ImageSource Team
By ImageSource Team on January 06, 2022

Q&A with Washington State Board of Accountancy

ImageSource

What brought you to consider a business process automation solution for the Board of Accountancy?

Michelle Tuscher

It was a business need. Everything evolves, and we are currently in a digital age. It made business sense to move paper documents to a digital format.

ImageSource

Can you tell us how records requests were handled manually?

Michelle Tuscher

As records requests came in, the Board of Accountancy staff spent time shuffling through paper files to fulfill those requests; even our executives were reviewing paper documents for relevant content. It wasn't a great use of time.

ImageSource

When you began to look for a solution, were you looking for a cloud solution, or were you considering both on-premise or cloud equally?

Michelle Tuscher

I was looking for a cloud solution. The Governor and the Legislators were explicit that Washington State agencies look for cloud solutions. I met Kristina from ImageSource at an IPMA (Information Professional Management Association) conference and started looking into the offered solutions. ImageSource offered the cloud solution in which I was interested; ImageSource was not on the ECM master contract at the time and the vendors that were on the master contract were only offering an on-prem solution. I needed to work out a strategy to get the right solution.

ImageSource

Was there a vendor selection process for you? Did you do the RFI or RFP process?

Michelle Tuscher

I reached out to the Washington State master contract list for VARs (Value Added Resellers) and then asked ImageSource if you'd be interested in working with the VAR, SHI. Your partnership with the VAR allowed me to use the Master Contract for a cloud solution to digitize our documents and create workflows. This was not available when I started my discovery.

ImageSource

Can you tell me what defining the project requirements was like?

Michelle Tuscher

We had done the research and knew how many paper records we had and what kind of resources it would take internally for the Board of Accountancy to sort through them. We did some analysis and assessment on our own and then through meetings with ImageSource we strategized a solution. We engaged with ImageSource on the discovery, development, and implementation of the ILINX solution we use today.

Interally we call our system ECM (Electronic Content Management), and we use it for storing and record search. We have ILINX Content Store and ILINX Capture running as a SaaS deployment. Everything in the system is easily searchable.

One of the things that is a huge benefit to us is that we moved forward very quickly and with very little need to redesign or rebuild. We had enough time during our build engagement to consider an additional module; our agency had enough resources to go ahead with the additional module, the Eenforcement Workflow piece.

ImageSource

Tell me more about the enforcement workflow.

Jennifer Sciba

It's the intake of a complaint and the filing of an incident report for each case. There's an external-facing form for an individual to file a complaint. Once in the ILINX system, the form becomes part of an automated workflow and routed to agency staff to review the contents, take actions, and determine the next process flow. Once the process is completed, ILINX Content Store is set up to include management of our retention policies for the case, which can be different depending on the case type. We are in control of Expiry in the system based on retention policy.

Michelle Tuscher

The Enforcement module solution allows for many different paths. As staff review these requests, they make determinations on the next process and workflow to follow. From the decision trees in the flow; the staff can send the workflow to one of many branches of processing. Whatever workflow we are in there are opportunities for more staff review and input. We even have it set up to allow board members the ability to review the complaint and associated documents.

We have established permission controls through the States Enterprise Active Directory and with ILINX applied RBACs (role based access controls). ILINX manages all of the access and permissions with the ILINX platform; the ILINX team worked with Office of Cyber Security and WaTech to ensure permissionion and access met the state standards.

Jennifer Sciba

We can control what complaints or documents are seen and accessible by specific individuals via their permissions and policies managed in ILINX.

ImageSource

That's awesome. Are those complaints initiated through your website?

Jennifer Sciba

Yes, there are staff and board-initiated complaints as well as citizen initiated complaints. Thinking back to your original question, we knew we had to have automation based on meeting the States direction for a mobile workforce, and now we can search for these records and not have to be in the office. This became a benefit during the COVID-19 restrictions. Because our solution was already in place for our agency, we did not have to look for, and initiate a solution. Now we work at home primarily, and with ILINX, we have continued to do business seamlessly. Staff can process document requests on-line from any secure access point not having to be physically in the office. Since paper documents are not allowed to leave the office, somebody had to be physically in the office to work with the paper documents. Now we can review all documents without any of them being taken out of our office; they are now digitally available to staff.

Michelle Tuscher

Our system has been in place for three years. We considered the remote workforce idea at the time we planned the system. A mobile workforce was one of the Governor's specific initiatives. We included those requirements. We also went to the Secretary of State and confirmed they could support our records being completely digital.

Jennifer Sciba

I worked with the Secretary of State to review the requirments for converting non-archival paper records to a digital format by imaging (scanning and saving) to ensure we followed the requirements.

ImageSource

Thank you for that. It's great you had the forethought to prepare for work-from-home. So many people were unprepared for it wholly. What has the system saved in terms of person-hours or in complaint processing time? Is there a measurement you guys have used that reflects the value of the automation?

Michelle Tuscher

The cost of happiness: What I mean by that is providing access to information as expected by citizens and a work environment that meets the expectations of the workforce to perform their duties. This includes being digitized and most things being available online. There is a significance to digital accessibility which outweighs the less expensive option of storing papers in a box. It is also about the cost of work hours and the fact that you have to consider the time of the people that would have to search through boxes of papers compared to running a query against a digital data base. And, we need the ability to have this available anytime, anywhere.

The value add of our solution is a significant improvement to what we had. The measurable difference goes mainly to the business need and meets the expectations of a modern business environment. In addition, I weigh the advantages of being able to create improvements because we are not burdened with tasks that are slow and cumbersome.

That's where the critical value is. As the CIO, I was talking with Jennifer one day about what she was doing. She is our Deputy Director, the SME for the business; she wears a lot of hats for our agency and is relied on for many business functions.  

One day I found her going through the boxes of paper documents, and I didn't know what she was doing.  She told me she was looking for records for public records requests. I thought, It's not valuable to have my Deputy Director looking through boxes of papers; her time is so valuable. We needed a modern solution. We needed an ECM system.

The support we have from ImageSource, who takes care of all the servers and software, ensures I don't have to maintain or manage these functions and increases the value of the project. We don't have to have subject matter experts in SQL or server support.

It's a complete package, and it is very friendly to our users. It's not often that you make a huge change, as we did, and that you then have somebody stop you and tell you how much they love the system. That happened to me with ILINX. That just doesn’t happen often in IT.

ImageSource

Yeah, no kidding, That's awesome.

Michelle Tuscher

What we have found in working with your team over these three to four years is that ImageSource truly is a partner and is willing to look at the needs of the business and see if there are things that we can do to meet the business needs.

ImageSource

We appreciate your partnership, Michelle and Jennifer, and your time today to discuss the Board of Accountancy ILINX solution.

Published by ImageSource Team January 6, 2022
ImageSource Team