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City of Winnipeg

Records management is moving out of dusty back rooms and into the forefront of government agencies' thinking, thanks to new regulations and technologies.

Here's a case study on the City of Winnipeg, which was looking to streamline its records management services; eliminate paper-based processes and automate for greater efficiency; introduce a "self-service" capability to its clients for direct and better access to their records; and lighten the load on its record center staff. They got that using O'Neil Software.

Records management is moving out of dusty back rooms and into the forefront of government agencies' thinking, thanks to new regulations and technologies.

Here's a case study on the City of Winnipeg, which was looking to streamline its records management services; eliminate paper-based processes and automate for greater efficiency; introduce a "self-service" capability to its clients for direct and better access to their records; and lighten the load on its record center staff. They got that using O'Neil Software.

The Technology User: City of Winnipeg Archives and Records Control

This organization is the corporate records manager (RM) for the City of Winnipeg, the capital and largest city of Manitoba, Canada. Archives' staff assist researchers looking for information relating to Winnipeg's social, cultural, economic and environmental history and development. Records Control is responsible for overseeing the city's records storage space and management programs, as well as providing advice, training and other resources to the various departments (16 total) and several Special Operating Agencies within the city.

Records Control stores a little over 10,000 boxes, with new and newly validated inventory being added on a weekly basis.

Records play a vital role in ensuring that the city is able to fulfill its obligations under the City of Winnipeg Charter and remain accountable to the public. Employees at all levels of the Administration have responsibilities as "stewards of information" and are expected to "create, manage and dispose of records according to the Records Management Bylaw."

City of Winnipeg 2

Challenge 1: Streamline Operations, Boost Productivity & Introduce a "Self-Serve" Component.

The Records Center is a relatively new addition to the city's RM services, having opened in 2007. Until recently, tracking inventory was done by Excel spreadsheets and various other paper-based processes. They also used an Access database prior to using O'Neil.

Senior Records Manager Scott Reid notes: "It was the intent of staff to streamline services and automate as much as possible our charge back services to ease the burden on RM staff. We also wanted to offer a better set of services to city departments by introducing a "self-service" component. This would allow our departments better access to their records; reconnect them to their inventory at the Records Center; and place some of the emphasis for management and destruction back on the client, lightening the load for a small and busy RM team." Records Control consists of two Record Managers and two Support Staff.

He continues: "What we liked about O'Neil's record storage/management software (RS-SQL®) was it seemed flexible, powerful and capable of a lot more than what we would use it for, based on our size and the types of services we provide to the City of Winnipeg departments. We were also very intrigued by the potential of their RSWeb®.NET, which for us would offer the self-service capability we were looking to offer our clients."

Although impressed by most of the software they reviewed in making their purchasing decision, Scott reveals: "We were familiar with O'Neil's track record and the fact that it is an established company with some presence in our city, which helped somewhat. We were also impressed with the professionalism and the timely responses we received from the O'Neil team."

Challenge 2: Give Clients Direct Access to Their Records, Freeing Up Internal Staff.

O'Neil's RSWeb.NET harnesses the power of the Internet and Microsoft®'s latest .NET technology, to make record centers that use RS-SQL a true extension of their clients' operations.

As part of O'Neil's complete suite of fully integrated software (RS-SQL, award-winning, AT&T® Certified RSMobile®), RSWeb.NET provides clients with fast, flexible and real-time access to all their business information, right when they need it, a mouse click away. The software frees up internal staff, so they can tend to other important tasks.

This extended access to information enhances client communications. Instead of waiting for answers from the record center staff, the City of Winnipeg clients can quickly and easily query the database; add new or edit existing inventory, schedule and request services such as pickups and deliveries; and monitor the status of orders. As clients become more familiar with the software, they will be able to generate reports 24/7, 365 days a year on their record activities. All this will take place directly from their desks, saving time and eliminating costly errors.

Ease-of-use is at the core of O'Neil's design philosophy. RSWeb.NET's simple, user friendly screens walk clients through every step of the way, providing them with incentive to order online more often and with complete confidence. With customizable data entry screens, instant reporting and powerful queries at their fingertips, clients have greater access and control of their business records than ever before.

Challenge 3: Before You Invest - Investigate.

Your automation investment can be an information goldmine. But first you have to have the right technology partner. This requires some serious investigation before you invest.

In this particular case, the City of Winnipeg required a tendering process for purchases above a certain value, which was how this was approached. Scott indicates: " We were very impressed with the O'Neil Software package and the price point was significantly less than the competitors. We also sought out reviews from businesses in the city which were currently using O'Neil. This software provider's track record was strong and the fact that it was an established company (now celebrating its 30th year in business as of this writing) with some presence in our city helped a great deal. The reviews were good from the people already using the software and this has been borne out by our experience as well."

He continues: "We were also impressed with the professionalism, timely responses, service and support that we received from the O'Neil team. They have been super with us at all times."

The Solution: Quality Records Management Software That Fits Your Budget & Your Expectations.

The outwardly sedate world of government records keeping and archiving is experiencing a period of rapid change designed to streamline operations; boost staff productivity; enhance customer service; provide greater transparency; and make better use of business information.

Known for their limited budgets, it doesn't mean that government automation product expectations need to be limited as well. There is good quality records management software available. You just need to do your due diligence and work with the right strategic partner.

Helping government agencies deal with this deluge of data is something O'Neil Software does very well. Our flagship product, RS-SQL, is the most competitively-priced software solution on the market today, ensuring record center efficiency, productivity and profitability.

City of Winnipeg - Outside