Barrier-Free and Efficient

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

If the various departments on campus were entirely self-contained, never having to share information with, or seek it out from, other departments, then a paper-based, hardcopy system might not be so unwieldy. But as anyone in education will tell you, no department is an island. Instead, there’s a massive amount of back and forth; a reality that a paper-based system is increasingly ill-suited for, says Linda Ding, education program strategist for Laserfiche.

“With a paper-based system, when different departments need to access the same information, the same documents will be duplicated over and over,” Ding explains. “A lot of resources and labor costs go into making this happen.  But perhaps the biggest costs of all are for maintaining security and compliance—not to mention the potential costs if they aren’t maintained, for example, if a file is lost or a confidential document is left out on someone’s desk.”

Consequently, many institutions of higher learning are exploring ways to electronically manage documents and create a centralized repository for information, Ding says. Although a step forward, the wrong tool can inadvertently throw up barriers inhibiting easy access to information.

“For example, departments have different ways of organizing information. So, even though they’re accessing the same information, they’ll need it organized in ways that are logical to them,” Ding says. “When it’s centralized and organized in just one particular way, it can be difficult for people to find what they need if they’re not used to how it’s being held.”

But there is a solution, says Ding. Laserfiche’s Workflow avoids this problem by creating customized folders with shortcuts to the documents for each department, thereby allowing users to access shared information in the way they prefer, without impacting other users who are simultaneously accessing the same information in their own unique ways. The Workflow module can be configured to automate the setup of these multiple views.

“With Workflow, we have the technology that will enable knowledge workers to become more efficient, and to easily access the information vital to getting the job done,” says Ding.

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