It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in – we’ve all heard the term “paperless office” too many times to count. It’s a term so undefined and it often appears too far-reaching to become a reality. In today’s fast-paced, information-overloaded education system, we seem to be working in the opposite direction of paperless. There are mountains of paper tests, student records, instructor guidebooks, course outlines, and supply requests continuing to pile up, while old records and documents are stored away in filing cabinets, often cluttered and disorganized.
Kawartha Pine Ridge School District’s document dilemma began years ago. We looked at the mounds of paper crowding our desks, hallways, and file rooms, and saw we were using paper for everything – sharing communications, tracking legal records, and creating content like training manuals, policies, and teaching material. So many of our administrative processes were based on paper forms and manual routing; even our relationships with partners, vendors, and suppliers were largely supported by paper in the form of invoices, purchase orders, and catalogs.
We had to regain control of our documents, starting with the processes that drive their creation. There’s more to managing documents than just shuffling papers and finding an efficient filing system. In the education realm, we also have to consider the privacy and confidentiality of the information captured in these documents – who has access to these records, and how are they being used?
We tested a number of different solutions, such as implementing an electronic records system, deploying an archive scanning project, and installing three separate staff intranets. Each project on its own was a small success for the specific goal it was implemented to achieve. The problem: while we were individually achieving our goals, we weren’t interacting across groups – think about how much productivity could be gained if we worked together.
Our district’s needs were met when we implemented Xerox DocuShare’s enterprise content management (ECM) solution. DocuShare has become our staff intranet platform for sharing information, resources, and applications across the district. We’ve seen a significant reduction in the amount of paper records generated and managed, and are actively working to migrate more business processes over to the digital repository. Staff members are also starting to realize the benefits of the collaborative workspaces to share information and resources among workgroup or project team members.