With 2.000 employees and tens of thousands of clients calling upon their social services, the OCMW
(Public Centre of Welfare) of Ghent has to deal with a lot of paperwork. Amplexor created a case management system that took away a lot of the overhead and improved efficiency.
As the local government organisation responsible for distributing social services in the city area, the OCMW of
Ghent has many clients and handles quite complex cases involving a lot of paperwork and forms. Although it
did have a digital system containing a lot of client data, the actual cases were still kept on paper. This had quite surprising consequences, creating a lot of overhead.
Decentralisation was a major hurdle. As the OCMW wants to offer its services to clients in their own surroundings and neighbourhood, it maintains about forty offices in the Ghent area. As the paper files were centrally stored, a case file would often not be present in the location where the information was needed. Even for customers returning to the same OCMW office, it meant that the case file in question had to be requested in the central office. If an employee wanted to take a look at a case file, he would have to put in a request, after which the file would be retrieved and brought to his office by dedicated staff couriers. In other words, the organisation had its own internal postal service serving many locations throughout Ghent.
Also, typically clients of the OCMW have many interactions with the organisation over longer periods of time. Staff members would often require a file to be at hand, for example when a client deposited a new form or certificate at the local OCMW office. Staff would need to ask for the file to be retrieved, add the new form to the file, and have it returned – a process that could take days. In such cases, files tended to grow over the years and become large mounds of paper. On average, a file would contain 50-100 documents.
When Amplexor started the project, the OCMW of Ghent had a paper archive of active cases stretching for
400 meters – literally a wall of paper!
This way of working certainly had a lot of downsides. Large paper files that move around a lot create many
opportunities for mistakes and errors. Moreover, case files containing confidential information sometimes got lost during the process.
Moving and maintaining the files required a lot of manpower, and above all the system was slow, which was meant that the clients sometimes had to wait a long time for a local office to handle their case.
It was clear that a good digital case management solution would solve a lot of the problems, saving time, money and increasing the service level that the OCMW of Ghent could offer.
Creating the case management solution for the OCMW was the second pilot project that Amplexor realized
for the city of Ghent. Just as in the case of the digital mailroom, we opted to use Alfresco Share, more or less
out-of-the-box, combined with Kofax scanning software for the digitization of paperwork into case files. Integration with Outlook was a requirement, allowing users to receive notifications in their familiar messaging application and add emails they received into the digital case file.
We also had to ensure that our solution worked nicely with the existing webbased social file administration system (New Horizon). It was also very important the solution would be easy to use by everyone of the circa 600 OCMW employees that needed to use the system.
Above all, the solution needed to be secure, stable and scale well. It would have to be able to handle more than 12,000 active cases, containing nearly 5 000 000 documents.
The functional analysis also made it clear that we needed to provide the possibility for extensive classification
of documents in files, as there are many different types of documents that could be part of a case file.
The functionalities required by the OCMW of Ghent were:
To ensure the solution was stable and sturdy enough for the workload, we installed an Alfresco cluster consisting of two nodes, together with a MS SQL database server.
Creating a good way to ensure new forms and paperwork would be added to files was one of the more
important aspects of the project. Installing scanners at each OCMW location was deemed not the best way to go. Instead, when a client brought in a new document to a local office, the receiving employee would create a placeholder in the software, add a barcode sticker to the document, and send it to a central scanning service. This service would digitize the document and add it to the placeholder, so that OCMW staff could consult it digitally in the future.
Not all existing files were automatically added to the system, as the archive of the OCMW of Ghent is nothing less than huge. Active files were made digital by an external service, while non-active cases were left on paper
but will be digitized on-demand.
After delivery the new system was received very well. OCMW Ghent president Geert Versnick was very positive about the benefits the solution offered:
“The digital social file application is environmentfriendly and saves money. But the biggest advantage is the time saved by OCMW employees: they can now consult their clients’ data with a single click, whereas before the requested paper social files had to be physically transported through the city. An additional benefit is that different divisions can now collaborate on the same file at the same time. This all means that OCMW employees will be able to dedicate more time to assisting their clients”
Geert Versnick OCMW Ghent president
Amplexor Collaboration & Compliance include all the strategic guidance and technology expertise you need to take the crucial step towards a digital way of working. From strategy design to technology implementation, we help our clients to adopt a digital approach enterprise-wide and to enable their employees to focus on the most important aspect: the customer.
Download this case study to learn how Amplexor's solution based on Alfresco Share combined with Kofax scanning helped increase the Public Centre of Welfare of Ghent's service level: