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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.

Thankful Series | Services Team

by Emily Collins

At Softdocs, we are very proud to boast our average annual customer retention rate of 98.6 percent, which is almost unheard of in our industry. One of the main reasons we are able to maintain this stat is our incredible services team that is full of individuals completely dedicated to Softdocs’ customers.

Our services group is equipped with the knowledge and expertise of the education marketplace, which in turn results in successful implementations of our solutions. We often hear from our customers about how great our implementation and support team is, which is no surprise to us! Should an issue arise, they are devoted to finding a solution to the problem as quickly as possible. The services folks are absolutely focused on helping our clients be successful, regardless of client need or their role as an individual.

As a newer member of the Softdocs team, I have been extremely impressed with the dedication of this team. That dedication became even more evident as many of our customers in the southeast prepared for Hurricane Matthew this past October. Recognizing that many schools could be impacted by the storm, our support team worked to ensure that operations ran as smoothly as possible to provide after-hours assistance as needed.

Here’s to you, guys and gals of the services team – we couldn’t do what we do without you, and for that we say thank you. All of us here at Softdocs are extremely thankful for your hard work and commitment to our customers and solutions.

Thankful Series | Education Industry

by Hannah Goodwin

With Thanksgiving coming up this Thursday, we wanted to dedicate this week to sharing a daily post about what all of us here at Softdocs are thankful for. Oftentimes we forget to let those that we work alongside know how much we appreciate them. However, without the dedication of our teams, or the loyalty of our customers, we couldn’t do what we do.

We are thankful for our ability to focus solely on the education marketplace. From K12 to Higher Ed, we are happy to provide educational institutions with solutions that help them work smarter, and in turn, give them more time to focus on what’s important rather than tedious, inefficient processes.

Being able to build solutions for an industry that we believe in drives our efforts. Education has made such an impact on each and every member of the Softdocs family. Without it, we wouldn’t have near the level of technical expertise we have in our employees. For that, it is our honor to give back to the industry that has given so much to us.

Softdocs is so thankful to play a part in the education industry, and appreciate how each of our teams continually keeps our customers at the heart of their work.

Softdocs plans to fill 15 jobs to support growth plans

by Jennifer Wilson

Columbia-based Softdocs, an enterprise content management, e-forms and process automation provider, announced Wednesday it’s seeking to fill at least 15 open positions by early 2017 to support expansion plans.

The jobs include development, technology, marketing and sales, Softdocs said in a press release. The tech company has more than 600 customers in the United States and Canada.

“Softdocs offers a collaborative, high-energy work environment with a team of technology professionals who are the best and brightest in the industry,” said Mike Murphy, founder and CEO. “With a brand new, state-of-the-art headquarters in Columbia … it’s an exciting time for our company as we look to grow our team.”

Softdocs’ growth is fueled by the company’s double-digit revenue growth in 2015 and the launch of its next-generation Etrieve platform, used by schools for enterprise content management, process automation and electronic forms.

Founded in 1998, Softdocs’ is headquartered in a 55,000-square-foot former textile mill at 807 Bluff Road that has been renovated to provide collaborative workspaces, on-site training space and an employee fitness center.

For more information about jobs at Softdocs, click here.

 

See article here.

Lew’s Clues – Record Retention

by Lew Love

As most institutions move to electronic document management, record retention is a main topic of conversation. How long do you keep paper files? When can you purge electronic copies? Do electronic versions of documents stand up in court? Whose rules should you use–The federal government, your state government, valued associations like AACRAO, your previous SACS audit or your institution’s legal department?

Over the years, our court system has moved to a “best available copy” realizing original records can be digitized and maintained electronically, thus allowing for original documents to be purged but still available digitally within its record retention rules. Another layer of governance and a very smart approach, is to always maintain digital records in a public domain extension such as PDF, TIF, JPG, DOC, or XLS format. Any proprietary extension is typically prohibited.

Many states have implemented retention policies that can help institutions guide staff. One of the key pieces in this process is to avoid letting staff personal preferences get in the way of effectiveness and efficiencies, dare I say “change management”. Secure and immediate access to information helps with faster, more informed decision making across departmental boundaries. Personal silos of information can become detrimental to your institution. Work with your staff and Softdocs to outline best practices for the purging of content outside of their legal timeframe.

So many times it is not the document, but the signature on the document, which staff seem to protect. Be it the VP of the institution or a parent’s signature, do not let an original signature overrule the government’s rule of record retention purge timeframe. Do note that there are exceptions, such as destroying documents if audits or litigations are pending or reasonably anticipated.

Bottom-line, learn your record retention rules!!! Many institutions have staff trained and qualified to assist departments with your institution’s record retention policy. An investment of “professional development classes” to train staff members on document management in a digital world is paramount to a successful implementation of an document management and archival solution, such as with Etrieve Content.