How Brazos County, TX Migrated More Than 1.7M Records to the Cloud
Brazos County, Texas was established in 1841 and its rich history is recorded, in part, within its wealth of documents dating back hundreds of years. Today, County Clerk Karen McQueen is the steward of the county’s more than 1.7 million public land records available to title searchers and citizens alike.
For McQueen, safeguarding the county’s public records while making them accessible to the community has always been paramount. Under her guidance, the clerk’s office continually searches for opportunities to improve the experience for constituents. This unwavering focus is what led her to move the county’s extensive collection of public land records to the cloud more than six years ago.
Brazos County, TX
total documents eRecorded by the county in 2022
records stored in the cloud as of December 2023
documents downloaded via Cloud Search in 2023
In 2017, Brazos County was using an on-premises solution to manage its official public records but was unhappy with the service they were receiving from their vendor. “The service wasn’t good, and modern technology had moved so far beyond the capabilities of that system,” said McQueen. After speaking with their contacts at Kofile—the company they work with on image preservation and restoration projects—McQueen said it was clear to her it was time to make a change.
As the County Clerk’s office began the search for a cloud records management system, among the biggest considerations would be ease of use, convenience for title searchers, and the overall experience for staff and community members. “We know it’s a hassle for people to come into the courthouse,” said McQueen. “It’s not easy finding parking and they had to go through security, which was getting tighter and tighter. It wasn’t convenient for them at all.”
With the customer service they deliver always top of mind, the county wanted to find a system that would provide a vastly experience for everyone—citizens, title researchers, and staff. In early 2017, they began evaluating cloud records vendors, making sure that title searchers were in attendance so they, too, could provide feedback.
“We had demos with several different software vendors and GovOS was by far the most user-friendly for title researchers and clerks,” said McQueen. “We were impressed with the search capabilities that would allow us to quickly find the documents we needed. We also liked the fact that we could eRecord and save the runners from having to come into the office.”
In March 2017, the county officially selected GovOS Cloud Records as their new solution. The timeline for the migration from the on-premises system hinged on the county getting information from their existing system. “We had trouble getting the data pulls from our previous vendor, which delayed the process. Once they finally provided the data we needed, we worked with GovOS to begin implementation.”
Working to ensure minimal disruption to operations during the migration, McQueen recalls the efforts invested by the county and GovOS to get the office set up. “We did it on a weekend and migrated the data as quickly as possible so it wouldn’t put anybody too far behind what they were doing. We were down for maybe a day or two—it had to be done and it certainly wasn’t detrimental to our title companies or anyone else.”
Fast forward six years and the county has seen a multitude of benefits.
With GovOS Cloud Records, the amount of time customers spend in the office has significantly decreased. It also reduced the number of recording mistakes meaning the office spends less time fixing errors. “It has cut down on a lot of work and a lot of mistakes,” McQueen explains. “Probably 90% of the errors we used to have, we don’t have anymore. So, it’s really helped streamline. The fact that we don’t have to run every sheet of paper through our little printer to put the volume page and document number at the top, saves us a lot of time since it’s now done electronically.”
Beyond streamlining the amount of time spent, the county says eRecording with GovOS has saved clerks a lot of work. Their office had to manage many manual tasks before Cloud Records took that initial brunt of work and made it more efficient. They no longer have to touch every sheet of paper that comes through the office. “After implementing GovOS Cloud Records, I didn’t scale down my staff. We just reconfigured, and they are learning new things. It freed up clerks who would normally be recording to work the front counters, do the vitals and the marriage tasks that can’t be done on the cloud. It allows them to train so they can do other things besides just recordings or copies.”
The new system provides better and easier access to the records for both clerks and the public. “We love the search engine and OCR functionality. The system makes the records easier to access all around. We can do a broad search, or we can narrow it down and search by, for example, subdivision, which is something we couldn’t do in the past. It’s all so seamless.”
Having a cloud-based solution also meant operations could continue uninterrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The pandemic really didn’t slow us down,” says McQueen. “We were still doing eRecordings—and we could even do them from home. We waived the fee for title companies to print during that period, so they were able to go online and get the documents they needed without having to pay or come into the office. We would not have been able to do any of that with the prior vendor.”
Brazos County, TX
Improved Customer Experience
Today, most citizens visit the county’s website to access the records instead of coming in. Many of the attorneys are eRecording, saving them from having runners bring in documents and checks. In the past, if the check was wrong, the county would have to send it back. “eRecording has really saved us a lot of work—where we get twenty pieces of mail a day, we may get five.”
The new system also positively impacted title companies. “We used to have a lot of title researchers coming into the office; now we have maybe one or two a month. The user experience used to be lacking when they couldn’t get on a computer because too many people were there or the copy machine was not working. Now, everything is online. This solution was a no-brainer.”
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