I remember when report cards used to be distributed in a manner which we aptly called, “they got sent home.” Mind you, while most of us did not go to the second grade to become couriers, that is what we became: deliverers of paper report cards filled out in blue or black ink (pencil if we were lucky) stuffed into yellow envelopes with just a peep of the reporting metrics protruding from the half-circle cutout.
Thankfully, we are not the only ones to have graduated.
Document Management Software: The New Normal in Education
Document management software has become more common, or in most cases, an absolute necessity to run an efficient, modern school or school system.
With a more competitive and data security-conscious educational climate, the best-run schools of our day have digital document management systems at their core, helping them efficiently and effectively route all types of information through their organization. Imaging Office Systems designs these systems to give school employees instant, permissions-based access to the data they need, when and where they need it.
Some of the areas that get the most immediate benefit from implementing a school document management system include:
- Student Records
- Human Resources
- Accounting and Payroll
Typically, a school system’s document management system originates where the largest number of files exist. Depending on size, districts will either house student records within guidance departments at the individual school locations or within a central records (admin) location. And lest we not forget the occasional boiler room, closet, or holiday decoration room(s) that also become shelters for forgotten files.
By implementing a school district-wide document management system, it won’t matter anymore if no one can remember where that “tan metal file cabinet with the dents” with transcripts from 10 years ago is. Alumni or others requesting transcripts or documentation of any type can simply make the request through the school website or with a phone call to any office within the district. From there, users with access to the document management software can simply search on a student name, graduation year, or other known information…and instantly retrieve the required information.
Our school district clients have reported with excitement their new abilities to fulfill information requests with minimal effort, not only improving their service to their communities, but also vastly reducing the time and internal headaches that came with their old inefficient record keeping methods. Simply put, everyone is much happier!
One of our largest K-12 customers using a school district document management system employs 4,200 people, serving over 51,000 kids. That is a hopping HR department. Upon conducting an initial business process discovery meeting, the HR Director informed us that they had previously paid a third-party consultant to analyze their process. Those findings indicated that they “were ap
propriately staffed in terms of number of (HR) departmental people, but the way in which they were doing things rendered them totally understaffed.”
From FMLA requests to vacation requests, to grievances and corrective action, paper forms were being filled out and routed all over the district! Final decisions were delayed by unacceptable time lines. Further, when certified and classified employees were continuously having reviews, requests for continuing education classes, certifications, and other updates, the HR Department
simply could not handle the workload of manually handling every request. “We do not want to ke
ep walking through these doors every morning to be file clerks,” lamented one of them.
With the implementation of a school district-wide document management system, e-forms now take the place of pen to paper forms. Once internal or external e-forms are filled out, ap
plicant tracking and onboarding workflows are automatically kicked off, allowing for HR personnel to do what they do best, i.e. NOT filing physical pieces of paper into bulging manila folders that have nowhere to be stored.
Accounting and Payroll
With one of our school clients, prior to implementing a district-wide enterprise content management system, each of their 24 buildings was responsible for couriering their physical payroll information to the central admin building. The problem with this arrangement was that tight payroll timelines were unable to be met. Manually entering the number of hours for each teacher (including substitutes) was virtually impossible with current staff. Temps were hired on occasion, but a better way was necessary.
We gave it to them.
Not only did we easily fix their payroll problem, but we also eliminated all their courier expenses. Document management systems provide the ability to integrate one department’s data with any other department’s data—SIS, HRIS and payroll, for example—which equips an organization to function as a single unified entity instead of a bunch of disparate departments held together by moving stacks of paper.
Document Management Lets Schools Get Back to Being Schools
Once an enterprise document management system is deployed, school systems find themselves with more time and greater capacity to do the business they are there to do…educating the next generation.