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How eForms in Courts are Pioneering End-to-End Paperless Processes

Case Management featured

Courts everywhere use specialized software to manage their core business functions, not unlike any standard business process in any organization. ImageSource has worked with many courts to promote their paperless initiatives and integrate with their case management systems (CMS), whether they have proprietary systems or they are using popular software like Tyler, JTI, Justice Systems, or Thomas Reuters.

The reasons to utilize electronic forms in the courtroom are obvious. Eforms can enable an end-to-end paperless process, eliminate inked signatures, manual approval stamping, scanning and filing. They can also require that complete and accurate data is submitted.
Some case management systems include electronic forms modules, but they have real limitations. Because they are commonly static PDF documents that lack many of the benefits listed above, progressive courts choose to integrate a more robust eForms software for several reasons:

  1. Flexiblity of form structure
  2. Extended capabilities
  3. Data from forms can be pushed to other systems or standardized forms
  4. Control over final product or image
  5. Ability to easily build out additional forms not found in CMS

With these advantages in mind, let’s take a look at a real-world application to show the difference specialized, robust eForms software can make.

In the case of some California Superior Courts, eForms are revolutionizing traditional processes. In the past, attorneys and their supporting staff would have to sift through inapplicable fields to fill a paper form. Some of the fields had to be hastily filled during a hearing and then handed to the judge for a signature. The paper would then be delivered to court clerks, who would review and time stamp the document, scan and manually enter pertinent data into the case management system. The document would then be uploaded to a repository or the CMS, sometimes requiring more keying of index fields.

Flexible Form Structure & Extended Capabilities Simplify Completion

When advanced electronic software is integrated with a CMS, an eForm can automatically pull information from that database to pre-fill pertinent fields, verifying data, saving time and ensuring accuracy. Responsive form technology automatically only shows applicable fields, revealing more of the form only when certain actions are taken, like checking a box. Additional functionality enables the process to be completely paperless to provide additional efficiencies to the process. They include:

  • Pop-up calendars
  • Customizable branding
  • Electronic signature
  • Date stamping
  • Progress bar
  • Attachments documents or images
  • Calculator
  • Responsive sections (certain actions expose more fields)

Properly Integrated eForms Software and Court Case Management Systems To Deliver a More Powerful Solution that Functions Like a Single System

This eForm functionality is not just impressive, but exponentially valuable when integrated with existing case management systems, like Tyler, JTI, Justice Systems, and Thomas Reuters. The good news is that integrating some products, like our ILINX eForms, doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated.

Using ILINX eForms as an example, let me outline an example of the synergistic relationship between the two platforms for both the push and pull of data. As mentioned above, the eForm is able to pull data from the CMS to pre-fill and validate data in the form fields.
Upon completion and of an electronic form during a hearing, the same workflow used for submittal and approval can begin a number of essential processes to push data. First, it can update the case management system with the data collected. Second, the data can be transformed into a digital document that looks like an official paper document that can be stored in the CMS, stored in a repository, shared or printed.

This image automatically retains relevant metadata so it can be easily searched for, making retrieval a breeze. Lastly, the data collected can be pushed to standardized forms, like the ones provided by the Judicial Council of California for Superior Courts to use, fully automating that process.

Data collected on eForm can be automatically pushed to a standardized PDF form, including signature

 

A Dedicated Form Software Allows Limitless Possibilities for Forms & New Efficiencies They Deliver

Imagine the possible applications across your organization for any process that needs to gather information and deliver it in a specifically structured document, or as raw data. Using the right form builder, your IT team can generate a wide variety of eForms internally, enabling granular control over function and the flow of information.

Using the courts as an example, a flexible eForms product like ILINX, can be extended to integrate with any number of business systems for better access and automation. Forms can be integrated with accounting systems for online invoice submission, status and resolution, procurement and expense reporting. Forms can be utilized by HR for onboarding, time-off requests and address/name changes. Public requests for court documents can be made through a web form. Payments for requested documents or fines can also be collected through a form. All this using one flexible platform.

These points highlight just how powerful the integration of a robust electronic forms platform can be, demonstrating the value that they add not just to a court system, but to virtually any organization.

For more information on ILINX eForms, visit our website, email us at info@imagesourceinc.com, or call (360)943-9273.
To learn more about ImageSource, and all of the content management services we provide, visit us here.

Access & Hearing Requests at WSDOT— ILINX Enables Rapid Implementation


Richard Norrell, Washington State Department of Transportation

The staff of the WSDOT Access & Hearing office approached the ECM team to discuss a possible solution for a paper based process they had where external customers would submit documents to them requesting access to WSDOT property. The Access & Hearing staff needed a way to control and track these requests and the paper process was just not able to meet their needs any longer. The ECM engineers met with the business to go over their specifications and discuss possible solutions for the Access & Hearing office.

ILINX Capture Workflow flowchart

Utilizing a blended ILINX Capture, ILINX Content Store, and the WSDOT ECM Portal, a solution was provided that not only meets their immediate needs but also allows them to comply with future requirements such as audit, public disclosure, and retention management requirements.

In this solution, users from various offices throughout WSDOT will be able to submit their documents using the drag-and-drop features of the ILINX Capture client. Once documents are submitted an email is sent to the Access & Hearing office, notifying them of the submission.

From there the Access & Hearing staff will index the documents and forward them to the staff responsible for reviewing and providing the Approval or Denial of the request.

Once final determination is made the workflow will provide notification to the office requesting the access and also release the documents where they will then be available to WSDOT staff and trusted partners.

One of the additional challenges for this solution arises when the request for Access relates to a project that does not yet exist. The Access & Hearing administrators needed a way to create the necessary project related information. For this a simple administration panel was built in the WSDOT ECM Portal.

 

Project Admin Panel

This panel will keep track of all current and previous projects that have been submitted to the Access & Hearing office. The data created with this project is used as a lookup in the ILINX Capture process to ensure the documents are associated with the correct project.

ILINX Content Store Search Panel

After the documents have been indexed, and stored in ILINX Content Store, the requestor will receive a notification email indicating that the document is available in the ECM system, this email will include a link to retrieve the documents from ILINX Content Store. Users can also search for documents via an ILINX Content Store saved search exposed through the ECM Portal.

So in the end, the ILINX solution provides the ability for the Access & Hearing staff to eliminate their paper based process and at the same time gives them the ability to quickly store their documents in a manner that meets both the immediate needs as well as other regulatory requirements such as Auditing, Retention Management and Public Disclosure.

The initial phase of this project was implemented rapidly. It included the requirements gathering, prototype build, review and approval of prototype, build of solution in Quality Assurance environment, QA testing, several iterations of change, a move to the Production the Environment, and finally Production testing. The time spent by IT on this project was just over 80 hours. Now that the business has their initial process in place we can rapidly expand their capabilities.

What ILINX Has in Common with Two Giants: Alibaba and Apple

I read a post recently titled Customer-centric and easy-to-use is the new business model (The Alibaba story) that really hit home. The author, Gerry McGovern, a customer-centricity guru, points out that Alibaba, the world’s biggest online commerce company, has defined a clear mission of “making it easier to do business across the world”, as founder Jack Ma put it. I think it’s safe to say that this model has merit, as the company claims the biggest IPO in the history of the world.

As a long-term Apple user, (my first Mac had a hard drive with 512 KB memory) I can say that their progressively intuitive interfaces have been a compelling reason for me to continue using their technology. In fact, the Macintosh project started with an Apple employee named Jef Raskin who envisioned an easy-to-use, low-cost computer.

Apple has stayed true to this model to present day, according to technology industry analyst Jeff Bajarin. In an article published by Time Magazine, Bajarin outlines six key principals that set Apple apart from the competition, three of which are:Continue reading

4G and Content Management

With the advent of LTE, HSPA+, and Wi-MAX (collectively referred to as 4G) information can be transferred at speeds never before thought possible. 4G for most of us is old news. However, it occurred to me that organizations rarely consider how this efficiency can actually be utilized. Most of my peers/colleagues utilize one form of a cloud drop box or another.  These tools are great for one or two Power Point presentations and maybe a couple case studies. I remember the first time I turned on my iPad/Mobile HotSpot and opened cloud app. ABC, it was information at my fingertips when and where ever I wanted it—I felt a sense of freedom. As time passed I added more and more “IMPORTANT” content to my personal cloud. Certainly you can all guess what happened next. The pile of paper in my cloud was 10x the size of the stack of paper on my desk at work. 4G connectivity, the cloud and “IMPORTANT” information is a great tool. If you add one more piece to the puzzle (enterprise content management) it can be invaluable to your organization.

For a moment try to imagine where organized, “MOBILE” and secure content could add value to your organization. Content that is safely tucked away behind your firewall yet still available to the appropriate men and women in the trenches. The applications begin to seem endless. As you know almost any type of files can be managed inside an ECM solution.

In one scenario a construction manager is remodeling the third floor in a local university building. It becomes immediately apparent that the plumbing was modified at some point to accommodate for an additional bathroom. The CM only has the original blue prints in his/her possession. What he/she needs are the updated “As-Is” drawings. These documents have of course been printed, folded and filed away back at HQ. It is obvious now that dollars are about to be spent on the recovery of these drawings. The only question that remains now is; how many dollars could be saved?

Decision makers and labor workers alike can all benefit from the innovation of fast mobile internet. However, the content being sought after or delivered must be organized and secure. I challenge anyone who reads this post to add a comment below: How can high speed mobile internet and content management be effectively combined to reduce cost or increase an organization’s bottom line?

Joshua D. Gilmore
Account Executive
ImageSource Inc.

 

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