The responsibilities of providing services to their members and managing the regulatory, development, and ongoing duties of running casinos could easily overwhelm tribal government. Casinos may present job and funding opportunities, but the risk and compliance tasks add to the long list of needs that a tribal government must meet.
Federal agencies have a long history of requiring extensive documentation and files associated with the funding provided to tribes for housing, human services, infrastructure, and more. In addition, as tribes seek to restore land boundaries and register members, documentation is critical. Just ask the Oneida Nation.
Oneida Nation utilizes OnBase Document Management within Gaming & Casino Management, and during a recent audit, the National Indian Gaming Commission auditor praised Oneida Nation at a gaming conference and encouraged other gaming organizations to go see our system. Audits are done in less than half the time because of the ease of document retrieval. Oneida also was able to eliminate a vacation “records technician” position because the entire staff has the capability to importing scanning and retrieving their own records. And because of how easy it is for OnBase to ingest and share documents, Oneida has virtually eliminated the need for printing and their entire paper filing system has been eliminated. Security is another major department that OnBase is highly used within Oneida, and OnBase has eliminated the previous manual distribution process they had in place for our daily Incident Reports (medicals, thefts, damage, bans, suspicious activity reports, etc.), which proved to be a very time-consuming effort involving four other entities. From background checks for casino employees to Players Club to managing the slot machines, Oneida uses ECM to manage those records and drive down the costs and time needed to survive a highly regulated activity.
Oneida realized early on that Document Management went beyond a departmental solution, and was really an enterprise focus. They actually started with Land Management, and it has grown from there. They realized that they needed help to secure and preserve the critical land records they were collecting, restoring, and ultimately sharing with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). They used enterprise content management (ECM) to capture and secure records as they re-acquired land. While doing this work, they found department after department that could benefit from going paperless using ECM. So, that original need to secure the precious cultural and historical records of their nation helped to lay the foundation for ongoing efforts to change the way the tribe does business. By going paperless, Oneida has saved money and changed the day-to-day processes that provide services to their members. But, the real genius of the Oneida Tribe is that they had an enterprise vision. They could see the common layer in tribal government that both serves its members and moves into the economic development world with casinos.
That layer? Documents and records. The paper that no tribe can escape and the documentation that demonstrates compliance with the rules of the funders that audit tribes.
The genius? Buy a single enterprise system that can handle the records of generations of tribal members AND handle new ventures like casino management. One system to support and one system to afford. Now the knowledge and records management practices that have won praise from the BIA for tribal operations have been brought to bear on the compliance challenges for managing their casino.
Using ECM, Oneida survived the surge of employees related to their 7 gaming sites. They now employ more than 2800 people and run over 2400 slot machines, table games, and bingo seats. But the bigger story might be that Oneida Nation has over 2.4 million documents in its ECM system and over 600 employees in 20+ departments using OnBase. And, that common system has reduced overall labor costs by 60%, recapturing critical resources for other tribal needs while handling the new requirements of running casinos.
Casinos are both an opportunity and a challenge for tribal government. Developing, expanding, and delivering economic opportunity while providing essential services is a difficult balancing act for tribal government. Oneida knew they needed to change the way they did business, and, with the power of ECM, they are doing just that.