The Best JustFOIA Alternative For Your FOIA Needs

Posted by James Bailey

the best JustFOIA alternative for FOIA agencies

MCCi is one of the global leaders in Document Management that offers a FOIA solution for federal agencies. This platform is known as JustFOIA.

JustFOIA offers Document Management functionalities accompanied by electronic forms, workflows, and other tools needed to automate the FOIA process.

Since JustFOIA is known as one of the best FOIA solutions on the market, I decided to make a little research and take a detailed look at its strengths and weaknesses.

My intention here is to see if JustFOIA can provide FOIA agencies with everything needed for processing FOIA requests. And also, to see if there is another, better JustFOIA alternative on the market.

Let’s take a closer look at what JustFOIA has to offer.

JustFOIA Key Features

MCCi built JustFOIA as a fully web-based service which includes simple and easy training process without the need for IT assistance.
JustFOIA also offers FOIA Request Management from submission to delivery, including the following features:

  • Enterprise-level reporting for internal and FOIA regulation,
  • Time and cost estimating and tracking,
  • Electronic submission of requests,
  • Fee management and tracking,
  • Status and task notifications,
  • Correspondence tracking,
  • Request status tracking,
  • Document clustering,
  • Requestor portal,
  • Accessibility,
  • Storage, etc.

Easy Workflow Customization

The best thing about the MCCi FOIA platform is that it allows easy customization. Namely, with JustFOIA, federal agencies can create their own customized workflows without much effort. And, truth be told, this is something every organization needs in order to simplify and speed up FOIA processing.

Automated Notifications and Alerts

automated notifications and alerts JustFOIA

Image source: JustFOIA.com

Once a request is submitted, the agency receives a notification alert by email and the request appears on JustFOIA dashboard. Then the responsible employee assigns the request to the next responsible party and changes the status of the request. From there, your customized workflow handles the notifying for the next action needed.

SaaS FOIA

Since JustFOIA is completely web-based, federal agencies can log in from anywhere and on any device that has an Internet connection. By simply typing the customized web address and credentials, any member of the FOIA staff can safely and securely access FOIA-related records. This is possible for any FOIA platform or solution that is web-based.

Easy Progress Overview

JustFOIA also provides an easy progress overview. This feature allows users to have an insight into everything that is related to the specific FOIA request. From due dates, descriptions, documents, request history, to every other key information. This functionality comes in handy for federal agencies, since it speeds up and simplifies the process that is time-bound anyway.

easy progress overview JustFOIA

Image source: JustFOIA.com

Analytics and Reports

As I’ve already covered in one of my previous blog posts, the best thing about JustFOIA is its capability of analytical reporting. The platform provides a variety of reports that enable federal agencies to review historic requests, problem areas, and other useful information. Giving FOIA executives the insight into how they are performing in regards to fulfilling FOIA requests within the required time frame.

The main reasons why MCCi has earned its place in the Document Management world are the sophisticated functionality, the superior customer support, and the user-friendly interface it offers. And when JustFOIA prospects turn up to MCCi, they expect these benefits.
But apparently, not every product matches its marketing.

JustFOIA Shortcomings

Thankfully, the 20 years of experience in this industry has thought me to read between the lines and see behind marketing representation.

One of the most important things I found out when digging deeper than blog posts and websites was that a large number of users complain about the integration capabilities of JustFOIA.

Namely, users find JustFOIA very difficult and time-consuming to integrate with their existing platforms and software.

The problem lies in the thing that JustFOIA has limited integration.

JustFOIA integrates only with MCCi’s own Laserfiche, and Adobe Redaction. This basically means that for agencies who want or use JustFOIA, they’re practically stuck with Laserfiche for document management. But, what if Laserfiche is not your preferred ECM choice?

Companies who offer such limited integration capabilities are limiting their clients. This is a great strategy to increase customer value and customer lifetime, but it’s not so good for the customers.

This is why JustFOIA may not be a very smart pick. If you pick JustFOIA, you have to pick Laserfiche. And many agencies may prefer a different ECM, like Documentum, or OpenText, etc.

Last, but definitely not least is the fact that neither on their website nor their blog section does JustFOIA mention security. This issue definitely raised my eyebrows.

JustFOIA is a solid FOIA platform responding to basic FOIA needs. However, JustFOIA still has a long way to go mostly because of its limited integration abilities with existing ECM systems.

What’s The Better JustFOIA Alternative?

There are several FOIA software solutions on the market that I can mention as direct competitors to JustFOIA: FOIAXpress, Exterro, LegalFiles, etc. I have covered these FOIA solutions. I’ve covered them in my blog The 7 Top FOIAXpress Alternatives. From my experience and the research I’ve done, we at Armedia consider ArkCase to be the best platform for FOIA Request processing. Let me briefly cover some key features of why ArkCase FOIA can be the best alternative for agencies looking to replace JustFOIA.

ArkCase FOIA As The Best JustFOIA Alternative

ArkCase is a dynamic open-source Case Management platform provider that supports various solutions like Legal Case Management, ECM software, etc. It acts as a front-end FOIA solution that can be linked to any backend document management system like Documentum, SharePoint, Alfresco, etc. We’ve actually found that it integrates with just about any ECM backend platform you may have.

And the key detail for JustFOIA users: ArkCase integrates seamlessly with Laserfiche too.

Here’s a screenshot of all the backend platforms that ArkCase covers.

ArkCase integration partners

This JustFOIA alternative is currently one of the most richly featured FOIA software solutions on the market. The ArkCase FOIA software solution offers management of the entire lifecycle of FOIA processing, form submission to delivery.

ArkCase FOIA, as a JustFOIA alternative, responds to all federal agencies’ basic needs like:

  • Limitless room for growth, because the SaaS and your data are hosted on the Amazon Cloud,
  • One interface for communication within and outside the federal agency,
  • Multi-tracking system for following the status of the FOIA request,
  • Reliable data migration from any previous system onto ArkCase,
  • Secure data storage,
  • Easy access to data,
  • Improved search, etc.

But, ArkCase FOIA offers much more than just responding to the basic FOIA needs.

This JustFOIA alternative responds to every security regulation. The ArkCase FOIA software solution is FedRAMP and NARA compliant and DoD 5015 certified.

To improve the user experience, while at the same time improve and speed up the entire process of FOIA, this JustFOIA alternative offers a proactive release of records that were once disclosed.

The ArkCase FOIA software solution supports proactive disclosure on a rolling basis according to the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) recommendations. This way making sure that no job is done twice, wasting the valuable time of FOIA agencies.

Another feature that makes this JustFOIA alternative better than any other alternative on the market is the transcription platform. Namely, thanks to the power of Artificial Intelligence and ArkCase collaboration with AWS, the ArkCase FOIA has a transcription platform that works as part of the FOIA solution.

This feature of ArkCase FOIA allows federal agencies to make use and derive value from multimedia files. And this is of vital importance for FOIA agencies because not all information is packed in a textual format.

From data management features all the way to security, this JustFOIA alternative show much greater value than the rest of the FOIA solutions out there.

On top of that, this industry leader has numerous collaborations with other established vendors on the market like Alfresco, Ephesoft, Snowbound and many others that make sure that the ArkCase FOIA Software Solution continually evolves and improves.

If you want to learn more about the ArkCase FOIA software solution feel free to read some of my previous posts. I have a lot to say about this JustFOIA alternative.

So, Which FOIA Solution Should You Choose?

This answer is very simple. You choose what fits your needs the best.

If you need a FOIA platform with basic capabilities then JustFOIA can be your choice. That is, if your agency can afford to spend time on integration. And you don’t mind the slowness and being limited to work with smaller documents.

But, if you need an advanced, cost-effective, secure FOIA software solution, you should take a more detailed look at the ArkCase FOIA software solution. As I said, from basic FOIA software features all the way to transcription capabilities, security regulation compliance and certifications, this JustFOIA alternative is a no-brainer.

If you have any question or comments on the subject, please feel free to share them in the comments section below or contact us.

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