Are you searching for a solution to alleviate the increased demand for public records burdening your agency? If you answered yes, you made it to the right blog! If you’re not familiar with Laserfiche or JustFOIA, that’s ok.
We compiled a list to make it easy to understand the essential details our customers often ask before purchasing the best records requests management solution that fits their needs.
First, we’ll begin with a bit of a back story for you to know how we landed where we are today. Our sister company, MCCi, is the largest Laserfiche solution provider in the United States. That’s an enormous accomplishment after 20 years of empowering clients to transform the way they work. MCCi worked with clients who managed public records requests and they shared feedback over the years about how they wanted to see improvements made. After hosting focus groups with key players, MCCi’s developers found a significant need for end-to-end software and created JustFOIA in 2013.
Many state, local, and county governments choose Laserfiche as their Content Services Platform (CSP) of choice to empower their staff with document management and business process automation. Even though adding records requests processes to Laserfiche is an option, we put together the critical information with which our customers base their decisions. However, we have an advantage in sharing the features and benefits of both platforms, Laserfiche and JustFOIA. Why? Because we love and support each of them.
Fun fact: 60% of JustFOIA customers also use Laserfiche when processing requests. JustFOIA is the only records request management solution with a native, bi-directional Laserfiche integration that provides a seamless experience.
Are you ready to create robust, digital citizen services?
Tip the Scale in Your Favor
This list provides insight into how each solution can streamline your operational inefficiencies based on your priorities. If there’s a topic you want to know about that’s not listed, please contact our team for more information.
Laserfiche does not support a centralized communication funnel within the system that allows for email notifications, including credentials to check the status of their request, to be sent to the requesters.
Using your mail client is the only option for 2-way correspondence – that means the emails remain in a staff member’s email account. This factor leads to several issues – the kind we know you already have!
JustFOIA maintains centralized communication within the system, directly tied to the internal request between departments and the requester. In addition, pre-configured email templates auto-populate token values from the forms to eliminate potential guesswork and reduce human error.
Active Directory/SOO enables 2-way correspondence through staff email and permanently stores the emails within the request’s history.
Customize or Configure
Laserfiche is a low-code platform that allows users to create web-based forms and workflow from scratch, or choose from a library of templates. It typically requires a Laserfiche administrator or IT support to complete the setup.
However, to learn more about how Laserfiche clients create workflows, visit: “How to Design Your First No-Code Laserfiche Workflow.”
JustFOIA is a no-code platform that provides many built-in, out-of-the-box configurations to get you started quickly. You don’t need an advanced IT degree or certification to create forms and make settings or workflow changes.
See what our customer had to say about that by visiting: “Brookhaven’s City and Police Work Together to Build Trust & Transparency.”
Estimate, Invoice and Accept Payments
Laserfiche does not have an out-of-the-box tool to estimate time and materials, generate invoices, or request payments.
Laserfiche Forms and Workflow can be customized to create a template invoice and add time and materials to the form. However, the process can take extensive development time to set up these features for an end-to-end experience.
It can accept credit card payments via Laserfiche Forms.
JustFOIA manages request details from beginning to end.
The in-app time and materials calculator makes invoice generation as easy as clicking a button.
You can release the invoice to the requester and allow them to make a payment online with our Payment Portal option.
Implement Your System
Laserfiche allows you to customize all system elements and generally requires a level of dev support to get tasks moving. However, establishing a project plan to prioritize and support requirements and use cases you want to build within the platform requires an enormous lift.
As a result, MCCi’s clients rely heavily on their professional services and technical support teams for implementation. For that reason, we do not recommend purchasing Laserfiche solely for records request management.
JustFOIA implementations shine with configurable, no code setup. Our team focuses on solving your problems quickly. In most cases, you won’t need your IT department.
Instead, we work with you and your team for about six to eight weeks to launch your system at total capacity, including training your staff.
Purchase Software Licenses
Laserfiche requires a license for each user.
In addition, Laserfiche offers different licensing tiers to support access and activity in the system for modules like the Public Portal, Forms, and Records Management.
Laserfiche offers the option to provide a link to the request form and embed it on your website to receive requests. An additional license are required to allow requesters to create an account to follow the status of their submissions.
The complexity of building and maintaining this option isn’t ideal for smaller agencies.
JustFOIA’s Public Portal promotes a whole citizen-first, user experience to submit a request and create an account. With an account, requesters can track the status of their submissions, make payments, and retrieve responsive records – all in one central, secure, digital location.
Frequent requestors love this functionality, and we know you will too!
Laserfiche redaction offers simple batch processing capabilities.
A trained, fully licensed Laserfiche user can pull general reports through the audit trail, but functionality to create a redaction log is limited.
JustFOIA offers manual and automated redaction options.
The exemption log is a standard feature. It allows you to add the reasons for redacting information and the government codes for ease of reference in the future. Bulk auto-redaction is available as well – it’s a real timesaver.
Laserfiche’s robust Records Management excels with retention schedules and alerts. However, the module requires additional licensing.
JustFOIA allows you to define records retention schedules — a crucial step to ensure they align with your policies and state regulations.
Search and Release Documents
Think about a hot topic within your community that recently generated a recent spike in records requests. How did you handle the chaos with your current system? Imagine deflecting repeat requests! Take a proactive approach, release the documents into your Public Portal, and save your staff hours of duplicate effort.
Laserfiche File Share allows a Laserfiche user to provide secure access to a document outside the organization. It can also expire after a certain amount of time. You must purchase the Public Portal to allow your citizens, media outlets, and the legal community to search for previous requests.
In addition, you can tag documents or give access rights to specific documents through a public-facing webpage.
The Public Portal feature is comparable between the two solutions; however, the usability for your customers isn’t ideal.
JustFOIA’s Public Portal comes standard with your subscription. The Search Archive allows requesters to self-serve by searching previous public records released for viewing by anyone. As a result, you can proactively release documents to reduce repetitive requests and enable the general public to find the information they want faster.
Law enforcement agencies have a greater need for a secure portal to share body and dashcam footage that’s not available for public viewing – could you imagine? You can release large files and notify the requester that they are ready for download via their account. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Laserfiche empowers you to mark tasks as urgent and provide some timelines per task, but it is not a standard setting.
However, Laserfiche dashboards enable you to build reports to track the completion time. Unfortunately, there is no pause timer feature.
JustFOIA automagically tracks all tasks and deadlines and generates real-time reports. Built-in reminders and escalation alerts work to get you to the finish line, which displays at the top of each request.
The pause feature is an asset for states like Texas, where the law allows them to pause the timer either while it’s under review by the Attorney General’s office or if your agency closed due to COVID exposure. The pause feature differentiator makes it effortless to keep requests on track.
PST Email Extraction
Our email extraction tool makes reviewing and sorting large message files from IT a breeze.
Quickly break apart a PST file into individual emails and their associated attachments. This tool even identifies duplicate emails to reduce the time to review and respond.
Both solutions offer considerable advantages over manual tracking, some of which are similar in their capabilities. American Rescue Plan Act stimulus funds are available to help your agency modernize and take your records request online. See what our customers accomplish with JustFOIA by reading Case Studies. Interested in learning more about MCCi’s Laserfiche clients success stories? Visit MCCi Client Stories.
Watch our product tour to see JustFOIA in action. See why it is the most powerful and easiest-to-use records management solution available!