City of Kingston finds form with EzeScan

Doing more with less is a common challenge for today’s Information Manager.  An automated Web form capture solution developed by EzeScan for the City of Kingston has allowed the records team to eliminate much time-consuming data entry and transposition to enable them to focus their expertise on more valuable areas.

The local government authority is based in the South Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, with a population of about 165,000, and about 85,000 properties that are serviced every day.

Chris Vincent, Team Leader Corporate Information at City of Kingston, has worked both in top tier corporates and local government in information management for the past 20 years.

“There were a lot of PDF attachments on our website that required our users to print them off and hand-write, and then resubmit,” said Vincent.

“There was also a lot of inconsistency between how the fields were titled across many different forms, and where they were delivered. Some would come straight to the internal department that issued the form and others though the corporate information team. There was no consistency or uniformity.

“There was also a large duplication of effort as we would basically recreate that form into Content Manager ourselves.

“Because of the variations and lack of control requirements we also couldn't realize any second value usage from the data. We would have the customer give us their name or their address or their phone number and it just wasn't being captured or recognized anywhere because there was no consistent approach and no mandatory requirements for specific data or information either.”

To deal with the issue, the LGA formed a project team to examine ways to standardise forms and have them delivered through a single inbox.

“We wanted everything to come through there so we had oversight and could put our records management approach over the top of the information and ensure we're capturing and recording all the information required,” said Vincent.

EzeScan suggested in the generated webform email output that a code identifier was introduced as this simplified the classification of the email. This then allowed council to manage a mapping table of where to save, workflow and correctly title the email into Content Manager.

This was done in addition to ensuring all field names wire consistent and uniform across each form.

“We worked really closely with EzeScan consultant Fabian De Angelis who has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in this area. Any question we had, he was able to respond and ensure that we were doing the right thing from a system point of view when we were making changes and also what the system needs to push the right data to the form.

“It's now such a simple, repeatable process. When a department or a team says we want to go put an online form on the Web site, the hardest part is actually creating the form. Setting up EzeScan to capture it automatically we can do in minutes now, thanks to the initial work that was done by Fabian and EzeScan.”

The City of Kingston is now exploring the use of EzeScan to automatically process many standardised emails that arrive from other government agencies as notifications. For emails that typically have a standardised content in the body of the mail, it is investigating the use of EzeScan to recognise the template and automatically scrape unique data to initiate a workflow.

“It's been a really successful program for us. We've now got over 40 online forms live and automated and that's growing all the time. The beauty of all this is that it happens behind the scenes,” said Vincent.

“We've got better customer service because as the customer hits submit on the form within seconds, it's now immediately hitting the responsible council officer. That frees up my record staff to be able to use their expertise in areas of more value, rather than simply transposing names and addresses from one form into a Content Manager form to send it to somebody else.”

“I would encourage everybody to think about how they're operating with their online forms. Can they, automate it? Can they do it better?”