CIO Panel: Evaluating ECM for the Higher Ed Technology Stack

The changing roles of campus technology leaders

This web seminar featured a panel discussion about the role of the chief information officer in higher education, the technologies available, the unique uses of enterprise content management (ECM), and the importance of security and integration within systems of record.

Other topics included the evolution of technology within higher ed, the evaluation and prioritization of technology solutions and vendors, and the key challenges and issues facing higher ed IT professionals.


Laurel Stiller
VP of Marketing

Steve Garcia
University of Redlands (Calif.)

Jonathan See
Pepperdine University (Calif.)

Laurel Stiller: Jonathan, give us a picture of your deployment of Etrieve [Softdocs’ enterprise content management system] across campus.

Jonathan See: In 2017, we began to think about the platform we would migrate to next. We ultimately selected Etrieve, and looked at it as an opportunity to improve our whole workflow automation process. We had close to 5 million documents across 18 departments, and that has since grown. We wanted a platform that was highly usable, adaptable and user-friendly.

We deployed it in phases based on our highest users. The registrar’s office is a very staunch partner of ours, as it stores a huge number of transcripts and other applications. One of our schools was also one of the first to onboard. Then we moved on to the other users.

Laurel Stiller: Steve, Redlands has not fully migrated to Etrieve yet. What will your journey look like?

Steve Garcia: Our intent was to create a demand across campus by demonstrating value first with a high-performing and invested partner, and then showing the results of that process. We wanted to identify a place where we were likely to have success, and then use that as leverage to implement Etrieve across campus. We chose student financial services because they already wanted to go paperless, and they have a high level of competence and leadership.

In just that one department, we expect to eliminate about 1 million sheets of paper per year, which is a big footprint. By having success in this initial implementation, we can show the campus that:

1. We are invested in sustainable technology.
2. We will optimize workflows and improve the customer experience.
3. We will be able to reclaim some campus real estate.

Phases two and three are kind of malleable. We want to move where interest is or where funding is available. Our goal is to quickly capture business and finance, as well as the registrar’s office. Basically, we will target departments that are generating the most content that needs to be moved through the organization.

Laurel Stiller: What do you evaluate, and how do you prioritize?

Steve Garcia: We are always looking for a cloud-first solution and looking at solutions that will increase the value of the work we’re doing. And we also look at security and accessibility as important components. If we can check all of those boxes, we’re looking at a product we’re interested in.

Jonathan See: We always ask these questions: What problem are we trying to solve? Can this solution help the university advance and scale up for users, and give users opportunities to further improve what they do for the institution? How can this be more than a technology tool to improve business?

“We always ask these questions: What problem are we trying to solve? Can this solution help the university advance and scale up for users, and give users opportunities to further improve what they do for the institution? How can this be more than a technology tool to improve business?”

Laurel Stiller: It is more important than ever to know that you have a system of record and that you are managing recovery and backup. Security has to be part of the strategy. So how is this affecting your technology staff?

Steve Garcia: A little over a year ago, we created an office for information security and rolled out a new version of the information services unit. Part of their charge was to help transition some of our programmer analysts into more of a business analyst role. We wanted an environment where the IT folks weren’t sitting in a room writing new programs and developing solutions, but were out in the real world meeting with our users and helping them to align process and technology in a real one-to-one relationship.

Laurel Stiller: Jonathan, how is your staff changing at Pepperdine University?

Jonathan See: We are enjoying the evolution because we are bringing in solutions and platforms that will address and solve a problem. And the more our users can take advantage of the full functionality of the platform, the more efficiencies they will gain.

To watch this web seminar in its entirety, please visit