Cloud for government: A look at 4 agency transformations

Government agencies are making strides on their cloud migration journey, but there is still progress to be made. At OpenText, we are well-situated to help…

Keith Nelson profile picture
Keith Nelson

June 17, 20245 minute read


Government agencies are making strides on their cloud migration journey, but there is still progress to be made. At OpenText, we are well-situated to help public sector agencies move to the cloud. Our Cloud for Government solution has been listed on the FedRAMP marketplace as fully authorized, providing a low-risk, highly secure content management cloud option for the public sector.

Whether you’re looking to fast-track your cloud adoption or are looking for a starting point on your cloud migration, the cloud can bring significant benefits to government. Here are four use cases for cloud in the public sector.

1. Simplify and improve approval workflows

A United States federal health agency is responsible for regulating the manufacturing, distribution, and marketing of certain over-the-counter, age-restricted drugs. This includes approving new products.

The approval process for new age-restricted products is complex and requires thousands of highly technical and proprietary documents to be exchanged. First, a vendor submits their information to the regulatory agency, and the application goes through comprehensive evaluation by government scientists. Throughout the process, the scientists require the ability to correspond with the vendor to request clarification or additional information as needed.

The federal health agency was looking to implement new cloud-based functionality to simplify and manage this workflow. The agency required complex data models and workflows to be built in under a year—a timeline unprecedented for technology and systems projects in the public sector. With the OpenText Cloud for Government solution, the federal health agency had this functionality up and running within nine months.

With OpenText™ Extended ECM and OpenText™ AppWorks™ the agency was able to quickly deploy a document-centric workflow for electronic management of the approval process for new age-restricted drug products. Submissions are automatically run through the workflow based on the submission and approval type and the submission is then sent to government scientists for review.

Through the Extended ECM platform, the documentation is routed to multiple users for review and approval, enabling collaborative editing and streamlining the review process. A tool called Letter Generator allows the health agency to correspond directly with vendors to request additional information or documentation as required. The low-code development platform AppWorks enables rapid response to future requests for functionality—allowing for quick and easy mock-up and prototypes of new functionality.

2. Shift from paper to digital

Harris County, the largest county in the state of Texas (No. 3 in America), delivers key public services to more than 4.7 million residents, including education, public health and social services. Harris County Universal Services—the organization that provides IT solutions to the 80 departments in Harris County—was looking to improve its records management practices.

Traditionally, departments relied on individual systems and processes to manage records and used warehouses to store paper documents or shared drives for sharing information. Physical archives increased the risk of data loss in a disaster scenario, and data silos restricted collaboration and slowed service delivery. A massive flood caused by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, which submerged 25-30% of Harris County, highlighted the risks of warehousing paper documents.

To modernize its records management, Harris County deployed Extended ECM, a central enterprise content management platform that all departments could use to store their records digitally. With Extended ECM, Harris County was able to replace the paper-based process used in the Public Health department for budget requests to the Commissioner’s Court with a streamlined digital workflow. Digitizing the budget requests workflow has resulted in significant time savings, allowing the department to receive faster responses to budget requests.

In addition, the solution has enabled Harris County to replace manual document management processes in the property tax division and leverage OpenText Information Capture and Data Extraction solutions to streamline accounts payable processes. The new solution has cut records management effort by up to 50% in some cases.

3. Securely manage documents in the cloud

A well-known government agency facilitates equitable and sustainable access to homeownership and quality, affordable rental housing across America.

The federal housing agency manages a large number of documents related to its core business, such as loan applications, lender details, loan details, legal documents, and contracts. The housing agency was looking to upgrade its existing content management software to the latest version, hosted in the OpenText Cloud.

The agency was able to upgrade and move to the cloud all at once. With their new solution, the agency now has a secure, cloud-based content management system that meets their access and security requirements—up and running in a five-month period. In addition to having a modernized user interface, the upgrade also ensures increased security and reduced costs as the agency has retired its own data center.

4. Manage records and maintain compliance

A government defense agency was looking for a records management solution that can support a wide variety of use cases and significant amounts of files across internal and external instances of their content management solution. The agency also required the solution be compliant with governmental regulations to ensure the proper management, preservation, and disposition of electronic records.

The agency has a versatile ecosystem with multiple internal and external instances of its content management solution. Within this environment, the agency implemented Extended ECM as their compliant records management solution, hosted in the Microsoft® Azure Cloud.

In addition to being a records management solution certified to meet all the requirements of the Defense Department records management strategy, the solution has also helped to streamline the agency’s overall content management. Since its implementation in 2014, additional repositories and legacy systems have been migrated to the OpenText system, breaking down data siloes and allowing legacy systems to be retired. Today, the system boasts over 22,000 users and manages over 100 million files. It is fully integrated with other agency IT tools and processes.

Government Cloud Solutions that are FedRAMP-authorized enable a seamless, secure shift to the cloud.

Learn more about Government Cloud Solutions from OpenText

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Keith Nelson

Keith Nelson is Senior Industry Strategist for Global Public Sector at OpenText. He has more than 20 years experience working in public sector high-tech and management consulting and as a government appointee. His roles in government include serving as Assistant Secretary for Administration, Chief Financial Officer, and Deputy Chief Information Officer at multiple U.S. Federal Cabinet Agencies.

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