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A College Improves Efficiency Using Electronic Document Management

A College Improves Efficiency Using Electronic Document ManagementTompkins Cortland Community College (TC3) has grown student enrollment by 40% over the last several years.

Amazingly, the organization hasn’t needed to hire additional staff to accommodate its rapid growth. You might wonder how. Part of the answer: electronic document management. By using software to automate processes and create a paperless office, TC3 was able to:

  • Streamline operations for students and staff
  • Manage growth while controlling costs
  • Reduce legal liabilities

After implementing electronic document management, TC3 said goodbye to the operational inefficiencies, unnecessary costs and lack of security measures endemic to paper document processing.

Here’s how TC3 did it.

Recognizing Problems

TC3 decided it was time for a change in process when interdepartmental communications grew too complex. Paper-based document processing meant a student record could only be in one place at one time. Accessing a single record required multiple student office visits or personnel hand-offs, slowing down operations and frustrating students and staff alike.

Additionally, the college’s previous attempt to digitize all 40,000 permanent record cards proved ineffective, as its system was unable to accommodate the growing college’s needs.

Struggling with stark inefficiencies and dated technology, TC3 decided it was time for a cost-effective, scalable electronic document management solution. Specifically, the college set out to adopt a system with:

  • The ability to automate indexing and provide online document management
  • The ability to migrate records from their dated system
  • A low total cost of ownership

Forming Solutions

To accomplish its goals, TC3 partnered with Photo Micrographics Corporation, which implemented paperless DocuWare software in campus offices.

Four scanning stations that automatically scan and digitize record information have replaced manual paper processing. Student registration numbers are used as match codes, allowing the system to automatically populate missing index fields and sort records appropriately. Record card images from the legacy system were migrated in as intended.

Originally used solely in the registrar’s office, the electronic document management solution is now leveraged by several other offices, including the admissions office, Board of Trustees, Library and Learning Resource Centers, with future expansions planned for several additional departments.

Reaping Rewards

By adopting electronic document management software and creating paperless offices, TC3 accomplished its operational goals and provided benefits for students, departments and the college as a whole.

Staff members are now able to retrieve documents in seconds, a stark increase compared to the previous average time of 10 to 15 minutes. This allows staff to service students quicker and improve overall satisfaction.

At a departmental level, digitized information sped up interdepartmental collaboration and provided a secure online location to store key information. Increased efficiency and collaboration has enabled TC3 to accommodate its 40% growth without having to hire additional staff.

At an organizational level, TC3 benefited from:

  • Reduced record retention liability. Automatic, expedited record purging helped TC3 comply with Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and New York State Archive and Record Retention regulations in a simplified way.
  • Increased physical space. Using software to create a paperless office eliminated 73 file cabinets and freed precious space for more valuable use.
  • Improved communication. Online document processing means students and staff at satellite campuses are able to access important documents with the same speed and ease as main campus attendees. 

After using electronic document management to streamline workflow, the Center for Digital Education and the American Association of Community Colleges named TC3 as the nation’s leader in deploying technology to empower staff and students.

“Before we were lucky enough to find DocuWare, we were almost ready to build our own system. DocuWare was the only affordable solution we looked at that fit with our long-range plans of integrating an electronic document management system with our current Web offerings of grades and course lists. Its flexibility and functionality has allowed us to meet the needs of a growing student body without adding additional staff.” – Marty Christofferson | IT Director | Tompkins Cortland Community College 

If paper document processing bogs down your organization, it’s time to break the chains and use electronic document management to meet your strategic, operational and financial goals. 

Not sure where to start? Consider working with an expert to analyze your organization’s needs and craft valuable, cost-effective solutions.

Ready to learn more about successfully implementing an ECM solution at your organization? Read our free e-book, An ECM Insider’s Guide: The 7 Factors For Success.

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