Finding Enterprise Value, Part 3: Four Reasons Why Government Needs a Single Document Repository

This is the third blog in a series about the enterprise value of a simplified IT environment. In the first two parts, we discussed internal pressures and reasons for a single enterprise content management (ECM) solution. However, those aren’t the only reasons to optimize, consolidate and centralize. Your constituent service will improve, too!

Think about some classic government-to-constituent moments – the kinds where staff and constituents or both walk away either happy or frustrated. It could be paying taxes, applying for building permits or human services assistance, or requesting public records. Now, consider how IT can support that constituent moment. What IT solutions make it easy for staff to create great constituent experiences?

With a single document repository, this can be achieved because it provides:

1. Faster constituent service. For constituents, the difference between a positive encounter and one they grumble about is often an over-the-counter moment pertaining to how fast they received service and were on their way.

With that said, how fast can staff retrieve documents to answer constituent questions? What if the questions pertain to a different department? Can they quickly retrieve documents to answer constituent questions? Do users have a seat license to view those documents in each of the systems that might cover a constituent question? Will there be a delay while they search paper files or are files scattered in different systems?

With a single ECM solution, low-level tasks such as searching for and retrieving paper documents are eliminated because all information is stored in a single, secure electronic depository. And with one system, there is no need for multiple seat licenses. With everything stored in one place, all employees have access to information that previously was scattered through disparate systems. The result: Faster constituent service and time employees can devote to more meaningful work.

2. Comprehensive answers. One of the most frustrating moments for constituents is visiting multiple government offices to get answers. Several levels of government have addressed this through 3-1-1 efforts and better staff training. However, it happens when their questions about certain documents – such as building permits and human services program applications – cannot be answered by one person because documents are scattered throughout different departments and agencies. By using an ECM system, staff quickly answers constituents’ questions because all information across multiple processes and programs are located in one central repository.

3. Shared services. Some government programs collect the same documents – often repeatedly – because filing cabinets don’t foster document sharing. What if staff didn’t need to make copies and recollect documents to evaluate constituent applications and programs? What impact would easy and secure document retrieval have on constituent services? With an ECM solution, sharing services isn’t just sharing hardware, it’s utilizing a common repository that improves constituent service by making it easier to move through a government process.

4. Self-service opportunities and transparency. We’ve all heard the case for self-service. From the tech-savvy constituent who expects Web access to the recognition that with reduced staff, government must find a way to provide constituent access to information while reducing staff responsibilities. With a single ECM solution, departments and agencies provide a Web-based document search for items such as agenda and minutes packets and public records. It can also add transparency by illuminating processes like contract awards.

With the implementation of an ECM solution, all of these opportunities are possible. It’s a magical moment when an IT director can easily deploy a project that consolidates, centralizes and optimizes government functions and processes – all while improving constituent services. With a single document repository, government can utilize one ECM system to rule them all.

Terri Jones

Terri Jones

Wondering what goes into a document management or ECM software deployment in government? Terri Jones, Hyland's government marketing portfolio manager, has your answer. In her 10 plus years in both state and local government, she's managed IT departments, implemented ECM strategies and written legislation and program policies. If that isn't enough to prove her IT expertise in government, she has also designed and implemented data systems and websites to manage compliance and funding in excess of $90 million annually. Have a question for her? Contact her at

2 Responses

  1. drdamour says:

    Does it really need to be a single repository? Or just a single API? If a law was passed that said all content had to be exposed via CMIS, wouldn’t that be sufficient?

  2. Terri Jones Terri Jones says:

    The advantage of the single repository ideal is really about meeting constituent needs by ensuring that the documents are accessible through a unified search and whose user interface might exist in several ways to meet the needs of a variety of constituents. If you follow this principle, many options for accessing documents can be supported and you can specifically focus on how to deliver these documents conveniently to government staff or through self-service for constituents. Both options are best supported when documents are gathered in a single accessible repository.

    As you say, there are many technology options that support this. In my experience in government, it is only recently that we have confronted the difficulties of having documents scattered in different systems and file cabinets. And with staff reductions in government, we have reached a moment where we can’t serve our constituents unless we think about consolidation, centralization and optimization strategies to serve them in both traditional requests and those that are just emerging.

    Thanks for reading the blog and offering some ideas!!


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