You've got questions. We've got answers.
Explore answers to the top questions we get asked by munipalities.
You may find answers you didn't even know you were looking for.
Can we expand our PowerDMS account to include other municipal departments?
Yes. You can expand your use of PowerDMS to other departments, all while maintaining a separate and secure system for your department’s documents. Many of our law enforcement customers expand their account to include other city and county departments.
We serve hundreds of municipalities, and they frequently set up PowerDMS for all city employees. That way each department, whether law enforcement, fire, or parks and recreation, can manage their own employees and documents while benefiting from a centralized policy management system.
Read this case study to see how the City of Henderson used PowerDMS to bridge the gap between police, fire, and city hall.
Does PowerDMS let us collaborate with stakeholders across departments?
Yes. With our powerful workflow tools, you can manage a document lifecycle from initiation to approval. PowerDMS lets you assign and collaborate with multiple policy owners from different departments. Every step in your workflow can be assigned to users, roles, or groups with the ability to templatize workflows so the same steps are completed every time it’s run.
PowerDMS also automates the policy approval process. So if multiple people need to review a document, it automatically notifies assigned stakeholders when it’s their turn, saving you the trouble of manually coordinating hand-offs, multiple files, and revisions.
Additionally, users/groups across departments can be included in approval workflows on an ad hoc basis, including the ability to give one-time edit rights to a document. Workflow steps can be set to different levels of response so you always get the right feedback from the right people.
Read this case study to see how PowerDMS workflows helped the HR Programs Coordinator at the City of Henderson save time, money, and frustration.
When a municipality implements PowerDMS, does each department maintain independence?
Yes. PowerDMS can be used by multiple departments and each can maintain its independence. Our platform lets you create separate group structures, each with their own folders and security permissions. This gives municipalities the best of both worlds: a shared platform and department-specific access security. In other words, an HR department can manage, distribute, and track important documents across all departments. And each department can maintain its own system for managing workflows, documents, users, etc., while still accessing municipal-wide content as their security permissions allow.
Does PowerDMS let me distribute and assign policies to staff for acknowledgement?
Yes. The municipality as a whole, as well as each department, can manage and track signed documentation. That way, both municipalities and their departments have a separate audit trail for their pertinent documents. How does it work?
PowerDMS lets you assign employees to any number of groups, making it easy to distribute new and updated policies to a remote or in-office workforce. What’s more, using our built-in, electronic signature tracking, you can assign and track acknowledgement on these critical documents. This ensures your staff have read and understood the document, and it protects your department against future labor disputes. Attestation occurs when the user enters their username and password and clicks “sign,” or it can be completed with a thumbprint on the mobile app.
Read this case study to see how PowerDMS workflows helped the City of Henderson mitigate liability by tracking employee read receipts and E-signatures on important documents.
How does PowerDMS help with accountability and transparency?
For municipalities and all their departments, accountability and transparency is more important now than ever before. PowerDMS can help with both.
Accountability protects your organization and your employees. With PowerDMS, you can give employees access to mission critical info from any device, assign acknowledgement to custom groups of employees, track who has received and signed documents, auto-remind employees of documents pending signature, and create and track custom tests and attach them to policies.
Transparency is a vital tool for building trust in your community. With PowerDMS Public-Facing Documents, you can publish your documents publicly with the click of a button, make your content accessible and shareable with the community, and ensure your public-facing documents are automatically updated when changes are made in PowerDMS.
Can PowerDMS help us curate and report on training?
Yes. The PowerDMS training tool equips each department to create, manage, and track their own training courses by uploading videos, presentations, images, or documents. With our online training tool, you can create audit trails, report on training records, and save on employee overtime costs by eliminating in-person classroom training. It also helps you onboard new employees quicker by making their training accessible on day one.
Is PowerDMS user friendly for administrators and end users?
Yes. PowerDMS was designed with compliance professionals in mind. Our platform is an out-of-the-box solution that requires no development and minimal IT involvement. With frequent software updates and industry-leading customer service, you can trust we’re always in your corner, improving our product to solve your compliance challenges. PowerDMS has a U.S. based customer success team and a 97% customer satisfaction rating. After onboarding, you’ll get a personal CSA (customer success advisor), who will become your long term PowerDMS liaison. They will help you with continued growth, platform use, and any escalations needed.
Our platform makes it easy for users to sign-off on policies and access mission-critical documents any time, anywhere, from any device. Thanks to automated processes, helpful dashboards, and interconnected tools (policy, training, accreditation, content hub, pub docs), PowerDMS is also easy for administrators to manage.
Every policy management solution comes with a learning curve, but PowerDMS was designed for you. It’s more powerful and easier to use than the competition.
What standards manuals does PowerDMS publish?
We publish state, national, and international standards. With our Standards as a Professional Service, you can add virtually any standards manual to PowerDMS and unlock the full functionality of our accreditation management solution. To see the full list of standards we publish, visit our standards manual page.
- Law Enforcement: CALEA
- Campus Police: IACLEA
- ISO: ISO 17025, ISO 15189, ISO 9000, ISO 9001, ISO 9004, ISO 17020, ISO 17021-1, ISO 17043, ISO 27001, ISO 27002, ISO 14001, ISO 13485, ISO 22000, ISO 45001, ISO 17011
- Correction: PREA, ACA, NCCHC
- Campus Police: Clery
- Forensics: ISO 17025, ANAB 17025
- Parks & Recreation: CAPRA
- Fire/EMS: CPSE
- Healthcare: AAAHC, CIHQ, NELAC, NCCHC, TJC (coming soon)
To see the full list of state standards we publish, as well as others, please visit our standards manual page.
Standards as a Professional Service
With our Standards as a Professional Service, you can add virtually any standards manual to PowerDMS. How does it work? If you can confirm you have permission to use the proprietary content, then we can upload your standards manual to PowerDMS.
As a Professional Service member, you also get access to all published standards manuals that have been added by the PowerDMS community of customers. Interested in learning more about this service? Contact our sales team today.
Does PowerDMS let me track archived documents, training records, and employee information?
Yes. PowerDMS automatically archives old versions of documents so you only have one version of each policy in circulation. With our archiving system and audit trail features, PowerDMS protects you from the unknown. If you’re faced with a labor dispute, for example, you can easily access active and archived documents, training records, and employee information. With records of current and past employees, including completed training and signed docs, you can protect your organization and your workforce from liability in case the worst happens.
How much does policy management software cost?
The cost of policy management software can depend on many variables:
- Base cost of the software
- Number of licenses/users
- Contract length (1–3 years)
- Price of add-ons
For example, the software you receive at a base cost may not include needed functionality, like mapping policies to accreditation, surveys, certifications, etc., so purchasing an add-on could be necessary.
Depending on these variables, your policy software could cost anywhere between $4,000 and $100,000+ annually. Yes, this is a wide range. It may feel of little use right now, but as you assess your own needs and research solutions, your estimated cost will narrow.
Very few solutions provide pricing upfront. With so many variables affecting cost, an introductory appointment is usually required to give an accurate quote. But there are some easy assumptions to make starting out.
For small organizations with 20 users, the cost would be on the lower end of the spectrum. For larger organizations with 1,000–1,500+ users, it would be on the higher end. Although a large organization will pay substantially more than a small organization, its ROI will also increase proportionally.
Even more important than cost is your return. Each solution delivers a different ROI. To better understand a solution’s ROI for your organization and if it aligns with your policy needs, we recommend auditing your policy process, creating a list of non-negotiables, and developing a list of questions.
Many solutions promote the same or similar features, but in practice, the functionality can vary widely. Choosing the wrong software can be expensive, and you won’t realize its limited capabilities for 3+ months, after sinking valuable time and energy into onboarding. Accordingly, the best ROI starts with thorough research.
Policy Process Audit
It may sound obvious, but the process starts with better understanding your own needs. Without this knowledge, you can’t accurately determine the ROI of a product. Consider asking yourself the following questions to start auditing your current policy process:
- What type of policy and/or accreditation management system are you currently using (paper, digital, mixed) and what are its shortcomings?
- Are your policy and accreditation processes optimized and automated, or has your organization adapted to less efficient workarounds?
- Are you able to manage a document across its entire lifecycle?
- Do you have a single source of truth for all your policies?
- How many hours does it take to prepare for an assessment?
- How does your organization review content and who needs to review it? Do these reviewers/approvers have easy access to the right document? Is there a structured method for collaborating on updates?
- Have you stored, and can you easily access, historical data and documents?
- Do you have a method for ensuring that all employees, organization wide, are referencing a single correct version of any given document?
- How do you currently conduct training (in person, digital)? How expensive is it? How long does it take?
- How easy/hard is it getting employees to show up, in person, on a quarterly/annual basis for training?
The end goal is to identify all gaps and risks in your current process, and that’s not possible to accomplish in a silo. It takes a team. Who are the key policy stakeholders in your organization? As you form your team, consider including an IT Representative, Content Manager, Training Manager, and Accreditation Manager.
List of Non-negotiables
After completing your policy audit, you will better understand your organization’s needs. Now it’s time to create a list of non-negotiables. Here are 15 common criteria that may or may not be non-negotiables for your organization:
- Cost-effective: delivers a quick return on your investment
- Central storage: a single source of truth for all your policies
- Easy to use: an intuitive UI that a variety of users can easily use
- Customer support: access to a friendly, knowledgeable support team 24/7
- Training: quality resources and support for onboarding and maintenance
- Access control: powerful search and control over user permissions
- Acknowledgement: tracking who has received and signed policies
- Testing: customizable tests to verify employee comprehension
- Workflows: advanced workflows to collaborate across your organization
- Smart editing: side-by-side comparison with policy changes highlighted
- Version control: a single version of each policy and archiving functionality
- Tracking: the ability to track policies across their entire lifecycle
- Security: protection from internal and external security threats
- Mobile: ability to access and interact with policies from any device
- Integration: intuitive integration with your favorite programs
Asking the Right Questions
As you create your list of non-negotiables, add to and refine the list of questions below. Between the two lists (questions and non-negotiables), you will be better equipped to assess whether or not a solution’s functionality aligns with your organization’s needs.General
- How do your features (policy, training, accreditation) interact and inform one another?
- Do you provide content, or will I need to provide my own?
- Do you have a mobile app and what functionality does it provide?
- What level of reporting does your software provide?
- How can your software help me keep employees accountable/compliant?
- Does your software have a version control feature?
- Can I create and standardize advanced workflows with multiple reviewers/approvers?
- What tools/systems can your software integrate with?
- What features does your software offer to help me simplify and maintain accreditation?
- Do you provide standards?
- Do you offer mock assessments?
- Will I be able to link training to standards?
- Can I deliver training digitally and track employee progress?
- Can I create and issue custom tests?
- Will I be able to create custom certificates to reward employees?
- Will I be able to issue and track internal surveys?
How much does PowerDMS cost?
PowerDMS is sold at a base cost and from there priced on a per-user, per-year basis. Your annual cost will be determined by the number of users and, therefore, licenses you purchase, as well as the add-ons procured for your agency’s specific needs.
These two variables (number of users and feature add-ons) affect the cost of PowerDMS, so pricing can vary widely between industries and organizations. To provide a quote, we'd need to learn more about your agency's needs over a call.
While PowerDMS is the same price for all organizations, regardless of size, there are some advantages to buying more licenses. The price per license decreases at certain tiers as you add more users. So if your agency uses PowerDMS, other municipal departments could start using the platform simply by purchasing more licenses.
To learn more, schedule a no-obligation meeting with one of our friendly sales team members.
What ROI can I expect from PowerDMS?
ROI will depend on your industry and organization. How long do your current policy, training, and accreditation processes take? Are they optimized and automated, or has your organization adapted to workarounds?
With PowerDMS, you can expect to save 2x–4x the amount of time and money you’d typically spend on these processes. Our customers save an average of $10,000 on paper and printing costs alone. To calculate your estimated ROI with PowerDMS, use our ROI calculator tool today.
There’s also an intangible ROI, or VOI (value on investment), realized from PowerDMS in the form of accountability, trust, and risk mitigation. For example, mitigating the risk of lawsuits, fines, and brand disrepute makes a huge impact but can be hard to quantify. Policies, procedures, and training also impact organizational culture and increase employee accountability. All of this, when done well and with transparency, builds trust in your community.
To improve transparency and trust at your organization, learn more about our public-facing docs feature, which lets you share important information with your community.
What does implementing or onboarding PowerDMS look like?
Onboarding is a coordinated process between your implementation team and PowerDMS, specifically your Customer Success Advisor (CSA) and Training Specialist.
We encourage you to create an implementation team, who will be responsible for onboarding your organization. They will complete necessary coursework in PowerDMS University and attend weekly implementation meetings with your PowerDMS Training Specialist.
Your implementation team may include an IT Representative, Content Manager, Training Manager, and Accreditation manager. The need for these roles is dependent on the size of your agency and the PowerDMS products you purchase.
The Onboarding Process
The onboarding process starts with an introductory call. On this call we’ll discuss your agency’s needs and who should attend the kickoff meeting.
- Intro call
- Kickoff meeting
- Consultation meetings
To date, you’ve been in touch with a Regional Sales Manager. But now you’ll get to meet your CSA, who will become your long term PowerDMS contact after onboarding. They will help you with continued growth and use of the platform, any escalations needed, and be your general liaison for PowerDMS.Your Training Specialist
For the remainder of the onboarding process, you will be paired with a Training Specialist. The Training Specialist will consult and guide you through implementation. They will coordinate your document upload and user import, guide you to the appropriate PowerDMS University courses, and offer consultation. Once onboarding has been completed, your Training Specialist will turn you back over to your CSA.
After the kickoff meeting, you and your Training Specialist will have multiple consultations on the following topics (this and more will be covered on your 1-hour kickoff call):
- PowerDMS University
- Complete your assigned training track
- List and ask questions
- Content Upload
- Determine folder structure
- Choose tags and naming conventions
- Upload Documents
- Create Workflows
- User Import
- Review preliminary documentation
- Schedule a consultation
- Sync your Active Directory
- Enable SSO
- Security Configuration
- Onsite Training
- Launch Preparation
Even when onboarding is over, we will support you every step of the way. Here are several of our support resources:
- PowerDMS University offers self-paced courses and bootcamps (instructor-led lessons)
- Success Community is a knowledge base replete with articles, videos, Q&A, and customer discussion forums
- Your Customer Success Advisor serves as your general liaison with PowerDMS, helps with continued growth and use of the platform, and handles any escalations needed
- Service Desk helps with continued maintenance and troubleshooting any issues you’re having with the platform
- PowerDMS Certification lets you go above and beyond to become an expert PowerDMS user
Does PowerDMS have an open API?
We’re working towards an open API that will allow customers to integrate with any system they want for a nominal fee, depending on usage. It is currently in beta.
Although integration with any system will be possible upon release, your agency would be responsible for the connection.
Can PowerDMS integrate with our HR system?
We are working towards an open API that will let you integrate PowerDMS with your HR system(s). It is currently in beta, but upon release, your organization would be responsible for the connection.
Even before the open API is released, certain functionality like user and group management is still possible in PowerDMS. One of our advanced features, PowerDMS Sync, lets you upload or modify users in bulk by syncing to your Active Directory. This does require a tool, provided by us, which can be installed and run on a single server within your network.
Using this tool, you can also sync users to groups you’ve created in PowerDMS. If only certain portions of your organization will be using PowerDMS, it may be beneficial to create a group specifically for PowerDMS users in your Active Directory.
During your onboarding process, one of our training specialists will work with you and your IT admin to import users into PowerDMS.
What security measures does PowerDMS take to protect client data?
PowerDMS has an organization-wide governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) program that identifies, assesses, mitigates, and monitors risks to our customer’s data and the infrastructure supporting our services. Here are some of our security mechanisms:
- Monthly network and system vulnerability scans and a corresponding security patching program
- Biweekly dynamic and static code analysis scans
- Annual third party penetration tests
- At-rest and in-transit encryption
- Production code library file integrity monitoring
- Perimeter firewalls and intrusion detection systems
- Security logging implemented at every level of infrastructure
- Centralized logging and monitoring application that alerts employees when security events are detected
- Enforced two factor authentication process for any employee accessing production infrastructure
PowerDMS also maintains SOC 2, CJIS, and HIPAA compliance. Reports may be available upon request. Please see our SOC 2 Type 2 summary report for a full list of implemented and assessed security mechanisms.
Is my data backed up offsite?
The PowerDMS infrastructure is load balanced across three AWS GovCloud data centers, which are designed to anticipate and tolerate failure while maintaining service levels. In case of failure, automated processes move traffic away from the affected area. Core applications are deployed to an N+1 standard, so in the event of a data center failure, there is sufficient capacity to load-balance traffic to the remaining sites. In addition, PowerDMS includes a feature that lets your site administrators extract your data from the application directly.
Is my data protected in case of a disaster occurring at a data center?
Yes. We maintain data in geographically dispersed data centers with disaster-recovery systems in place. This guarantees both data integrity and data availability in the event of any data center-wide outage. Should such an event occur, failover to data recovery systems will happen to minimize any interruption in service.
Is my data encrypted securely?
Yes. All of our customer data is encrypted in transit and at rest. We ensure a minimum AES-256bit level encryption (FIPS140-2 certified), and at no time is any customer data left in an unencrypted state, including data that has been backed-up.
How does PowerDMS keep up with the latest security threats?
We deploy industry-leading technology including IDS, IPS, Log Monitoring, and WAF, and we partner with security experts to ensure the highest level of security. We also monitor and apply necessary patches and updates to ensure our environments are secure from any exploits or attacks, following a strict patch management life cycle, which includes assessment and testing prior to applying patches. In addition to monitoring, blocking, and patching, we perform regular third-party audits and tests of all layers of our application.
How is security managed and maintained within the PowerDMS application?
The security measures listed above are directed, managed, and monitored by a governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) committee that meets quarterly to discuss upcoming security projects, review security alerts and events, and drive risk mitigation. Members of the GRC committee include our CTO, Director of Software Engineering, IT Director, Legal Counsel, DevOps Lead, and Security Officer.
Is PowerDMS’ security infrastructure assessed against industry standards?
Yes. We have been assessed by a validated third party against the following standards:
- SOC 2 Type 2
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Security Policy
Where does PowerDMS store and process customer data?
The PowerDMS production network and system components are managed in AWS GovCloud data centers, designed to anticipate and tolerate failure while maintaining service levels. All customer data is fully encrypted in transit and at rest. Through third-party testing of AWS GovCloud data centers, we make sure they have appropriately implemented the measures needed to obtain security certifications that support controls around security, redundancy, and all critical support elements.
Does PowerDMS have a mobile app?
Yes. The PowerDMS mobile app, available on Android and IOS, gives you 24/7 access to crucial content, powerful search, document security, policy attestation, real-time push notifications, and document administration functionality.