The Best OnBase FOIA Alternative For Your FOIA Needs

Posted by James Bailey

the best OnBase FOIA alternative

More than 50 years have passed since the Freedom of Information Act was voted into law. Yet federal agencies are still struggling to provide timely responses to citizens’ FOIA requests.

The problem? Outdated, expensive FOIA software solutions.

The solution? Modern, cost-effective FOIA software solutions.

Investing in modern solutions can help federal agencies meet and even exceed expectations. From better Records Management and faster responses, to improved communication and collaboration, FOIA software solutions play a vital role in every federal agency that deals with Public Requests.

But, there are many FOIA solutions on the market and not all of them would be the best choice for your FOIA agency. What’s currently popular on the market doesn’t mean it will suit your agency’s needs 5 years down the road.

A quick Google search for FOIA Solutions will quickly get you a short list of the most popular FOIA software solutions on the market. That’s exactly what I’ve done, and analyzed these popular solutions. This blog post is part of a larger evaluation, and today, I’d like to focus on OnBase. Let’s see what this solution has to offer to FOIA agencies.

OnBase FOIA: Features, Pros & Cons

OnBase is one of the major players in the ECM game. Currently, their FOIA software solution seems to be getting a lot of attention. And rightfully so.
OnBase FOIA offers some pretty good features.

Let’s go through some of them in more detail.

OnBase FOIA software solution offers full automation of the entire FOIA process, including:

  • Automated tracking, routing, timers, and notifications,
  • Automated, electronic delivery of request cases,
  • Intuitive Dashboard to manage requests,
  • Web-based request submission,
  • Reporting tools, etc.

The automation of the FOIA process simplifies the management and review of Responses, Executive Reviews, Invoices, Acknowledgment Letters, and Constituent Intakes from any location.

Full automation means moving closer to creating a single, repetitive process that would be efficient in processing all FOIA requests instead of processing each FOIA request individually.

OnBase FOIA also offers an online portal which serves as a place for public disclosure and place for FOIA response delivery. This way improving FOIA agencies’ organization and also user-access.

The online portal works in the following way: after the FOIA staff receives and fulfills a request, OnBase compiles the documents and posts them to the online portal for fast and efficient delivery.

In addition to creating a single electronic location to store and retrieve all records, OnBase FOIA software solution provides a range of search tools that serve to identify potential records, keywords, and full-text searches.

One especially great thing about OnBase FOIA is their reporting dashboards. These dashboards identify and describe bottlenecks while allowing federal agencies to view reports on any request. This feature increases transparency and simplifies the work of FOIA staff.

OnBase has integrated CAPSYS CAPTURE as part of its FOIA software solution. This is basically an OCR platform that takes care of capturing all paper-based documents and converting them into an electronic format that is easier to organize and work with.

All of the features and benefits that I mentioned so far contribute to OnBase reputation on the market.

But, I also wanted to see what the users have to say about OnBase FOIA. From what I found out from the reviews, OnBase FOIA users seem to be pretty satisfied with the product. With some exceptions of course.

The major problem that users have with OnBase FOIA software solution seems to be the price. Having almost the same features like many FOIA software solutions on the market, OnBase FOIA software solution is significantly higher in price in comparison to other solutions.

Another thing users don’t really like about OnBase FOIA is that the solution is a bit difficult to use. The workflow configuration is challenging since it requires a lot of time to research and test or requires extended training.

OnBase FOIA as a concept works on top of Hyland’s OnBase ECM system. This makes their FOIA solution just a Hyland addon. A technology stack that only works with the company’s technology. Basically, if you want to use OnBase FOIA, you’ll need Hyland’s OnBase ECM. This further increases the cost of ownership, as you can’t use any other ECM backend.

As I’ve been in the FOIA industry for close to 2 decades, I’ve had the chance to work with many FOIA agencies. In most of these cases, decision makers find it quite limiting when companies force FOIA agencies to work exclusively with technologies produced by one company. This puts agencies at the mercies and tenacity of a single company, that may, or may not exist 5-10 years down the road.

This is why Armedia has a philosophy of working with software solutions that aren’t afraid of integration with other technologies provided by various software vendors.

This makes the cost of ownership, and the RISK of ownership, much lower. One such FOIA solution is the ArkCase FOIA solution.

Let’s take a deeper look into the ArkCase FOIA features, pros, cons, and price, and see if this FOIA software solution can be a good, cost-effective OnBase FOIA alternative.

ArkCase FOIA: Richly-Featured & Cost-Effective OnBase FOIA Alternative

ArkCase FOIA richly-featured OnBase FOIA alternative

Being in this industry for years now, I have seen people/large organizations make huge mistakes when choosing software solutions. The biggest one is paying for the name instead of the product.

With that in mind, today I will talk about a reliable, richly-featured, and cost-effective OnBase FOIA alternative – the ArkCase FOIA software solution.

Let me start with the workflow.
This OnBase FOIA alternative offers a BPMN 2.0 complaint, customized workflow with a drag and drop functionality. This functionality allows FOIA agencies to design workflows that will best work in creating a single, repetitive process for all FOIA requests.

Just like OnBase, ArkCase has an integrated OCR platform that converts paper documents in electronic form. To do this, this OnBase FOIA alternative uses Ephesoft for intelligent document capture.

In addition to this integration, ArkCase has integrated Snowbound to provide an embedded viewer that supports redaction and annotation capabilities.

And, with the help of AWS, ArkCase FOIA has a transcription platform that works as part of the FOIA software solution.
Thanks to this integration with AWS, this OnBase FOIA alternative allows FOIA agencies to even work with multimedia documents by easily extracting texts and further organizing them as any other textual document.

As you can see, this OnBase FOIA alternative is a product of several established vendors in the industry and as such it has much to offer.

This OnBase FOIA alternative includes:

  • Document review and redaction,
  • Correspondence management,
  • Payment management,
  • Request management,
  • Data management.

Encompassing all of these areas, the ArkCase FOIA software solution has many features to offer, including:

  • Centralized processing from various request channels: fax, web, paper.
  • Simplified uploads of documents, photos, and videos.
  • Compliance with security and records retention.
  • Mobile friendly and cloud-ready module.
  • Automated Business Intelligence.
  • Reduced risk of information lost.
  • Faster information assembling.
  • Automatic records declaration.
  • Faster access to information.
  • Higher user productivity.
  • Faster response rate, and much more.

All of these features, plus the FedRAMP Compliance, NARA Compliance and DoD 5015 certification make ArkCase FOIA the perfect OnBase FOIA alternative.

Also, ArkCase is an ECM-agnostic platform. It integrates with just about any ECM backend on the market.

ArkCase integration partners


Federal agencies deal with sensitive information which makes the security of this information a high priority. For that reason choosing a reliable, cost-effective FOIA software solution must also be a high priority.

OnBase FOIA software solution has many features that bring many benefits to federal agencies that deal with FOIA. Unfortunately, a larger number of these features come as add-ons and are very expensive. And no matter how big of an organization you are, the cost always plays a vital role.

What I am trying to say with this blog post is that there are equally good, if not better richly-featured and cost-effective alternatives on the market. And ArkCase FOIA software solution is one of them.

ArkCase, as an ECM-agnostic, open-source case management platform, easily integrates with any ECM backend you have in-house, and works as a SaaS-ready FOIA layer. This makes the cost of ownership at a minimum, and the risk of ownership, close to non-existent.

With its numerous features, the ArkCase FOIA software solution definitely deserves the attention. So, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us.

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