Canberra      Sydney      Brisbane

Document Management Moving to the cloud

The Document Management Solution of a council is often the key repository for all council knowledge. It is probably the most widely used system across a council and holds a council’s intellectual property. Commonly integrated to almost all council solutions and depending on council policy and legislation has a legislative requirement to be compliant with areas such as privacy.

"Document Management goes by several different titles, including knowledge management, enterprise information management, and many will call it enterprise content management"

In this article, we will refer to it as document management.

Many councils like the modular approach to document management, whilst others prefer an enterprise solution including document management as part of a software suite. It is no surprise that the real movement for councils is a shift towards cloud solutions, with many migrating their current solutions to the cloud. It is also no surprise that councils include document management in their ERP procurement processes, although some only include integration and this is due to the inherent requirements to integrate to CRM, regulatory and financial transactions tightly.

When we look at the vendor landscape over the last ten years, it becomes apparent that ten years ago, many councils were using solutions not used by many other councils. That is, the market was dispersed. The “Others” category in the graph above, includes solutions only used by up to 5 councils. We have had to categorise them as “Others” or our graph would be very large! 


Specifically, there were also a lot of councils who didn’t use a known document management solution and were probably in reality using internal on premise network drives. There are now many more using known solutions. 


TechnologyOne has grown its base offering to councils over the last few years and most recently it has begun a push to cloud solutions for councils. The Ci Anywhere solution has had a significant take-up, leading to many councils moving to the TechnologyOne ECM product.  

 

Micro Focus Content Manager, is also a solution that has been very successful in the Australian Local Government. It was formerly known as Trim and HP Records Manager and had a significant usage. Its numbers have decreased over ten years mainly due to the movement of councils shifting to moduler offerings that came with solutions where integration was considered very important. The objective has seen success at larger councils. Magiq Docs has also seen some success at smaller councils. IT Vision records management has seen success in councils where they are using the IT Vision ERP solution. 

 

A significant mover, though, has been Microsoft SharePoint. Many years ago, SharePoint was only a solution for smaller councils, but this has changed significantly with the introduction of solutions that manage the SharePoint content. This includes solutions such as AvePoint and RecordPoint who have had an influx of executives from competing products. These solutions sit on top of SharePoint and manage the indexation, retention and destruction of records and the beauty for councils is they already have SharePoint as part of their licencing arrangements with Microsoft. 

 

Solutions such as CouncilFirst that are built on MS Dynamics, and also utilise SharePoint, could have an advantage here as they hook into Microsoft features and match the Microsoft R&D roadmap. 

 

When looking at Document Management Solutions, there are several considerations 

  • Usability of product and in many situations the ability to access data remotely. 
  • Ability to integrate with other solutions such as Regulatory, CRM, Financials, Asset Management, Payroll, website, email, and office products. There could be many more required based on the council solution map. 
  • Ability to work with scanning solutions. 
  • Ability to find relevant information through search. 
  • Security of data and ensuring that only relevant people in council can see records that they should have access to. 
  • That it meets relevant legislation such as the State Records Acts or VERS compliance. 

Document Management is a significant investment for councils. It is important part of the council ecosystem. Any procurement process should include relevant stakeholders as the entire council needs to buy into any decision. 

 

Other Challenges 

COVID-19 saw a massive rush to stand up remote team working capability. MS Teams has seen the use of SharePoint and OneDrive increase to a point where it is creating a regulatory and procedural headache for those councils who did not manage the rollout of MS Team,s in a non-reactive manner. Issues such as security, backup, chat logs and unstructured & un-managed data in OneDrive/SharePoint we feel will feature in the next round of Council audits. 

Speak to our Specialist Advisor