“We aren’t looking for a big-time money making operation. We just want to eventually cover our costs. We found that our people really like to work, and we want to respond to their enthusiasm. Consequently, we are beginning to market our service beyond our two original clients.”
When a group of workers from the Henry County Board of Developmental Disabilities attended a technology meeting, they had no idea they would soon be doing business. The meeting was organized by the Commissioners of Henry County to demonstrate the advantages of going digital to multiple County departments. Making the presentation was a representative from Perry Corporation, a value-added Computhink reseller, who demonstrated the value of the Contentverse document management solution.
Cheryl Smith, Business Manager for the Board of Developmental Disabilities, was mildly intrigued by the prospect of electronic records keeping because they were running out of room and had an extensive amount of registrants. To make matters worse, the board was storing files everywhere, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to locate information when needed. For example, they were running into cases where multiple files regarding the same individual were lost among multiple departments, each one with a file containing multiple documents.
The Henry County Board of Developmental Disabilities’ goal was to consolidate these multiple copies into to one main file that would then be maintained electronically. They were seeking a program that would be accommodating to the wide variety of technical abilities, functional levels and skills across the organization, and to allow workflow to be streamlined, eliminating the difficulties they were having with record management. The Board recognized the issue and they were clear about their expectations, but they didn’t have a budget available for new undertaking.
Contentverse Solves Issues While Creating Opportunities
“Then, an eye-opening proposal from the Perry representative changed everything,” says Smith. Perry Corporation had an element from a previous installation that they thought might be appropriate for the Board to consider. The idea was for the Board to utilize their own scanning infrastructure, required for digitizing their documents, and build-out that operation as a service bureau. This idea created an opportunity for the board to create jobs for individuals with developmental disabilities, scanning the documents into the system, both enabling the Board to go digital and, ultimately, allowing the system to pay for itself.
The County agreed to hire the Board to do some of their scanning, and a local school district would hire the Board to scan their school records. The situation with the County came together and the board Superintendent, Jim King, approved the installation. The opportunity to create the service bureau around their scanning infrastructure is the Board’s shining jewel, because it increases employment opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities. According to Melinda Camp, “Our Board of Developmental Disabilities didn’t have a workshop, but we did have adults who wanted to engage in meaningful work for meaningful paychecks.”
However, bandwidth became an issue, so the local school district that had wanted the Board to scan their records offered the use of their server. “At first, the Board’s system was running on a standard internet connection which proved to be insufficient” to get the infrastructure upgraded so it could function effectively, noted Bruce Guyer, IT Administrator. Guyer ensured that there were enough servers and the connectivity necessary to communicate with their clients. “Once we connected to the County’s fiber wireless network, we had the correct amount of bandwidth to operate the system” continued Guyer. The entire process, from decision to installation, took approximately three months (with the help of EK Computers, a local technology company).
Now the service bureau has four scanning stations with approximately three individuals per scanning line. Two people handle document preparation by taking paper clips and staples out of documents. A third person scans the documents. There are two supervisors who oversee the project. The teams scan documents for their own internal Board use for the Napoleon, Ohio Board of Education, and for multiple government offices within Henry County. “Our scanners work for 6 hours a day,” says Melinda Camp, the Board’s Supported Employment Department Manager, “it’s a great place to work.”
As Business Manager, Smith actually got first dibs on the Contentverse system. All relevant fiscal information, including payroll, invoices, and related documents, went in first. “It’s nice to be able to locate information with a simple keyword search,” says Smith. Now, several government components work co-operatively to make this system a reality. The Board of Developmental Disabilities’ service bureau also works with the Henry County Commissioners as well as the local Napoleon, Ohio Board of Education using Contentverse. “As a nonprofit, we are governed by a different set of standards than a typical profit-making service bureau enterprise,” Smith noted … what she is referring to is a somewhat complex arrangement where the actual business is split into two distinctly different entities, one of which qualifies for Federal funds and one that doesn’t.
Contentverse Features Enhance Value
For internal purposes, Contentverse has helped streamline business processes, aided in much faster searching for documents within a file, and cut down on the need for paper storage. Additionally, there were specific features the Board required:
- Security Parameters – The DD wanted to consolidate to one main file, and they wanted to restrict access based on current policies. Contentverse offers unique security abilities which allow the administrator to grant access at multiple levels – cabinet, drawer, folder, or document.
- Ease of Use – The DD’s existing staff has a wide variety of technical abilities and their workers have a wide variety of functional levels. All skill capabilities needed to be accommodated. Because Contentverse looks just like a Microsoft Office solution, the majority of end users felt very comfortable with it right away, and the rest didn’t take long to enjoy its simplicity.
- Version Revision Control – This had always been an issue for DD due to their having duplicate files for the same subject in different locations. End users wanted to make updates to documents and save them back to the original location as a new version. Contentverse made it possible for more than one person to view a document simultaneously, but only one person at a time can make changes. This ensures the information contained in any document is the most current.
Return on Investment (ROI)
According to Guyer, once Contentverse is set up and running, it pretty much runs itself. “It doesn’t require much maintenance on a day-to-day basis. There was one time we needed help early on, where Perry had to call Computhink directly. They were very responsive and solved the problem quickly and efficiently.”
Smith and Camp agree that what is taking place at the Henry County Board of Developmental Disabilities is much more than just the launch of a service bureau. “When our people experience the self-satisfaction that comes from gainful employment, they win, we win, and society wins. Contentverse facilitates all of this positive achievement.”