While our most recent research (Driving Business in a Tough Economy) indicates that electronic document scanning (paper to digital conversion) has the strongest effect across a broad range of organizational goals. Our work with a client clearly demonstrated the power of this document management activity.
Our client, one of Connecticut’s oldest public institutions of higher education, has 7,000 full-time and 5,000 part-time students. Over 100 years the school accumulated hundreds of thousands of student files that became too costly to manage and too risky to protect in paper form. Océ digital imaging management experts were brought in to convert the paper files to digital. Now the registrar can turn around requests for student records on a dime using electronic retrieval, saving time and money.
Here’s how the solution worked. First, the student “grade books” were imaged. These files contain student class grades that are most active. An electronic repository increased productivity immediately and provided a backup. The second phase tackled “current files,” defined as the past ten years’ files. All the documents in these files were imaged and indexed per the school’s records retention schedule. The third phase converted files older than ten years. These files were also purged of documents that exceeded the retention schedule. The physical paper files were thinned by destroying documents no longer needed, reducing the physical storage space. Océ designed and installed the imaging technology and process and staffed the scanning operation.
As the student records were brought on-line and the registrar’s office began to use the electronic system to fulfill requests for records, improvements in several business metrics were immediately noticed:
1. Pressure to hire additional staff dissipated and there was no need for overtime.
2. The chronic backlog in requests for records was eliminated. Now the requests are turned around immediately.
3. Physical files are not disturbed and records do not get misfiled.
4. Valuable space was freed and is being refurbished for other uses. In addition, the school’s officials can feel a little better knowing that should anything happen to the paper files, business will not be interrupted because they now have an electronic and microfilm archive.
I’ll spotlight more examples of digital imaging management in future posts.