All-in-one e-file solutions
On the way to the paperless office
The city of Gelsenkirchen focuses on
the DMS from EASY
Like many large cities, the city administration of Gelsenkirchen in the Ruhr region has its own IT service provider. The gkd-el (Gelsenkirchen Communal Datacenter-Emscher-Lippe) is an in-house institution and has been continuously developing the digital hardware and software infrastructure of the administration and its affiliated municipal operations towards the future for over 20 years. An important building block on this path is the application area of document management and archiving. This area is currently gaining considerable importance – among other things, due to the requirements that arise, for example, from the implementation of the German Online Access Act or the flexibilization of the working environment for employees of the administration.
In this area, gkd-el is pursuing a long-term strategy that began 15 years ago with a strategic decision toward the EASY product family. On this basis, a first major project was implemented in 2007. At that time, the Traffic Licensing department had to move to a new building.
Because there was no more space available for a paper archive, the existing paper files had to be digitalized. The volume was estimated at 2,500,000 pages.
“At that time, we had to find a future-proof solution for digitalization and secure storage. It was clear that a digital archive would also be the most sensible solution financially,” says Hans-Jürgen Reinhard, today head of the Electronic Archiving and Document Management team and project manager at gkd-el at the time. Thus, approximately 3 million data records were migrated from the old building to the legally compliant and audit-proof archiving system from EASY. The paper files were destroyed after careful review and backup.
Since then, this digital archive has grown by another 1.5 million data records to 4.5 million. The important thing to remember here is that a data record can consist of just one page, but it can just as easily be hundreds of pages long. Without the search function of the digital archive, an overview of potentially tens of millions of pages would be nearly impossible.
More project information
gkd-el subsequently digitalized the tax files for real estate taxes, trade tax, dog tax and amusement tax. The archiving solution had to be integrated into the SAP-based municipal finance procedure. This procedure is used to produce around 75,000 annual notices of land ownership tax every January alone. These are automatically transferred to the EASY Archive during operation, that is, parallel to printing.
This gives employees the advantage, among other things, of having uniform information available at a glance in the event of queries from taxpayers. Compared to the display in the previous procedure, this is much more transparent – and in the corporate design valid at the time. Since all other correspondence – incoming and outgoing – is also scanned and fed into the same archive, there is no longer any need to keep paper files.
When developing this second process stage, ease of use was the top priority. Using the EASY4SAP module, EASY Archive was seamlessly linked to the SAP system. As a result, the archived documents can be accessed directly from the SAP application, without employees having to leave the SAP GUI application. The transfer of documents between EASY Archive and SAP is completely transparent for users.
Employees can pass digital documents to each other within seconds. The additional step of printing several hundred pages per day for the paper file is also completely eliminated.
Finally, in the event of legal disputes, the audit-proof digital archive enables court-proof file reproduction – always an indispensable requirement for administrative processes.
And the third process stage for the eFile Taxes is already under development:
The documents in the archive are to be made available to citizens in electronic form via the service portal of the City of Gelsenkirchen and the document-safe function integrated there. In this way, it would even be possible – at least in part – to do without printing and delivering the notices in the future.
The tax file project showed that in the municipal environment it is no longer sufficient to scan documents en masse and store them securely in an electronic archive. There, they are just a wall full of shelves for employees, the top shelves of which can hardly be reached by any figurative ladder. Documents must be available where they are needed in day-to-day business.
Today, every department in a city administration uses dedicated digital solutions for its own processes. The registry office for civil status law, the building administration for building regulations, traffic or the environment and many more. Specific software solutions exist for all the multi-layered task areas of a municipal administration. The gkd-el is faced with the challenge of linking the archiving solution to these many specialized procedures in a meaningful way and connecting all the threads into one strand.
With initiative on both sides, we achieved a customized solution with EASY that meets our complex requirements”