search and retrieve a single warrant from 23 million documents."

DST has saved additional time and money by eliminating the need for its 15-year-old check-scanning machine.

Processing Content

DSTs system is primarily for storage and retrieval, which is still a major concern for many government agencies. Other state and local imaging applications have added workflow to their imaging systems to automate the linear sequence of document processing in a bureaucracy. But electronic government is changing certain values and relationships between government and its constituents, creating the need for more flexibility and improved services.

This shift is forcing governments to come up with more flexible, interactive and coordinated work processes, using technology that is much more dynamic and modular. Standard document imaging and workflow just doesnt do the entire job. Traditional imaging companies, such as FileNet, Unisys and IBM, are remaking themselves into businesses that provide tools for managing electronic processes and content.

For example, a state transportation agency has to manage photos, applications, renewal forms and databases for its motor vehicle division, large-scale engineering drawings, construction contracts and databases of information for its engineering division and bids and supplier catalogs for its procurement department. It may also have to provide interfaces to the states criminal justice agency for stolen vehicle identification and data for the motor voter program.

When all these processes are paper driven, theres little that can be done to reengineer the business. But combine the power of the Internet with document technologies, including imaging and workflow, and add enterprise business applications, such as ERP and CRM, and new capabilities begin to emerge.

But as state and local governments explore this change in the process that allows agencies to interact with their constituents in more dynamic ways, its important they step back and take the time to understand the purpose of the documents that will be used in such a system.

"The obstacle to successful, large-scale implementation of imaging is understanding which documents are of high value, which ones are good candidates for imaging and which ones are better candidates as an electronic document for direct exchange from computer to computer," said Menta. "You have to understand the content of the document, the transaction of the document, who the document comes from and for whom its intended."

Tod Newcombe  |  Features Editor