Australian legal body moves to OnBase content services

A significant state-based law society in Australia, initially founded by a select group of solicitors with the aim of meeting the evolving needs of business, government, community and individuals, has saved time and resources by deploying Hyland’s content services platform, OnBase.

The body in question provides a dynamic hub for the legal community and seeks to provide leadership, practical solutions and reliable support to legal professionals, businesses and the general public. The organisation also acts as a regulator for law in the state, and as such needs to work closely with government agencies. They also run mediation suites and other rooms that lawyers can book to undertake arbitration.

As a large, busy entity with a significant amount of documentation, the organisation relied upon paper processes and records, in conjunction with filesystems, CRM and other associated applications.

“Our business is lawyers, and lawyers love paper - lots of paper,” said a spokesperson from the organisation.

The law society had a substantial amount of hard copy documents in storage, and also needs to maintain compliance with the Public Record Act, and have strict control over records, whether they are digital or hard copy.

“There was an ongoing issue of who had what document, which version they were working on, and who had the latest, or most correct version.”

Recognising the need for a more cohesive, less manual management system, they began the process of planning an Electronic Document Records management System (EDRMS).

“We needed a single source of the truth for all documentation, and to create a record and context of the situation around when those documents were created. As lawyers everything has to be documented, especially around the process of gathering evidence.”

The organisation also needed to create strict security protocols around their documents in order to maintain privacy protocols. Automation around time-consuming manual processes was also important, and the decision was made to look at a means of capturing the in-situ record of information when a document was created, then reuse that content to create templates and save having to re-enter that information over and over.

As such, the IT team put out a call for RFPs, and began a stringent evaluation and Proof of Concept program. Systems Integrator Blumark, who specialise in case management and business process improvement, responded to the RFP and demonstrated the potential of Hyland’s OnBase content services platform.

Among the main criteria the organisation required in a partner to manage their EDRMS solution was a fast, responsive and knowledgeable local team. Upon evaluating the needs of the client, Blumark made a decision to suggest Hyland’s OnBase platform. The integrator has been a Hyland partner for several years, and has collaborated with Hyland on a number of significant projects. They therefore were able to provide deep experience and expertise in the deployment and management of the OnBase content services solution, as well as demonstrate a close working relationship with Hyland’s technical team.

Other elements that were assessed included a range of criteria asked for by the state government. Each vendor’s platform needed to meet certain requirements, including whether it is scalable, what is the expected return on investment, and is there ongoing maintenance to consider? There were also factors to consider around the governance of contract compliance.

“A number of applicants responded to the tender, and all of the major vendors were represented. OnBase ticked many selection criteria, and had a track record of being deployed in a number of similar environments. The platform was also comparatively easy to integrate with our core systems, and the monthly subscription model worked well for us, reducing the need to outlay large amounts of capital up front,” explained the spokesperson.

After a thorough evaluation process which involved a series of demonstrations and proof of capability sessions, the legal organisation chose Blumark’s solution. The evaluation was based on their expertise, local team support, thorough understanding of the task at hand, and their status as one of Australia’s specialist content services integrators - as well as the success of Hyland’s software during the demonstrations.

Furthermore, stakeholders at the organisation were particularly impressed by the flexibility of Hyland’s OnBase solution, and the ability to deploy the software across multiple business units. This started them on the path towards a true Case Management capability.

Blumark managed the entire process from RFP response, through to demonstrations, closing the deal and ultimate deployment of the content services solution.

The Outcome

Hyland’s content services solutions were rolled out across various departments at the large legal body. This streamlined processes, enabled high-level search capabilities, provided a simple, intuitive means of accessing records, files, documents and communications, and is now providing stakeholders with a 360-degree view of information and workflows.

In one particular instance, Hyland’s solution was used to consolidate a large repository of records into a single, more accessible format. Previously stored within Excel spreadsheets, the large file repository was amalgamated, then recreated in a highly accessible system which is available to all authorised stakeholders. Expected to take over three months, the IT team managed to complete the project within six weeks using their new Hyland content services solution.

Stakeholders within the organisation found that the dashboards in OnBase were an important and unexpected benefit of the system. Furthermore, the fact that OnBase includes low-code development options means that the IT team is able to quickly change something within the system upon request.

The Hyland content solution – which can be deployed in the cloud or as an on-premises option – features Hyland OnBase at its core, an enterprise information platform which provides tailored user experiences for every scenario, empowering users with the information required for better collaboration, faster, more accurate decision-making, business process automation, case management and more.

Other benefits of moving from paper to digital records include faster, easier compliance, and much greater control over records. Data is able to be used for decision-making, whereas before it was trapped in static files and boxes.

The legal organisation has a range of insurance policies in place, with rules that include strict governance around cyber security. Reports must be tendered to brokers, including questions around what the organisation has done to improve cyber security. The advanced encryption inherent in Hyland OnBase makes this much easier than it was before the platform was deployed.

“We have much greater control over our records now, and as such we are able to report back to the State Archives quickly and efficiently. We are no longer sending boxes of documents out to storage, which seems archaic. In that regard we are also saving money on physical storage. Information is much more accessible now that we have the OnBase platform,” states the spokesperson.

Looking to the future

The legal organisation will look to implement more online forms in the near future, making it faster and easier for solicitors to fill in compliance forms, in some cases using pre-populated information fields. These will replace many forms which are currently paper-based, and have a direct impact on up to 3500 solicitors and law firms throughout the state.

The legal body may also consider the benefits of digital credentialing, giving employers and governing bodies instant insight into whether or not a legal practising certificate is valid and genuine. Also of note is the reduced time it takes to interact with overseas legal practicing, with the digital credentialing enabling quick verification - which currently takes a long time. This may also stretch to include certificates of fitness, where legal professionals receive a certificate to state they have a certain number of years of practising with an unblemished record.

While initially the team was looking to implement an EDRMS and therefore gain better structure, organisation and availability of files and documents, their Hyland content services solution has led to an evolution of this plan. As the capabilities of the OnBase platform became recognised throughout the organisation, stakeholders became engaged in extending the services they had initially considered.

Marie McIntyre from Blumark, states: “This means that the organisation now have a capability that far exceeds an EDRMS and can deliver better services to their members as a result of case management and process automation, all the while maintaining records as a by-product of embedded processes.”