Based in Columbia, Maryland, the Howard County Health Department is dedicated to promote, preserve and protect the health of all Howard County residents through quality and client-centered health services, evidence-based public health advocacy and outreach, strong policies and partnerships, and a dedicated and effective public health workforce.
As a government agency, the Howard County Health Department is governed by regulatory standards and retention schedules that require it to keep official documents for many years – sometimes for life. This resulted in a lot of paper files stored in off-site warehouse facilities. To find a specific piece of content, employees had to physically visit the filing room and manually search for the file. Health Department employees were creating content either locally or on shared drives and security provisions on these drives prevented others from finding the content they needed. As a result, departments could not share data or collaborate on content on their own without requiring IT (Information Technology) assistance. A few years ago, the department began looking for ways to digitize all of its data. It needed a foundation for content creation, as well as a way to manage the content it already had, with all content centralized in one location. “We needed a better way to find content and create it in the right location so others can find it in the organization as well,” said Kayin Carroll, Howard County Health Department’s IT Director.
The agency needed a flexible, out of the box solution with existing metadata fields that wouldn’t require a lot of development time to customize. After evaluating several solutions, the agency hose Alfresco One as its document management solution because of Alfresco’s open architecture and multiple use cases in the government sector. They also partnered with Alfresco’s Platinum Partner Micro Strategies to take advantage of their Microsoft Office Integration Solution, which combines the ease of use and familiarity of working in Microsoft Office applications and the owner of Alfresco One to provide the agency with the necessary tools to secure digital content. “We had a lot of content that needed to be scanned and wanted a web-based solution that wouldn’t require a lot of customization or complicated licensing,” said Carroll. “Alfresco far exceeded any other solution out there and allows us to make some customizations on our own, which keeps our costs down.”
Today, with the help of Alfresco’s Platinum Partner Micro Strategies, the Howard County Health Department has rolled out Alfresco to its human resources department. The solution is also integrated with Microsoft Office through Alfresco’s Outlook Integration that allows users to access the Alfresco document library directly from within Microsoft Outlook.
The agency’s transportation, public information, health policy analysts and fiscal department will begin using Alfresco later this year. Employees will receive training about how to use the solution in their department as the metadata changes for each use case, Carroll said. “Alfresco will be our foundation for all content creation,” said Carroll. “All documents and e-mail created by employees are transferred to, or created within Alfresco. Any time content is created; it’s done in Alfresco. It is a business critical solution that is being used for every process, every day.” In Human Resources, between 200-300 pages of content are created each month and archived in Alfresco. Once the rollout is complete, the agency expects to have around 200 users accessing Alfresco. So far, users have been very happy with the platform’s design and functionality, Carroll said. “Alfresco enables employees to create content anywhere, anytime, but also provides a level of intelligence to help us find content and track that content,” said Carroll. “The solution really makes our life easier and allows us to find what we need very quickly, which saves the County both time and money.”