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Use ECM to Manage All Your Institution’s Content, Not Just Transcripts

By: Laura Stiller, marketing portfolio manager at Hyland

Over the course of the last four years, I have learned so much from higher education institutions. A common factor has been an emphasis on students – particularly their data and content. Much of the emphasis is rightly justified around the digitization of student records, since student success is central to institutional strategic plans. It’s even the focus of the 2017 EDUCAUSE Top 10 IT issues.

Where students are concerned, higher ed has prioritized content collection around admissions and financial aid. Those offices collect detailed documents and access OnBase easily within their CRM and SIS systems. Meanwhile, transcripts continue to demand a simpler process. We have improved how we send transcripts from the institution, but we need to keep working toward faster processing when we receive them.

Transcripts, after all, are an enrollment asset.

But such a narrow focus on a few offices diminishes the importance and impact of enterprise content management (ECM). Not thinking of the enterprise and using too narrow a scope sidelines significant opportunities for cost reductions and efficiency improvements.

It also shortchanges us on the path to a full digital student record.

When an institution invests in an ECM solution, the first thought is usually on the digitization of some part of the student record – and typically only in a few offices. But there are many other benefits, including:

  • The costs you eliminate when you cancel huge warehouse leases
  • The efficiencies you gain through faculty and staff being able to see the whole picture of their students’ histories
  • The forms that become electronic and reside in your student portal
  • The governance headaches you remove by being able to control the access and circulation of content
  • Not to mention you can simplify audits and accreditation.

Think enterprise-wide

But deemphasizing the value of document management in a campus setting can lead to investing in niche solutions, rather than an enterprise system. That, in turn, leads to a situation where institution records are either managed by multiple systems, introducing redundant technologies, or are simply left stranded on paper because of the lack of an enterprise strategy.

This is all avoidable by understanding the advantages of an enterprise system, and committing to that strategy.

There are a number of quick-win areas where an enterprise system will improve efficiency, reduce costs, and support compliance initiatives. These are effective starting points for an information management strategy across the institution that goes beyond the student.

Let’s take a closer look at them:

Improving policy & procedure compliance

With ECM, you better manage the version control, distribution, and reading compliance of all policies and standard operating procedures by making the process electronic. Being able to manage whether staff has read individual policies and procedures is an essential component of compliance with quality, security, and safety standards. That’s difficult to do in a paper-based world.

Streamlining human resources digital employee records

Streamline and automate your employee processes including job requisition, recruitment, and employee onboarding processes that take place outside of the HCM solution. You’ll also eliminate all manual folders for employees.

Eliminating niche solutions

With ECM, you improve your ability to evaluate requests for niche solutions, reducing IT sprawl. You also leverage integration with your ERP to securely store unique data and content and manage processes – without introducing another vendor to campus.

Use a single platform to manage all your content

Robust ECM systems offer holistic content management from a single software stack and manage content from a single, enterprise-wide repository. True ECM is not limited to any particular department or process, and brings the same improvements to administrative, academic, financial, and compliance functions as it does to key student offices.

My advice to customers embarking on an ECM procurement is to make sure the system is capable of managing all of your content, not just the student content. CIOs I talk with regularly remind me that our higher ed customers benefit from the demands all our verticals place on our solutions – from security to integration to mobile and cloud capabilities.

To customers who already have made an investment in ECM technology, I say, “Take a look at your software stack. Are you exploiting it to the fullest? Is it working as hard as it can for you? Where else can you apply it to get the maximum return on your investment?”

Moving forward means using less to do more. That’s why you need to think about single platforms that can span your entire enterprise. Your students – and your staff – will thank you.

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