Council's seven year itch for DM

Council's seven year itch for DM

Document management, imaging and workflow play key roles in local government's shift from traditional archiving.

By Hannah Birtles

It took South Gippsland Shire Council seven years before it felt confident enough in the technology, but it has joined the wave of organisations embracing electronic document management.

Michael Panipucci, Information Technology manager for the South Gippsland Shire Council, said the Council first began setting aside a budget for a document management and workflow system as far back as 1990.

However, at that stage they felt no system had yet been developed which best met their needs. Instead, they waited for the technology to catch up with the council's expectations, Mr Panipucci said.

Michelle Salmon, records officer from the South Gippsland Shire Council, processes a scanned document within the Lava system.

With an annual turnover of $22 million and a full time staff of 180, the council relies heavily on information systems to provide its personnel with access to relevant corporate information vital for work processes.

Mr Panipucci said the council began investigating document management software products in December last year, after which Lava Systems was chosen as it had more scope to meet the business needs of the council.

The scope for integration with the council's current system, and the absence of requirements for additional hardware or software, were important factors in the Council's choice.

All core businesses processes and procedures will be managed from within the Lava package. Incoming correspondence will be scanned, registered and distributed in the Lava system, which staff can readily access through a text search engine.

According to Mr Panipucci, the benefits of the new document management system are the single point of access for all information, improved customer relations and complaint handling, paper reduction, elimination of work duplication and increased employee accountability with the use of workflow.

"What we envisaged for the council was to be able to enable staff to have all the relevant information to make better decisions.

"We expect the system to be one of the core products to help with our customer service charter," he said.

The system will be implemented throughout the different divisions of the Council at various stages in the year, at which time training sessions will be held for the staff.

The council also plans to integrate Lava's software into the GIS (Geographical Information Systems), contracts management and human resources packages in the future.