Creating a Connected Campus by Automating Core Processes

Modernizing practices to improve efficiency and meet student expectations

Students expect their higher education experience to be modern and digital, but for many institutions, core systems across campus still rely on paper-based, manual and siloed processes. By automating processes and modernizing workflows, institutions can improve the user experience and faculty efficiency while reducing costs.

This web seminar discussed strategies for updating these core processes and creating a more connected campus, and some best practices to apply at any institution. The director of information management at the University of Washington highlighted how UW has streamlined document management, which has increased engagement, saved time and reduced regulatory risk.


Cassy Beekman is
Director, Information Management at
University of Washington.
Seonah Iverson is
Product Marketing Manager at
DocuSign Inc.











Cassy Beekman: We had two high-level initiatives come from the very highest levels of our administration. The first was a campuswide initiative to create change that focused on the central administrative units. The second placed a priority on student access to opportunities. This has a number of different features, but they’re all united in eliminating the barriers to student success.

We learned that modernizing is not just about system replacement. The bulk of the work is in reviewing, evaluating and redesigning the business processes. The departments have to be ready and willing to do this work, and that’s not easy. Business process-modeling consultants were sometimes brought in to work with individual departments.

In IT, we learned that creating customized and complex technical-workflow software for each department was time- and resource-intensive. We had to balance enforcing conformity to any particular rule or method with providing a flexible enough process and system so that any contingencies, unique cases or change management could be handled effectively over time.

There were a number of factors that helped us reduce the risk of providing electronic document management and e-signatures. The first was that our chief information security office performed a risk evaluation of DocuSign, which has the appropriate solution architecture so that we can manage HIPAA-protected and FERPA-protected data.

With our financial aid project alone, we estimate that we’re saving over 250,000 pieces of paper every year. In responding to lawsuits and Freedom of Information Act requests, through the whole sphere of document discovery, we estimate that on paper, it may take staff about 3,000 hours to find 100 responsive documents, but with those documents in a digital system where they’re being managed, it could take about two minutes. That translates to $125,000 of staff time to under $1 of staff time. Obviously, that’s a big impact.

Seonah Iverson: The main reality we see institutions facing is that student expectations are higher than ever, with 97 percent of students saying they equally value technology that supports them in and outside of the classroom. And 93 percent of them expect to provide personal information to their institution only once.

Many institutions are already adjusting to meet these standards. Seventy-four percent of higher education institutions are now “baking” a student success focus right into their IT strategies, and they’re seeing impactful results. But if you think about the current state of systems at your institution, the odds are that you’re dealing with a mix of legacy systems. These are likely manual processes—or a mix of manual and digital processes—that are hindering faculty and staff productivity.

Across the four stages of completing an agreement—preparing, signing, acting on and managing—we find that there are multiple inefficiencies when relying on legacy systems. The costs are pretty significant—from wasting $36 per agreement to losing 10 days on average to complete one agreement. We also see that 1 out of every 5 agreements are completed with errors, which means more time going back and forth to correct those errors, or even worse, the document remains incorrect and puts the institution at regulatory risk.

Whether you know it or not, you have a System of Agreement at your institution, from student enrollment and financial aid to faculty onboarding. The DocuSign System of Agreement Platform is the technology foundation that can help automate these processes across campus. In particular, our pre-built integrations let you connect DocuSign to other systems without the pain of custom projects, and they help you drive adoption of your existing solutions to make the most of your investment. When you leverage integrations across solutions, you gain
efficiency, drive security, and ultimately build a stronger connection with your students and faculty.

To watch this web seminar in its entirety, please visit

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