New document management system boosts efficiency for Newport Beach

September 13th, 2013 | Posted by Kevin Corley in Workflow

The city of Newport Beach, Calif., tends to conjure up images of sun, sea, sand and sumptuous real estate – at least among people who fondly remember "The OC," the smash-hit TV show that took the viewing public of yester-decade by storm. But while Marissa, Ryan, Seth and Summer grappled with more than their fair share of teen angst during the show, the city's real-life residents seem pretty happy, if the results of a recent citizen satisfaction survey are anything to go by.

Digitization, here we come…
As technology news resource GCN reported, the level of satisfaction among Newport Beach's 86,000 residents stands at 93 percent, but from government officials' perspective, any score lower than 100 meant there was still work to be done. In an effort to push the city's next rating even higher, they decided to tackle the gargantuan document management task of digitizing the city's records repository, which stores publicly available documentation related to building plans, zoning changes and the like.

"We have 328,000 documents that make up over 3 million pages," said Newport Beach Mayor Keith Curry, as quoted by the news source. "Of those, 163,000 are public-facing. So we required a major technology upgrade."

…Right back where we started from
As GCN explained, the city's previous information management system left a lot to be desired, particularly with regard to ease of search, as trained staff members had to assist anyone looking for a particular file. Although a rudimentary software system dating back to 1998 was in effect to minimize the amount of paper being used, people often avoided wrestling with the system by printing the documents they needed instead, essentially negating the whole point of the software solution in the first place.

By upgrading to a more modern solution with a business process management function that facilitates logical document workflows, the city was able to realize significant savings with regard to efficiency, cost and time.

"It's hard to estimate so early on, but we should save about $500,000 a year, and that's being conservative," said Newport Beach's IT manager, Rob Houston, as quoted by the media outlet. "Dramatic savings have already arrived as we pursue our paperless document process."

Meanwhile, residents frustrated by the town hall's restrictive office hours and the fact that they had to physically visit the records repository when the old system was in place will likely be particularly pleased by the recent advances, as the new solution permits remote access of records at any time, day or night.

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