Time and again, one of the main roadblocks to transitioning from paper to digital workflow is just knowing where to start. Many workplaces remain awash in paper, but digital document management is seeping in at the edges, if not actually flooding over the walls.
Digital will be part of your business eventually, either by accident, ad hoc or intentionally. We suggest the latter is a smarter approach, but it still begs the question, where to start? Here’s a story that might spark some ideas.
Decades of Service and Records
For over a century, Family Service Toronto has provided assistance to urban clients, and in the process, the citywide social service agency accumulated decades of paper. Client, financial and human resource records dating to the 1990s had been kept to satisfy record retention requirements. The agency’s Passport (POS) program in particular generates lots of documents as it goes about its mission of helping adults with developmental disabilities participate in their communities.
The Passport processes are good examples of how paper adds complexity to daily work. Thousands of POS invoices and receipts needed processing each month, involving steps like these:
- Paper and electronic delivery by mail, in person, email and fax
- Everything must be printed and checked
- Distribution needed for approvals and follow-up
- Eligible POS forms keyed into the CRM
- 20% of forms have errors and questions
- 10% require manager’s approval
- Eligible POS paid via EFT or cheque
- POS forms and backs ups scanned into Document Management system, then shredded
Reaching Critical Mass
When the central office moved to a new location, something had to be done. Not only was there too much paper, there were too many process steps. The paper-to-digital path led FST to a multi-phased approach, which is often recommended for successful digital transformation.
Phase 1: Going Digital
- Digitized all essential paper records
- Content Management System (CMS) for storage and easy retrieval
- CMS provides life cycle management to purge
Phase 1 Benefits
- No more filing cabinet and boxes
- Instant access to documents
- Efficient access and retrieval with search features
- Different ways to file documents
- Space, courier, shredding and time and cost savings
- Added security and control
- Easy to purge for life cycle management
- Efficient electronic indexing
- Reduced audit times and improved compliance
Phase 2 – Taking More Service Online
- Modified eform for online client access
Phase 2 Benefits
- Secure access for clients
- Online claims for reimbursement
- Validation at entry point
- Business process redesign and efficiencies
- Increased client capacity
FST now leads the way to greater digital capacity in the Developmental Services sector, and the agency aspires to give online access to other Passport agencies and clients across the province.
Watch this video for the full story of how Family Services Toronto adopted digital document management and delivered a better experience to employees and clients.