Like many local authorities, Donegal County Council's Planning department receives hundreds of planning applications each year, with associated documentation running to thousands of pages. Without an electronic means of capturing the documents and centralising information for online viewing by staff and the public, files were at risk of being lost or unavailable when needed, and customers' office visits to view paperwork in person consumed too much staff time.
"We had a totally paper-based system before SoftCo," recalled Sean Dunnion, Project Leader, Information Systems, Donegal County Council. "Whoever had a file was the only person who could access information – other staff or members or the public just had to wait. It was a big step forward for us when SoftCo helped us make information available to everyone."
In 2009 Donegal upgraded to SoftCo R8, the next generation SoftCo Business Process Automation platform that improves the resilience, availability and compliance of Donegal's archived documents, with a move away from optical storage to magnetic, Content Addressable Storage (CAS).
The choice of SoftCo as its partner a decade ago has proved to be the right move for Donegal County Council. "We have a very good working relationship with SoftCo – they're very professional and detailed in their approach, and they have the expertise to deliver," said Sean. "The R8 rollout was also very smooth. You can't have a major upgrade without a bit of disruption, but SoftCo helped us limit that; the project was well planned, hiccups were minimised, and SoftCo was very cooperative in working after hours."
Looking forward, Sean says he sees real additional potential for the solution across the Council.
"We see R8 as one of our key software solutions, and while we haven't had the resources to roll it out any further, we'd be very keen to do so if other departments approached us," he commented. "Applications like SoftCo's, especially if they have a Web interface for customers, can make big savings for public sector organisations that have reduced resources. We are great advocates of this system."
Donegal County Council