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Best practice approach to improving business processes

Flexible technology ensures employee buy-in

Colleges and universities across the country have realized that they can no longer rely on outdated, manual processes that hamper productivity and drive up costs. Changing the way staff works, however, is easier said than done.

According to recent research conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit, 80% of the organizations that have implemented formal initiatives to improve business processes over the past three years have faced employee resistance. Three major causes of this reluctance to change were:

  • The new process added more work (31%).
  • Employees had little or no say in determining the new process (31%).
  • The new process didn’t map to the way employees thought their jobs should be done (28%).

Enterprise content management (ECM) software solutions often include a workflow component designed to automate paper-heavy business processes such as the financial aid approval process, contract management and grant management. However, when colleges and universities implement ECM solutions that lack flexibility, staff members are reluctant to adopt the new technology and continue to do things the way they’ve always been done.

A flexible ECM system that allows departmental leaders to map out their own automated business processes and make changes as necessary ensures two things:

  • User acceptance, because the people configuring the system are enmeshed in the day-to-day reality of the department’s working requirements, and they know how to ensure that the right work gets done the right way at the right time.
  • Flexibility to evolve with changing market conditions, because the department does not have to wait for a vendor, consultant or IT department to maximize the performance of its localized solutions.

According to John Hermes, Chief Technology Officer at Oklahoma Christian University, a flexible workflow engine has been essential to his school’s success with ECM. "By distributing IT leadership among administrators, we could provide the overall IT cost savings required by business units along with the sensitivity to individual departmental needs."

In fact, after automating its financial aid process using ECM, the financial aid department at Oklahoma Christian saved $31,000 in year one on hard costs such as paper and offsite storage alone, not to mention staff productivity or student satisfaction. Hermes explains, "A best-in-class ECM system like Laserfiche will help you in your daily processes. It will improve employee morale. It will help you in everything you are trying to do for students."

Learn more about Oklahoma Christian University's financial aid workflow design details and screenshots at Laserfiche's Solution Exchange.

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