As one of the wonders of the natural world, Niagara Falls is a special place which draws people from around the globe. Accordingly, the city of Niagara Falls must manage an ever growing number of records generated by these visitors as well as constituents. Such records must be properly created, classified, and stored according to government regulations.
Like any other local government, Niagara Falls has numerous departments, from Human Resources to Finance to Public Works. Before working with Ricoh, each of these departments in Niagara Falls had their own particular way of organizing and storing files, which was becoming problematic. The different systems made it difficult and time-consuming for cross-departmental collaboration. Many steps of the process wasted unnecessary time and energy, including hours spent searching for and retrieving documents.
To rectify these issues, the City of Niagara Falls sought support from Ricoh, the market leader in electronic content management (ECM) solutions. As a records management solution, Laserfiche became an immediate strategic recommendation. This solution was quickly and seamlessly adopted as employees began scanning records into the secure Laserfiche repository. At first, the Laserfiche transition was on track for success, improving cross-departmental collaborative and communicative capabilities.
However, things hit a roadblock in Niagara Falls when the main proponent of the system retired from his position. In an effort to speed up the process, departments began scanning records without any order or system. Although it still had numerous advantages over the previous paper-based system, the new system became disorganized and less efficient, mimicking some of the problems Niagara Falls had previously encountered. These and other related issues caused by a change in management can be common when best practices are not maintained by new leadership. Ricoh solutions provide easy-to-adopt best practices and extensive support to ensure that your implementation of Laserfiche does not suffer from such issues.
A number of years later Bill Matson, the new Record and Elections Coordinator for the city of Niagara Falls, made the decision to revive the project and use Laserfiche to its full potential. He coordinated across city departments to reinstate proper filing structures in the repository while creating a template to capture metadata. Employees quickly realized the value this structure would provide and began to use and benefit from Ricoh’s Laserfiche solution once again.
What once took hours to manually search through documents now takes only seconds with electronic search functions. The Municipal Works Department can now readily access the schematics they need, the Planning Department is able to effortlessly locate relevant zoning permits, and the Human Resources Department can now perform simple electronic searches for employee information with instant results. Across departments, employees enjoy the benefits of Ricoh’s solutions; Bill Matson explains his experience, “In the past, responding to information requests usually involved a trip to the records room. Once we found the correct file, we had to take it apart, photocopy the relevant pages and then either mail or fax them to the requester. Now, when someone calls with a request, I can locate the relevant documents in just a few seconds, and then e-mail the electronic files from within the Laserfiche repository. The citizen literally receives the documents before I hang up the phone.”
The city of Niagara Falls didn’t stop there; they realized there was much more Ricoh had to offer. Ricoh deployed a public-facing system which gave city employees the ability to share information with citizens easily. Citizens can now view important government information online, such as bylaws and meeting minutes, leading to a more informed and satisfied constituency. Not only has it become easy to search and retrieve documents, but because of this public-facing system, document requests have decreased substantially. Niagara Falls further integrated a Ricoh solution within the city’s accounts payable software. Once implemented, this new system enabled the finance department to easily retrieve scanned invoices, streamlining the process significantly by eliminating the need for employees to log-in to multiple systems.
Today, all data for the city of Niagara Falls is stored in a secure electronic repository with nightly server backup. In the words of Bill Matson, “If anything unexpected happens, we know we’ll be able to recover our information and get back to work.”
Niagara Falls plans to utilize even more of Ricoh’s services to continue improving overall efficiency. The city is now home to a wonderful records management system, as well as one of the wonders of the world.
Finally, please do keep in mind that Ricoh is not providing legal advice or ensuring legal compliance with any law, regulation, by-law or any other legislative requirement with respect to the content of this communication. It is the municipality’s responsibility to obtain advice of competent legal counsel to ensure its compliance with such requirements.
To learn more about Ricoh and our solutions, visit Ricoh.ca.