MicroPact Blog

PSCs: Is Your Document Management System Not Doing the Job?

Public Services Oversight Is a Classic Fit for Case Management

By: Wayne Miles

March 13, 2018 | Regulatory

The first generation of software used by public service commissions (PSCs) and public utilities commissions (PUCs) to shepherd filings through the review process is starting to break down. That’s good news — agencies can finally get out of the document management and e-publishing business. This time around, they can focus on automating their back-office functions with a configurable, web-based case management system that triggers emails, notifications, and other activities to occur as byproducts of each filing’s progress toward decision.

Document Management – Right Idea, Wrong Approach

Regulatory agencies must carefully balance the interests of the entities they regulate and the citizens they protect. For PSCs and PUCs, doing so entails following a quasi-judicial process laden with requirements to publish timely information about every filing, docket, hearing, and order. Proposed rate increases and other complex proceedings can generate an endless stream of content and notifications that must be published.

No wonder many agencies initially turned to document management systems to automate operations. Built 10-15 years ago, many of these systems were custom-coded to meet diverse requirements for each division (electricity, oil and gas, transportation, etc.). To fulfill transparency mandates, agencies also installed separate applications for customer relationship management and content management.

On the plus side, this patchwork of applications uses the internet to keep citizens and stakeholders informed. On the minus side, someone must still post notifications, upload documents, and schedule emails for every activity and deadline. The paper may be gone, but the manual processes have simply shifted online. The developers who custom coded these systems are also long gone, and no one wants to look under the hood.

A Perfect Candidate for Case Management

Viewing PSC processes from a case management perspective brings system requirements clearly into focus. A filing is either submitted online or mailed in. The agency must acknowledge receipt, create a case, and generate a schedule based on the type of filing. Once assigned to the right division(s), the case must be routed, docketed, heard, commented on, decided on, and voted on — a lengthy process that may be shortened via settlement or extended via appeal. As the case progresses, the public must be updated and invited to participate. Especially when a petition is contentious, copious written testimony, supporting evidence, and pleadings must also be published.

With a configurable, web-based case management system built on entellitrak, all of this information is captured and routed automatically to the correct division(s). As each case progresses, information is automatically published online as required. For example, as filings are added to a hearing, the agenda is automatically updated and ready for publication. Instead of needing a separate email program to manage service lists and notifications, individual subscription preferences are handled within the case management system, as a byproduct of case activities.

Configurability is especially important for multi-division agencies with very different data requirement and workflows. By leveraging user-defined fields, business rules, and other flexible components, each division can tailor the system to collect and route the information it needs within the same central solution, without requiring code changes. Because the software is web based, anyone with an internet connection can securely access and use it based on their role. Together, these features ensure that the system can adapt and scale to meet future agency needs as they evolve.

Let Your Case Management System Do the Work

There are only so many ways to jury-rig a document management system to do what a case management does by design: manage complex, non-linear processes to completion, without missing deadlines. Contact me if you’re ready to leverage entellitrak to do a classic case management job.

About the Author

Wayne Miles is the Portfolio Manager/Solution Strategist for the Financial and Public Utilities portfolio at MicroPact.

Tyler Technologies is the largest and most established provider of integrated software and technology services focused on the public sector

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Public Service Commission Oversight Software

Consumers rely on state public service commissions to ensure safe, reliable, and affordable service from providers of utilities and regulated essential services. From processing e-filings to managing agendas to automating votes to generating orders, MicroPact's Public Service Commission Oversight software solution enables state and local regulators to manage the entire PSC docket and PUC docket lifecycle consistently and efficiently.

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