Are You a Firewall to Your Own Success?

We probably found this funnier than we should have, but we’re a software company – what do you expect?

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Whether you identify with the fax-fanatic or the defeated presenter, hopefully you also found some humor in this. As a paperless organization, it’s intuitive for us to type notes that are automatically backed in a cloud, transfer video files through an online portal, and give virtual presentations via Microsoft Teams. But, all too often, we’re reminded by our colleagues, clients, partners and friends that digital communication is still not the norm.

Burned by the Firewall

We can get a healthy laugh out of this cartoon because it’s satirical of our very existence, which involves the daily battle of digging people’s heels out of the ground when it comes to digitally transforming their painfully paper-heavy processes. To us, going digital makes complete sense: your data is more secure, communicating is easier, efficiency, accountability and visibility are all increased, a few trees and some sanity are saved… the list goes on.

We could talk to you about the benefits of going paperless until we’re blue in the face and, if you’ve had the pleasure of working with us, you know we will. But we’ve come to learn that no matter how many facts we present from every possible angle, we’re not getting passed anyone’s firewall until they turn down the heat. If someone is a stickler on paper and manual procedures, they will incinerate our points with the flames of their implacability before our words have a chance to hit even one ear. Trust us, it happens all the time.

“Why Are You Not Paperless?”

You probably cringe more at this question than the once-per-year holiday dinner where your extended family interrogates every aspect of your personal life. But before you start flame throwing responses like, “it’s much too expensive!” or “the process isn’t broke – why fix it?” we ask that you think about the real reasons behind your apprehension –  growing pains and organization-wide changes are uncomfortable, and it requires a lot of preparation.

No judgment – we completely get it.

Take your time to research, talk to your industry’s thought leaders on paperless organizations, watch demos, and definitely consider the financial investment. Maybe read this article from the National Center for State Courts. But keep in mind that most organizations, and especially public-serving government agencies, are realizing they can no longer gamble sensitive information, data, and years of organizational know-how on the risk of paper, which can be lost, misfiled, easily neglected, or destroyed in natural disasters, like the tragic, unexpected California wildfires.

So What is the First Step to Going Paperless?

Be open to it. Understand what it means to “go paperless” (hint: it’s more than just emailing and/or eFiling). Take an inventory of your current infrastructure and procedures, and identify what’s not working or could be improved. Visualize the potential of your organization and set the goals to get there.

Once you have that, give us a call. We’ll partner with you to understand where your organization is  compared to where you want it to be and work hand-in-hand with you to establish blueprints for your paperless organization – even if we have to fax the initial plans to you.

We Want to Hear From You!

As much as we like to talk, we’re also great listeners! Leave your answer in the comment section below. We read and respond – promise!

Which persona do you identify with in the cartoon above? What is or was your biggest hurdle to digital transformation?

Want to stay updated on the latest government tech trends? Find the news directly in your social feed by following the ImageSoft Government Solutions showcase page.

 

Her Name is CORA, and She’s the Future of Courts

175_coraShe can answer FAQs about any courthouse. She helps you search court dockets. She can even direct court visitors to where they need be, and she can do it all in either English or Spanish.

Who is she?

CORA, the Court-Operated Robotic Assistant, is the first robotic solution designed for a court setting. Named after Ottawa County, Michigan’s first female Probate Court judge, Hon. Cora VandeWater, CORA passed a week of pilot testing as the country’s first robotic court greeter during mid-November 2018 at the Ottawa County Grand Haven Courthouse. Quickly winning over both court workers and guests with her helpful assistance, dance moves and selfie skills, CORA went on to attend the National Center for State Court’s (NCSC) 2018 eCourts Conference in Las Vegas. There, she continued to make it easy for guests to look up the conference schedule, read court publications, watch videos and, of course, dance.

A Greater Purpose Behind Her Screen

While CORA offers immediate assistance on several levels, the comfort and convenience she is currently providing through smaller-scale tasks is actually contributing to a greater purpose  – bridging people into the future of court technology.

Rooted in tradition, courts tend to lag behind other industries when adopting new processes, especially when it comes to technology. But with undeniable elephants like access to justice sitting in every American courtroom, it’s becoming increasingly necessary that something be done. To face this challenge head-on, even many traditional judges, court clerks, and court managers are leveraging concepts like online dispute resolution (ODR), electronic filings (eFiling), workflows, and other court technologies to bridge  poor and middle-class citizens to the legal assistance they need. And with CORA now on board, many are enjoying a positive, first experience with the future of court operations.

Back to the Future…

CORA may take us by the hand into the future of court technology, but the digital transformation only just begins with her. Online dispute resolutions, for example, will lend themselves to more than just e-commerce disputes and start making access to justice more affordable and efficient for a variety of public-sector cases. And as courts decide which functionalities to leverage, they may build their own solutions with snap-on, best-of-breed components – a concept known as the Component Model – instead of marrying one vendor for the entire solution. And, as always, evidence management regarding footage from body cameras and surveillance video will continue to evolve.

Tell Me More

Because the bi-annual eCourts conference serves to encourage the dialogue of future courts innovations, these topics were all at the top of discussion. In attendance and immersed in the conversations was ImageSoft President, Scott Bade, who gave us a briefing on all things eCourts during the most recent episode of the Paperless Productivity Podcast. But if you’d rather just skim the details, this blog has your back.

 

We Want to Hear From You!

 

Are you pushing for your court to go paperless, or pushing out the very thought of it?

Tell us in the “comments” section below or on our Court Solutions Showcase page on LinkedIn. We read and respond – promise!

eCourts Uncovered: The 2018 Edition

If you follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, you’ve undoubtedly seen (and, hopefully, ‘Liked’!) a lot of hype about a little something called eCourts. We even published an eCourts blog about it being “the most wonderful time of the year,” and we stand by that.

P.S., if you need to brush up on what eCourts actually is, read that blog.

Scott Bade, President of ImageSoft Inc., was alongside several other ImageSoft team members at eCourts 2018 in Las Vegas, NV, from Dec. 10-12. About 24 hours after arriving back in Detroit, Scott was already briefing our Paperless Podcast team on the innovative, hot-button topics covered at the conference.

You’ll have to listen to the less-than-30-minute podcast to hear everything “Scott says” about the conference but, in case you can’t wait for our 2019 podcast debut, here’s a glimpse of what to expect.

Scott Says…

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Q: What made this year’s conference particularly interesting?

Scott: There has been a natural evolution of the court system. Now that most modern courts have adopted digital records management, they’re learning about how digitalize court processes – how information is flowing to and from clerks, attorneys, constituents, and the courts. So online dispute resolution (ODR), or intelligent dispute resolution (IDR), were definitely hot topics. ImageSoft has been an early advocate for ODR, so this was especially exciting for us. Imagine resolving legal disputes electronically without having to travel or be in the same, physical location as the other parties? That type of convenience is where the world is headed.

Q: What big-discussion topics seemed to thread throughout the conference?

Scott: The National Center for State Courts (NCSC), host of the bi-annual eCourts conference, has been talking a lot about the Component Model. For those who aren’t familiar with the concept, the Component Model allows courts to choose best-of-breed components instead of marrying one vendor for all their digital needs. This concept has allowed innovation to catalyze freely since smaller organizations can now compete. These open standards have been really good, and allow the systems to be interoperable.

We also had a lot of healthy conversations surrounding evidence management of larger data, such as that captured on law enforcement body cameras and surveillance video, and we even dipped into some old-school chat about digitizing paper forms for constituents to fill out online. A lot of courts have already done that, but some haven’t, so it’s important that we’re still talking about it.  And, of course, we talked about Integrated Justice Information Systems (IJIS), which sets the standards for electronic filing, which is a topic of which ImageSoft keeps its thumb on the pulse.

Q: Were there any thoughts on cloud computing floating around at the conference?

Scott: You know, we’re not hearing as much fear associated with the cloud as we used to. It’s actually becoming pretty mainstream for governments and courts. Which makes sense, because today’s constituents, our tax-payers, voters, and citizens, have grown up with technology integrated in their lives, and that’s not going in reverse. They’re demanding digital access to data because they know that type of ease and convenience is possible, and if the current courts or government don’t give that, a competitor will.  

Like what you’ve read? Make a New Year’s resolution to subscribe to The Paperless Productivity Podcast on Google Play or iTunes to hear all of Scott’s thoughts on eCourts 2018 and his predictions on the hottest topics for eCourts 2020.

We Want to Hear from You!

What topic do you think should be on eCourts’ agenda? What exciting innovations do you see on the horizon for the modern court system?

Respond in the comment section below, or on our Court Solutions Showcase page. We read and reply!

 

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – eCourts 2018!

The cold temperatures have arrived and they’ve brought the stress of the holiday season with them. Sounds like a good time to hop a plane to sunny and simple Las Vegas, right? We think so too, which is why we do so every other year for the bi-annual eCourts Conference. 169_eCourts.png

2018 eCourts Conference

Presented by the National Center for State Courts, the eCourts Conference is the jackpot for innovation-driven courts across the nation. The two-day summit immerses CIOs, judges, court managers, clerks, justice administrators and all eager-to-learn court personnel in the latest trends driving court technology. Not only will these sessions keep your thumb on the pulse of courtroom IT know-how, but it’s the perfect place to network, share and hear other’s experiences, and finally address the pressing issues that have been holding your court’s efficiency in contempt for far too long.

The Gift That Keeps Giving

While you’re trying to forget all the holiday hustle your family keeps texting you about, stroll over to booth #312 and meet some of the personality behind your favorite paperless process people! In addition to product experts, several members of our leadership team will also be hanging out in between note taking at their favorite sessions.

Things to talk to us about:

 

Can’t Wait to Warm Up?

Weather-wise, we can’t do much. After all, we are headquartered in southeast Michigan – the state that’s literally shaped like a piece of winter apparel.

But we can give you a pre-eCourts warm up on some of this year’s hot-button issues. Grab some hot chocolate and head over to: www.imagesoftinc.com/ecourts2018. After that…

We Want to Hear from You! Before eCourts.

If you haven’t already heard, we like to talk. But we’re also great listeners and we want to hear what you have to say.

In your opinion, what’s the best court solution to date? Will you be talking about it at eCourts this year?

Join our other, industry-specific conversations by following the LinkedIn page below that best fits your industry’s needs:

ImageSoft Court Solutions l ImageSoft Government Solutions l ImageSoft Insurance Solutions

Dear Component Model: We’re Thankful!

As colder weather and feel-good movies draw us home, it’s easy to look around and reflect on “the why” of who we are and what we do – making memories with loved ones, embracing the stillness of nature, and finding ways to contribute to and be a part of both.

Enjoy Thanksgiving typography

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, almost everyone is making a conscious effort to unplug from technology, forget about work, and be present in these moments. But, at the risk of sounding millennial, many of us wouldn’t be where we are without the rapidly-advancing technology supporting our daily lives. In more ways than one, it’s a component of who we are, what we do, and how far we’re able to go, and we would all be amiss to not show thanks.

A Case for the Courts

We know – you would expect software developers to draw such conclusions, but hear us out. 2018 has been the year of a system that, through the orchestration of loosely-coupled, modular applications, has digitally transformed courts across the nation to be more accessible, transparent, efficient, and empowered court computing environments to identify gaps in their technology infrastructure, zero in on opportunities for growth and be more strategic with their investments.

What does this mean? That justice is more accessible to everyone. That court managers, CIOs, judicial officers, and many other busy court personnel are getting more done in less time, and are able to recycle these saved resources into addressing triple-bottom-line issues. And that, with snap-on, integrative components now available, we can start having real conversations about long-term court visions and the technology needed to support it.

All of this, thanks to The Component Model.

Functionality Not Far-Fetched

As any court personnel can tell you, the idea of various parts working together to bring versatile functionality to a court’s case management system (CMS) is not original. In fact, many legacy systems are supported by functional components. The issue lies within the limits of those components. You see, the traditional monolithic structure is very tightly wound, and all the components, though serving a niche purpose, depend on one another. So if a court manager decides to alter, add to or take away one component, changes to the model’s code will have to be made, Vendors may not want to pursue new coding if it won’t be beneficial to their customers in other jurisdictions, will be too costly or other roadmap priorities are taking precedent. Not to mention that the court faces the headache of replacing or changing the entire system.

Fast-forward to loosely-fixed, NextGen application components, and enjoy defined interfaces that make it easy to snap-on and snap-off parts as you see fit. This type of flexibility allows each court system to decide on and invest in the specific functionality that best serves their needs. Despite these boundaries, however, the components use open data standards and can still communicate with one another to maintain seamless automation and workflow.


Because, just like maintaining peace with your relatives at Thanksgiving dinner, communication is key.


The Component Shop

Whether adding new functionality or enhancing existing operations, these highly-configurable (not custom, AKA vendor-coded), scalable application components work together to support the court’s business goals, technology platform, data management and reduce currently-unnecessary application complexity. Below are just a few of the many in-demand functionalities that you can mix-and-match for a best-in-class court solution:

  • eFiling
  • eBench
  • Online Dispute Resolution
  • Litigant Portal
  • Evidence management
  • Electronic payment processing
  • Compliance monitoring

 

Now, We Want to Hear From You!

As much as we like to talk, we’re also great listeners. And that’s something to be thankful for!

What does your ideal component model look like? Which functionality would you choose to work with your CMS?

Join our industry-specific conversations by following the LinkedIn page below that best fits your industry’s needs:

ImageSoft Court Solutions | ImageSoft Government Solutions

 

Keeping Employee File Management on Track with OnBase

We’ve been chatting a lot about how to keep your human resources department on track with OnBase. There was that one time we had a coffee chat over recruiting with Christy and Crystal, and just last week we leaned in with Leanne about the onboarding process. So far, your seamless transition from recruitment to onboarding has your talented new hire in the office and on-the-go from day one.

So what’s next on your HR personnel’s docket? Managing your growing team members’ files, of course.

But before we get into nitty-gritty functionality, let’s circle back with Leanne, human resources manager at ImageSoft, for her experiences using OnBase for file management.

Leaning in with Leanne: Employee File Management

 

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Tell Me More

Just as Journey drums up all the right compositions for Leanne, OnBase’s versatile functionality is music to the ears for HR personnel! Take a skim through OnBase’s most talked-about features.

Instantaneous Document Retrieval

Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork – in years past, this was the interior design of almost every HR office. And their daily routine? Searching through and for paperwork, paperwork, paperwork.

But with all documents and employee files stored digitally in one centralized hub, and having that hub (AKA, OnBase) integrate with every organization’s human resources information system (HRIS), HR personnel can quickly key a search and pull files almost instantly, all without leaving their familiar interface. Doing so fizzles training time for new software down to a minimum, and allows HR to spend more time on higher-value endeavors, like employee retention.

Visibility and Compliance

With real-time reporting updates and a bird’s eye view of missing documentation, OnBase makes it easy for HR personnel to identify missing documents, and/or identify and quickly resolve other compliance issues.

And when auditors come knocking (and you know they will), you will already be prepared. Rather than scrambling to make copies upon copies for the auditor, simply grant them temporary access to OnBase and allow them to self-serve all the information they need. Or if you don’t want auditors lurking in your OnBase system, you can easily export any of the relevant documents to ShareBase, a secure enterprise file sharing tool that tracks all access and interactions.

Security

With OnBase, HR personnel control where documents are stored and who has access to that information. For example, staff can be granted access to view only their I-9 and other personal documents. And with a full audit trail of every document’s activity, staff members are always held accountable and information breaches are no longer a “thing.”

Not to mention that strengthening the integrity of your file security measures with a secure enterprise content management system (ECM) like OnBase speaks to how much your organization values its staff’s safety and establishes trust from the get-go.

Interested in Keeping Pace with OnBase?

Check out this PDF, this case study, this PDF, or just check out the webpage that has all three and then some.

And if you get tired of reading, we’re always happy to chat over the phone or in person.

We Want to Hear From You!

On a scale from “help!” to “handled,” how well is your HR office managing its documents and files?

Tell us in the comment section below. We actually do read your comments – promise!

Keeping Onboarding On Point with OnBase

As almost every human resources personnel will tell you, onboarding new staff is not the most graceful process – sometimes not even for the new hire! With so many boxes to check from the HR department to the hiring manager and even to marketing, it’s stressful trying to ensure that both the new team member and the organization have the proper paperwork and tools for success from day one.

Our own Leanne Eastman, human resources manager at ImageSoft, Inc., knows this hassle all too well. Starting at ImageSoft over 10 years ago, Leanne remembers when the holy grail for onboarding was just a piece of paper and a chicken-scratched step-by-step process. But there’s a reason she can speak with ease and confidence about our onboarding practice today, and it’s called OnBase.

Leaning In with Leanne: OnBase for OnBoarding

 

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A Closer Look at the Bigger Picture

As you heard, equipping HR personnel like Leanne with an integrative and intuitive tool like OnBase translates into an enjoyable onboarding experience for everyone involved. With their payroll setup, business cards printed, and an agenda of to-do’s ready before day one, new team members feel confident in the organization they’ve joined and empowered to hit the ground running from the moment they arrive.


The OnBase Functionality That Supports OnBoarding



Accountability by Automation

With a signed offer letter in their hands, HR can deploy onboarding responsibilities out to the necessary parties. With the click of a button, OnBase generates and sends checklists according to the new hire’s role, department and needs. The hiring manager, IT, marketing, and other internal training teams will receive their necessary marching orders and due dates, and can start on their tasks well before the new staff member’s first day. With automated to-do’s, HR personnel never has to worry that someone wasn’t contacted about their onboarding tasks and can keep up with each team member’s progress without continuous follow-ups. This keeps the organization’s preferred onboarding practice consistent and efficient throughout all its growth!

One Hub. All Your Information.

As anyone with a desk, file cabinet or car keys knows, digging for physical copies isn’t efficient, and can lead to critical details getting lost or forgotten. OnBase expands HR’s visibility into the onboarding process by centralizing and warehousing all necessary information in one, digitalized location. As team members from various departments work on their assigned onboarding tasks, they can enter and access the information that is relevant to them with just a few clicks. Aside from keeping everyone on pace with their responsibilities, this functionality also allows HR personnel to see how the onboarding process is progressing, identify and fix bottlenecks, and follow-up where need be.

Integrative and Confidential

Teamwork really does make the onboarding dream work, which is why OnBase was designed with integration in mind. Able to integrate with your organization’s payroll, Human Resources Information System (HRIS), and other key systems, OnBase ensures everyone maximizes their time and effort even amidst the onboarding process.

And while this all sounds ideal from a workflow perspective, we know it sounds more like every HR person’s nightmare: breached confidentiality. But take a deep breath, because it’s actually the opposite. OnBase safeguards all its data and records by granting access only to parties with permissions. Because every OnBase user has their own view, he or she sees only what’s relevant and necessary to their role. And, just as our jobs change over time, so can permissions. Users can be granted or denied access to information at any time, even for isolated incidents like conflicts of interest.

Interested in Keeping Pace with OnBase?

Check out this PDF, this case study or this PDF, or just check out the webpage that has all three and then some.

And if you get tired of reading, we’re always happy to chat over the phone or in person.

We Want to Hear From You!

What’s your biggest challenge with the HR process?

Tell us in the comment section below. We actually do read your comments – promise!

State Statutes Got You Stressed? Go Paperless

By: Steve Glisky, Practice Manager, ImageSoft

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The criminal justice system holds prosecutors and law enforcement officers to unique statutory responsibilities which, when not honored, can lead to misconduct and disciplinary action. The effort required to ensure these protocols are respected at times take a backseat to the daily grind of pushing stacks of paper files through the justice system.

Jurisdictions that move from paper to electronic-based prosecution increase the speed and consistency of prosecuting cases.  A solution that expands throughput while systemizing compliance rules helps improve justice and community confidence.  As a blueprint feature of the Paperless Prosecutor Solution (PPS), statute compliancy has been built into the daily operations of prosecutors’ offices across the country.

You Ask, We Answer

As we walk through each of these compliancy features, think about your own processes and how you honor each of these responsibilities. Are you taking unnecessary time-consuming steps? Is your protocol safeguarding your cases as much as it should?

CJIS Security Policy

Passing a CJIS Security Audit goes beyond just getting your staff and partners finger printed and trained.  A key tenant to CJIS security requirements is that any data exchanged between law enforcement and prosecution must be encrypted end-to-end and while at rest.  Simply receiving sensitive information from law enforcement via a standard email is a sure way to fail an audit and incur penalties. The Paperless Prosecutor Solution is the Rx for CJIS audit anxiety because it uses an innovative and secure Law Enforcement Agency Portal (LEAP) for streamlining communication with the prosecutor’s office.  Paperless prosecution is a great way to audit proof your office while enjoying a peace of mind that critical information is safe and secure.

Discovery

It’s a violation of due process if the prosecution fails to disclose evidence throughout the life of a case.  In the paper world, it’s often difficult to track and prove when discoverable materials are sent.  Any missteps could result in a mistrial or a decision being overturned.

Paperless prosecution protects the office against these types of challenges by automating the discovery process, enabling the systematic redaction of documents at the time of intake, and providing a complete audit trail of when and to whom discoverable materials are sent. Updated discovery statuses and materials are always available anytime in the courtroom or office.

Victim Rights

The prosecutor must notify victims about many things, including their rights to participate in the case, receive plea agreement recommendations, and attend the sentencing hearing to express how the crime has affected their lives. As all prosecutors know, failure to honor these responsibilities undermines justice by not giving the victim a voice in the outcome of the case.

PPS ensures that justice is served by automatically alerting the Victim Rights Coordinator to send out notifications to the victim based upon pre-defined rules of the office.  This keeps the victim engaged throughout the case and helps uphold the public’s trust in their prosecutor and the entire justice system.

Subpoenas

Prosecutors must properly subpoena witnesses prior to court hearings.  If the witness fails to appear, it’s incumbent on the prosecutor to know the serve status of the subpoena.  If the witness was properly served but failed to appear, a bench warrant could be issued depending on the circumstance.  In a paper-based environment, it’s very difficult to locate accurate serve-status information at the time of the hearing.

This isn’t a problem, however, with PPS, which delivers real-time serve status updates from the LEAP portal to the Prosecutor’s electronic case file. Going a step further, this data-driven approach also equips the prosecutor with the number of attempts it took to serve the witness.

In-Custody Arrests

In-custody arrests are time sensitive for the Prosecutor.  Typically, prosecutors have only 48 hours to make a charging decision.  If the Prosecutor fails to issue charges within this timeframe, law enforcement must let potentially dangerous offenders go free.  Unfortunately, mistakes and delays do occur, and inadvertent releases happen more than they should.

PPS protects the public against this threat by color coding in-custody prosecution requests red with high priority.  If prosecution requests are not screened within three hours, an automatic alert is sent out to the assigned attorney and office administrator.  Additional escalation alerts are sent to the Chief Assistant Prosecutor and the Prosecutor if the request still hasn’t been screened within a pre-designated timeframe. The combination of real-time data exchange with law enforcement and built-in priority escalation and alerts gives the prosecutor the upper hand in keeping dangerous felons off the street.

Conflict-of-Interest Cases

When a conflict of interest exists, prosecutors are obligated to lock out certain users from viewing a case file. This occurs when an office employee is closely related to a party or has some special relationship to the case that may call into question the person’s objectivity and how the case would be handled.  PPS safeguards sensitive details from these individuals to ensure the consistency and integrity of the office.

Policy Administration

For large offices or state-wide deployments, PPS manages policy and procedure administration from end-to-end through Document Knowledge Transfer and Compliance (DKTC). DKTC ensures all employees have access to the most up-to-date versions of required materials and that deadlines for review and acknowledgement are enforced. Compliance testing is available to gauge employees’ comprehension of distributed content via scoring reports and test certificates.

What We’re Really Trying to Say

PPS is a valuable tool for keeping the Prosecutor’s office and Law Enforcement Agencies compliant with state rules. Creating a digital environment with PPS also improves prosecution efficiency, consistency, and transparency. Jurisdictions across the nation are investing in this innovation and, as a result, better serving and protecting their communities.

PPS Cloud, a new tool for reducing upfront costs and deploy times, will also soon be available. Please contact us if you’re interested in learning more about staying statute compliant with the Paperless Prosecution Solution.

 

When Failed Integration Turns into Wrongful Incarceration

By: Katie Pusz, Copywriter, ImageSoft

Unless you’re a part of the super cool, niche group of people that doesn’t talk much but, when you do, it’s about software, you probably don’t get too pumped up about the word “integration.” We, on the other hand, could talk about the transformative effects of powerfully integrative software until our smartwatches tell us to go home. Even then, we would stay late to show you a fun demo, but most people will have left by then anyways.164_Chance_go_to_jail

So when real-world examples of preventable integration fails have life-changing impacts on innocent people, we get all riled up.

What to Say When You’re Being Arrested for a Dismissed Case?

Not me. Well, that’s what one of the nation’s biggest names in software development is trying to say after its court case management system was the reason for dozens of defendants in a very populous county being wrongly accused, arrested, jailed, and even registered as sex offenders.

Worse yet, these incidents are not isolated. Distressed by the same errors, numerous courts across the nation are responding to the county’s claims with “us too!”

How Could This Happen?

We thought you’d never ask! Let us explain. Again.

Integration is key when trying to successfully leverage any software. This is especially crucial in court cases where real-time information about prisoners and warrants needs to flow statewide among prisons, officers, courts, and more.

In situations like the above, failure to integrate with a court’s case management system means mistakes. Big ones. A lot of them. This is because the same case information lives in multiple systems across the criminal justice system, but updating that information at the sheriff’s office doesn’t update it for the court. And vice versa.

Simply put, the case management systems among the courts, prisons, police departments, etc., can’t talk to one another if they’re not integrated. When this happens, the status quo of a case isn’t clarified across the board and people act based only on the information they have. Cue wrongful arrests.

So Integration is Just a Group Chat?

Not quite. By integrating case management systems, the efficiency of your processes and the integrity of your data are both strengthened. Not only is data safely stored and accessible by all authorized parties, you never have to re-key information into multiple systems. Once the data is in, it’s everywhere it needs to be and always up-to-date.

When you’re processing nearly 1,000 cases per week (as most counties do), the time and money saved by having an integrated software is kind of a big deal.

Ready for Integration That’s On Point?

We’ve helped hundreds of criminal justice systems throughout the country stay in immediate and constant communication by exchanging data and documents among law enforcement, prosecutors, courts and more with just the click of a button.

How so? Through our eFiling technology for civil courts, our LEAP portal for criminal filings, and with a little help from our friend OnBase by Hyland. OnBase has standard APIs that allow for the secure exchange of data and documents with virtually any system.

But more important than the technology, we’re a company that loves to do integrations – it’s in our DNA, and we can’t help but to take the lead on working with your technology vendors to get you where you need to be.

And if you ever want to stick around for that fun demo, we know a few people who would be happy to show you!

After hearing what has happened to innocent people in several courts across the country, do you feel your court is vulnerable to the same miscommunication? How could the components of your case management system be more in sync?

3.6 Million Records Flooded: The Houghton County Courthouse Hurt by Washed-Out Paper Storage Methods

159_houghtoncountyHoughton County, a common summer hiatus for many Michiganders, has suffered a not-so-hot summer.

Just as the county was closing several of its beaches due to high bacteria levels, the Houghton County Courthouse fell victim to a flood that drenched its more than 3.6 million paper documents. The water infiltrated the storage vault in the courthouse’s basement and was absorbed by almost all the county’s circuit, family and probate records. Without these records, the Houghton county residents will be delayed from doing things like changing a name on their driver’s license or even obtaining proof of property deeds.

Livonia’s Document Restoration Services is on the case and working with the Houghton County Courthouse to recover its records. A preliminary estimate gauged the recovery project at $443,714 (yes, you read those six figures correctly!), and includes vacuum freezing the records, water/sewage cleaning and drying the microfilm. From there, a machine will separate any pages that are stuck together.

Preventing Natural Disasters From Becoming PR Disasters

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for natural disasters like flooding to turn into PR disasters for government agencies and counties. By no means is it ever anyone’s fault that a flood, fire, or any destructive force of nature occurs, but organizations should make it an utmost priority to protect the records and sensitive information stored within their care. This is especially true for government agencies like secretary of state offices or county courthouses, which warehouse millions of records for thousands of people.

So, if you were listening to Diana Ross cassette tapes or streaming 21 Pilots while watching filing cabinets rise up in your office space, it might be time to digitize. After all, our music, precious family photos and video, school projects, and so much more are now stored within a cloud. What’s the hurdle to doing the same with sensitive data?

No, there’s not an app for this (yet), but there is a highly configurable solution that’s modernizing counties, government agencies, courts, and many other document-dependent organizations across the nation.

It’s a Repository! It’s a Workflow! It’s Both – It’s An ECM!

ImageSoft has partnered with OnBase® by Hyland to bring nation-wide organizations a 360° view of (and easy access to!) their records, documents, and information. With an enterprise content management system (ECM), also called an enterprise document management system (EDMS), an organization’s records and history are not only protected by digital storage, they also give an efficiency boost to their productivity, significantly reduce (if not eliminate) physical storage costs and space, and ease standard procedures with automation.

Aside from natural disaster protection, social trends are also starting to threaten the progression of many organizations. As identified by a blog from earlier this year, retiring baby boomers are unknowingly taking their organization’s history and ideas with them. The growth of many reputable organizations has long depended on the head knowledge of those who have worked with the organization for decades, but the executives didn’t realize this until those key operators retired and their information source was gone.

With an ECM/EDMS, you never have to fret about retiring valuable knowledge of processes or rules along with a few retiring employees or unfortunate times of higher turnover. With an ECM, every documented procedure, project, note, document, and other critical information is secured and stored just a few clicks away.

Clerks Know Best

Since the expensive flood last month, Houghton County Clerk Jennifer Lorenz told The Daily Mining Gazette that she plans to suggest digitally backing up the county’s records. “To me, that’ll be almost at no cost, so why would we not start going ahead, for the future?” said Lorenz.

As the ones responsible for managing hundreds of thousands of documents and the frontline for communicating with a foot-tapping public, clerks know better than anyone that counties need to move past the paper and dive into digital storage. With tracked progress, point-and-click redactions, full audit trails, multiple-user visibility and access, and electronic notifications (eNotifications), clerks are able to stay on top of timelines and carry their county’s customer service to record heights (pun intended) without needing additional employees or regular over-time hours.

Ready to Rise Above the Paper (literally and figuratively)?

To continuously move your county forward and keep up with the demanding pace of society, you need to be equipped with the tools specifically designed to overcome the hurdles of your era. In the case of counties, government agencies, and many document-dependent organizations, this means saying “G2G*” to paper and “hello!” to the paper powerhouse that is ECM/EDMS. Contact us today to learn more about customizing an implementation plan that caters to your organization’s needs.

With the uncontrollable risks of natural disasters, retiring executives, and revolving staff, what’s holding your county back from moving forward with digital records?

*G2G is the text acronym for got-to-go, or “see you later”