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

Are you using your checklists in PeopleSoft?

You probably have one or more document imaging systems that enable you to reduce paper files, but how is your staff managing communication with students? Well designed paperless processes include efficient communication with students by the Offices of Admissions, Enrollment and the Registrar. Much of the communication with prospective students during the information gathering process can be system generated based on document types, system checklists, and timely automatic notifications.

That is just one of the many benefits of using PeopleSoft checklists. University administrative staff can also receive automatic notifications when documents are received and files are complete, shortening cycle times for student evaluation, acceptance and enrollment. Is your system set up to provide the following? Continue reading

Universities should leverage information to recruit the most qualified students

The ability to gather information and evaluate a potential student in a timely manner is critical for a university to effectively recruit and enroll the most qualified students. When a high school or transfer student identifies a list of universities and colleges they may be interested in attending, so begins the accumulation of information about the student; their identity, academic record and preferences.

This information is coveted and schools that can quickly identify it and use it have a considerable advantage in recruiting.

Continue reading

San Jose State University Enrolls Students with Oracle and Peoplesoft SIS

San Jose State University Campus

There is a new way to process students into Universities that are using Peoplesoft SIS. It is called WebCenter Content and it is built by Oracle.  The first installation in the country is in full production at San Jose State University (SJSU).
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If content is the king, then portal is the queen

Alakh Verma, Director, Platform Technology Solutions at Oracle, explores the transition to Web 3.0, which was first defined by Dakota Reese Brown as “The Contextual Web.” Verma states, “It is estimated that by 2020, there would be 4 billion people online; 31 billion connected devices, 25 million applications, 1.3 trillion sensors/tags and 50 trillion gigabytes of content created in networked society.” He believes the focus on the Web experience will grow, and having a portal framework enabling contextual access to content from a unified repository will be at the center of importance during the next decade.

Read the full story at Oracle WebCenter blog.

The top 5 mistaken beliefs about content management

Your university may or may not have a strategy for managing content, the unstructured information streaming in and out of all areas of your campus on a daily basis. It’s likely you at least have a partial strategy where one or more of your departments is capturing and storing some type of unstructured information for later retrieval.

In a world where the use of digital channels is enabling organizations to synthesize large amounts of information in seconds, universities are making it a top priority to gain control of that rogue 80%, which is the approximate amount of unstructured information slipping through the cracks. This information is not easily accessible because it is scattered and isolated in departmental or personal file systems. This is the information employees need to do their jobs.

Information management 20% structured 80% unstructured information

University structured v. unstructured content

Content management services and software technologies have adapted to changing business environments so quickly over the past ten years, it is difficult to keep up with where the capabilities lie today. The following are five mistaken beliefs about content management and the facts that dispel those beliefs.

5. Content management is mostly beneficial for scanning and archiving documents.

Content management covers the lifecycle of information from creation and publication to archival and eventual disposal. One of the largest benefits of content management is enabling workflow automation. A perfect example is when someone in your organization wants to buy something. The individual begins to create documentation such as pricing research, correspondence, a requisition, purchase order, invoice and a contract to name a few. With workflow automation, these supporting documents are captured, routed and accessed interdepartmentally for approval, payment and auditing. Transactions are processed in hours or days instead of weeks.

Continue reading

The Top 5 Mistaken Beliefs About Content Management

Gain control of unstructured content

Your company may or may not have a strategy for managing content, the unstructured information streaming in and out of all areas of your organization on a daily basis. It’s likely you at least have a partial strategy where one or more of your departments is capturing and storing some type of unstructured information for later retrieval.

In a world where the use of digital channels is enabling companies to synthesize large amounts of information in seconds, organizations are making it a top priority to gain control of that rogue 80%, which is the approximate amount of unstructured information slipping through the cracks. This information is not easily accessible because it is scattered and isolated in departmental or personal file systems. This is the information you should be arming your employees with so they can do their jobs.

Continue reading

ImageSource® Awards Customer Partners for Innovative ECM Solutions

theme imageImageSource recently announced the winners of the 2011 Nexus Customer Partner Awards. The winners all show exceptional and innovative ways of utilizing Enterprise Content Management (ECM) technologies and include San Jose State University, ESCO Corporation and Mira Costa College.

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Don’t just archive your content, use it when you need it

Whether you are dealing with student records, registration forms, accounting files, financial aid or any other departmental processes, the most efficient way to use the information and get it to your main system is to scan the documents at the time they are created or received.

If you wait until the end of the process, many people across your organization will have photocopied, faxed, emailed, sorted, filed and re-filed, creating massive amounts of unnecessary work, expense and wasted resources.

Continue reading

Maintenance Over Management: A Survey of Business Officers

The sky has not fallen — but pieces of it could soon be hitting a campus near you.

That is one way of summing up the findings of Inside Higher Ed’s first-ever Survey of College and University Business Officers, released today in advance of the annual meeting of the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

The survey, the second of a series in which Inside Higher Ed is gauging the views of key higher education constituents, reveals a surprisingly upbeat assessment about the financial state of American college campuses (especially private nonprofit ones), as seen through the eyes of their chief finance and business officials, 606 of whom responded to the survey.

About one in six business officers at both public and private nonprofit colleges described the financial health of their respective institutions as “excellent,” and another 57 percent of public-college CFOs and 47 percent of private-college CFOs characterized their respective institutions’ financial health as “good.” Business officers at public and private institutions alike also generally rebuffed the notion that the budget cuts their institutions have suffered so far have damaged the quality of their academic programs or academic support for students — opinions that many other people on their campuses are unlikely to share.

Read the full story at Inside Higher Ed News.

Taking PeopleSoft to New Heights in Higher Ed

The PeopleSoft ERP system you use for Student Information Services (SIS) has been built to support nationwide and world wide applications. As such, it cannot provide unique challenges for each business need.Typically, we see IT shops and business directors working around the deficiencies in the product in an attempt to meet specific business objectives.  We also see universities purchasing complimentary products to try to meet specific needs and requirements.

From an IT perspective, the cost to write custom code to modify PeopleSoft is prohibitive, or the software simply cannot meet the business objectives. With this in mind, ImageSource, a systems integrator for Oracle, has built several modules for higher education that will have a dramatic effect on how universities conduct business. The integration is codeless, so although we “talk back and forward” to PeopleSoft, there is little requirement to have PeopleSoft technical staff supporting the project.

This new module provides true business workflow that can be designed and built by the business unit, allowing work to be pushed out to the specified knowledge workers. The pilot project recently completed at major California University has been deemed a complete success. This solution now allows them to provide critical real time service to students, parents and faculty.  With the initial implementation in Finance and Student Services, this university is ready to implement the program campus-wide and gain substantial ROI.

If you’d like to know more about how this solution works please email Lynne Butler, ImageSource Higher Ed Business Consultant, at lynneb@imagesourceinc.com

AACRAO Presentation You Can’t Miss

The team at ImageSource is looking forward to meeting Admissions personnel from across the country to get input on a brand new way of helping students with the enrollment process.

At booth #106, you will see how a student can use their home page as a portal into the progress of their application. On Tuesday evening at 5 pm, Dave MacWatters will be explaining the entire process.

Terry Butler
Chief Solutions Officer
ImageSource, Inc.

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.

Colleges and Universities – Give Your Students Something to Cheer For!

Most Higher Education institutions have a student portal where students and parents can review mounds of information. From courses completed to the amount owed to events occurring at the school, the portal provides critical data. It acts as a self-service device to drastically reduce the amount of phone calls and emails that were once necessary.

However at most institutions, the ability to get REAL TIME information for a student applicant is very difficult. Questions such as, “Did you receive my transcripts? What else do you need? When will I know if I am accepted?” continues to be a difficult task.

At AACRAO in Seattle next week, you will have the opportunity to see the first student portal that is linked in real-time to the entire back room process for student enrollment. Not only will true enterprise content management (ECM) give the applicant peace of mind, it will provide huge benefits to all departments within student services.

Stop by ImageSource booth #106 during the AACRAO exhibition and don’t forget to register for the 5pm session hosted by ImageSource.

This is a really different experience.

Terry Butler
Chief Solutions Officer
ImageSource, Inc.

A Higher Ed Solution You Don’t Want to Miss…

In the 90s, a lot of Higher Ed institutions acquired document imaging systems to get rid of the volumes of paper from student files, accounting records, human resource documents, etc.

Times are changing now, and there are demands for student portals, integrations with Student Information Systems, the ability to capture electronic transmissions, the need for extensive workflows, and quite frankly, the ability to work more efficiently. More work has to be completed by less people. In most cases, staffing levels have been reduced.

The problem is, most systems currently installed in these institutions were built by Hershey, ImageNow, Nolij and other client server technology software manufacturers, and were built for specific purposes, primarily to eliminate space.

However, In order to meet the demands for campus-wide ECM solutions, there is a need to move from client server platforms into true n-tier architecture products, where standard document imaging has been integrated with Web Content Management, where records management and digital asset management is all part of a suite of products. Content needs to be ingested at the beginning of the process and pushed to knowledge workers.

In today’s world, content is not about scanned pieces of paper, it is not about bar code indexing, or OCR technology.  Universities are demanding products that are versatile and can be supported by a light IT staff.  The cost to repeatedly introduce an RFP for every IT need has been realized.  The requirements now set forth in an RFP for content management solutions far surpasses the ability of the traditional scan, store retrieve systems of old.

The new technologies available in Enterprise Content Management platforms will be demonstrated at the ACCRAO conference in Seattle, the 14th through 16th of March.  At booth 106, you will see how a student portal will work.  At the ImageSource presentation Tuesday evening at 5pm,  you will see the inner working of the system designed for San Jose State University, due to go live early spring.

Terry Butler
Chief Solutions Officer
ImageSource, Inc.

Higher Ed Automates Transcript Processes With ECM Technology

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) can provide a host of benefits to Higher Ed Institutions. Efficiencies can be found in Admissions & Registrar, Financial Aid, Accounting & Reporting, Human Resources, Marketing & Communications and more.

ImageSource Customer Partner, San Jose State University, is utilizing ECM technology for creative automation solutions in several departments, with plans to expand university-wide. Besides automating Finance’s requisition to PO process, a unique solution in Enrollment Services has created one of the most advanced transcript automation processes available.  Utilizing PeopleSoft as the core engine, ECM technology automatically extracts almost all data from paper and electronic transcripts and uploads the data to PeopleSoft.  The system provides coordinators, evaluators and auditors with concise, consolidated information, allowing them to calculate credits at the touch of a button and make enrollment decisions quicker.

Debbie Horton
Communications Director
ImageSource, Inc

Calling All SMBs!

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve walked into my doctor’s office, my dentist’s office, a community college office and seen rows and rows and rows of file folders filled with information about patients, students, customers, etc.

So let’s take the process at my doctor’s office as an example. I had an appointment not too long ago and my insurance information had changed. The receptionist made a photocopy of my new insurance card and then printed out about half a dozen new pages for me to fill out. Then she input the information into her computer and filed the forms into my folder.

I think about how much paper they use, how much space they need to store all those documents, and how much they’re spending in time and labor.

All small- to medium-sized business – there’s a product that can decrease the time spent on capturing that information, retrieval and can securely store your documents! ILINX® Content Store was designed with SMBs in mind. It captures documents and stores them securely for easy retrieval down the road. What’s awesome about this product is that it installs in a matter of minutes and users can be trained in about 30 minutes!

Kristina Farma
ImageSource, Inc.

Higher Ed Institutions Learn to Bridge Information University Wide

On May 12, ImageSource hosted a webinar titled “Information Management for Higher Ed: Bridge All of the Information Across your University”

The Webinar looked at how Universities are experiencing an explosion of information and how the need to control it, even leverage it, has never been greater. From registration to transcripts to financial aid and more, today’s students expect online services and electronic forms facilitating faster decisions and timely responses. Ensuing departmental document management solutions result in silos of information, and redundancy in content, technology and processes.

In the webinar, we explored how Enterprise Content Management (ECM) allows institutions to optimize specific, departmental business processes while providing a common platform for all information processes across the enterprise. We discussed how ECM provides a reliable way for all departments to securely access the same, current, accurate information. And when content is managed by a common platform, Universities share more than information. Sharing the cost for implementation and ongoing IT resources can provide big benefits to their bottom line.

Enterprise Content Management Solutions for Higher Ed are:
Extensible
Although it may originally be implemented in any department, an Enterprise Content Management system is designed to be expanded to include the entire organization.
Secure
ECM systems allow for control of access to sensitive information, protecting student confidentiality and University liability.
Compliant
Access records completely and immediately. Automated retention schedules allow for effective storage.
Efficient
Immediate access to critical information means Higher Ed organizations can do their job better and faster. This can improve the competitive edge through improved service to applicants and enrollees.
Economical
Reduce the footprint and expense of storing and accessing paper records. And when distributed across the entire enterprise, cost savings are realized through shared IT resources, hardware and software investments.

To view the Webinar please visit our Website: ECM Solutions for Higher Ed

To learn more about ECM solutions in Higher Ed and the many benefits it provides consider attending our ECM Solutions Conference, Nexus 2010.

Debbie Horton
ImageSource
Communications Director

 

Tackling ECM in Higher Education Part One

It seems whenever I meet with prospects in Higher Education I keep hearing the same thing over and over again, we have a system in this department we have another system in this department but we don’t think what they have will work for our needs. How did this scenario come to be? The answer is pretty simple, in the past, many systems in Higher Education that were chosen focused on specific departments, primarily Admission & Records and the Financial Aid Departments which were prime targets due to the large volumes of content each generated. Thus the beginnings of what we commonly refer to today as “Islands of Information” began to take place,  with each department doing their own thing or nothing at all. Today the business paradigm has shifted with departments such as AP, AR, HR, Student Services, Campus Police, Housing and the above mentioned departments now all requiring Content Management. Each department has its own unique requirements with integration into one or more ERP type of systems being quite common. Tackling all these requirements can be a challenge since the answer lies outside the traditional school of thought and requires us to  look beyond the department and expand our vision around Enterprise Content Management. How we go about doing that will be in discussed in part 2 of my next blog.

Bob Garrido
Senior Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.