Established in 1937, Franklin Regional Retirement Systems is the retirement system for government employees for the 40 small towns and fire and water districts in what was formerly the Franklin County region of Massachusetts. It is one of 106 public retirement boards comprising the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC) of Massachusetts. Franklin is tasked with collecting and investing contributions and tracking accrued benefits for its 2,500 members and accurately calculating their benefits upon retirement.
Dale Kowacki, Executive Director of Franklin Regional Retirement Systems, is a native of the region and has close ties to the people living and working there. He recognized that a catastrophic loss of critical employee retirement data resulting from a natural or man-made disaster would have potentially enormous financial consequences, and would be personally painful as well.
Labor costs to reconstruct vital retirement data, Kowacki estimated, might be $560,000 or more – assuming the data could be obtained from other sources at all. Even more catastrophic if not calculated accurately, errors of as little as $5,000 in benefits overages per employee could potentially equate to $10 million in additional losses system-wide. Clearly, a reliable backup system was imperative, but it had to be both affordable and easy-to-use by Franklin’s four-person staff.
Kowacki considered a number of options, including the use of outside scanning services – an expensive proposition that he reports would have cost tens of thousands of dollars and put sensitive employee information into others’ hands. “What I really wanted,” Kowacki says, “was to be able to walk up to my copier, push a button and be done.” Eventually, Kowacki was introduced to the GlobalSearch Content Management Suite developed by Square 9 Softworks, which he says allows him to do just that.
Now Franklin captures and stores these documents electronically with GlobalSearch. The process is simple: A staff member organizes the documents for a particular employee into the desired scan order and prepares a barcode cover sheet which includes key data for indexing – such as the individual’s name, date of birth and social security number. The documents and barcode scan sheet are loaded in the copier and – at the push of a button – are automatically scanned, indexed and entered into GlobalSearch. If needed, documents can be found and retrieved quickly from staff members’ work stations. The data is burned to DVDs and stored off site as well.
“GlobalSearch enabled us to secure critical information easily and at low cost,” Kowacki explains. “In the event of a disaster, I know with great certainty that we can be up and running almost as if the disaster had never happened. As Franklin’s Executive Director and as a member of the community, this gives me considerable peace of mind.”
Kowacki also appreciates the fact that GlobalSearch stores Franklin’s documents as PDF files, not a proprietary image format. “Because documents are stored as PDFs, GlobalSearch gives me the ability to export them and use them in a variety of ways,” he says. “Other software solutions could not provide us with that kind of flexibility.” Kowacki says his administrative staff has found GlobalSearch very easy to learn and use. “They haven’t had any trouble with it,” he says.
“The GlobalSearch Content Management Suite has allowed us to back up critical data quickly and affordably,” Kowacki says. “I would certainly recommend GlobalSearch to others who require a reliable and easy-to-use solution.”