DocuWare’s second annual Customer Appreciation Week is still going strong! July 18 is the next official Get to Know Your Customer Day but at DocuWare, we celebrate in June – and why leave it to just one day? Each day this week, we are honoring one customer. Visit our Modern Digital Business blog daily to read each DocuWare success story and see photos of the festivities. Follow all the celebrations on social media at #DocuWareCustomerWeek.The Town Clerk office of the Town of Windham, New Hampshire handles vital paperwork processes and stores important documents to support their 16,000 person population. They also store and maintain all records of all the Departments in Town. Some of the many processes include motor vehicle and boat registration, dog licensing, census upkeep, off-highway recreational vehicles and hunting & fishing licenses, along with marriage, birth, death certificates. They also store election and voter information, board meeting minutes, historical documents and other business correspondence, all while abiding by state regulations on how to properly store them and the retention periods.
The Town Clerk’s office was very paper-centric and the Town Clerk, Nicole Bottai, wanted a better, more efficient way to manage the high volume of paper files while giving the staff quick and easy access to the documents. For instance, the staff processes 18,000 motor vehicle registrations per year and all related documents were stored in a vault room with an established labeling system, but physically filing and searching for records was too time-consuming. The staff was spending 7-10 days a month filing and organizing all of these records. Historically, all state documents had to be stored by paper or microfilm but a recent state law recognized and approved the PDF-A format, a file format which meets long-term digital storage requirements. This opened the door for Nicole and the Records Retention Committee that she spearheaded, made up of Town department heads, to present the digital record storage initiative to the Board of Selectmen, Capital Improvements Committee and residents for budget approval. Nicole and the Records Retention Committee developed a digital record storage plan that still followed the state laws; through regular committee meetings and the recent law backing up her plan, her initiative smoothly gained community-wide approval.
Nicole is the first Town Clerk in New Hampshire to implement digital record storage via cloud and through a digital repository. She also is the first to digitally store Motor Vehicle registrations as they occur. She went through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process and chose DocuWare Cloud with the support of a nearby Authorized DocuWare Partner, Inception Technologies. The Town Clerk Department liked that Inception Technologies was close by and very hands on in implementing the solution. The Town Clerk staff and Records Retention Committee ultimately chose DocuWare Cloud based on its flexible cloud capabilities, great online reviews, and the fact that it would be easy to learn and train new users.
With DocuWare in place, the staff has saved a lot of time with their record storage and searching. Inception Technologies also did back scanning for them and scanned numerous public records including election records, meeting minutes, town reports, appointment paperwork, legal cases and more and indexed and stored them in DocuWare. Using the DocuWare Printer function, a document can automatically be “printed” to the DocuWare system, where the staff can easily index it and store it, eliminating hand filing. While some documents still need to be physically stored per state laws, the digital storage and access is still a game changer. For example, when the Community Development Director, or any resident, asks Nicole for certain documents, she can find them now in less than five minutes. Nicole also uses the Connect to Outlook feature, allowing her to store email correspondence right from her inbox into DocuWare. DocuWare is also connected to their clerk-specific software through Smart Connect which allows them to pull up a document in DocuWare right from the familiar software interface. The staff currently stores approximately 20,000 documents in DocuWare; they love the ease of the system and finding records instantaneously, giving them more time to work on other high value tasks.
Though the proven success and efficiencies created with DocuWare, Nicole has started to earn the trust of other departments to, and hopes to, expand DocuWare’s use. The overall goal is to bring all departments online with DocuWare, creating more town efficiencies to better service their constituents. The Community Development Director, for one, is interested in starting to use it. Nicole is also looking at ways to incorporate DocuWare Forms to onboard new residents, eliminating redundant paperwork and streamlining it to one simple digital form. There is also a future plan to give residents access to public documents in DocuWare via logging into the town website, to provide an even more seamless approach and convenience for the Town. DocuWare bolsters Nicole’s mission to create a digital, modern office for her staff.
Nicole is a big proponent for other Town Clerk offices to start implementing digital record storage. She has helped champion DocuWare not only within the Town of Windham but has also promoted the product to other cities and towns in New Hampshire. "If the law in your state allows it and you have full support from the necessary Boards, Committees, and community, I encourage to absolutely go forward with DocuWare and digital record storage. It may seem overwhelming at first, but you don’t have to digitize everything all at once; do it piece by piece, one department or area at a time. If it’s a good fit for your town, I highly recommend implementing it. It’s a great fit for our community,” said Nicole.
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Nicole Bottai and her team were thrilled to receive the Customer Appreciation plaque, presented by President Ray Feoli of Authorized DocuWare Partner, Inception Technologies. The Town Clerk team celebrated the day with a lunch from their local restaurant of choice - on us!