Enterprise content management in higher education

The Times They Are A Changing

Change. Change on college campuses in administrative systems has historically been slow. Most universities still admit and manage students using a complex web of people, mail, paper, manual routing and data entry. They know it is inefficient and costly. So why is higher education lagging behind when there is a huge opportunity to gain efficiencies, particularly with the technologies and best practices we have today?

Risks. Rolling out many small software projects across a campus can delay addressing the big picture, and give the illusion of avoiding risk. The need for collaboration and the high cost of managing multiple systems with duplicate data sets are not addressed initially. The risk then becomes in controlling the waste. Somebody is eventually going to add that up.

Future. Though higher education is still in its infancy compared to most sectors, a new awareness of the need to manage unstructured content is gaining momentum. Along with that realization are the departmental process reconfigurations and then it can’t happen fast enough. People in an organization touch and re-use information despite their department of origin. The future is to manage a piece of content once and make it available to those who need it. Continue reading

Where’s My College Application?

A foreign student has applied to four different schools across the US. She spent two years in a community college where she received her Associate of Arts degree. She applied online at all four schools where she hopes to be accepted into a School of Engineering.

It has been three weeks and she and her family have not yet heard from any of the schools as to the status of the enrollment process.

In the meantime, hundreds, if not thousands, of new applications are being handled by enrollment services. Documents, including letters of recommendation, visas, foreign document permits, health records and transcripts are pouring into these universities. Additionally, there are automated transmissions imported into these schools in an attempt to reduce the workload of already overworked university staff.

Phones are constantly ringing with calls  from concerned applicants and parents. Emails are accumulating and can no longer be answered due to volume and reduced staffing requirements.

At most institutions, this happens to be standard practice during the enrollment time period, and universities are looking at better ways to service their applicants and to help break the bottleneck in the work process.

At AACRAO in Seattle next week, ImageSource will present the answer – a view of how the student services operation will look. A major university on the west coast has accepted the challenge and is determined to change the process through true Enterprise Content Management. It should be made clear that this is not document imaging. This university will continue to use their student information system, but documents entering the university will be processed immediately and will be sent to various workflow queues where they will be pushed through the system. As information is processed, it will be uploaded to the student information system, work packages will be distributed automatically to knowledge workers, and plans are being considered to update information to student portals for self-service.

Terry Butler
Chief Solutions Officer
ImageSource, Inc.