Progressing from Paper-Based Processes to Electronic Workflows

For years Southern Regional Technical College relied on an aging file room to house its student and administrative documentation. While staff members managed to “make it work,” they knew the manual processes were too time-consuming and a digital solution needed to be found.

A sister school recommended Softdocs, so a multidisciplinary team at Southern Regional Technical College requested a demo. “Our Softdocs sales rep was easygoing, honest, and laid everything out clearly for us,” said Lora Beth Short, Registrar. “Their system did everything we needed it to do, and we liked the people who would help us get it up and running.”


Speeding Service to Students and Staff

In the increasingly competitive higher education market, institutions must find every advantage they can and provide maximum value to attract and retain students. Southern Regional Technical College prides itself on offering exemplary service to students in the admissions process and day-to-day interactions in the Registrar’s office and other campus departments. Softdocs helps Short and her colleagues access precise information when needed.

“We can find files in Softdocs much easier and faster than when we were still relying on our old file room,” she said. “This allows us to provide more responsive and timely service. It’s also more convenient for students to email us documents rather than having to bring in hard copies.”

Increasing Staff Productivity

“Back when Southern Regional Technical College still used paper-driven processes, certain staff members could spend several hours per day processing incoming documentation, filing it, and retrieving it when requested. During peak times of the semester, this proved to be particularly time-consuming and diverted personnel away from value-add tasks. Switching to electronic workflows driven by more efficient document processing and retrieval has alleviated stress and elevated efficiency.“Every time someone called to request a document, we had to stop what we were doing to search for the document,” said Short. “If it was misfiled or misplaced, it would take even longer to find, which delayed the person getting the information they needed.”

“Now with Softdocs, every document is exactly where it’s supposed to be and is retrieved immediately, which gives us more time to focus on serving students.”

“Softdocs will make sure our HR documents are where they need to be,” said Mary Beth Watson, Director of Human Resources. “Our physical files are housed here, so my colleague at the Thomasville campus must call and ask for a copy. Then someone in our office pulls the file and either sends it to her or reads her the information over the phone. With Softdocs, we can all be looking at the same documents wherever we are.”


Overcoming the Physical Limitations of Paper

When Southern Regional Technical College’s HR department relied on manual, paper-centric processes, there were frequent delays when information was needed to support the hiring process, onboarding, benefits administration, or any other workflows on another Southern Regional Technical College campus.“I have human resources staff that regularly work on two of our four campuses, and I travel around as needed,” Watson said. “With paper, a document was often not where we needed it to be. We had a number of inefficiencies because of sending documents back and forth. We had to scan hard copies and keep track of both the original and any duplicates.”

“Softdocs opens up opportunities that wouldn’t be possible with paper documentation,” Watson said. “When we all have access to the same information in Softdocs, nothing will be off the table, and I’ll be able to split the workload more equitably.”

Another benefit Softdocs offers the school’s HR department is the ability to respond to new legislation and state-wide policy changes quickly. “Our governor just announced retention bonuses for all higher education staff,” Watson said. “Our payroll specialist was on vacation this week, and normally, she would’ve had to come into work to help with this. But because she now has remote document access, she could do that remotely and then return to enjoying her time off.”


Protecting Data Privacy

With cyberattacks increasing in frequency, duration, and cost, schools must protect themselves, students, and staff. Switching from vulnerable on-premises, paper-centric content storage to a cloud-based solution has enabled Southern Regional Technical College to safeguard documentation and the associated data in a data center that meets high SOC 2 standards.“With Softdocs, we have peace of mind knowing all our student data and content is secure,” Short said.Switching from physical documentation storage to a cloud-based approach also strengthens Southern Regional Technical College’s disaster recovery/business continuity plan.“If something happened to one of our campuses, we could go immediately set up shop on another campus and continue to operate,” Watson said. “As long as we have computer access, we’ll keep serving our people in the event of a natural disaster.”