Softdocs Training Options | One Size Doesn’t Fit All

by Robert Gunning

Here at Softdocs, we work with a wide variety of both higher education institutions and K-12 school districts. Our customers’ needs vary greatly, and we recognize that when assembling deployment packages. Budgets, business needs, resources and size are all factors that come into play when institutions are deciding what path is the right fit for them – and one size never fits all.

What we like to remind both our customers and prospects is that while we develop the core software itself, it is designed to allow your team to configure it in a way that best fits your institution. Through the discovery process, your team will work with Softdocs to pinpoint current process challenges and implement the solution in a manner that will provide the greatest return on investment.

In each step of our implementation process, from discovery to installation to training, our team likes to work closely with the customer to ensure that all decisions are made with the institutions’ goals in mind. We like to empower our customers to take our solutions and use them in unique and creative ways.

The final step of our implementation process is training. Our customers benefit from the ability to take advantage of various training options and select any or all based on their particular needs. While some companies offer a cut and dry training program, Softdocs believes in accommodating various objectives each customer has and assisting them in designing a training plan that makes sense for their resources and goals.

Whether Softdocs is new to you or you are a current customer looking for a potential refresher or new employee training, Softdocs has developed training options that work for every type of institution.

On-site Training – This type of training is done at your institution allowing the trainer to sit down with you one-on-one to work through your daily business processes. With on-site training, your team gets a dedicated Softdocs trainer to help ensure your end users understand the software solution, as well as help transition them from their current processes. This is great for institutions who feel they need more assistance in getting their [...]

William Jewell College Embraces Paperless Concept with Help of Softdocs

by Softdocs News

Etrieve Enterprise Content Management Implementation Enables Move to Digital Campus and Improves Student Experience Across Departments

Beginning a paperless campus initiative through the adoption of a collaborative technology, William Jewell College and Softdocs today announced the successful deployment of Etrieve by Softdocs, an enterprise content management, e-forms and workflow platform.

Linking operations that include the registrar’s office, financial aid, admissions and enrollment management across campus, William Jewell College, a four-year private liberal arts college in Liberty, Mo., needed a more efficient method to capture, retain and distribute student-facing forms and improve the overall student experience. Using Etrieve by Softdocs, which easily integrates into William Jewell’s existing ERP – Colleague® by Ellucian – more than 30 distinct forms in the registrar’s office are now condensed to 18 electronic forms using the robust, mobile-ready platform’s e-forms and workflow capabilities.

“During our RFP process, Lan attended Softdocs’ annual user conference. Although she heard their clients singing the praises of the technology and Softdocs’ educational expertise, I remained skeptical of the capabilities we were told it could perform especially regarding claims of its versatility and ease of use.  Products often only offer one or the other – not both” said Carrie Stradella, Applications Developer and Analyst, William Jewell College. “Through one of the most challenging phases of the implementation – the Drop/Add Permission to Enroll – we quickly saw the perfect display of Etrieve’s power and flexibility. Softdocs was able to account for all of our unique needs by creating a very complex electronic form process that, on the surface, looks simple for our students, faculty and staff to use.”

Further focusing on integrations, efficiencies and supporting business process improvement, William Jewell College has been able to streamline workflows with Etrieve and integrate data in forms to reduce human error and streamline the routing of content to a multitude of departments such as student life, athletics, financial aid, registrar, nursing, education, etc.

“Some departments were hesitant to adopt Etrieve due to a ‘stay-the-course’ attitude. Once they recognized the success of the new paperless process and real efficiencies saved through the technology, they were clamoring for it,” said Lan Guo, [...]

Employee Spotlight: Rocky Berger

by Hannah Goodwin

Today we wanted to take some time to spotlight a member of our team who serves our customers day in and day out. The people who work behind the scenes to provide the infamous Softdocs service don’t always get the recognition they deserve, so today we are showing our appreciation for our Client Services Manager, Rocky Berger.

How long have you been at Softdocs?

I’ve been here almost eight years.

What is your position currently?

I’m the Client Services Manager, which means I oversee all of customer support.

How has your position evolved over the years?

When I started, support handled everything, including implementations and training. Softdocs has grown to a point where support is able to focus solely on providing assistance to our customers, which includes our tax services.

From now through the end of January our team will be working as efficiently as possible to ensure tax documents are generated and distributed to those customers leveraging our tax services. I play traffic cop throughout this process to ensure deadlines are met. By the end of the process, we will help generate half a million tax documents, all in two weeks.

What does a typical day look like for you?

My days consists of helping our support team work out any questions that customers may have regarding our solutions and making sure their needs are taken care of. This includes working with my team to set up their work queues and check in on any ongoing issues. In addition, I assist on calls where necessary and find the help that is needed to figure out a solution in the most efficient manner possible.

What did you do before coming to Softdocs?

Prior to coming to Softdocs, I worked in a similar role providing support services.

How has Softdocs evolved throughout the years you’ve been here?

Softdocs has evolved a lot over the years with both employee and client growth. I got to be heavily involved in our move to our new headquarters a couple years ago, which was a neat experience. Our team had grown so quickly that we had outgrown our previous buildings [...]

Softdocs Cloud Series | Cost

by Hannah Goodwin

Today is the fourth and final day of our cloud series! If you haven’t been following along, be sure to check out our posts about security, job security and accessibility. Today’s post is digging into the misconceptions around the cost of cloud deployments, and what to take into account when comparing the price points of cloud and on-prem solutions.


There are many misconceptions around the cost differences between cloud and on-prem deployments. Much of this ranges from the idea that an institution owns an on-premises solution once their initial investment is made. Seeing that cloud-based solutions are subscription-based, this can appear to cost more long-term with the idea that the software is never really that of the customer’s.

A common mistake is to strictly compare the five-year cost of owning the software, software license and maintenance for an on-prem solution to the monthly/annual cost for the cloud solution. What this fails to take into account is the cost of employees managing the on-prem solution, as well as the cost of the hardware, servers, storage and more.

Traditionally, it was seen that the cloud provided smaller institutions with the ability to have technology implementations that they wouldn’t have been able to support previously due to lack of IT resources and infrastructure. What we see now is that this option and price point can be appealing to institutions of all types and sizes. It allows schools to do more with the technology, without a large upfront investment while also allowing for smart allocation of resources.

When making an apples to apples comparison of on-prem and cloud, be sure to include all the costs associated with on-prem software solutions including resource hours and materials. For some schools, traditional on-prem deployments may remain a more appealing option. Each institution is different and it’s important to evaluate both options in detail to determine which direction makes the most sense for your team.

If you have a cloud-related question or topic that you’d like to be covered, please comment below and let us know.

Softdocs Cloud Series | Access

by Hannah Goodwin

If you haven’t been following along on our cloud series, check out day one and day two, where we cleared up some concerns that are associated with cloud solutions, such as security and job security. Today we are back for day three to discuss accessibility.


The thought of moving from a traditional on-premises software application to a cloud-based solution can feel as if your team is losing some accessibility with the switch. On-prem deployments require IT to install the software, manage the database, handle backups and more. The management of the system is in their hands, and for many, while it may be time consuming, the control over the data and the environment is comforting.

With cloud solutions, an institution’s IT department is putting their trust in a third party provider. For Etrieve Cloud, we recognize that your team not only has to trust Microsoft Azure and the stability of their solutions, but also the Softdocs team. For that reason, our dedicated Cloud and Development Operations teams are made up of subject matter experts who help ensure the reliability of Etrieve Cloud and provide your institution continued insight into the status of your environment and security of your data.

These teams also help ensure that integrations are handled as seamlessly as possible. Many worry that key integrations between cloud ECM solutions and traditional on-prem ERP applications are complicated based on the differences in the deployment models. It is important to understand here that cloud services in no way eliminate integration possibilities, but simply change the approach.

With Etrieve Cloud, your institution won’t lose accessibility, it will rather delegate some of the responsibilities associated with managing the system. Your data is still secure and readily available, with the ability to grow and enhance your implementation as needed.

Softdocs Cloud Series | Job Security

by Hannah Goodwin

Following yesterday’s post on data security in the cloud, we now look at a different type of security concern…

Job Security

One of the biggest challenges institutions face when trying to manage technology implementations is how to best utilize resources. With so many different types of technologies including ERPs and ECM platforms, it can be overwhelming for IT to not only oversee the regular maintenance of these applications, but also help enhance them. This includes making sure that the technical implementations match the business requirements for each department.

For these reasons, cloud-based implementations can be very appealing to help better balance the resources required to do so. However, many institutions worry that cloud solutions can be threatening to the job security of their IT personnel.

In reality, cloud solutions including Etrieve Cloud may change up some of the IT department’s responsibilities, or merely free them up to work on projects that may have taken the back seat when their plate was too full. These solutions are not a replacement for your IT department, but instead a tool to help them work smarter. Rather than maintaining, monitoring and managing backups, they can focus on making sure the system provides business value to the overall institution.

It is important to be clear about goals and overall resource plans with staff when any technology investment provides institutions with the ability reallocate these resources. This will help reduce concern throughout your team. Saving resource time doesn’t necessarily mean job cuts, it simply means putting the right solutions in place to help all staff work more efficiently.

Softdocs Cloud Series | Security

by Hannah Goodwin

This week we are kicking off the start of a new series all about the cloud. We’ve seen an increase in both customer and prospect interest in Etrieve Cloud, so we wanted to take some time to focus in on these areas and shed some light on the technology.

Cloud and on-prem deployments are quite different, and making changes from what one is accustomed to is difficult for some institutions to get comfortable with. Whether you are migrating to a cloud-based solution, gearing up for a new cloud implementation or are simply curious about this option, this series will provide some valuable insight into the nuances of the technology. Each post will highlight a concern that we hear regularly with the hope of clearing up some of the uncertainty.

Our first highlighted concern…


With cloud services, people are often worried if their data is secure. After all, the idea of the cloud is largely abstract. With the amount of sensitive data an educational institution holds, it is certainly justified to want to understand what measures are put in place to protect it.

Etrieve Cloud leverages Microsoft Azure’s cloud platform and relies on its high level of security. Microsoft has a long-standing reputation for its resilient environment. In fact, Azure is the only public cloud to offer continuous security-health monitoring for an entire environment.

The Softdocs Development team also believes in an approach known as “security by layers”, which makes it as difficult as possible for bad agents to get in the system. From putting in firewalls to web application security and encryption, our cloud and security experts are constantly working to ensure that Etrieve Cloud is a safe haven for our customers’ data.

Want more information on this? Check out our Etrieve Cloud Security and Technical Overview.

Doc e Serve – For More Than Just Printing

by Hannah Goodwin

For almost 20 years, Softdocs has been developing enterprise content management solutions. One of those first software applications was a Print Customization & Delivery tool, Doc e Serve. While the solution itself has evolved over the years, the value that it provides institutions remains quite impressive.

Although much of the hype these days is around our Etrieve platform, we still continue to be committed to this solution and have numerous schools implementing Serve. We’ve received a number of questions recently about the product and what it is capable of, so we thought we’d take the time to provide you a quick look at its functionality and value.

Whenever a document or report such as a transcript, check, grade report, financial aid award letter, payroll stub, tax form, class roster, tuition statement, etc. is generated by Colleague, Banner or other ERP/SIS solution, Doc e Serve picks it up, turns it into an image and drives it into the student, vendor or employee electronic folder in Etrieve Content.

The value to the customer and advantage Softdocs offers is:

ANY content generated by the core ERP/SIS can be automatically captured, imaged, indexed and filed in the appropriate student, vendor or employee folder in Etrieve Content Users don’t have to manually import or physically scan content generated from the core ERP/SIS itself Users don’t have to manually index and file content generated from the core ERP/SIS itself

To put some practical examples around this:

Assume your institution is generating 1,000 transcripts If you had to manually scan, you would, on average, spend 30 seconds per document scanning and indexing. 30 seconds x 1000 transcripts = 30,000 seconds = 500 minutes = 8.3 hours With Doc e Serve involved, you spend NO time. We just saved you 8.3 hours Assume your institution is generating 100 AP checks daily If you had to manually scan, you would, on average, spend 30 seconds per document scanning and indexing. 30 seconds x 100 checks daily = 3,000 seconds = 50 minutes per day or 250 minutes in a week (4.1 hours!) With Doc e Serve involved, you spend NO [...]

Seven Things We Are Thankful For From 2017

by Hannah Goodwin

With Thanksgiving being tomorrow, we wanted to take some time to reflect on 2017 and share some of the things we are grateful for as a company. In the fast-paced world of the software industry, our days are full of meetings with prospective customers, handling implementations and managing our roadmap, that we don’t always stop and think about how lucky we are to have the team and customer base that we do.

So in the spirit of the season, we are sharing seven things from 2017 we are thankful for.

We are thankful for 20 years of Softdocs.

This coming year will mark our 20th anniversary as a company! Softdocs was founded in 1998 in Columbia, South Carolina and has since evolved into a well-established software development company full of bright and driven professionals. With around 600 higher education institutions and school districts leveraging Softdocs’ solutions, we are definitely proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish in the past 20 years.

We are thankful for a successful user conference and the opportunity to spend time with our customers.

Our user conference, Bridge, was such a success that we still can’t stop talking about it! This year’s Bridge was hosted in our hometown of Columbia, and we had customers come from near and far to spend three full days of learning, networking and fun with our team. It was a blast to meet so many new customers, as well as reconnect with our long-time customers. And with hosting the conference in town, our entire team was able to participate in Bridge.

We are thankful for our best year yet.

This past year has been record setting for us in terms of revenue and client growth through new and expanding higher education and K-12 relationships. It has been humbling to see how our Etrieve platform has taken off and the difference it is making in our customers’ daily lives. Whether it be a migration from another ECM solution, an upgrade from our Doc e products or a move to the Cloud, we are thankful for the opportunity to connect with [...]

Birmingham City Schools Joins the Etrieve K12 Family

by Hannah Goodwin

Softdocs is proud to welcome Birmingham City Schools, one of our newest K-12 customers, to the Etrieve family. The fourth largest district in the state of Alabama, Birmingham City Schools serves 25,000 students across its 42 schools.

A NextGen user, Birmingham City Schools will be going live with the complete Etrieve K12 platform, our fully functional, cloud-based solution for document management, electronic forms and workflow automation.

Birmingham chose Softdocs to modernize both their Human Resources and Finance departments. The district is focusing on automating the onboarding, evaluations and accounts payable approval processes, as well as streamlining employee involvement in supplemental pay requests.

The district would like to see Etrieve K12 become their enterprise-wide solution for all ECM related processes.

Want to learn more about Etrieve K12 and what it can do for your district? Check out our tailored solutions for Human Resources, Finance and Student Records.

We are looking forward to seeing what Birmingham City Schools will be able to accomplish with Softdocs! Welcome to the next generation of paperless!