In this environment of ever-tightening budgets, staff reductions, and increased workloads, it’s more essential than ever for knowledge workers to gain efficiencies, doing their jobs faster but without sacrificing quality and accuracy. As burdensome as this sounds given the restraints on resources that impede these objectives, increasing productivity is entirely within reach. Transparent records management technology offers just this sort of opportunity.
Exactly what is transparent records management? One type of technology-driven transparency is being able to determine who has accessed what document, when, and what (if anything) was done to it. Depending on the technology’s capabilities, users can also deploy a variety of features designed to protect security and improve compliance.
But imagine another type of transparency. Departments on any college or university campus are very interdependent in the sense that a great deal of information-sharing takes place between them. For example, Human Resources has documents that Accounting needs to access; Admissions has student records that Financial Aid requires, and so on. But without the right technology, this essential information-sharing seldom happens smoothly, swiftly, or securely.
Consider this: in a paper-based system, if someone needs access to a document, the process can be incredibly time-consuming, costly, and risky. The document must be located and removed—increasing the opportunities for losing or misplacing it, and for compromising security and confidentiality. Depending on how many departments need the information, multiple copies must be made and then somehow delivered, chewing up staff time and increasing costs such as paper, ink, wear on printers, etc. Additionally, while the document/file is removed from its location, no one else has access to it until it’s returned.
This process exerts a significant negative impact on department function and employee productivity. Even worse, every department organizes information differently, in ways that are logical to them but may be confusing to other departments, further impeding critical information flow.
However, this problem can be resolved through transparent records management, a component of ECM technology. Simply put, this tool enables digital information, stored in a central repository, to be accessed by each department and organized in a way that is unique to them, without impacting others who may be simultaneously accessing that same information. This provides the ability for multiple users to access the same information in a way that is based on department preferences and what they’re used to, and to organize information based on those preferences.
As a result, transparent records management technology offers users the capability of vastly speeding up information-sharing, allowing departments to maintain better control over document security and confidentiality, and to function with greater effectiveness—all critical benefits worth investigating for institutions facing the mandate to improve efficiencies.