First Phase: Success!
Like so many communities, the Town of East Fishkill, NY found all that paper they were generating on a daily basis was becoming a major problem. To begin with, an inordinate amount of time was being spent searching for documents, and once they were found, it wasn't clear if they were the most current documents. What was clear was that the space to store all of those documents was running out. And just as dire was the realization that there was no guarantee of protection of those vital documents from damage or loss. It was a risk East Fishkill was no longer willing to take, and began a search for an Electronic Document Management Solution.
Exploring several different vendor options proved that not every Electronic Document Management Solution is the same, and not every vendor can provide a complete solution. That is why, when the town made its decision, East Fishkill chose a Laserfiche® document-imaging system from General Code. It is scalable, secure, efficient and cost-effective.
The process began with a Needs Assessment. General Code representatives met with Town officials to assure success of the implementation, recommending a staged approach. By bringing only a few departments on-line at a time, the system could grow in a managed, controlled environment. It also allowed targeting of those departments which would realize the most value from the system first.
Stage One began in the Town Clerk and Town Assessor offices. Employing General Code's backfile conversion services, East Fishkill had a system that was providing return on their investment on the very first day of implementation. Within seconds, thirty years of Town Board minutes and 100 years of marriage records were fully searchable! The Town Clerk's office could digitally safeguard their valuable records, which included historical minutes dating back to 1830. In the Town Assessor's department, 8,000 tax exemption forms were scanned by General Code for inclusion in the Laserfiche system. Daily maintenance is on-going with the Assessor's office scanning new records into the system, guaranteeing the most up-to-date information when it is needed.
Stage Two rolled out in the Fall of 2002 when the Building Department became part of the project. Once again, General Code's backfile conversion service was put to use and 23,000 permit files translated into over 250,000 scanned images. Before the Laserfiche system was implemented, storage of the documents meant that 82 boxes had to be stacked in the hallway. The town's project manager for the Laserfiche project, remarked, "The Building Department loves it! Before, they used to have to find the permit number and then go dig through boxes. Once they found the permit folder they would still have to look through 10 to 20 pieces of paper to find the one they needed. Now, it is all right on the computer!"
Before Laserfiche, it was estimated to have taken at least a half an hour to look up a permit. Now, it takes just minutes. And what about those 82 boxes? East Fishkill has moved them to permanent offsite storage at Iron Mountain, safe from disaster, and no longer taking up valuable space in the town offices.
Stage Three planning is underway. Witnessing the success of the Building Department installation, the Planning and Zoning Department is eager to get started. It has already been decided which documents need to be included in the system and how many users need to be added.
According to the project manager, East Fishkill's original goal was to "find an easier way to handle the day-to-day operations." With the Enterprise Content Management Solution from General Code, they have accomplished that, and more!