- Hard to access– Getting and using information within seconds, not days, is the norm in today’s global and mobile world. Paper lacks the immediacy and accessibility of electronic documents, and severely lengthens the time it takes for information to get from one person to the next. Paper can end up in the wrong file, mailed to the wrong address, or even in the trash – like at Intermediate School 47 in the Bronx, where 11 boxes of student documents were accidentally left on the curb. With electronic documents and workflow automation tools, you can create and route documents and data that can reach the right people, right away, without manual intervention. All they (teachers, principals, board members, students, and even parents) need is a device with internet connection and permission to access certain documents.
- The right information is harder to find – A study conducted by Deloitte & Touche found that U.S. managers spent an average of three hours a week looking for paper that had been misfiled, mislabeled, or lost. Electronic documents are easier to file and find because they can be indexed using keys like student ID, date, document type or other user-defines criteria. You can even use full-text searching, making it simple and quick to find important documents.
- Lack of process automation– Process automation is the intelligent management and routing of information through a business process or workflow. Using document management and distribution software, you can build rules to route, distribute and store electronic documents, reports and other data. At Passaic County Technical Institute, the database administrator used process automation tools to schedule reports to export and send themselves to the proper personnel every morning while she was away on vacation. You can also collaborate between departments or separate schools by sharing documents digitally so they can be reviewed, edited and saved.
- Unsatisfactory data collection and output quality – On paper, processes like school registration are muddied by guardians leaving fields blank, or secretaries misreading different kinds of handwriting. Using web-based form technology to collect and exchange information not only speeds up the process, but improves data quality. Software can be implemented in addition to data-capturing form technology to further improve data quality, such as type-ahead addresses verified through the USPS, and address purification mapping.
- Higher costs – Reams of paper, mailing expenses, manila folders, printer ink and repair – these things add up quickly. And let’s not forget the time it costs employees to manually enter data, file documents, retrieve them and scan them. Digital processes eliminates all of these costs once and for all.
- Slow return of approvals – Utilizing electronic signature solutions speeds up approval processes for external and internal documents. Electronic documents can be signed digitally and routed for the next step quickly, reliably and securely. This can speed up purchase requests, loan approvals, expense reports, contracts and much more. In terms of contact with parents, the electronic signature can facilitate the reception of report cards, permission slips, student handbook contracts, etc.
- Liability to regulatory compliance – Regulations such as HIPAA and FERPA require schools to take significant measures to maintain data confidentiality and integrity. Paper-based systems make tracking and managing data more difficult and expensive than digital document systems. Electronic document management systems can provide an audit trail of when documents are received or sent. Built-in security prevents unauthorized access, maintaining data confidentiality. FERPA also requires that parents be given certain student documents upon request within 30 days – with an electronic document management system they don’t even have to ask; they can simply be given an account and password for their student’s file upon enrollment.
- Its harmful to the environment– The world has begun to see the value in going green and reducing our carbon footprint. Going paperless by utilizing electronic document management systems and related technology helps cut down on deforestation and pollution.
- Improved service– Many customers prefer self-service over setting up appointments over the phone or waiting in line. The enrollment process during the start of a new school year in particular can create a long, long queue in the office. Providing electronic access to all relevant data not only gives customers more accurate and complete information, it makes them happier and more loyal customers. As does allowing customers or guardians to provide you with their relevant data. With certain software solutions, guardians can even access a calendar of open appointments and claim a slot for themselves without picking up the phone or visiting the school.
- Cluttered office space – A single filing cabinet holding 9,000 documents usually takes up about 20 sq. ft. in an office. Current estimates from author and efficiency researcher, K.J. McCorry show that 50-70% of space in an office are dedicated to filing and storing physical documents. Statistics also show that 3% of documents in each file cabinet are misfiled, and 45% of documents are duplicated information. That’s a lot of clutter and time spent sifting through it. With a virtual filing system, you’re saving the square footage in the office, around $300 per filing cabinet, and a whole lot of headaches that come with a crowded, less organized workspace.
Student Registrar at Lebanon SD attests to enrollment efficiency after cutting down on labor force and paper supplies.
Center Valley, PA, February 7, 2017 – When you think of “cutting down” resources for a school district, more often the mind jumps to negative assumptions than positive ones. For Lebanon School District in Pennsylvania, they might just argue the opposite.
Lebanon School District, which serves nearly 5,000 students, saw 100% of parents register their children through Registration Gateway online, a District Top 100 product the last three years running. This allowed them to reduce superfluous resources, labor, and inefficient registration appointments.
We no longer have to run off copies of every single document for each department, they can simply find the information on their own.
DAWN ZATORSKI, STUDENT REGISTRATION COORDINATOR
According to Dawn Zatorski, Lebanon’s Student Registration Coordinator, “Using Online Enrollment with Registration Gateway cut back printing costs, paper and other supplies, and most productively, the amount we needed to pay additional staff and overtime salaries during the summer.” Registration Gateway makes it possible for school administrators and registrars to access new and returning students’ data from any internet-accessing device, whether it be at the office or at home.
“The amount of time between enrollment and starting school, for students, has been greatly reduced. This is because we get better quality data in the first place by sidestepping having to decipher parent handwriting, and because it forces the parents to fill out everything we need without skipping any questions. It also substantially reduced the amount of time parents have to spend in the office. The whole process of getting the student data from paper enrollment forms into PowerSchool has been completely stamped out, because of Registration Gateway’s data flow integration with our student information system. The data is simply uploaded to PowerSchool within moments after parent completion and administrator approval. All these cut backs have enabled us to enroll students and get them into classes much quicker,” said Zatorski.
“Enrollment is only the first step of a student’s experience, and the data that goes into PowerSchool has to be secure and easily accessible to the right people,” says Patrick Maher, CEO of SRC Solutions, Inc. “Registration Gateway gets rid of a lot of problems caused by human error, both by parents and employees. Having personally been both of those things, I know that I’ve misplaced many documents as well as failed to answer all the right questions when enrolling my own kids in school. They’re just simple mistakes, but they’re very preventable ones. It’s in the best interest of the parents, the school district, and the students to choose the solution that takes the best care and provides the highest and most thorough degree of accuracy and security when it comes to this information.”
When asked what about the Registration Gateway solution had most positive effect on Lebanon School District, Zatorski replied, “With the highly transient nature of our students and their families, the ability to retain enrollment documents electronically has been such a huge help over the last year. We only have to ask for their information once, and we get all of it at one time because of how it obliges parents to answer every field of inquiry. After we have that, it’s so easy to access the documents if we have any questions and in order to appropriately plan and staff for the next school year. All the administrators can access it, so we no longer have to run off copies of every single document for each department, they can simply find the information on their own.”
About SRC Solutions, Inc.
SRC Solutions’ flagship product Registration Gateway has had a long and successful partnership with K12 school districts. Being a technology leader is nothing new to SRC Solutions. Going all the way back to 2008, Registration Gateway was one of the first Online Enrollment solutions to offer real-time data integration to Student Information Systems.