Complicated content management
In the heart of central Alberta, Red Deer County combines country living with the convenience of city amenities. As the third largest municipality in the province, the County serves a population of close to 20,000 citizens.
For 100 County employees, managing information used to involve cumbersome, orphaned methods for document control. “There really wasn’t ownership of the shared drive or email management,” explains Emily Speight, records and information management coordinator for Red Deer County.
While installed to scan files as digital records, the county’s previous enterprise content management (ECM) system proved costly and difficult to use. “People didn’t realize how big a project it is to digitize,” Speight says. “You don’t just drop (a document) in… and hit the green button.”
The system stayed limited to a repository for historical documents, with no connection to the business processes in place to keep the county running effectively. Though Speight worked to add active records, adoption rates remained low since users were unfamiliar with the system and it was a different environment than what they were used to working in. Additionally, it did not provide a way to manage physical records without a workaround.
“When assessors are doing their site inspections, we get requests for a large number of files. The Records staff manually typed document and employee information into a Microsoft® Excel® spreadsheet,” Speight recalls. “During the assessor’s busy time, we had to devote a lot of staff time to circulation. It was really time consuming. The spreadsheet got so large… you’d go get a coffee before the thing would open.”
Due to the challenges, demand for an electronic document and records management system at the County waned and digital transformation stalled. In fact, the County was not looking for an ECM system when a new door opened. “We were looking strictly at systems that barcoded and managed our paper records,” Speight says.
One of Speight’s colleagues had recently left an organization that used OpenText ECM solutions. “She was telling me how much she missed OpenText,” Speight says. “She was pining for it.” Speight and others were intrigued, then impressed upon seeing an OpenText demonstration. “There are functionalities OpenText has that we love that we didn’t realize we were missing before.”
Intuitive, integrated experience
Based on OpenText's reputation and capabilities, Red Deer County recognized the opportunity to move towards digital governance with efficiencies that support employee productivity and service to citizens. Employees can more effectively manage and share information. “With OpenText, we are able to position the county as an open government by creating greater transparency and accountability through open data and open information that is accessible and publicly available,” notes Speight.
Easy, secure access to information improves the way users create and consume information and work more productively.
“There are certainly features in OpenText that make it a lot easier for our end users,” says Speight. “Unlike our previous ECM system, with Content Suite, categories are inherited down in the folder, ensuring consistent metadata for later access. Our Records staff were extremely excited about this feature because it saves us a significant amount of data entry, removes data entry burdens from our users and ensures more accurate searching.”