At CPS, we engage with clients at all stages of their ECM lifecycle. From utterly new to ECM—to migration from another ECM product. Since we work with municipalities, we often respond to an RFP in tandem with getting to know the potential client.
This is where we started working with Alesha Boyd, a Management Analyst at the City of San Mateo. Boyd took on her position in the Clerk’s Office soon after twelve RFP responses for enterprise content management were submitted. The RFP itself was interesting as it called for a cloud ECM product, migration from SIRE, and the immediate onboarding of the Clerk’s Office, Public Works, Community Development, and HR.
Boyd admitted she was new to software procurement and enterprise content management. Still, she innately understood that teaming with the departments who needed the product and the support of the City Clerk, Patrice Olds, and Consulting Applications Manager, Peter Roth was vital for success. It was especially valuable when reviewing the responses. Roth explains,” I was looking for responsiveness in the proposal—Did the vendor comply with requirements? Were they clear? Did they listen?” Boyd wasn’t afraid to reach out and ask questions of the vendors. “Claude from CPS was really trying to help me, not sell to me. I wanted cloud-based software, and he helped me understand the implications of cloud versus on-premise.”
The next step in the selection process was to have the vendors conduct demos, or what we in the industry fondly refer to as the bake-off. Along with the staff, as mentioned earlier, Boyd invited other department heads to the product demos. Each staff member looked for features and functions that would augment their work processes. To select demo participants, Boyd worked with Roth to get the list down to five. Roth explains IT’s role, “This project was a clerk initiative, as a tech support entity, we offer support for them. For office work, project and implementation plans are new, so we support them there. Also, we help with vendor relations.”
After the demos, Boyd circled back with her project partners. She made the final decision, which was the Laserfiche product offered by CPS. Boyd shared with us that she and Olds chose CPS because of the support she received through the entire procurement process. She was confident that CPS would deliver the same high level of support through the lifecycle of the engagement.
Once the selection was made, Boyd relished the opportunity to pick up a new skill, change management. Boyd confides, “It takes time, and people are still uncomfortable with the change.
I hear some squeaky wheels. Of course, the staff is busy with their tasks. When we are finally done, and Community Development isn’t slammed with Public Records Requests all the time, it’ll make them happy.” Roth adds,” City employees are worried about what they do today. They are results-focused. Enterprise Content Management is a heavy lift. It’s a program, not a project.”
When queried about project challenges, Boyd divulged that training was far more complex than she envisioned. “There are different styles of learning. Our group prefers to work with documentation upfront, whereas CPS trains live and provide videos first. Joe must have created 25 videos. But having paper documentation as we are going along is helpful for training; our team was quite vocal about that. Also, Laserfiche Cloud is a relatively new product, so we sometimes have a question that CPS has to research. They get back to us straight away, though. Joe came to an unbelievable amount of folder structure meetings.”
Looking back, Boyd discloses where they are today and how far San Mateo has progressed:
“Public Works is set up and running. Community Development is migrating. The SIRE migration went well. Joe partnered w/ our IT department. I got the EnerGov API from MCCi, and they worked with CPS on that interface. In the City Clerk’s Office, the data is there, and the interface is easier to use. However, right now, we are still working with physical records and SIRE.”
When questioned what the best feature of Laserfiche is, both Boyd and Roth agree, SEARCH. “Modern search is amazing, “ Roth explains. “We just have so many staff that need to find documents,” interjects Boyd.
Currently, Boyd serves as the agency’s records manager, Laserfiche internal support, DocuSign support, and compliance. She’s also planning how they will approach their backfile conversion. And “At some point, we’ll revisit our retention schedules for Community Development, HR, the City Clerk, and Public Works.”
We asked Boyd what advice she would offer to an agency embarking on a Laserfiche deployment. She provides her hard-earned wisdom:
“Look for vendors who provide the best cs and support, who are willing to review the numbers again. Work closely and partner with IT. Communicate with other departments and let them know what is coming. Invite them to demos and get their input. We’ve deepened our relationships. However, I have to be mindful of their time. Consider developing a real customer-service mindset. It’s important to handhold the departments.”
“It takes time. It’s taken a year to get this far. We’ve got migrations, and we’ve got files to clean up. We are all slammed. Some cities staff so their employees have a lot of bandwidth, but we are not one of them.”
Thanks, Alesha and Peter! We have a feeling you’ll serve as an excellent model for a future CPS municipal client.