Livingston County, MI — May, 2012 —Sometimes you almost miss it. You can be listening to someone like Diane Gregor, IT Project Manager for Michigan’s Livingston County, as she ticks off the quantifiable benefits of moving the Prosecutor’s Office to Laserfiche® digital document storage by General Code, and if you’re not careful the numbers will sneak the reality right under your nose: the new system is letting Livingston law enforcement enforce the law.
Livingston made the switch several years back, and today the countless, endless exchange of records between the Prosecutor’s Office and the nearly two dozen police departments in Livingston County is almost exclusively electronic and instantaneous. Gregor is able and eager to read off the advantages of that switch, and frankly, it’s a story common to General Code Laserfiche installations.
The county is on track to save taxpayers $100,000 a year in copying, printing and staff costs. Uh huh, yeah, sounds great.
Original investment paid back in less than three years. Super!
Saves the prosecutor’s staff between 15 and 30 minutes of work for each records request placed with the departments, with an average between 4,000 and 5,000 requests per year. Fantastic!
Wait. Timeout for math. That’s between six months and more than a year they don’t spend shuffling paper. In the course of a year’s work, they’re now saving a whole other year. Let that soak in for minute.
What is a year worth? A lot, to normal people. More than a lot if you’re a police department or a prosecutor’s office, where there’s more work than hours in a day, and every hour of that work has a direct impact on someone’s life.
So we could talk about the Prosecutor’s Office now being essentially paperless, carrying laptops instead of accordion files. And yes, we could talk about the money; they’re saving a lot of it. But in doing the mental math, it’s hard not to get stuck on a year’s worth of police and attorneys doing law enforcement – instead of playing file courier – as a whole other level of importance – which Livingston wants to see more of. So they’re expanding the system dramatically starting with integrating its Laserfiche database with the Sharepoint system and incorporating Laserfiche Workflow, Quickfields and WebLink software into what’s hoped to be a true enterprise content management system for the county.
The integration allows documents imported through Sharepoint to be converted to TIFF images and deposited in a Laserfiche folder with an email notification to support staff. Support staff then processes and files these documents, then notifies the appropriate attorney to review them. The implementation of Workflow and Quickfields will automate support staff’s role here, further streamlining case file management while getting the files and documentation to the right persons at the right time for prompt decision-making. Weblink will digitize the county’s compliance with public records requests, while an annual subscription to the system will defray the cost of the Laserfiche system. Estimated revenue stream to the county for this is between $10,000 and $20,000/year.
Overall, along with the estimated savings from the original installation, the county’s Finance Office has calculated that the payback on the system and the upgrades will be attained in less than two years. That’s on top of the benefits all of Livingston County will enjoy as law enforcement there have another year on their hands to enforce the law.