Higher education institutions must prioritize data quality and governance to ensure effective decision-making and institutional success. The integrity and reliability of data are foundational to achieving accurate insights and fostering a culture of security, trust, efficiency, and accountability.

The Current Landscape in Higher Education

Institutions are increasingly aware of the repercussions of poor data quality. From unreliable analytics to inefficient processes to flawed decision-making, the consequences of bad data can be costly and far-reaching.

Strong data quality ensures reliable processes and analytics, while governance frameworks provide the necessary structure for managing and complying with data regulations. However, many universities and colleges struggle with siloed, inaccurate, or incomplete data, which hinders the operational efficacy of the institution. This has a direct impact on the student experience and student success.

Why Data Quality is Crucial for Higher Education Institutions

When systems don’t communicate well, data becomes fragmented and incomplete, making it hard to see the full picture of institutional and departmental performance.

Poor data quality isn’t just a technical problem; it’s a strategic one. It can cause compliance issues and damage credibility and trust among students, faculty, and staff, who rely on your institution to keep data safe. Effective data governance ensures data is managed responsibly, which promotes transparency and trust.

There are several key elements to data quality and governance:

  • Accuracy: Data must be correct and free from errors. Regular data audits and validation processes help maintain accuracy.
  • Completeness: All necessary data elements must be present. Incomplete data can lead to gaps in analysis, reporting, and decision-making.
  • Consistency and Accessibility: Data must be uniform across systems and accessible to authorized users. This requires integrated systems and clear access protocols.
  • Security: Protecting data from unauthorized access is crucial. Implementing strong security measures and compliance with data protection regulations is essential to preventing cyberattacks, breaches, or loss of data.

Four Ways to Implement Effective Data Management

The right tools and technologies can simplify data management while automating validation and cleansing processes. These technologies help ensure that data is accurate and reliable while increasing efficiency and reducing the burden on IT and departmental staff.

It is critical to adopt technologies that capture, process, and manage data efficiently, supporting compliance with regulatory requirements and enhancing data governance. Implementing data management practices involves several practical steps.

Adopt Data Governance Frameworks

Establish clear policies and procedures for data management, including data quality standards and governance structures.

Invest in Training and Development

Ensure that employees and staff across the institution are well-trained in data management practices.

Invest in Technology

Use advanced data management and workflow solutions to automate processes, improve accuracy, and provide actionable insights.

Conduct Audits and Reviews

Complete regular data audits and reviews to identify and address issues proactively.


How Document Management and Process Automation Technology Enables Data Quality and Governance

Process automation and document management platforms play a vital role in streamlining business workflows. The following case studies demonstrate how two different types of institutions have successfully transformed data quality and governance using Softdocs.

Rasmussen University

Rasmussen needed a replacement document management platform that would provide ready access to applications, financial aid packets, transcripts, and many other types of content for users across 23 campuses. Rasmussen staff members were uploading content and entering data manually into multiple systems to enable key processes for the university. Using Softdocs process automation tools, including eForms, workflows, eSignatures, and secure content storage, Rasmussen eliminated these inefficiencies. Integrating Softdocs with Anthology, Salesforce, and other core systems across the institution enabled staff members to capture information a single time and leverage it across systems and processes. In the registrar’s office alone, Softdocs has saved the team nearly one full week per quarter.

Read Rasmussen’s Full Story

Northeast Iowa Community College

By moving document management to the cloud, Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) eliminated data security risks and freed up critical resources for the IT team. The college transitioned from five servers to two, making maintenance on the remaining servers more manageable. By migrating to Softdocs and running document management securely in the cloud, NICC’s IT staff was better able to focus on improving the strategy and performance of their campus tech stack and run processes more efficiently.

Read NICC’s Full Story


Secure Data Management Starts with Softdocs

As higher education institutions continue to improve data quality and governance, they must stay ahead of evolving regulatory requirements by using modern technologies to automate processes and manage data and documents.

With more than 25 years of serving higher education, Softdocs understands and addresses the unique data challenges faced by universities and colleges. With document management and process automation vital to so many campus processes, having a software partner focused on higher education is more necessary than ever before. Softdocs provides secure and compliant eForms, workflows, electronic signatures, and document management to build a connected campus and help your institution easily do more with less.

Visit the Softdocs website to access valuable resources and learn how secure, cloud-based process automation and document management solutions can help your institution improve data quality and governance.