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How to Manage Student Records: Digitize & Archive Them with ECM

Manage Student Records
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Every school, whether a grade school or prestigious university, has a student record management system. For some, that system consists of dozens of file cabinets or bins of paperwork in a storeroom. Others leverage robust Enterprise Content Management (ECM) software that captures and stores student records securely in the cloud, helping to preserve their integrity and maintain compliance.

Security and data privacy are top concerns for many administrators in today’s education environment, making ECM a critical tool. Educators also want to more easily find and validate student records without having to sort through thousands of papers or file folders. The idea of digitizing and archiving decades-worth of student records and other documentation, however, can feel utterly overwhelming. But so can the prospect of sorting through records by hand or potentially losing them all in a natural disaster or fire.

Historical and current student records should be safeguarded against potential theft or loss to maintain compliance. Going paperless by digitizing both old and new student records is a critical step for modern school districts and higher education institutions.

RELATED CASE STUDY: Why Green Bay Area Public Schools Implemented ECM

What is Enterprise Content Management (ECM)?

It’s important to first understand exactly what ECM is and its benefits for education. ECM is a type of software that helps organizations capture, store, organize and manage documents and data while also streamlining various processes.

Common types of student records that can be digitized might include:

  • Personal identifying information
  • Grades and transcripts
  • Disciplinary, behavioral and performance records
  • Exams, theses, papers, etc.
  • Student email accounts
  • Attendance records and schedules
  • Admissions, tuition and fees
  • Communication between teachers, students and parents
  • Grant planning, award implementation and post-award management

ECM is much more than simply a content management system (CMS). This software allows organizations to automate workflows, improve compliance, increase efficiencies and find information quickly and easily in an online searchable repository. Day-to-day operations become more efficient, saving time, money and frustrations.

Just some benefits of ECM include:

  • Reduced storage costs and improved organization
  • Real-time data and easy reporting
  • Improved productivity and inter-departmental communication
  • Automated workflows for admissions, HR, accounts payable and more
  • Tracking of tuition and fees
  • Better security, auditing and compliance
  • Increased user satisfaction
  • Better organizational decisions

Tips for Modernizing and Managing Student Records Using ECM

You wouldn’t expect a student to jump from learning the ABCs to writing a thesis paper. Likewise, you shouldn’t expect to tackle capturing, organizing and learning how to manage an entire school district's data overnight. Implementing ECM is typically done in phases to help schools and universities streamline their systems and processes.

Phase One: Scan, Digitize and Route

Use a scanner or compatible multifunction printer (MFP) to scan items into the school’s Student Information System (SIS). You may choose to digitize the most current and active documents first and work your way back from there. Using advanced AI functionality, the ECM system converts forms into searchable PDFs. Bar-coded cover sheets help to index and file various types of documents into the system and route them to the right department and staff. Any newly created documents can be automatically filed using the same system.

Phase Two: Store and Access

All documents are stored and managed in a secure online repository that can be accessed from anywhere with proper credentials. ECM does more than just store documents, however, it serves as a powerful search engine, allowing users to easily find documents based on keywords, meta tags, date ranges or a host of other means. Use powerful reporting tools to perform audits, run reports and ensure compliance.

Phase Three: Business Process Automation

Once the nuts and bolts of the ECM system are in place, it’s time to leverage its capabilities to streamline operations and map out workflows. Consider ways that teachers can leverage workflows to communicate with students and parents. Take a look at repeatable processes like accounts payable, onboarding, assessments, grant management and others. For example, alerts regarding approaching deadlines for grant submissions or reviews can automatically be sent. Once reviewed, it can automatically be routed to the next person in line with the click of a button, removing numerous administrative tasks and keeping things moving.

Work with your ECM provider to help automate these types of functions to eliminate duplicate work from one task to the next. Use forms and integrations to reduce paper-based processes to minimize errors and reduce staff time.

ECM is Not DIY

Because of the mountains of data that most school districts and universities deal with, implementing an ECM is not a DIY venture. Finding the right ECM partner is just as crucial as finding the right ECM software, if not more. The right provider will have experience in the education sector, know which roadblocks to avoid, provide robust training and set you up for success. They’ll place as much emphasis on the foundational onboarding as they will on the actual implementation of the system.

If you’re still on the fence about whether ECM is right for your school, take the easy online quiz below. It might give you some additional insights into your needs. To get started on your ECM journey and explore more, contact Gordon Flesch Companys business analysts. They’ll help you define exactly what you need.

Enterprise Content Management Quiz

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