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State and Local Government News

Retiring an old system

A new content management system has dramatically improved response times to inquiries by members of the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS).

The ASRS administers public pensions to more than 450,000 members. The large service population, procedural changes required by new policies and legislation, and state fiscal restraints presented challenges, which were exacerbated by the fact that the ASRS tracked all retirement forms in paper, microfilm and microfiche formats. With 16 service areas, finding specific forms and documents was sometimes daunting. Also, one service area could be working with a file that another service area needed.

Patrick O'Keefe, ASRS network information manager, says, "It was not unusual for a member to wait six to eight months for a response to a service purchase inquiry."

To improve member response time and operating efficiency, the ASRS looked into various solutions before choosing one consisting of Covansys and FileNet. ASRS decided to approach the implementation in phases. It first rolled out FileNet Content Manager to the applications that support a popular ASRS plan for active, contributing members called the Service Purchase Program.

Covansys worked with ASRS to integrate the solution with the agency's legacy systems, including its Public Employee Retirement Information System (PERIS)--which electronically stores information on each member's contributions and benefits--and its customer relationship management tool.

The FileNet system went live in May 2005 and by the fall of 2005 contained more than 5 million images. After ASRS' initial Content Manager deployment, it began integrating FileNet Business Process Manager.

According to FileNet, the following benefits have been realized:

  • reduction in service purchase response time, from eight months to less than three weeks;
  • savings of more than $150,000 annually in administrative costs; and
  • reduction in the number of personnel required to service a member inquiry from 28 to 10.

O'Keefe says, "A true testament to the value of the system—I often receive calls from managers of service areas not yet integrated wanting to know when their areas will come online."

ASRS plans to expand the scope of its system to include enhanced Web services, to allow members to execute automatic account updates and submit service purchase or other requests.

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