How cloudPWR helps government agencies be more transparent with citizens using Box Platform

Location: Tacoma, WA

Industry: Government & Public Sector

Use Case: Document Management

Citizens demand transparency — but there is a cost to that demand and government-to-citizen (G2C) transactions take time and resources to support. Through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), public records requests require a lot of effort. Agencies need to support the submission of requests, the collection of request materials (documents associated with the request), and sharing of those materials. In most states there are deadlines, such as in the state of Washington, where initial responses need to come within 5 days of the request submission date. This added volume, pressure, and fear of non-compliance can create a lot of tension for agencies and records officers.

G2C transparency is a lot of work

Many agencies face hundreds of thousands of requests a year, and most requests are handled with PDF forms and spreadsheets. PDFs are limited, and still require manual entry, and the use of spreadsheets does not make the process more efficient. Furthermore, both of these methods are prone to human error.

This approach was an effective solution when request volumes were low and regulations were more lax, but this is no longer a sustainable solution. Not only has the number of requests increased exponentially, but the regulations surrounding fulfillment of those requests have become more stringent. These new regulations necessitate records officers to keep track of costs, communication, and activities while adhering to strict deadlines. Because of this, staying compliant can become difficult and litigation can increase.

This is why records officers are turning to technology to improve efficiency and effectiveness of receiving, managing, and responding to public records requests.

Introducing AIRLIFT Respond

cloudPWR, an agile software development company, recognized this demand after implementing G2C solutions for 50+ public agencies. What they found is that agencies are still using PDF forms or 10-year-old client/server solutions to handle their public records requests. Neither solution can keep up with increasing demands or is prepared for future legislation. cloudPWR’s existing platform, AIRLIFT, is an established solution for building custom G2C applications, so its developers morphed that into a purpose-built solution just for public records.

Much of cloudPWR’s success is built on leveraging modern development practices, such as the use of containers and elastic cloud services. Having demonstrated success within local government agencies, cloudPWR has the competitive edge of being both modern and backed by expertise.

The resulting product, AIRLIFT Respond, is a solution that is tailored to the processes and demands of public records. With security as a top priority, cloudPWR took the necessary steps to ensure that Respond is SOC II compliant and is regularly tested. To continue on with future-forward development, the product team at cloudPWR makes a conscious effort to stay current on legislation, which might impact how records officers work. Changes could include the ability to charge for requested materials, or how those materials can be digitally delivered.

Combining the cloud-based business logic platform AIRLIFT with the robust document management functionality of cloud-based Box, Respond can easily adapt to modern requirements, and requires less setup and maintenance of legacy systems.

The product team at cloudPWR chose Box for material storage because of Box’s commitment to security and robust content management. Box’s API and key functionality make it easy to provide robust file-level tasks that would otherwise be limited or take too much time to build.

Answering the Transparency Call

As agencies adopt technology such as AIRLIFT Respond, they are not only able to support the demands of public records requests, but are also able to extend Respond’s functionality to the citizens they support. G2C transactions are more streamlined, citizens face less frustration, and agencies avoid backlogs, along with the cost and time of litigation.

AIRLIFT Respond + Box Platform is a solution that will have a strong impact on the future of G2C transactions, and help bring the benefits of cloud automation to local and national public entities.

For further information about this solution, please contact