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Southfield-based company helps local governments to share services

As officials at all levels of government look at sharing services to save money, companies such as ImageSoft, Inc. in Southfield have the goods to show them how.

ImageSoft is hosting a summit on the topic of shared services June 8 in Lansing. Oakland County Deputy Executive Robert Daddow will be keynote speaker and share Oakland's success stories of shared services in a presentation titled: "Shared Services – Politics Versus Reality."

While fire and police and similarly high profile departments are often the targets of consolidation, the focus of ImageSoft's Enterprise Content Management software is documents and work flow-labor intensive, costly and often inefficient areas that come with serving the public.

Scott Bade, president of ImageSoft, a 15-year-old company recognized as one of Metropolitan Detroit’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For and winner of the 2010 Best Fit Integrator Award from the Center for Digital Government, says the software is ideal for human resources, billing and other financial areas, permitting and even dog licensing.

The software doesn't eliminate paper but cuts it and the processes that go with it way back. Data entry duties are saved, the need for multiple servers can be eliminated, as can the space and IT staff they require. The idea is to eliminate redundancy and cut costs without sacrificing quality of services, he says.

The software lets communities share data collection and storage, hardware, and expenses, and allows for processes to be centralized and knowledge shared.

"The software in general is going to save money because it makes your staff 20-30 percent more efficient, Bade says. "Unfortunately in a lot of cities the adoption rate is pretty low…A lot of that is changing because of shared services."

Shared services is not a new concept, but recently more and more bodies of government are taking a hard look at it as they look to slash budgets, especially as the proposed state spending plan needs to make up a $2 billion shortage. Gov. Rick Snyder is asking communities to put the shared services concept into practice as a money saver.

Bade says Oakland County is a prime example of sharing services successfully. In addition to Oakland County using ImageSoft, Washtenaw County is using it to share services with Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. With the system they share storage, a server, and disaster recovery. Grand Traverse County uses the software to collaborate with Traverse City as do cities on the west side of the state, Bade says. ImageSoft also provides similar software solutions for banking, health care, courts, insurance and other organizations with vast amounts of document requirements.

Separately, cities in Macomb County have banded together to talk consolidation, and other cities are combining libraries, police dispatch, and other areas.

The summit is free and is geared toward state, county and local government officials of all levels and areas of expertise. It will be held from 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at the James B. Henry Center for Executive Development and will include continental breakfast and lunch.  For more information or to register go to
www.imagesoftinc.com/government-summit-2011.html

Source: Scott Bade, president ImageSoft Inc.
Writer: Kim North Shine
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