A new look at document management

Author: Lenette Votava, OIT

Pictured left to right: Julie Pawlak, Julia Bruckert, Kevin Casault, Henry Joseph and Deb Micinski Pictured left to right: Julie Pawlak, Julia Bruckert, Kevin Casault, Henry Joseph and Deb Micinski

Paper documents are integral components of many campus processes, both in the academy and in the University’s administrative offices.

Document-based workflows that are managed inefficiently can result in wasted time and effort, departmental confusion and poor information quality.

In the spirit of continuous improvement, the Document Management initiative was formed in January 2012. The focus of this enterprise initiative is to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of business and academic document management processes.

A digital document management system can be leveraged to replace paper forms with electronic forms, as well as replace the manual hand-off of paper forms, with electronic workflow. This type of system can also be utilized to electronically scan, classify and store existing paper documents.

The Document Management initiative offers a variety of tools, and works with departments to select the best option to meet their specific needs, including OnBase, SharePoint and others.

“Implementing our digital document management system will help us transform productivity at Notre Dame, find information more quickly, serve our campus better and be more environmentally friendly,” says Ron Kraemer, vice president for information technologies and chief information officer.

The Document Management initiative offers many additional benefits, including:

  • Increased efficiency and effectiveness of academic and business processes
  • Consistent view of the same information
  • Reduction and elimination of paper and other waste, and associated costs
  • Better utilization of office space

The Document Management team has already worked successfully with several departments to evaluate their processes and identify areas where an enterprise document management system makes business sense. For additional information on enterprise document management, contact Julie Pawlak at jpawlak2@nd.edu.

Success stories

Facilities Design & Operation

“Everyone involved in the Facilities Design and Operations division project management is grateful for the digital document management effort. It resulted in an online project approval process that has already shown significant time savings and data tracking advantages.

“In less than three months, the efficiency of the paper-based process which took at least two weeks improved to less than five days—with a trend toward two to three days. The OIT team patiently listened to our needs and learned our process. After the initial rollout, the team continued to make refinements in order to maximize the benefits of the OnBase system. Marsh said, ‘We are very pleased with the outcome and are most appreciative of the success of our joint effort on behalf of the division and the University.’"

Doug Marsh, associate vice president and University architect

Office of Financial Aid

“The Office of Financial Aid cannot imagine life without OnBase! Historically, the financial aid application process was heavily paper-based. We would receive lots of confidential data that needed to be compiled into a paper folder and routed through the Financial Aid processing team before we could share a financial aid notification with a student. The process was extremely time-consuming and placed significant demands on an already overworked staff. Our process needed to be ‘redesigned’ so that we could re-direct our time and effort away from processing paper and toward providing enhanced personal services to our students and parents.

“With OnBase, all student records are now available for our immediate review without having to look for a paper file. This is especially helpful when receiving calls from students and their parents asking specific questions regarding a financial aid record.

“Document processing was streamlined for the administration of graduate student financial aid. As a result, it is now completely paperless. The undergraduate process is heading in that direction.

“The Financial Aid Office has also enjoyed the benefit of sharing OnBase functionality with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and the Office of Student Employment. This online collaboration between offices has reduced the need for duplicating information and allows each of us to work more efficiently.

“Although moving from a paper to an imaged world was a significant change for our office, the benefits became apparent in a very short time. Staff adapted to OnBase functionality very quickly. The Web interface is very intuitive and user-friendly. Staff members are now bringing new ideas to the OnBase team to further enhance our processes.”

Sue Brandt, director of strategic services, Enrollment Division

Office of Undergraduate Admissions

“It’s hard to imagine our work without the document management system. Since the installation of OnBase, we’ve experienced a 21 percent increase in first-year applications while functioning within the same notification calendar. It is much easier to track applications and supporting documents than it ever was in the ‘paper world.’ This transition has been a great success for us.”

Bob Mundy, director of admissions

Office of Continuous Improvement

“The Document Management initiative is very closely aligned with the work we’re doing in Continuous Improvement. Within the various process improvement projects we undertake, we strive to eliminate duplicate work and what we call non-value-added time in a process, thereby giving time back to individuals and work teams. This ‘found’ time can be spent on more strategic and value-add activities, as opposed to administrative tasks.

“Document management solutions are robust tools that enable much of this improvement and reduction of waste:

  • Being more responsive to students and parents
  • Reducing time spent on administrative tasks, especially passing paper around
  • Enabling collaborative work through shared access to information and data
  • Reducing wait times due to electronic workflows

“These solutions enable departments to provide a far higher quality of service to their respective constituents.”

Carol Mullaney, director