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Best Practices

There exist an endless number of articles, books, blogs, and interviews on the state of higher education (HE) in America. The themes are consistent – fewer resources, fewer students, bloated administrative staff, less affordability, unsustainable student debt, poor graduation rates, unimpressive employability skills and what the heck is a MOOC and why should I care.

Establishing IT governance that effectively and securely manages all the organization’s information requires addressing four key areas—people, policy, technology and risk management.

In her capacity as education program strategist for Laserfiche, Linda Ding has worked with universities and colleges across the country helping them implement more efficient information-management processes. Agile Campus spoke with Ding about what institutions can do to meet this objective while honing their competitive edge.

In light of President Obama’s recent speech outlining his goals for higher education, the need to become more transparent, accountable and efficient has become particularly acute for those charged with managing student financial aid, says Linda Ding, education program strategist for Laserfiche.

While digital technologies have become central to our society and our lives in higher education, the continuing development of the internet, mobile phone applications, and social media brings the need for up-to-date professional development. Indeed, standing still with digital technology means we are falling behind, and your staff needs continuing opportunities to evaluate and implement new online options.

University and college police departments may operate in a smaller arena than most city law enforcement agencies, but their need for accurate and up-to-date intelligence is no different, nor are the challenges they face when trying to manage this through a paper-based system. ECM can help alleviate the problem.

An effective business continuity plan must be based on both a sound knowledge of your institution’s culture and structure, as well as on well-defined policies and procedures that make the plan a part of your daily operations, rather than something that is referred to only in case of emergency.

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.

In the push to achieve greater efficiencies, institutions of higher learning are looking at ways to standardize business practices and bring greater uniformity to departments across the campus. Increasingly, they’re relying on ECM tools to achieve this objective, an effort that typically starts with Accounts Payable (AP), says Linda Ding, education program strategist for Laserfiche.

Mobile technology has certainly made life more convenient, allowing employees to work and stay connected from almost anywhere. At the same time, because these devices are so portable and are often used by accessing public wireless Internet, they’ve made life a little less secure.

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