Kaizen Infosource LLC

Implementation of Laserfiche for a City


As part of the service provided to communities, local government agencies have a responsibility to maintain and protect important records pertaining to City operations. In this Case Study, a Clerk had recently started working for the City, and was committed to helping the agency move into a future where records would be properly managed, protected, and appropriately available to the public. The City contracted with Kaizen to guide the implementation of their vision for managing City records. The City wanted a reliable and efficient way to access City records, and a tool that would enable the automation of business processes to more quickly and effectively perform its duties. The City already owned a ten-year-old version of Laserfiche (an electronic content management – ECM – system), but the software had not been kept current, nor had the City taken advantage of all the system’s features. The latest version of Laserfiche has more capabilities for managing records, so the City quickly decided to upgrade their existing Laserfiche system to start moving towards their vision of the future.

Building the Foundation for Laserfiche

For a successful ECM implementation, Kaizen recommends that you first establish a strong foundation of records governance rules, which can then be translated into an effective configuration, regardless of the ECM software selected.

Our first step was to update the City’s governance documents: 1) retention schedule, 2) policy, and 3) procedures. To do this, Kaizen began by meeting individually with each department to learn what they do and what types of information and documents they create and use. By comparing and contrasting document types across departments, common record categories were identified and consolidated, thus eliminating duplication. This approach led to the creation of categories of records based on business process, rather than by department or at a document level. Additionally, by involving departments from the beginning, and encouraging their buy-in and sense of ownership in the end result, the likelihood that departments would comply with the new processes of an electronic system was increased.

Once the new retention schedule was adopted by the City Council, Kaizen held a second set of meetings with department subject matter experts to build the departmental file plans for Laserfiche. These file plans used the record categories of the Retention Schedule as the baseline or primary folder levels in the file plan. For each category, departments then decided which metadata fields (i.e. indexing fields) would be needed to capture key information about the documents in order to effectively search for and report on the records in the future.

As an additional benefit, these file plan meetings provided an opportunity to take a fresh look at how the department created, stored, and used their records. This encouraged them to move away from the “but-we’ve-always-done-it-that-way” culture and think about whether there might be more efficient ways to store and share records.

Testing the New Environment

Testing a newly configured ECM environment before using it to store official records is very important. You want to make sure the functions, the rules, the folders, and the metadata are accurate and working as intended before releasing for general use.

Kaizen’s methodology was to take the first pass at User Acceptance Testing (UAT). This allowed us to identify any major issues, features, or misunderstandings about the configurations, and get them fixed before the departments saw them. As they began testing departments would have more confidence in their new system when they saw it operating correctly, which would improve their overall acceptance and use of the system.

Once Kaizen completed the first UAT pass, and all corrections were made by the VAR, it was time for the departments to do their own testing.

For the City departments to complete their own UAT tests, they needed to be well-prepared and have access to resources (training of department staff is discussed in more detail further on). These resources included copies of configuration documents and references that show how to navigate and use system functions, such as videos, articles, and manuals. Most ECM suppliers and VARS post links to reference materials on their websites. For this City, Kaizen also created a testing script for the City’s staff to use as a checklist.

To make department UAT more realistic, Kaizen recommended that they gather 100 sample records of their choice to scan or import into the repository. This allowed the testers to “see” how the ECM indexes their documents. Testers were asked to try searching for these test records to give them exposure to how searches work. Feedback collected during UAT by each department was communicated to the VAR quickly, and in a systematic way, so that necessary changes could be processed correctly and in a timely manner.

The testing phase provided adequate time for each department to get comfortable with their new record environment and to make corrections. However, Kaizen advised testers not to get bogged down trying to make the system perfect. Laserfiche is a very flexible ECM solution, and nothing is set in stone. If future use leads the City to new ideas about how the system can be improved, the VAR should be able to modify anything that has already been configured.

Kaizen provided training for key staff in each department on how to test their file plans. This training was intended for only those who would be responsible for managing department records and indexing records into Laserfiche. Kaizen guided each department through a brief overview of their file plan, how to test it, and where to go for testing resources mentioned previously.

Training on the New System

The remaining staff within the departments needed training before using the new system so that they could learn and acclimate to the new tools and processes, and as a way to enforce proper use of the system. The City, Kaizen, and the VAR developed and administered multiple training sessions throughout the implementation.

For any ECM system support, a few expert users are needed to whom other staff can go when they have questions or need assistance. So, this core group was the first trained by the VAR on Laserfiche’s basic functions, including things like screen layout, methods of searching, ways of bringing documents into the repository, administrative functions, how to create templates, forms and workflows, setting up the public portal, and more.

Kaizen also helped the City administer basic user training for other City staff who would search for and access records in the repository. This training included how to access Laserfiche, how to search for records, and how to retrieve records.

All of these training sessions were equally important so that each department was comfortable enough to start storing their records into Laserfiche, and City staff could find and retrieve records when needed.


This successful Laserfiche implementation included analyses of current records management practices, learning what was important to each department, careful planning and decision making, and adequate training. The City wanted to improve access to City records for staff and the public and automate retention rules for electronic records. In order to reach these goals, Kaizen helped to establish a strong RIM foundation, which was then used to build the new environment in Laserfiche, carried out adequate testing, and assisted in administering training Citywide so that all staff could be successful when using Laserfiche.