Improve business operations strategically through enterprise content management

To make a positive impact on student success, go beyond digitizing paper files
By: | Issue: January, 2015
December 9, 2014

Linda Ding, Education Program Strategist, Laserfiche

As institution leaders look to leverage technology to impact student success, what role will enterprise content management (ECM) play?
ECM gives academic officers an easy way to access information as they help students achieve success. Colleges and universities are infamous for their information silos. However, through ECM, a complete set of student records—starting from the moment students are admitted to the day they graduate—can be kept in one place. As academic advisors give students advice to help them achieve their goals, it helps to have all information in one comprehensive package.
In addition, ECM allows institutions to maintain academic records according to different regulations. Content can be protected and tracked to ensure that information cannot be altered.

How has the use of technology to support student and institutional success evolved over the past few years, and how is it expected to evolve?
In the past, colleges and universities primarily used ECM for document imaging. Information was simply converted from a paper format to a digital format, creating essentially a “digital filing cabinet.” To achieve greater efficiency and productivity, it is necessary to take advantage of workflow automation. Decision makers can manage staff members’ productivity and gain a clear view of how documents are processed, how long documents stay on employees’ desk and the actions that need to be taken.
A secure mobile environment through ECM allows academic officers to meet students where they are. In the past, the onus was on students to come to the academic office for help, because that is where all of their paper records lived. For students already at risk, the likelihood that they would actually make an appointment and show up was low. Now, academic officers, armed with all of a student’s records on a tablet or phone, can bring a mobile device and meet where it is most convenient for the student.

At institutions still using ECM strictly to save paper, what advice can you offer for engaging this technology more thoughtfully and strategically to support the institution?
Funding remains at a standstill, so there is a lot of pressure on institutions. Leaders should start thinking of how to take advantage of technology to improve business processes, including streamlining student-university communications.
For example, students now have the opportunity to log on to a secure web portal and fill out forms electronically. Some electronic form technology can even dynamically fill out information for students based on their previous answers. This saves institutions money on printing; it also eliminates the need to staff a service desk simply to collect paper forms.

What are the common traits among institutions whose leaders are using ECM to boost success?
Successful institutions are using a service-oriented mindset to achieve that core mission of preparing students for post-graduation life. It is more than just the number of students who graduate that indicates success; students need to find jobs and be financially responsible.
To support this mission, institutions need an IT infrastructure that takes the needs of today’s students into account—for example, the fact that students are mobile-driven and want constant rewards and immediate feedback. By providing better service to students and faculty through technology, the business office can help the institution achieve greater success.

To see how leading institutions are leveraging Laserfiche ECM to improve student success, download the eBook, Quicker Better Safer: Higher Education, at: