Eliminating the paper chase

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The workplace shouldn’t feel like a scavenger hunt, where you’re constantly on the prowl trying to locate this document or that contract. And yet many college and university employees spend countless hours doing exactly that. There are better and more cost-effective ways for staff to spend their time. 

This is why many colleges and universities are turning to enterprise content management (ECM), sometimes known as enterprise document management in higher education, to manage and track information, says Linda Ding, education program strategist for Laserfiche.

“Standardizing information management is really being driven by pragmatic economic reasons,” explains Ding, who in her position with Laserfiche has worked with many colleges and universities. “Because resources are scarce, there’s an urgent need to reduce costs. Consequently, institutions of higher learning are looking at ways to consolidate the IT infrastructure. ECM is one of the major strategies used to keep costs down.”

Consolidating, standardizing and centralizing information increases operational efficiencies, allowing for greater agility. By comparison, traditional data silos are unwieldy and complicated, requiring IT staff to track information spread out over multiple locations. People searching for a particular document don’t know if it resides digitally or on a piece of paper, or how many copies are residing throughout the campus, says Ding. This not only compromises security, it’s a huge concern when it comes to meeting compliance requirements, since there are many costs associated with a failure to meet these requirements.

“Everyone on campus is a knowledge worker, and they rely on secure, accessible and accurate information to provide better services for the students and faculty members, and to also make the right decisions quickly,” says Ding. “The trend in higher education is the consolidation and centralization of information; it’s really happening. To me, this is all about best practices.”    

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