Document/content Management in Minnesota: A Tale of Two Approaches

By Berg, Johanna | Policy & Practice, June 2006 | Go to article overview

Document/content Management in Minnesota: A Tale of Two Approaches


Berg, Johanna, Policy & Practice


Electronic document management started out as the little engine for the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) and Hennepin County. It continues to gain momentum as it adds new efficiencies.

Both agencies needed an electronic document management system. While DHS and Hennepin County had similar goals and tools, they used different solution designs and workflow processes to achieve significant, measurable results.

Unique Partnerships

Minnesota DHS found itself with the daunting task of having to reduce its file storage space by 50 percent in order to consolidate department staff into less space. This included construction of a new building.

The solution was FileNet's Panagon product suite. Referred to as the Electronic Document Management System, its true value evolved more from the project team than from the technology. The team included department analysts charged with gathering business requirements.

Another critical resource was the backfile conversion area crew from several DHS day rehabilitation centers. These teams performed the repetitive manual tasks of backfile conversion, including prepping documents, batch creation and scanning.

Clients, Workers Benefit

By the time Minnesota DHS completed this project, not only did the department realize the initial goals it set out to achieve, it also gained peripheral benefits that will serve DHS well into the future.

* Better space. The department's new building was built eight stories high, rather than nine, due to the volumes saved in file storage. The annual cost savings for space alone is about $2 million.

* Improved processes. Each solution was deployed to streamline business processes in the affected divisions by leveraging electronic document management to allow staff to focus on tasks that directly benefit clients.

* Better adaptability. Electronic document management allows the department to quickly modify a business process or reassign staff to a different area or task. This is particularly helpful in providing quick response to changes instigated by legislation.

Avoiding Duplication

Hennepin County's need to bring in a document management system didn't involve space-saving requirements, although the county ultimately saved thousands of square feet of office space. The driving force behind the county initiative had more to do with vastly improving its level of service delivery during tight budgets and increased caseloads. …

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