There are many ways in which paperless processes and document management software can help municipal governments streamline their operations. And while that means there's certainly no one-size-fits-all solution to adopting these platforms for ongoing ease of use, the effort also provides a slew of options for everyone from the smallest towns to the biggest cities to benefit from modern technology.

For instance, the city of Rogers, Arkansas – with a population of about 65,000 – recently adopted a new system that will allow developers to submit plans for new building efforts via paperless format, as a means of increasing efficiency for both those organizations and city planners, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. The hope is that this will allow for better workflows internally as city officials work to process submitted plans in a timely fashion, and also provide more clarity for planners.

What's the benefit?
As with many other document management platforms, Rogers' choice allows everyone involved to check in on the status of a project from anywhere, at any time, the report said. In addition, developers will also still have the option of submitting paper plans, but they too will be entered into the system to provide greater clarity going forward.

"We want to work smart, be efficient, be user friendly and be transparent," Jennifer Moore, Rogers Community Development Department project manager, told the newspaper. "It's more convenient for the customer, and it makes us more efficient."

Added security
Meanwhile, a recent incident in Loris, South Carolina, highlights why going paperless can be so important for cities, according to the Myrtle Beach Sun News. Hurricane Florence did so much damage to the city's facilities that a roof collapsed above the city's records room where hard copies of all kinds of historical documents were stored.

And while the city has been in the process of backfile scanning decades' worth of documents over the last five years, many of the documents impacted by the storm did not yet exist digitally, the report said.

With that in mind, both the ease of use and added security going paperless can provide may be as good a reason as any for municipal governments to explore their options.