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My Infatuation with Integration

by Robert Gunning

It’s that time of year again. Love is in the air and I’m more in love now than ever before.

You remember last year when I confessed my love for Etrieve Flow? I cast no doubts about how happy Etrieve Flow made me. Its ability to configure both simple and complex workflows left me speechless.

Now I’m here to tell you there’s another love in my life. I know it’s wrong to be pining over another while I’m still madly in love with Etrieve Flow, just wait until you hear more about Etrieve Integrations.

I know you’re thinking, “What could possibly be so great about Etrieve Integrations that you would cheat on Etrieve Flow?” Well, let me attempt to explain.

Fluid interactions with the database. You want to search for a name and have your results filter as you type? No problem! Etrieve Integrations can query the database as you type. Your query can include ID as well, so your search can span multiple items. Flexible queries. So you think you’re stuck using a simple select statement? Not in Etrieve Integrations. Supply a join query or call a stored procedure. There’s no limit to what queries can be called in Etrieve Integrations. Works seamlessly with Etrieve Flow. Use Etrieve Integrations within your workflow in order to have data on your form determine where your next route will go. Say you have a department or location drop-down on your form and you don’t want to have to configure your workflow for every possible selection outcome. You can use a Conditional Actor in Etrieve Flow that will utilize Etrieve Integrations to query a table that will make the determination on where to workflow your form.

So you can clearly see my dilemma – how could you possibly choose only one when you have options like these? Loving both is so wrong, it’s right!

Softdocs Reaches Milestone as Education Enterprise Content Management Leader with 2016 Achievements

by Andrew Daniel

New Etrieve Platform Product Innovations, Industry Accolades, and Nearly 35 Percent Employee Growth Among Successes

Education-focused enterprise content management, e-forms and workflow solutions provider Softdocs today celebrated its 2016 successes, including more than a one-third growth in its workforce and continued year-over-year annual revenue growth. Other notable achievements included maintaining its 99 percent client retention rate and the rollout of its entire Etrieve platform, including the launch of the Etrieve Forms Builder, via a new cloud-based deployment model.

“2016 was a pivotal year for Softdocs as we expanded our workforce with highly talented and knowledgeable professionals in the software, enterprise content management and education sectors to meet the growing needs for our Etrieve platform,” said Mike Murphy, CEO and Co-Founder, Softdocs. “As we continue to innovate and offer increased accessibility, we look forward to working closely with higher education institutions and school districts to improve productivity, as well as reduce strain on their operations, resources and budget while helping them on their road to a paperless environment.”

The Etrieve platform received a number of industry accolades in 2016 including being recognized as making a positive difference in education with the Readers’ Choice Top 100 Product Award by District Administration. School Planning & Management and College Planning & Management also acknowledged Softdocs’ Etrieve platform in their 2016 New Product of the Year Awards.

On the product side, Softdocs completed the launch of their fully browser-based Etrieve platform that includes Etrieve Content, Forms and Flow, as well as the Etrieve Forms Builder that allows for the user-friendly creation, modification and management of dynamic HTML forms. They closed out the year with the announcement of Etrieve Cloud, which brings increased accessibility to the entire Etrieve platform through a cloud-based deployment model.

The Etrieve platform offers ERP-integrated applications that store and organize content, as well as redefine common business processes, reducing the need for paper and improving productivity across the entire organization. For more information, please visit softdocs.com.

See the published press release here.

 

The Move to the Cloud

by Jennifer Wilson

The concept of ‘cloud’ has taken over how we operate personally. From backing up phones to accessing multimedia, cloud-based technology is all around us in our daily lives. For many of us, we trust the concept of the cloud even if we don’t totally grasp it. That same trust is being brought into the workplace. As more on-premises solutions, like Etrieve, are being made available through cloud-based deployment options, colleges, universities and school districts are looking at the potential for cloud to transform their IT infrastructure and the way their employees and students communicate and work.

As we began to gain traction with our announcement of Etrieve Cloud, I started to dig a little deeper into how the education industry specifically was responding to cloud technology. In a recent article in EdTech Magazine regarding higher education trends in 2017, cloud remains a primary investment for institutions this year, with 81% of IT leaders in the industry stating they will spend more on cloud technologies. And what’s driving this need? In reality, some of the same comforts we find in our personal use of cloud are also appealing from a professional perspective…security, cost and simplicity.

Security: With all the obvious players like Microsoft, Amazon, Google and IBM in the mix, institutions are finding that they trust the big guys to handle their data more than they trust themselves. And rightly so. Higher education actually accounts for 17% of all reported data breaches, second to the healthcare industry. Given the amount of personal data a university holds, it should not be startling that institutions would be a prime target. Schools and IT staff are recognizing that data security is of the utmost importance and cloud-based initiatives may be best to assist with this.

Price: The upfront cost of traditional on-prem technology deployments can be a significant investment and commitment. Cloud can help alleviate some of this by offering a more subscription-based model. Additionally, hardware, security and disaster recovery costs are cut significantly. Cloud implementations allow for fully-hosted solutions that require no server hardware, releases and roll-outs are automatically maintained and security is actually increased. Many are seeing [...]

Welcome to Etrieve!

by Hannah Goodwin

With a new year comes resolutions, but often when planning for the year ahead we lose sight of what we have already accomplished. After such a momentous year, we wanted to take time to reflect on the successes of the past year.

Launching Etrieve, our true all-in-one platform for content management, e-forms and workflow, was definitely one of the highlights of the last year. We are lucky to have such a brilliant development team to bring this idea to fruition. In addition, our professional services and support teams have really gone the extra mile supporting new and existing implementations and projects.

And speaking of customers, we wanted to extend a warm welcome to our newest Etrieve users! Glen Oaks Community College, Aiken County Schools, Saint Leo University, Cullman City Schools, Florence School District, Ben Hill County Schools and Coweta County Schools began making the leap to Etrieve last month.

With the recent announcement of Etrieve Cloud, our cloud-based deployment option, 2017 is shaping up to be a great one. The complete Etrieve platform is available on-premises or in the cloud, providing institutions with deployment options that best fit their budget, resource and operational needs. We are looking forward to welcoming many more, both new and old customers, to the Etrieve family in the coming months.

And don’t forget…this year we are so excited to be hosting Bridge, our annual user conference, in our very own backyard! From October 10-13, we will be holding Bridge at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. We are going on one year of us moving into our new headquarters, and hosting Bridge in Columbia will be the perfect opportunity to share our space and city with our customers, both old and new.

Not only is Bridge an opportunity to take a deeper look at our solutions through boot camps and sessions, it is also a time to put a face to the name and simply get to know each other. Visit our website for more conference details and registration. We hope to see some new faces in attendance this fall

Once again, welcome to [...]

The Paperless Challenge – From K12 to Higher Ed

by Hannah Goodwin

Although budgets, processes, overall strategy and business needs may differ, both K-12 school districts and higher ed institutions are fighting the same struggle…eliminating paper.

College Planning & Management and School Planning & Management recently highlighted two case histories that outline the paperless initiatives for Bulloch County Schools in Georgia and Central Carolina Community College in North Carolina. Both struggled with paper intensive processes that resulted in a multitude of business challenges.

With Etrieve Forms, Bulloch County Schools has been able to go electronic with roughly 90 percent of their personnel forms. Before implementing Etrieve, Bulloch’s manual processes were wasting both time and space. Records are all electronic and e-forms cut out paper on the front end, no longer requiring a warehouse for off-site record storage.

On the higher ed side, Central Carolina Community College has also seen a tremendous benefit through its use of Etrieve Forms. Administrative tasks and forms that previously took weeks to process, now can be processed within minutes.

By leveraging the complete Softdocs platform to streamline the capture of information through e-forms, route information accordingly based on workflows and store forms and other papers in a consolidated place, these schools have been able to transform business operations.

Read more about the success Bulloch County Schools and Central Carolina Community College have found by making the move to paperless.

Softdocs Named a Readers’ Choice Top 100 Product by District Administration Readers

by Andrew Daniel

Nominations from top K12 leaders led to the selection of products that enhance learning across the country

Softdocs, an enterprise content management, e-forms and process automation provider, has been recognized for making a positive difference in education by K-12 leaders who named it to District Administration’s Readers’ Choice Top 100 Products for 2016.

District Administration Readers’ Choice Top 100 Products awards program informs superintendents and other senior school district leaders about products their colleagues around the country are using to help their districts excel in a variety of areas, such as technology, sustainability and curriculum instruction.

Softdocs has served school districts for nearly 20 years, providing solutions for challenging and complex business processes. From human resources and finance to student records, Softdocs’ single platform for enterprise content management, e-forms and process automation can help increase operational efficiency for any school district.

“Learning about all the products being used to help districts succeed is inspiring,” says JD Solomon, District Administration’s editorial director. “Our winners cover a wide spectrum. All of our 2016 honorees should be very proud of this achievement.”

The Readers’ Choice Top 100 Products were compiled from 1,500-plus nominations from the magazine’s readers over the past year. Winners were announced online and in the December 2016 issue of District Administration.

About District Administration: District Administration provides K12 leaders with critical news and information for school district management, through its monthly magazine, website, e-newsletters and the District Administration Leadership Institute Superintendent Summits. For more information, visit http://www.DistrictAdministration.com.

See the published press release here.

Softdocs Unveils Etrieve Cloud for Education Market

by Andrew Daniel

New delivery offering allows cloud-based, managed deployment of all Etrieve components.

Giving education-focused customers increased access to content management, electronic forms and process automation solutions, Softdocs today announced the availability of its entire Etrieve platform via a cloud-based deployment model. Etrieve Cloud enables access to all Etrieve components including Etrieve Content, a robust content management solution, Etrieve Forms, web-based forms, and Etrieve Flow, its intuitive workflow engine.

“Our cloud-based option was created in response to marketplace demand by Higher Education and K12 customers needing software, infrastructure and managed services securely in the cloud,” said Andrew Daniel, VP of Corporate Strategy, Softdocs. “With the full platform now available on-premises or in the cloud, institutions can pick the deployment option that works best for their budget, resource and operational needs.”

Etrieve Cloud customers will benefit from seamless integration between leading ERP solutions, as well as other critical business and student information systems. Both Etrieve Cloud and on-premises solutions are fully browser-based and device agnostic.

The announcement of Etrieve Cloud follows the recent release of Softdocs’ Etrieve Forms Builder, an extension to the next generation, browser-based Etrieve Forms solution. Forms Builder allows institutions to easily create, modify and deploy mobile-ready, dynamic HTML forms for students and employees to access, track and complete from any device.

The Etrieve platform offers ERP-integrated applications that store and organize content, as well as redefine common business processes, reducing the need for paper and improving productivity across the entire organization. For more information, please visit softdocs.com.

About Softdocs: Softdocs develops enterprise content management, e-forms and process automation solutions exclusively for the higher education and K-12 markets. The company’s Etrieve platform redefines business processes, reducing the need for paper and improving student service and employee productivity by providing educational institutions complete control over how content is captured, processed and distributed. A privately held company founded in 1998, Softdocs is headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina. For more information, visit http://www.softdocs.com.

 

See the published release here.

Changing the Future Without Grays Sports Almanac

by Mark Metze

In the 1989 highly successful sequel, Back to the Future 2, Marty McFly returns from the future after saving his son only to discover life in his hometown has become very different. His archenemy, Biff, has stolen a copy of Grays Sports Almanac from the future and has become enormously wealthy by knowing the outcome of sporting events and betting on them. This leads to the seedy and sleazy, yet profitable Biff Tannen’s Pleasure Paradise Casino and Hotel built at the center of Marty’s hometown. In the end, Marty and Doc travel back in time again and are able to reverse all of the upheaval caused by Biff.

Imagine if we were able to gain invaluable insight to make us ultra-successful like Biff (but for noble purposes, of course)? I’m not talking about driving a plutonium-powered DeLorean back in time to find a sports almanac. What I am talking about is taking continual, deliberate steps to steadily improve which undoubtedly will lead to success and cause us to exclaim, “Great Scott!”. For this, Softdocs utilizes a technique called a retrospective.

What is a Retrospective?

The twelfth principle of the Agile Manifesto accurately describes retrospectives by stating: “At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.” Carefully crafted planning is required to build this effectiveness. Retrospectives have allowed Softdocs to identify and implement changes resulting in lasting improvements in communication, processes, and ultimately in the software we deliver.

Series Outline

Ester Derby and Diana Larsen have written the book Agile Retrospectives – Making Good Teams Great which I highly recommend reading if you want to start retrospectives or improve your use of them. This will be five part series describing the components of a successful retrospective as outlined in this book:

Set the Stage Gather Data Generate Insights Decide What to Do Conclusion

In each upcoming article within this series, I will share experiences from the retrospectives held at Softdocs and provide information that can be used for holding your own team [...]

Thankful Series | Our Customers

by Jennifer Wilson

Thanksgiving is officially here and as we wrap up our ‘thankful’ blog series today, the focus turns to what we consider to be the most important aspect of what we do…our customers. With over 650 higher ed institutions and K-12 school districts leveraging our solutions, we have a lot to be thankful for. From small to large schools all across North America, we have the pleasure of working with some of the greatest people in education.

Our customers have implemented our solutions with the hopes of making life easier for their students and employees. They have leveraged our technology in ways we could have never imagined and helped drive the direction of our solutions.

As we look back on this past year and the success of Etrieve, we owe so much to our customer base. Whether it’s at industry events, our annual user conference or onsite visits, we truly enjoy every interaction we have with each of you. So this Thanksgiving we thank every single Softdocs customer for your commitment to your industry, your faith in our solutions and your ability to have an innovative vision for your staff and students through the use of technology.

Thankful Series | Development Team

by Kayla Tuff

The Softdocs development team is full of diverse individuals who are incredibly smart and creative. Without their brains, Softdocs would not be able to provide such an innovative and stable solution to meet our customers’ daily needs. The development team works endlessly to provide continual updates and enhancements to better our products, while constantly thinking about the future of the platform as a whole.

The roadmap for the development team expands well into the coming years and for that, we are thankful for their skillset and commitment to our software solutions . When asked what his favorite part about being the Development Manager is, Mark Metze replied with amazing teamwork. We couldn’t think of a better answer to describe the development team. With such a versatile group of people, their teamwork comes together to create the solutions our customers desire.

Speaking of customers, they are the driving force of the development team. Mark said customer success is what motivates him to lead the team to create the most effective solution for the market. The development team listens to customer requests and challenges on a daily basis, doing everything in their power to ensure the product is the best it can be.

Softdocs is thankful for our development team and their ability to focus on customer needs while developing a leading edge software platform.