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Business Intelligence

For most colleges and universities, having students live on campus can provide a number of benefits, both in revenue and in classroom performance. So how can an institution maximize the benefits while creating an atmosphere that not only attracts a growing number of students, but also ensures that their experience is mutually beneficial? A comprehensive approach that emanates from the concept of providing improved value for the on-campus resident can have far reaching benefits for both student and school.

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.

The USC Contracts and Grants department was struggling to maintain efficiencies in the face of a paper flow situation that threatened to engulf them. Exacerbating the problem was that to facilitate agreements and arrive at resolutions, a great deal of interaction and information-sharing with other campus entities was required.

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.

Lauri Reilly, accounts payable manager at the Chancellor’s Office for California State University (CSU), distinctly recalls the moment she fell in love—with Laserfiche, that is. One of the first tasks she tackled upon her arrival to the office four years ago was preparing 1099 forms for vendors. “In the past, reconciling differences between the 1099 and total payments to a vendor took forever,” she says. “It was just amazing to me that I could sit at my desk and actually see the images in Laserfiche, and make an immediate determination whether or not a particular invoice was reportable without having to get up and search through files.”

Every department on campus is shouldering a heavy workload, but few would argue that Accounts Payable (AP) staff are especially burdened. After all, AP is one of those critical business tasks that spans all departments—every purchase and every invoice is funneled through AP. When mistakes and discrepancies occur, reconciling paperwork can require a lot of detective work. An efficient AP system can help the department—and the institution as a whole—achieve efficiencies, reduce costs, and conserve resources.

Colleges and universities are steeped in tradition, both in culture and business practices. But when traditional processes inhibit growth, schools need to change without disturbing their traditions of brand awareness and academic excellence.

Can you believe it? I’ve been writing this column about digital marketing in higher education for seven years.

So much has happened since February 2006. Together we’ve witnessed the first blips of Web 2.0, the development—and demise—of many social networking platforms, and the rising tide of new media that later turned into the social media tsunami. Over the past seven years, we’ve also seen the end of the desktop browser compatibility war, the start of the battle for the mobile and responsive web, and growing interest for digital analytics in higher education.

With campus leaders looking to streamline operations and save resources, electronic payroll options are very appealing. The printing, envelope stuffing, and mailing costs associated with paper checks make them an administrative burden, says Anthony Peculic, senior director of product strategy at ADP.