The need to better manage documents for a federally funded infrastructure program led the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to find a more efficient way to manage and disseminate extensive volumes of documents. After deploying a KnowledgeLake enterprise content management solution, IDOT has cut costs in document management procedures and is saving on employee hours by streamlining important internal processes.
Effectively managing huge volumes of enterprise documents is always a challenge for most organizations. When the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) received federal funding for infrastructure improvements through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), it began looking for a solution that could help manage the related influx of documents.
The standard procedure for ARRA-funded projects is to require auditor access to files associated with stimulus projects to ensure compliance and transparency. The IDOT IT department was given the responsibility to implement an effective and efficient solution that could help manage the thousands of paper documents that would be generated by the initiative, and to create a system in which information could be quickly and easily located for reporting, auditing, and other related activities.
“We needed an enterprise solution that could quickly process and decipher volumes of vital information, with the flexibility and compatibility to use other programs and tasks across the organization,” said Mark Kinkade, Chief Information Officer for IDOT’s IT department.
The department considered a number of proposals from various vendors, focusing on proposals that incorporated vital components such as price, features, integration and other necessities.
IDOT found the solution it needed with KnowledgeLake’s enterprise content management (ECM) software, including KnowledgeLake Imaging for SharePoint, KnowledgeLake Capture, and KnowledgeLake Connect.
“We looked to Microsoft for a solution that would integrate tightly with our SharePoint system, and KnowledgeLake was a strong candidate,” says Kinkade. “It provided the features the department needed, including imaging, scanning functionality, quick retrieval of documents on the intranet, and support for setting up workflows, and was much more reasonably priced than its competition.”
The initial use for the KnowledgeLake ECM solution was the ARRA projects. The KnowledgeLake solution helped the department with scanning documents associated with the project and then linking them directly with the appropriate SharePoint repositories.
With the success of that deployment, IDOT rolled out the KnowledgeLake solution to assist with one of the agency’s biggest ongoing needs-managing invoices for vendors. In the past, vendor invoice management involved a complex and time-consuming process of receiving invoices-known as “vouchers”-at regional offices, creating photocopies, and then sending paper documents to a central location in Springfield. The documents would remain there until they could be manually processed by staff.
With the KnowledgeLake ECM solution, up to 2,000 vouchers are now scanned daily using high-speed Fujitsu fi6130 workgroup scanners at the regional offices. During the scanning process, employees pull up a vendor’s information from a mainframe database, ensure that identifying account numbers and other information are correct, and then scan the document. The KnowledgeLake software automatically adds metadata to the documents, which are then instantly sent into a SharePoint folder where they are easy to locate and retrieve.
The KnowledgeLake ECM software has helped IDOT dramatically improve vital internal processes, delivering speed, efficiency and cost savings. Implementing the KnowledgeLake ECM solution has increased savings through reduced labor when processing vouchers. It is easy for employees to ensure accuracy of information when documents are processed, and the tight integration of the KnowledgeLake products with other IT system components is helping IDOT turn its initial efforts into solutions that can be used across the enterprise.
Savings through Reduced Labor
The biggest impact of the ECM solution has been experienced in the voucher processing.
“After the KnowledgeLake solution was deployed for processing vouchers, we began seeing huge savings in terms of fewer employee hours needed,” says Kinkade. “In addition, we’re now saving more documents that used to be discarded because the old process made it too time consuming to deal with them.”
Accuracy of Information
The KnowledgeLake solution helps ensure accuracy of information. For example, when processing vouchers, employees simply check a screen with data from the mainframe, and then make sure a document about to be scanned has the right metadata attached.
“The process is simplified, and there are very few errors,” said one IDOT technical manager. “Not only are documents available to view almost immediately on the intranet, but we also don’t have to worry about the accuracy of information.”
A True Enterprise Solution
The success of the KnowledgeLake ECM solution has led IDOT to gradually roll out similar initiatives to other agency departments.
“We’ve implemented multiple case tracking systems using the KnowledgeLake products and Microsoft SharePoint for various offices and bureaus throughout the department,” says Kinkade. “Now, instead of keeping hard copies of documents, employees have electronic files that are much easier to store and access. Furthermore, the offices that have implemented case tracking using KnowledgeLake and SharePoint can better manage their workloads. There are huge savings all around.”