Content Management: Should All Your Documents Be Data?

By Michelle Colbert, Senior Vice President, Xerox Unclaimed Property Clearinghouse

Once upon a time, nearly all content was paper. Government agencies received paper forms, issued paper approvals, maintained paper files, mailed paper checks, and more. Individuals interacting with government were also required to work in paper – it was the only way to sign documents, pay bills, and perform any other transactions needed in their daily lives.

Today, the picture is generally different. We pay with credit cards or electronic transactions; government agencies take electronic applications and maintain records online. However, there’s a complication – what about all those documents from “once upon a time”? How do they join us in the present?

Take the example of the Utah State Treasury. After converting to electronic unclaimed property reporting in 2008, they were still burdened with backfile documents going back to 1959. All shapes and sizes of documents – postcards, handwritten forms, and more – were stored in file cabinets, requiring physical retrieval. The paper documents were also vulnerable to loss or destruction in the case of disaster, and contained personal, confidential information.

So, Utah called on long-time unclaimed property partner Xerox, who provides the program’s document imaging solution. With strict demands on time, security, and accuracy, Xerox was under significant pressure to perform. We delivered for Utah – more than half a million documents imaged in 45 days. Read more detail in our case study. The project was completed without distracting Treasury staff from their everyday work, and they now have complete, immediate, and secure access to all documents.

Do you still have piles of paper? What could you gain from turning those documents into electronic data? As in Utah’s example, a short period of intense work, if handled correctly, can pay off for years to come.

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