content Manager.
“In the early days, we had to sell this pretty hard because it was seen as a ‘nice to have’ rather than a ‘need to have,’” Stenson says.
That hasn’t been the case in recent months, however, as first the coronavirus and then rampant wildfires each took their toll on the state.
“Now, there’s more recognition this is a critical business function. When a fire wipes out your town, if you don’t have remote records access, what are you going to do?” he adds. Social distancing has also heightened awareness of ORMS’ advantages.
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Technology Helps Cut Down on Paper Processes
Through the ORMS interface, users can simply drag and drop electronic and scanned physical records into designated folders. Once a record is stored and categorized in the secure system, it can be easily located and retrieved by employees — and, if it doesn’t have access restrictions, becomes available to citizens through a basic web query.
“There’s a massive business case for a solution like this or for anything that reduces paper processes,” Stenson says. ORMS allows agencies to manage everything from internal emails and contracts to property deeds in a cost-effective and efficient way, he notes.
“When you think about the alternative, it can be ludicrous: You send something in electronic form to somebody else. They print it and fill it out and send it back so it can be scanned back in. Then, another person prints it out yet again just so they can sign it too?” Stenson says.
Stenson says around 80 Oregon agencies depend on ORMS now, and more are inquiring about the service all the time. “Usually, they come to us with a specific problem.” When they do, “we tell them we have a technology that can help,” he say