As government entities look to find ways to save tax dollars and better serve their constituents, many have succeeded in automating their document management processes and workflows. While change can sometimes be hard, in this case, it is necessary. Going paperless is a serious project, but it saves time and money, and provides much greater security, searchability and efficiency in filing.

As your organization looks to move its efficiency forward, here are a few options to consider, which reflect the major concerns we’ve heard from our state and local government clients. Don’t assume the market leader is the best. Do your due diligence. In today’s software environment, there are many alternatives that are often much more cost effective than the well known, market-leading brand. These alternatives are standards-compliant, easy to integrate with existing software solutions and may offer even more features.

Price: This is tied into the above point. Cost savings can often save upward of 50 percent with some solutions. Be sure to look at the multi-year cost of adopting new software, billing cycles and licenses. How often you will need to upgrade your licenses should also be factored in. These can all add excessive incremental costs.

Integration: Does it seamlessly integrate with related software that you currently utilize, or need? For instance, when looking at PDF software, integration with digital signature or electronic signature is an important consideration. 

Keeping information safe: Make sure your solution can protect your sensitive information. Does it integrate with other document security offerings, like Microsoft’s Active Directory Rights Management Services (AD RMS), to provide a complete information rights management solution?

Easy online collaboration: As the national workforce becomes more mobile, choose a solution that facilitates employees to work together through collaboration tools, enabling both desktop and mobile users to participate.

Simple software deployment: Mass deployment options enable IT to take control of enterprisewide deployments to ensure the standardization of menu and configuration settings.  

Customer support: And finally, be sure to evaluate customer service offerings. How available will your software provider be for troubleshooting on the fly? To keep your organization running on track, you need partners that are available whenever you need them.

Transforming physical and scanned records into editable and searchable files is never easy, but today it is one of the most common workflow processes used by the staff. For instance, employees of West Linn, Ore., are using PDFs for different content management tasks such as scanning, PDF/A archiving, converting, annotating, editing and protecting PDF documents. This is an effective way for them to add and modify records for the city's records management system. 

Simple and easy-to-adopt solutions are out there, and will rapidly increase workflow efficiency and effectiveness, while reducing cost, with due diligence and intelligent sourcing.

Frank Kettenstock is the vice president of marketing for Foxit Software, a provider of secure PDF solutions.