City of Bowling Green, KY Case Study

The Customer

Bowling Green, Kentucky is the third largest city in the state. Founded by pioneers in 1798, it’s the home of numerous manufacturers, including Fruit of the Loom and General Motors. The Bowling Green Assembly Plant is where the iconic Corvettes have been built since 1981.

The Challenge

The city of Bowling Green, which has numerous departments servicing its constituents and employs more than 650 employees, was confronted with a common challenge for organizations of all sizes: paper-based documents overwhelming the storage and record-keeping space, document management dependent on repetitive, manual labor and manual data entry, which is prone to mistakes in entry and archiving.

The city was operating with a document management system but not able to provide the functionality required to modernize city government functions to the desired extent. Most forms were paper and saved in a physical space, which was rapidly reaching its limit. The Human Resources department alone has more than 100 forms, all of which had different requirements for filling out and sharing, plus permission protocols and archiving requirements.

Bowling Green publicly issued a Request for Proposal for an Enterprise Content Management System that could meet its current needs for document storage and retrieval while also handling anticipated future functionality to streamline government processes and services. The city wanted to ensure it wasn’t investing in a technology solution that couldn’t evolve when business conditions changed.

They received multiple RFP responses and conducted due diligence on each one by reviewing and comparing capabilities, researching existing customers and evaluating support services. Ultimately, they chose OnBase® by Hyland, implemented by ImageSoft, as the best fit.

 Dashboards lend visibility to identifying and addressing bottlenecks.

The Solution

The Bowling Green city government chose ImageSoft to help guide their efforts in implementing the OnBase solution and achieving its goal of converting to a 100 percent digital solution.

One of the areas that shows immediate benefits is the transition from a paper-based process to a fully digital employee performance evaluation process. All full-time employees have annual performance evaluations, which was a cumbersome process requiring many levels of approval. The revised digital workflow process improves the turnaround time of performance evaluations and visibility for employees and staff. The city government is also better able to track statistics since the data is captured electronically and the results are easily shared with appropriate personnel.

Their evaluation of existing workflow processes – aided by ImageSoft experts – uncovered multiple, unnecessary processes which could be eliminated, giving time back to staff that could be used on higher-priority projects and reducing data entry errors. For example, they recorded 26 different documents required for processing checks through payroll and accounts payable. Also discovered were unnecessary approvals creating bottlenecks and slowing processes. The legacy processes were replaced with simple notifications or dashboards to greatly increase efficiency. After a thorough evaluation of system protocols and workflow processes in the HR department, they started the formidable task of converting 32 drawers of personnel files into a common digital database.

The Results

While the legacy system was successfully maintained during the digital transformation, the department now exclusively depends on the OnBase solution for new forms and documents and leverages dashboards to identify and address progress and bottlenecks. Bowling Green is now progressing toward an entirely digital solution, which will ultimately allow all city departments to share necessary data and protect sensitive information when appropriate.

Phase two in the transition will automate processes using OnBase’s electronic Workflow, which evaluates and routes forms and documents based on preconfigured rules, and handles mundane, repetitive tasks to reduce the time spent on administration work. While it’s anticipated that completely transitioning to the new system will be ongoing until the HR department is entirely digital, simultaneous efforts are expanding into the Police Department, such as automating parking tickets and seeking other opportunities where technology can be leveraged to improve workflow.

A mobile app was recently developed to deliver a fitness challenge to city employees, something unmanageable with the previous technology. The Enterprise Resource Planning system’s new levels of integration also allow OnBase to poll data for pre-fill indexing fields or to leverage within Workflow for determining a course of action.

When sharing the rationale for the technology change with other city departments, the staff showed before-and-after examples of the process for managing comp time. The cumbersome series of approvals is now streamlined to a simple process that reduces the number of approvals, immediately shares relevant information with the payroll department and accurately computes the remaining balance of comp time, which is quickly reimbursed without manual entries for record-keeping purposes.

For other organizations undergoing similar transitions, the Bowling Green staff has this advice: communicate the reasons for transitioning to a new solution and explain the benefits. Do a complete evaluation of the existing solution to eliminate redundancies and unnecessary steps in the workflow process. And, perhaps equally important as the choice of the technology solution, partner with a good integration partner with a proven track record for delivering results.

The eventual goal of achieving a digitalized process will take some time as it works through all the departments. What is initially perceived as a challenging transition becomes easier as the benefits of the new system are realized and appreciated by staff and the constituents served.

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