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How Digitizing Government Workflows Increases Audit Trail Control

Digitizing_WorkflowsFederal, state and local government agencies are experiencing a paper problem, and it’s one that’s slowing them down, creating inefficiencies and costing them money.

Today’s agencies feel pressure to improve operational efficiency and reduce costs while ensuring data integrity through greater audit trail control. A move to some sort of digital document storage software seems inevitable, and the quest for a solution that creates transparency into and control over how sensitive documents are managed is essential.

But how exactly is document management controlled in a digital environment?

The Impact Of Audit Trail Control On Document Handling

Electronic document management enhances audit trail control in the following three areas:

  • Confidentiality: In terms of protecting information from unauthorized access and disclosure, it is known who has accessed the document, what document was accessed and what was actually done to this document. Changes are logged in an effort to create a document management footprint.

  • Integrity: In terms of ensuring documents and software are free from unauthorized access and changes, an original view of the unchanged document is maintained, changes (as well as the people making these changes) are tracked over time and a timeline of changes is saved.

  • Availability: In terms of ensuring information is accessible when and where required, the ability to allow certain users to access specific sections of a fuller document while on-the-go is essential. Detailed, nuanced considerations need to be made in terms of what documents should be accessible off-premises, in the cloud, and which documents should be kept on complete lockdown.

Blending Secured Access With Ease-Of-Access

Government employees need a different kind of access to documents than citizens, but it’s important to accommodate citizens in the varied ways they wish to view documents pertaining to their families and their assets.

An industry leading the way in blending sensitive and shared information is the healthcare industry. Doctors, physicians assistants, nurses and patients all need varying levels of access to data. The organization must be very protective of individual data while also allowing all departments to access the information they need during an approval lifecycle.

From workflow automation to user-assigned roles, document management makes the document handling secure and traceable between individuals and departments.

An Example Of Document Management In A Municipality

Document management goes beyond document storage to allow a range of users to collaborate on a document in a lifecycle of streamlined workflows.

For example, in a township requiring a written permit to burn leaves, an electronic form may be created to send to a citizen of the community. That citizen fills out the pertinent information and the form is automatically forwarded to the police or fire department for approval. Along the way, the form receives restricted access, and the process and speed of approval is optimized for efficiency and delivery.

Document Management: More Storage, Faster Speed Of Retrieval

Government-run agencies often choose to manage documents for themselves through offsite storage. The size of storage is immense due to document volume and duration of storage. (Some municipalities hold documents between 50 and 100 years.)

A document management system cuts down the amount of physical storage space necessary for keeping documents, and the retrieval processes is easier and faster. Instead of relying on a courier to obtain documents for a government approval process and waiting hours or days for return, an employee uses search functions to obtain the same documents within minutes.

An Opportunity For A Competitive Edge

Today’s customers want instant access to the items they want. In the realm of municipalities, between 24-30% have made the move to document management software, which represents a competitive advantage for entities looking to engage the opportunity to decrease the amount of paper-intensive processes.

An adoption of a comprehensive document management solution in today’s government-run agencies is rare. Instead, federal, state and local governments are adopting a hybrid solution that brings digital and paper-based processes together in a highly efficient form of document control.

Get more detailed tips on how to transition your company to electronic document management by downloading our guide.

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