Empowering Colleges, Universities, and Local Government with Electronic Workflows



In recent employee profile pieces, we explored how Softdocs’ cloud-based document and process automation platform delivers continual uptime and robust data security with Cameron Armistead, we shared how to deploy a customer-first professional services philosophy with Benji Whitney. Now it’s time to hand the mic to our SVP of marketing, Dan Dillon, to talk about how replacing paper-driven processes with automated workflows helps higher education and local government entities improve service, boost productivity, and realize unprecedented efficiency.

Tell us a little about your professional experiences before joining Softdocs. 

I started my career as a high school English teacher in suburban Kansas City, where I cut my teeth in education and edtech. After a few years in the classroom, I joined a start-up software company called Perceptive Software, where I fell in love with higher education as an industry and realized how document management software can make people’s work lives better. Plus, it was an organization full of talented people, several of whom I’m getting the chance to work with again at Softdocs. 

What appealed to you about joining a fast-growing company like Softdocs? 

I have a core belief about business. The market will tell you what it needs, and your customers will tell you what they want.  When you listen to those two entities – the market at large and the customer individually – you'll get it right if you respond in kind. That’s what we’re all committed to here at Softdocs: Listening to the market, solving for the customer, and simplifying work for everyone.

You mentioned the latest document management systems provide advanced workflow functionality. What are some of the benefits? 

The new generation of cloud-based document and process automation platforms don’t just allow people to immediately retrieve the content they need to answer a question or fulfill a request. They can actually change how a department, say, the registrar or HR or the financial aid office, functions day to day. When staff members – at a school or in a local government -- are no longer spending hours a day on manual tasks, they have a greater opportunity to serve students and constituents, utilize their expertise, and work on higher value projects.  

Why do you love the higher education market so much?
I enjoy helping people whose purpose is to serve and empower others. That’s what staff, faculty, and public service officials do every day. When we make our customers’ lives and jobs easier, then everybody – students, faculty, and administrators – comes out ahead. We’ve made them the heroes in their work story. It’s the same for state and local government employees and the people they serve. I love that everybody at Softdocs is driven by the same mission to eliminate technology barriers and improve people’s lives. The collective goal is to build a workplace free of inefficiency. 

What is a key challenge you see within the higher education market, and how does Softdocs help solve that?

Something that immediately springs to mind is the difficulty around recruiting and retaining talent on all sides of the organization -- in the classroom, back office, and IT organization. We’re seeing a lot of higher ed folks switching careers and moving to different fields. The trend looks likely to continue. 

Softdocs solutions remove a significant burden from the institution by automating all high-volume processes and tasks. When you step back and think about these processes, they’re mission critical: paying bills, receiving money, hiring, retaining, recruiting, admitting, granting aid, and so on. When these processes are securely automated with Softdocs, schools operate more smoothly, and people work more happily.

Softdocs can be easily deployed to satisfy very specific workflows quickly. We see many institutions tackle a handful o processes right out of the gate. Once those are solved for, Softdocs can then be rolled out to any number of departments across campus to automate and expedite any number of processes. A university buys the platform once and can then realize new value over and over again.

It’s a huge step forward when you can quickly and efficiently organize, index, retrieve, and manage all your school’s content in a secure, cloud-based repository and know it’s protected by industry-standard security protocols. Add on to that the ability to leverage e-forms and workflows to improve student and parent experiences. This allows staff to initiate processes crucial to daily tasks and enable more responsive service, faster turnarounds, and the ability to deal with peak times of the academic year. Imagine being able to tackle enrollment at the start of each new semester without needing to add resources or feel overwhelmed. That’s the kind of meaningful difference Softdocs makes.

Looking ahead, what excites you most about the continued growth of cloud-based document management and workflow? 

I think most colleges and universities have at least a rudimentary document or content management system, but they can benefit by upgrading from legacy, on-premises systems to a cloud-based platform that’s more secure, more accessible, and easier to operate. Add in the advantages that migrating from manual, paper-driven processes to automated electronic workflows provides, both in student-facing departments and back-office functions, and you have true digital transformation. We are also making a positive impact on state and local governments because many of them are still reliant on paper forms and manual work streams. 

Ultimately, it all leads back to the core mission of making everyone’s life easier and helping organizations deliver the best possible experiences for the people they serve. As we continue to do that, there’s no limit to the potential of our cloud-based document and process automation and what our customers can do with it.