City of Palm Desert

TAME the Paper Tiger

The City of Palm Desert is located in the Coachella Valley about 14 miles east of Palm Springs. With a population of nearly 53,000 permanent residents, Palm Desert is not only a major center of growth in the Coachella Valley, but is also a popular retreat for 32,000 “snowbirds” who come from colder climates each winter.

The City created a tagline of, “TAME the paper tiger!” TAME stands for Transparency, Accountability, Modernization, and Efficiency. This represents the City’s “Digital First Campaign” to increase automation, digitize content, and utilize Workflows to better streamline existing processes.

The City was using an electronic content management system that simply did not provide the capabilities they needed as a public agency to efficiently provide services to its citizens. The existing system did not provide a simple way to search for documents, or to effectively control versions of documents, and there was little to no workflow capabilities. They needed something more than a digital file cabinet.

The City chose Laserfiche as their document management system out of recommendations from employees that had experience with Laserfiche at other organizations and from fellow IT personnel across California. They liked the fact that Laserfiche has a Workflow engine and that there is a suite of modules to handle multiple facets of their business.

Upon choosing Laserfiche to replace their existing system, the City formed an Executive Team for decision making and an email distribution list consisting of Scanners and “Heavy Users” for easy communication. They scheduled monthly meetings with end-users to keep them up to date as well as End-User, Administrator, and Forms training provided by ECS. The City’s IT staff continues to lead Laserfiche lab session trainings with End-Users.

Their Laserfiche Public Portal provides the City with better management capabilities of public records. It allows for more streamlined processes for getting data in and out of the system. With the use of Forms and Workflow, the City has also been able to remove duplication of job duties. This has saved the City countless man hours.

The City is currently using Laserfiche Rio with 130 Users, Weblink Public Portal, Laserfiche SDK, Connector, Import Agent, Quick Fields Core, Quick Fields Agent, Forms Professional, and Forms Portal. ECS provided professional services to convert 2 TB of data to their new Laserfiche system and scanning services for Fire Department related documents.

A slow, gradual launch was key to the success in this installation. City of Palm Desert introduced Laserfiche to the following departments in order:

  1. City Clerk
  2. Finance
  3. Code Compliance
  4. Building & Safety 
  5. Public Works 

In just the past 2 years since Laserfiche’s inception, Palm Desert has created 42 active forms and is using 16 monitored folders and 15 Quick Fields sessions. 

Nick Martin, IT for the City of Palm Desert, has this advice for anyone starting out with Laserfiche, “Communicate with all of your users!  Make them a part of the process.  If people feel that they have a voice, generally they will be more accepting of the changes.  Keep everyone in the loop as to where you are in the process.

He added, “The ECS sales team is diligent and respectful of our time.  Support is very knowledgeable and quick to respond.  The project managers do a fantastic job communicating.  The upper management is friendly, approachable, and always make themselves available when necessary.”

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