OnBase by Hyland Software is an Enterprise Information System designed to help organizations across all verticals streamline processes and improve productivity. ImageSoft is a 2-decades-long winner of the most esteemed awards for Hyland Partners. We’ve learned some of the most successful ways organizations can leverage OnBase as a tool within their existing systems, particularly in the Public Sector. One of the fastest-growing departments discovering the value of OnBase is Public Works. OnBase can aid in a variety of tasks Public Works staff complete daily. Choosing to move to the OnBase system can save your team hundreds of hours each year.
What are some of the most common challenges Public Works Departments face?
Before we explain how OnBase is used in Public Works, let’s first look at the challenges the industry faces regularly.
- Complex projects with countless moving parts require impeccable time and budget management. Public Works is always working on something. Almost always, projects are underway to improve an area for the community, whether it’s new construction, park upkeep, or highway repair. For every project, multiple staff members from various “departments” within Public Works will be involved. For example, you need engineers, contractors, financial analysts, operations managers, etc., for a single new building to be constructed. Coordinating schedules and budgets between all these people can be a big job often taking weeks or more to accomplish. Spending weeks on administrative things isn’t an option when time is money.
- Storing and granting access to critical documents. Like other Government departments, Public Works has access to sensitive information. They must store traditional paper documents securely in-house to avoid data being released when it shouldn’t. Unfortunately, filing cabinets and storage closets aren’t a feasible solution once you amass thousands of documents. Not only does it become nearly impossible to manage the inventory, but it also bottlenecks access. When there is only one document, only one party can view it at a time. Making copies isn’t always an option depending on the information, and most Public Works Departments keep files in the main building whenever possible. As you can imagine, finding time to work with documents can be arduous and even worse if you need to discuss the information with someone else.
- Lengthy inspections and permitting due to tedious, paper-based processes. Two main tasks of the Public Works Department are inspecting properties, buildings, roads, etc., and obtaining/supplying permits to make modifications or improvements. The traditional process of accomplishing these things involves stacks of paperwork, many signatures, numerous handoffs, and overall hassle. Projects can only move forward with the necessary paperwork, meaning a simple administrative issue can derail the entire timeline. Between human error with filing and the frequent delays in the traditional mailing process, delays are unfortunately not rare.
- Convoluted approval systems. Someone must approve every step of a Public Works project. The initial idea must be approved before any actions can take place. The budget and timeline must be approved before anything kicks off. Permit requests must be approved before breaking ground. The machine can’t proceed until the step before has been given the green light. Many Public Works Departments struggle with their approval system because it involves copious paper pushing, several meetings, and countless revisions. Getting approval the traditional way can take days (or weeks), bringing us back to the probability of costly project delays.
How can OnBase overcome these Public Works challenges?
The easiest solution to all the above challenges is implementing digital solutions as alternatives to traditional paper-based processes. OnBase takes it further by solving all challenges with a single platform. The experts at Hyland have created a comprehensive system capable of aiding all areas of your organization. Countless modules are available, and integrating with existing systems is a breeze. Since we’re focusing on Public Works, let’s highlight a few specific OnBase features making drastic improvement possible.
- Regulate permits and licensing. With help from OnBase, your agency can issue licenses and permits faster due to online forms and automated approval workflows. In addition, applications can be routed to caseworkers based on their current workload to avoid stretching anyone too thin. By appropriately distributing the work, more projects can be finished on time. OnBase will digitally capture and store all information, applications, and assignments in a secure online content repository.
- Review and approve plans. For government agencies like Public Works, it’s critical to catch all issues with a building or site plan before approval. Unfortunately, the traditional way of reviewing plan sets — in paper form only — presents many challenges for planning departments, especially in storage, access, and version control. OnBase is an end-to-end solution to manage and automate infrastructure planning. OnBase provides integrations to permit solutions to create centralized data storage, automated version/revision control for real-time collaboration, and transparency into plan status via reporting dashboards.
- Connect with Esri GIS mapping systems. Geographic information systems (GIS) dramatically improved how federal agencies review and analyze data by using the power of maps to bring together information describing infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and fixtures. Unfortunately, the related processes still often depend on lengthy paper forms. OnBase can eliminate paper pushing by making information like maps from Esri GIS readily accessible. The OnBase integration also connects data and documents for asset maintenance. It enables online access to information, provides simultaneous access to records that require reviews by multiple staff members, and allows users to view all content related to any building or asset with geo-location.
- Digitize the inspection process. Inspections occur on-site and can be an in-depth process. Under traditional methods, inspectors must take notes or fill out forms on paper before returning to the office to digitally reenter the same information. Storing the paper alone is not an option because other agencies or departments may need remote access to the data. As you would imagine, it can be frustrating to repeat information multiple times. OnBase is the perfect alternative thanks to real-time, digital capture of videos and images in the field. Forms can be filled out electronically and shared with internal or external users from a secure, consolidated data storage cloud.
Public Works has plenty of opportunities to grow with Hyland Software’s OnBase. The uses discussed today are only a few of the many options available. OnBase can be integrated with just about any system to avoid completely uprooting your current processes. Your staff will very quickly see an increase in productivity once the system is implemented, and tasks will fly off to-do lists across the department. If you’re interested in learning more about OnBase, please visit https://imagesoftinc.com/onbase/. Please contact the team with any questions or to see the platform in action.