When Point University learned its existing student information system (SIS) was sunsetting and its electronic signature software provider was raising rates, it became the perfect time to close the door on fragmented systems and move toward a more integrated approach with a campus-wide tech stack.

The university selected Ellucian Colleague as its new SIS and set out to find the right document management and process automation solution to make its integration vision a reality.

“We evaluated other solutions, but the Softdocs platform was more tightly connected to Colleague,” said Dr. Stephen Waers, Chief Academic Officer & CIO at Point University.

“That was a big determining factor for us.”

As the university’s IT team was transitioning to the new SIS, they were able to implement Softdocs in a parallel work stream, letting them begin making important strides in document management and workflow even before fully integrating with Colleague.

“We got everything working with Softdocs sitting alongside our SIS, but not directly connected. We were able to use the signing and workflow functions for approval,” said Dr. Waers. “We were also storing student documents that would be eventually connected into Colleague, once we had the student IDs translated when we made the switch. We were very pleased with the agility of Softdocs.”

In short order, Point digitized and captured more than 100,000 documents campus-wide into the secure Softdocs Content repository. This was a significant accomplishment that improved access to business documents and data for the department staff who needed it. By prioritizing this first stage of their process automation initiative, Point quickly laid the groundwork for their larger SIS integration initiative.

Achieve quick wins across campus

To show the operational impact of the Softdocs platform quickly and build momentum for the initiative across campus, Dr. Waers and his team tackled the business office first. Because the department had been working without an integrated purchase system or check request system, and had by far the university’s highest volume of forms and workflow usage, it was a prime starting point to build out check request forms, invoices, and other high priority business office forms and workflows.

The team continued to target specific use cases on campus where document management and process flow were a natural fit. This included automating and simplifying athlete letters of intent. “Now, when we want to send a student-athlete a scholarship offer, we do that via Softdocs,” said Dr. Waers. “We’ll populate the appropriate information, send it to the student, capture any signatures, and they send it back.”

To date, Point has built more than 120 electronic forms and workflows for use across different departments, complemented by Softdocs’ eSignature tool.

In the past, Point University used about 15,000 to 17,000 envelopes yearly and saw a wastage of about 10%. That translated to roughly $6,000 in savings with Softdocs’ unlimited eSignatures.

In addition to cost savings, making changes to the forms is easier. Dr. Waers estimates they save approximately 1-2 hours a month in updating the forms, which translates to about three workdays per year.

Ready to scale quickly

Because they’ve been able to move quickly with their document management initiative, Point is poised to move quickly with the Softdocs/Ellucian integration when the SIS transition is complete. “Once we have the full Softdocs and Colleague integration, we will be able to pre-populate a document with a student ID, which will allow it to route through the workflow until it’s complete, removing a lot of manual steps,” said Dr. Waers.

By having the centralized, integrated system they’ve been hoping for, Point University can expand operational efficiencies throughout all areas of student service and campus administration. Eliminating silos of information and activity, multiple departments will now be able to seamlessly work within the same system.

“The business office and the admissions office using the same tool to store, search and retrieve documents and forms is a big win for us,” said Dr. Waers. “And from a training perspective, it allows us to focus our team’s energies there as well.”

The future is bright for Point University, with more big wins to come. The continued integration between Softdocs and Colleague promises to unlock even more efficiency and cost-savings for this thriving campus.