Paperless, automated system simplifies registering for recreation activities in Virginia
Loudoun County, Va., has one of the nation’s highest median household incomes and is consistently ranked among America’s fastest growing counties. These factors have led to an increasingly high demand for public services, including programming provided by the county’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services.
The activities for youngsters and residents of all ages include arts and culinary classes, sports, outdoor adventures and more. The activities are so popular that recently, parents lined up for hours to register their children. Jakub Jedrzejczak, Loudoun County database administration team manager, recalls one year when parents began lining up at the department’s office at 10 p.m. the night before registration opened.
“These programs are great for local families,” Jedrzejczak says, adding that he enrolls his daughter each year. “But registration was not easy, because you have to provide a lot of paper documents for identification, health and safety reasons.” Because the entire process was paper-driven, it was time-intensive and error-prone.
Loudoun County’s consistent growth meant that lines will only get longer unless something changed, so Jedrzejczak and the IT department began digitizing and streamlining registration. They used the county’s Laserfiche enterprise content management system to create an online form that residents could submit from home or via a mobile device. The initiative to automate parks and rec program applications was completed in 2016.
Laserfiche enabled department personnel to also build an automated workflow for the registration process. Once someone submits the electronic form, Laserfiche automatically sends it to the relevant employees for review and approval. The information is all stored an electronic repository, eliminating the need for paper copies and physical file cabinets.
Authorized personnel can search and retrieve documents from a computer or mobile device with a few clicks, which has transformed the experience for employees responsible for the safety of participants. Before implementing the system, staff would head out to host activities with a locked filing box filled with each participant’s paperwork in case of an emergency. Now, information is accessible via a tablet computer.
The new process also reduces manual data entry. Online forms allow users to submit information only when it is complete, plus, forms auto-populate fields with information if it is already in the system — for instance, when the user is a returning registrant.
“It’s frustrating for a person to stand in line, then find out their child is not registered because of a mistake in the paperwork,” Jedrzejczak says. “Having accurate and complete information is one of the greatest benefits. We can control the data and make sure that it’s complete—it eliminates a lot of problems.”
Before reengineering the process, creating files consumed more than 320 hours. Creating files now takes just 24 hours — and this is just one small component of registration. The county received more than 11,000 online program form submissions in 2016, and continues to explore other processes that can be streamlined and automated with Laserfiche.
Go here for information on Laserfiche.