Document Management Vision Critical to Electronic Courts

Courts are consistently trying to keep pace with rapidly changing technology.  As important as keeping pace with technology is to the future of the courts, it is also critical for courts to a have a vision, holistic plan and buy-in from key stakeholders before jumping into the deep end of the pool. Implementing technology without a well thought out plan is a recipe for disaster. This applies to all projects, but I’m going to specifically focus on document management.

Per the National Center for State Courts, “Records and document management are at the core of most business processes.” Document management is how courts obtain those documents with many moving to electronic court records (ECR), while records management focuses on care, retention and storage. http://www.ncsc.org/Topics/Technology/Records-Document-Management/Resource-Guide.aspx.

A successful Document Management System (DMS) implementation requires creating a culture and vision for technology change. You must identify areas in the court’s business strategies that can integrate with the technology. In addition to integration with the Case Management System (CMS), a DMS should be able to pair with Fiscal, Human Resources, Procurement and other departments if desired. There are specific questions that need to be asked to define and build a successful process.

  • Does the court need the electronic document?
  • How will you create the electronic record? Will you scan paper, use eForms or eFiling?
  • Does your CMS have a built in DMS, and is it sufficient for your needs? What about other departments or business systems that may need to integrate?
  • What is the process the document must go through before being committed to the repository
  • How will you certify the electronic document as a true and accurate public record?
  • How will judges and clerks interact with the electronic record?
  • Who gets access to the documents and under what security rules?
  • How will your staff work with the documents?
  • Does the court plan to provide access to the public? If so, are there plans to redact the documents and maintain a second copy of the record?

Regardless of your strategy, your goal should be to handle cases as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible while providing the best possible customer service.

Extract Systems is not a document management provider.  We provide software to eliminate tedious time-consuming manual data entry and/or redact sensitive information in public records.  Our technology can be integrated with your existing document or case management systems.  Please contact me at troy_burke@extractsystems.com or 608-821-6534 to comment on this blog. 

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About the Author: Troy Burke

With 30 years of experience providing clients with stellar service and strategic solutions for growth and development, Troy is committed to ensuring his customers receive the highest quality solution, training and support with every implementation. He frequently speaks on the topic of redaction and is actively involved with National Association of Court Management, Property Records Industry Association and several other government organizations.