Eastern Kentucky University Thinks Outside the Box - Part 1 of 3 - VeBridge

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Eastern Kentucky University Thinks Outside the Box – Part 1 of 3

One of my greatest frustrations in our business is encountering organizations that have followed the trend of attempting to solve their “paper” problems by installing more multi-function devices. By the time we get involved, they have become digital dumpsters. In most cases, their “findability” has become an impossibility! So, it’s a joy when we see an organization do something creative to assess their pain so they can truly identify the root causes of their process problems and fix them.

We had an opportunity to be part of a creative pain identification process sponsored by the IT staff at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) recently.  The user community had been vocal about the need to fix their manual, paper-based processes. An internal brainstorming process was conducted with IT and members of the user community to begin their discovery process. As a long-time ECM/Document Management partner with EKU, we were privileged to be invited to attend and contribute.

The simplicity of the process was nothing short of breathtaking. The following questions were submitted to the group for discussion:

  • If we had magic paper – what would it do?
  • What is most irritating about paper? What drives you crazy about paper processes?
  • Other than paper and electronic forms, what else do you want to store and retrieve? What digital formats need to be stored?
  • Let’s put on our Worry Hat:  What might get in our way?
  • What worries YOU about living and working in a paperless office?
  • How would a paperless office help you?

I was so impressed by the process and the responses that I requested permission to publish the results of the session. This is the first in a three-part series with the answers to these wonderful questions.
If we had magic paper – what would it do?

  • It would file itself accurately
  • It would be searchable by what’s in the document
  • It would be current and up to date – all the time
  • It would be tied to the electronic documents to which it relates
    • i.e. degree works
  • It fills itself out
  • It automatically routes to the next place
  • It eliminates the cost of postage – replace mailing and staff time
  • It would know its own retention period
  • It would purge itself when necessary and route the paper to archives or destroy itself with the associated certificate of destruction
  • It would know who owns it and is responsible for the retention and disposal
  • It would make sure forms are filled out completely and accurately
  • It would allow me to see where it is in the process
  • It would be accessible to those who need access
  • It would be easily signed without printing
  • It would date stamp itself automatically, providing visibility to the trail of the document
  • It would disappear – as would the storage cabinets
  • If it was a form, it would be intelligent and know what needs to be completed
    • It would interface with the Banner Student Information system
  • It would reduce email traffic
  • It would route itself to the people who need to know (copies)
  • It would route to an alternate if the primary recipient is out of the office and notify the sender of the change
  • It would make itself easily reviewable by committees that need to review and take action without having to print paper
  • It would allow for better customer service
    • Students want electronic/paperless access
  • It would automate Dean’s list and Dean’s award notifications
  • It would make contents dependent on reading instructions
  • It would only enforce character limits in fields and tells you where you are on the form
  • It would allow Administrative Assistants to act on behalf  of Dean, VP, etc.
  • It would provide expanded access for those who need it.
    • Change in staff, special issues, etc.
  • It would provide consistency across University for storing and tracking documents
  • It would self-redact to restrict access to certain data – i.e. SSN
  • It would secure itself
  • It would group itself to related documents. i.e. enrollment forms and attachments
  • It would backup itself up securely
  • It would capture data and run reports from data on the documents or about documents
  • It would identify the most current documents and relate them together
  • It would make itself available for off-campus access

What is most irritating about paper?  What drives you crazy about paper processes?

  • Paper is not where it is supposed to be
  • Going online to fill it out, print, copy, send – then it gets lost
  • Tracking paper in the process, and then it gets lost in the shuffle
  • Don’t understand why all the signatures are required
  • Not knowing where the form goes next
  • Having to print hard copies of electronic documents and mailing them
  • Electronic forms that have to be printed to fill them out
  • Send electronic docs and print them too – duplicating delivery
  • Having to house all the paper
  • Legal – litigation – anything and everything that relates to an individual or a situation
    •  Not knowing what you have and where it is.
  • Promotion and Tenure binders – supporting materials are in the binders
    • This is electronic – the paper is routed for signatures which is why they keep the paper
  • Paper process for budget adjustments
  • Other processes – hiring/new employees
    • Submit PAF – salary recommendation is manual
  • Annual faculty renewals and part-time faculty contracts
  • Pro-card receipts
  • Travel reimbursements
  • Exception forms/grade changes/late adds. Why can’t they have e-signatures?
    • All registrars functions
    • Keeping it all up-to-date
  • Electronic signatures would help with a workflow
  • Curriculum revision process
    • Tracking
    • Keeping everyone on the same page
  • Make sure you have the most current form
    • Four instances of taxpayer id form
    • Everyone has their own copy
    • Only one copy
  • Snail Mail receipt
    • Letters of recommendation

Stay tuned for the next two installments!

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