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Metafile Improves Employee Productivity for Marion County

  Best Practices published in DM Review Magazine
August 2002 Issue
 
  By Steve Barker

The Marion County Tax Collector, Ocala, Florida, is responsible for collecting and dispersing taxes from information provided on the annual tax roll, which is provided by the Property Appraiser's Office. The tax roll consists of real estate taxes and tangible taxes.

Implementation Summary

Although the organization stores checks and receipts digitally, a great deal of additional information was still processed in the traditional manner using paper. Tax rolls, for example, were printed each year and bound in large binders. Many other documents were also stored as hard copies. This included those generated internally, such as correspondence with taxpayers, and those generated externally, such as bad check paperwork from banks, returned envelopes from mail that could not be forwarded and paperwork for real estate cut-outs. Accessing this information required physically finding the appropriate binder or file cabinet and tracking down the necessary documents. Payment information older than one year was stored on microfiche, but it was not any quicker to access. Regardless of which hard-copy format was used, it could take as little as 15 minutes or as long as two hours to find the desired document. Another drawback to handling information this way was that it was susceptible to being misfiled and lost.

After researching computer output to laser disk (COLD) technology, we decided that the best solution for our agency was a combination of a COLD system with an imaging system that scans documents and stores them digitally. Our most important selection criteria was good integration between the COLD and imaging components, and an interface between these tools and the 7780 system. This was necessary to ensure that all tax-related information, including check and receipt images, would be stored in one database. It was not difficult to find an economical solution to address one of these needs in isolation; but only Metafile, a Rochester, Minnesota-based company was able to meet all of our requirements. Now, all digital data, whether it is generated by the remittance processing system, the COLD system or the imaging system, resides in the Metafile database. The RP Solutions software drives the 7780 and handles remittance-processing functions. Image and index data captured by this system is then imported into the Metafile database. All the other documents that go through the office are scanned using the manual scanner that is part of the Metafile imaging system. In addition, Metafile was willing to provide the necessary integration service to link its software with the remittance processing system.

Practical Advice

Most COLD systems, which store reports and other documents generated on a computer, and most imaging systems, which store images of paper documents, offer access to only one type of document. Implementing a system that has both COLD and imaging capabilities dramatically reduces the initial purchase price, user training time and administration requirements.

Benefits

Metafile is available to our entire staff, and approximately twenty people use it full-time. The system has greatly improved their productivity, reducing the time needed to access documents from hours to seconds. Rather than leaving the desk to find a certain document, staff members can perform a text search and zero into any section of interest very quickly. Routine inquiries from the public can be answered while the person is still on the phone. Even once-difficult issues are now resolved in minutes. By typing in a name or a parcel number, staff members immediately see every item in the office that is related to that parcel. As a result, the research productivity of the staff has increased by 75 percent.

The Metafile Content Database includes COLD, imaging and workflow in a single integrated solution. Its Windows-based print capture and imaging products feed a single print output and imaging warehouse. Documents can be easily written to CD-ROM or hard drives for storage. The information stored in the document warehouse can be accessed with a viewer client or over the Web.
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For more information on related topics visit the following related portals...
Content Management.

Steve Barker, deputy tax collector, Marion County Tax Collector.

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