by CIO New Zealand

Clutha District Council taps M-Files to modernise information management

Apr 24, 2019
Data WarehousingDigital TransformationDocument Management Systems

The key was to chip away at the silo mindset and open up access to the informationSchalk Breytenbach, Clutha District Council.

Clutha District Council in the South Island has historically not invested significantly in information technology.

But a change in leadership in 2015 saw a renewed focus on ICT and the start of a digital transformation programme.

As part of the shift, the council examined what systems were in place and identified the gaps to bridge.

This review found the incumbent systems were inadequate for a modern council, which prompted the team to consider starting from scratch.

During that time, the council’s existing enterprise content management (ECM) system licences were about to become more expensive.

The licensing change meant we had to find a new solution, says Schalk Breytenbach, ICT manager at Clutha District Council.

“This provided a perfect opportunity to move towards intelligent information management to maximise resources and gain a better handle on documents throughout the council.”

The council is responsible for four key areas that are document dependent: community, service delivery (including roads, water, and waste management); and regulatory (including building and resource consents, health, and animal control).

The CDC team checked a range of options and chose M-Files to be implemented by a local partner, DocSmart.

According to a case study by M-Files, implementing the new system was a challenge because of the volume and complexity of the information stored by the council.

The council also had to ensure staff members would embrace the new system.

“The key was to chip away at the silo mindset and open up access to the information,” says Breytenbach.

“The team was able to migrate data from the old ECM files to M-Files without a roadmap. We used an agile implementation approach to overcome challenges as they arose,” says Breytenbach, in the case study.

“Because the project was new for DocSmart and it was the first time a local government had implemented M-Files, we had to learn on the go.”

“M-Files helps CDC deliver better services because access to information is key to everything we do,” says Breytenbach.

“Now that it only takes a moment to find information, people can work much faster and more effectively.”

“We can fast-track response times because people aren’t spending time constantly searching in a sea of documents. This means we can get accurate information faster.”

DocSmart helped CDC integrate M-Files with the council’s existing enterprise resource management (ERP) system where information now flows in two ways.

Users can view M-Files within the ERP and documents created from the ERP are pushed automatically to M-Files.

This means there is very little handling of documents and no double-handling, says Breytenbach.

This saved time for people who work with documentation.

“For example, building inspectors can now capture information from a third party solution, the transactional data goes into the ERP and the supporting documentation is linked and pushed to M-Files,” says Breytenbach.

“Once it is in the system, they can view it on any device from anywhere for quick and accurate site information.”

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