Catherine Lusk | Enterprise Applications Analyst | Fresno Pacific University
As many higher education institutions do, Fresno Pacific University struggled with the tedious, inefficiencies of paper-based forms and workflow. But a cross-departmental leadership team saw campus-wide innovation potential in their selection of Softdocs’s Etrieve platform. A fully engaged FPU IT team turned that potential into reality through the strategic development and integration of Etrieve’s “smart forms” technology and the Ellucian Colleague student information system.
With the document management component of the solution, there was a visible reduction in the stacks and cabinets full of paper forms—not to mention, a decrease in the data entry errors that often come with manual forms processes.
"With Etrieve Forms, the data is pre-populated and indexed automatically, so it lessens the opportunity for user error," said Catherine Lusk, Enterprise Applications Analyst and Etrieve Administrator at FPU. "Now staff and students can always find the document they are looking for."
Etrieve Flow has helped IT and department administrators work together to evaluate current processes with fresh insights. Encouraging strategic questions like, “Is this process following policy?” or “Should we rethink our policy to improve the process for students and staff?”
"The flexibility enabled by Etrieve lets each department decide how they might best impliment eForms," said Lusk. "You can make them available via a web or portal page, or simply email a linke—however you want to get the form to the people who need it, you can."
In some cases, automating the workflow process allowed FPU to identify and solve review/approval bottlenecks. For example, one school Dean simply wanted regular updates on a particular business process but was currently included (unnecessarily) in the approval workflow. Using Etrieve custom email notifications, the team now provides appropriate updates to the Dean as requested, while enjoying a more efficient review/approval process.
Staff members aren’t the only ones benefiting from FPU’s innovative forms process. Pre-populated data as well as 24/7 access to online forms is a huge timesaver for students. Whether they log in at 3 pm or 3 am, they can easily find the form, complete it, and know it’s automatically indexed to the proper file. The same goes for checking the status of a form they’ve submitted. FPU students can quickly see where their eForm is in the review/approval process—is it with an advisor, department staff or somewhere else.
“We first started implementing Etrieve within three key departments—HR, Registrar's Office and Student Financial Aid,” said Stuart Conrad, Enterprise Applications Analyst for FPU. "But it didn't take long for other departments across campus to say 'Hey, we want in!' We've never had to go out and 'pitch' the system. The requests just keep coming."
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