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Township begins document management project

By Dana Casadei


Bloomfield Township Clerk Martin Brook gave the township an update on the document management system (DMS) project at the board of trustees meeting on Monday, January 22, explaining the project is one of the many scheduled to be completed through the $4.5 million awarded to the township through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).


“If we do this right, we’ll be more efficient… we’ll have better access to records,” Brook said.


The DMS project will include creating a framework for how and where almost 200 years of documents, both paper and digital in various storage areas, will be combined and made easily accessible in one place, improving speed and accuracy of responding to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, and also simply finding records if needed.


Figuring out that framework, and identifying a vendor with the best DMS for all departmental records and integration with internal and external software tools, is Security Archives Data Management, a Detroit-based company which provides record management consulting services and commercial off-site document storage services, Brook said.


The company has been around for nearly 40 years and has tackled projects like this for decades, including a very similar project they recently completed for the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department retention manual, and a reorganization of Grosse Pointe Public School’s system management records program.


Bill Saffady, lead project manager, discussed the five phases of this project via Zoom, and said the township's project is pretty straightforward.


The five phrases include meeting with township project managers, stakeholders, and IT; interviewing department units; putting together a needs assessment and implementation plan; RFP and vendor selection processes, and finally, implementation tasks and services.


The RFP will have to be customized so for right now the team’s main focus is learning more about the township’s operations.


“So far, so good, no one has thrown us out of their office,” Saffady joked.


Taylor Lydon, president, Security Archives Data Management, said that they’re on track to finish the project within its projected timeline of 12 months, and to have most consulting work done in six months, if not slightly sooner, due to the high incorporation of the township’s different departments.


These meetings consist of finding out what kind of records that department has, what they’re doing with them, and in what ways they would benefit from a DMS.


Three departments – clerk, finance, and engineering – have already met with Security Archives Data Management to discuss their needs, and nearly every other department has a meeting on the books with them.


“Usually, there’s a lot of issues scheduling meetings, which can hold things up,” he said. “That has not been the case here.”


In total, the cost for this project is expected to be $169,000.


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