When the academic services office at the University of Oklahoma’s College of Arts & Science first deployed Laserfiche’s ECM technology, it had two initial business objectives for moving to a digital format, says Rhonda Dean Kyncl, assistant dean for the office. First, it wanted to protect student records against a natural disaster, and secondly, it wanted to serve its students in the most efficient possible way. However, she says, as the office began going through the conversion, it realized this technology would benefit not just the students but the college faculty and staff and their colleagues across campus as well.
“The technology has enabled us to increase our efficiency on all levels, saving us time and money and space—the three cost centers of our unit,” Dean Kyncl says. “Where we used to hand-carry folders and records from office to office, we now send them electronically. We respond to records requests from across campus within minutes because they are digital; and we respond to student requests for records within minutes. ECM technology has revolutionized the way we do business.”
Equally revolutionary has been the academic services office’s use of Laserfiche Mobile, an app for iPhones and iPads that enables academic services advisors to securely access and work with documents held inside the Laserfiche repository from those devices. Dean Kyncl says the Biology Department uses this technology for group advising purposes. During the group advising days, the department sets up several stations where all biology majors have access to departmental advisors, faculty mentors and other services. An academic counselor from Dean Kyncl’s office is also invited to this event.
“Our academic counselor was able to access records for students who attended the session,” says Dean Kyncl. “In our old system, she would not have been able to do this. She would not have known which students were going to show up, and she would not have had the ability to transport all the records to a location outside our offices.”
Now, several offices across campus are implementing the Laserfiche ECM technology, she says. That list includes financial services, admissions, athletics, the College of Education, and the university college that serves their freshman. All of these entities have transitioned their records to this technology, or will soon do so.
“One of the biggest benefits of this network is that information that was once ‘held hostage’ in one office or one college is now accessible to all of us,” says Dean Kyncl. “Rather than requiring students to complete a form here, then a new form there, we all have the ability to see those records and access them through the same space, saving our students time and effort and creating more consistent records across campus.”
In the future, Dean Kyncl hopes that students will be able to complete forms on their mobile devices and submit them to offices remotely. “With the ability to access and submit forms and records this way, students will be able to maintain their enrollment and graduate on time,” she says. “That’s the kind of responsive higher-education environment they need to succeed.”