Stephen Waers was frustrated. As the Chief Academic Officer and CIO at Point University, a private evangelical Christian university in West Point, Georgia, Waers was trying to facilitate a path for the University’s vision to be a modern educational institution in providing the best experience for its students and staff. But he wasn’t very happy with his existing document management system, which he felt was holding them back. “It was not a very well-designed product. It couldn't automate things. It had a really poor graphical interface. It just wasn't a good modern product. Worst of all, it wasn’t interoperable with Ellucian Colleague, the SIS that we’re moving to.” Then came the straw that broke the camel’s back – the vendor announced that they were shutting down!
Meanwhile, the electronic signature application they were using, DocuSign, was rapidly becoming a much larger problem for the institution's bottom line. Every time an edit or update needed to be made to a form, the user would have to track down the original version of the form because there was no way natively edit the form from within the solution. There also was very little administrative control. If somebody filled out the form with incorrect information, they had to start over from scratch. There was no way to return the form to have those updates applied to it. Compounded with DocuSign’s overly punitive pricing model, this issue threatened to blow up Point University’s budget.
“Docusign was trying to more than double our price here every year. DocuSign’s pricing is built on a per-envelope cost, and that resulted in us having to do all sorts of regular penny-counting internally to make sure we had envelopes left and weren’t going to go over. We found them to be relatively inflexible with pricing and feature set. We just wanted a solution that would expand with us and not have any big surprises on pricing.”
Waers had to find replacements for these applications – ideally within a single platform – and do it quickly, which led him to find Softdocs.
The Softdocs Platform gave Point University access to a suite of applications that they were very eager to start using. Softdocs Content took over as their document management system. They ended up with over 100,000 documents in Content. With Forms, they built over 120 electronic forms and workflows for use across different departments, complemented by Softdocs eSignature tool to extend scholarship offers and business contracts. Beyond that, they are developing connections to Ellucian Ethos and Colleague to use the database for capabilities like dynamic content. While they use Content primarily for student information-related departments like Admissions and Registrar, they’ve been using Forms and Flow across the university in all departments, including Financial Aid and Payroll.
The Forms and Flow applications, in particular, yielded tangible and measurable results quickly. Point University uses about 15,000 to 17,000 envelopes yearly and sees a “wastage” of about 10%. That came to about $6,000 that they ended up saving with Softdocs’s unlimited eSignature pricing model. In addition to cost savings, making changes to the forms is easier. Waers estimates that they save about 1-2 hours a month in updating the forms, which translates to about 12-24 hours of person-hours a year.
Beyond the tangible benefits, Jeremy Sloderbeck, the Educational Technology and Process Manager at Point University and the main technical lead on the project, was impressed by the technical expertise of the Softdocs team. “Softdocs has some really good expertise that was able to make a lot of this a lot simpler. Any complicated questions that I may have had, I was able to direct through them, and they were able to get answers for me.”
“Of all our vendors, [Softdocs has] been the best to work with from a responsiveness standpoint. That is very valuable to us.”
Looking ahead, Waers is excited by the possibilities that the future will bring - use cases that have not been explored yet, departments that will be connected to the platform soon, and savings not realized yet. “I think the big savings that we will see from this solution aren’t even operational yet. Right now, processes like gathering syllabi from faculty take a lot of time. Once we fully integrate the solution with Ellucian Colleague and can automate a lot of this, we will be saving even more of our time.”