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3 Practical Solutions for Education Document Management

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Schools and universities are notorious for their mountains of data and paperwork: from student records and lesson plans to admission forms and financial aid documentation.

Not only is it difficult to organize and weed through all that data, it’s also a struggle to ensure data privacy protections and compliance. Paper-based storage in file cabinets and storerooms is no longer practical in the digital age.

Modern education document management solutions are helping schools both big and small to streamline their recordkeeping and improve processes and compliance. What are some tools to consider?

Document Scanners

A first step in minimizing mountains of paperwork is scanning paper documents and storing them in the cloud. Consider the space taken up by numerous historical documents and student records from decades ago. What happens if a natural disaster were to destroy them all? Those records could be lost forever.

Scanning them might feel like an overwhelming yet necessary task. There are many levels of functionality among scanners, however, so it pays to look for one that will set you up for success. Speed is also a consideration when looking at scanning thousands of documents. You can find inexpensive scanners that scan only about 10 documents per minute or higher quality scanners that can scan up to 120 images per minute.

Many multifunction printers have scanning capabilities, or there are standalone scanners that can automatically route documents to a designated file folder or recipient. Canon scanners, for example, can automatically scan and send documents to most cloud providers like Google Drive, SharePoint, OneDrive and others.

You’ll also want to look for enhanced features that allow you to organize your scanned documents. Some applications allow redaction, bookmarking, metadata creation, date stamping or conversion to Microsoft Excel, Word, PDFs or image files.

RELATED: 3 Scanner Functions You Didnt Know You Needed

Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

One of the most comprehensive document management solutions is an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system. Unlike traditional content management systems that simply store documents, ECM provides features that help streamline processes and automate workflows.

Going Paperless with ECM eBook CTA

For example, admission forms might come through the mail, via email or through an online form. Managing multiple streams of information can become unwieldy and some items may fall through the cracks. An ECM system can digitize paper forms into searchable documents and collect various data streams into a cohesive repository where they can then be entered into an automated workflow and routed to the right team members.

That’s just one example in one department. Other departments can also benefit, especially those with repeatable processes like HR onboarding, accounts payable and receivable, grant management and other administrative tasks. Other benefits of ECM include:

  • Improved document tracking and management
  • Simplified reporting and analytics
  • Improved search functionality
  • Elimination of data silos
  • Integration with most apps and programs
  • Enhanced compliance
  • Improved accessibility in a secure cloud environment
  • Minimized human error
  • Increased productivity, collaboration and job satisfaction

An advantage of ECM is that authorized users can access data from anywhere. This can be a major benefit for school districts or universities with multiple campuses or remote workforces.

RELATED: 6 ECM Examples and Case Studies

Smart Interactive Whiteboards

Some may be surprised to see smart boards on the list of document management tools. However, they have the ability to reduce unnecessary paperwork and save time, especially in the classroom.

Unlike a traditional blackboard, any content created using a smart board can be digitized and saved for future use. It can also be sent to students or other educators in place of printed versions. Enhanced functionality includes character recognition, meaning the data can be searchable, and software apps like PowerPoint are easily integrated. What’s more, teachers can save lesson plans, eliminating redundancies and saving time down the road.

RELATED: What is a Smart Board and How Much Does it Cost?

Equipping teachers and administrators with the tools they need is an important aspect of allowing them to focus on student learning and other critical issues in an educational environment.

To learn more about the latest technology and document management software for education, contact the office technology experts at Gordon Flesch Company. Also, remember to check out our helpful infographic below explaining what ECM can do.

The benefits of ECM for business infographic

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