BROWNtech Streamlines Access to County Records
February 27, 2007 Alex Woodie
Business was painfully slow at the Norfolk County (Massachusetts) Registry of Deeds. Until it implemented an i5/OS-based document management system from BROWNtech, that is.
The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is the principal office for real estate and property records in the county’s 28 towns. The office provides a range of services, including determining property ownership, researching land titles, and acquiring copies of recorded documents and plans–your standard county fare.
The county used to track properties entirely by paper, which allowed it to process about 160,000 documents per year. This throughput didn’t cut it, however, as it would take up to a year to provide a title for a given property. What’s more, it could only go back five years, which diminished its usefulness for older property ownership disagreements.
About three years ago, the county decided to computerize its system, and it turned to BROWNtech, a Massachusetts developer of i5/OS software for governments, IBM, and Strategic Computer Solutions of New York for help.
With technical guidance from IBM, Norfolk County decided to implement BROWNtech’s document management and imaging systems, which enables employees to receive, index, proof, scan, view, and fax property documents. A new i5/OS-based server was bought by SCS, and three years later, the county is reaping the benefits of computerization.
According to IBM, the county’s new system turns around requests in less than 48 hours and has catalogued images, indexes, and title information as far back as 1965. What’s more, the county’s throughput has increased to 330,000 documents per year, a 200 percent increase.
What’s more, the new technology has allowed the county to launch a Web site at www.norfolkdeeds.org that allows citizens to pull up some property-related information from as far back as 1793–the year that Norfolk County was founded–and to print important documents, further streamlining the title process.
“We wanted to invest our taxpayers’ money in the best technology to sort, archive, and make accessible the deeds and titles information to our customers and their intermediaries, 24/7, 365 days a year,” says William O’Donnell, the register of deeds. “With the powerful server technology we purchased from IBM, we have achieved 85 percent of this task in less than three years.”