Customer Stories

Rockingham Community College

Rockingham Community College logo
Accumulating stacks of paperwork are a thing of the past for Rockingham Community College. Time sheets and leave request forms are all electronic, simplifying the process for all involved.

Quick Facts

  • Softdocs customer since 2002
  • Implemented in Administrative Services, Human Resources, Admissions, Financial Aid, Registration, Early College Program, Career & College Promise and The Learning Center


  • Paper-intensive, time-consuming manual review of timesheets and leave requests
  • Significant process bottlenecks across multiple departments


The Softdocs ECM Platform™

  • Enterprise Content Management
  • Electronic Forms
  • Workflow
  • Print Customization and Delivery

After implementing their new ERP system, Colleague by Ellucian, Rockingham Community College began the search for a content management system.

Bottlenecks and Processing Problems

Several departments had been experiencing significant bottlenecks with the processing of paper forms which alerted Rockingham that it was time for a change.

“At first we didn’t really know what content management was. We just kept getting told we needed certain things as we moved forward with Colleague,” said Cheryl Evans, Rockingham’s Technology Specialist. “Then we saw the services that [Softdocs] offered and thought ‘that’s what we would like to be able to do here.’”

Administrative Services

Administrative Services began using Serve by Softdocs to print W-2s, 1098s, payroll and all checks written through Accounts Payable. As time went on, they expanded further and implemented, Softdocs’ Enterprise Content Management solution, and Softdocs’ e-forms and workflow solution.

A large portion of paperwork handled within Administrative Services involved employee time sheets, leave requests and reports. Prior to Rockingham’s utilization of Softdocs’ Electronic Forms solution, stacks of paper had accumulated across department staff’s desks from their 188 full-time and additional part-time staff.

Time sheets are now completed using e-forms and automatically routed to the department’s Administrative Assistant, Susan Hall, who checks each form before keying the time into Colleague. Leave request forms flow directly to the appropriate supervisor, where they are reconciled at the end of each month based on the leave report. If correct, the reports are sent to Administration. If not, they are re-routed back to the employee.

Most employees have dual monitors, enabling Softdocs and Colleague to be viewed simultaneously. Hall’s time spent entering information from the leave requests has been cut in half, if not more. Another time-saving feature is having the Colleague ID pre-populate on the form. The ID is pulled based on the specific user’s log-in information.

“I can look at that leave report and it has the employee ID so I can key that in and it comes right up. I would say it is just lightning fast for me now, when it was manual, you would have to go through and count to make sure employees added correctly. This automatically does that for you.”

Human Resources

Rockingham is also using e-forms in the Human Resources department as part of their onboarding process. HR completes a network access form for each new employee, after which the form’s workflow routes it through the approval process. A final report is automatically sent back to Technology Support for additional action.

With the availability of these electronic employee network access forms, there has been a dual benefit in terms of time-saving operations. Not only has the college streamlined the steps for setting up network permissions, but it has also allowed for an easier annual audit for the Technology department.

“We need that form every year for our IT audit. There used to be a stack of papers we filled out and then took to the VP to sign each one,” said Evans. “Now, we just send all the forms electronically. We can blanket view the areas of what different people need and they can just route that back to us to be archived. When auditors come in, we can give them viewing access.”

While certain processes have been improved and significant amounts of time have been saved for the Administration Services department, there is more they would like to accomplish. Due to budgetary restraints, the college has not yet electronically archived all of their records. They plan on eventually utilizing Softdocs’ Content Management solution to store any remaining physical files sitting in cabinets.

Student Services

After relying on Microfiche for years, Rockingham quickly realized electronic document management was far more efficient. They engaged Softdocs’ Records Conversion team to convert paper student academic and Financial Aid records to electronic files.

“They had a big vault. It was this big room with filing cabinets in there, Softdocs did a lot of our back scanning for us so we could go ahead and get started scanning new records because we knew we could never go back and get all of that done.”

Admissions and Records

Before Softdocs, all applications were paper files. Applications were submitted, added to a folder in Admissions, and then sent to a student’s counselor for review. After this process the application then returned to Admissions to be processed.

During review, admissions counselors add notes and comments on the application for the Admissions Processing Assistant to later type into Colleague.Students who needed to submit transcripts or return to the college for additional classes required evaluation, meaning their files would be pulled and taken to the Records or Admissions department. The application would then either be returned to the vault or remain sitting on a desk until the updates were entered into the system.

“There was a lot of physical traveling of files. Things didn’t always go as we wanted them to. Sometimes our files got lost; sometimes they got misfiled; sometimes they would stay on desks longer than they needed to; sometimes they didn’t get to the places they needed to be, having it scanned and accessible that way has really helped and eliminated a lot of the problems.”

Transitioning from Paper

The period between managing hard copy files to having electronic access in Softdocs wasn’t immediate.

“That phase was difficult because we were pulling double-duty, but that was just to help us with the transition to make sure we had all of our processes worked out. The part of figuring out workflow and changing from a file with legs that got moved from place to place to figuring out how things should be routed without physically moving that file required lots of meetings as a group,” said Melanie Eley, Director of Counseling Services.

As Rockingham made headway in their processes the need for additional structure within the content management solution became more apparent. To address this need, additional folders and subfolders were added to the existing tree structure.

“The staff has gotten much better and looks at it differently now. When they’re filing something, they realize ‘this file needs to be in this folder.’ Financial Aid was the first area that did it and they have been very pleased and progressive with it,” said Evans.

While there were some adjustments, Rockingham has easily adapted to a paperless environment. Scanning files requires training and the college has review measures in place to ensure documents are properly scanned. As soon as the scanned information is approved within their system, hard copy files are shredded.

“Once you showed people what it was going to do, there was just this excitement and a happy glow on their faces,” said Moore. “They thought ‘Oh wow, this is going to be amazing!’"

Now, the college receives requests from staff to add more e-forms online.

“Everyone has gotten used to it and can’t imagine not doing it online. Every time we have a meeting, they’ll ask ‘Can you put this form online?’ I’ve got a stack of forms now that I’m going to be working on for different areas,” said Evans.

Monitoring Student Success

Other departments across campus that use electronic forms include Rockingham’s Early College program with local high school students, Career & College Promise and The Learning Center. Faculty members can complete academic progress reports through the electronic forms solution to quickly notify the center and request assistance for any student.

“We have professional tutors and peer tutors in the center. Faculty members use electronic forms to send referrals over and then we have another form the tutors actually use to identify the skills being taught during the sessions.”

Plans for the Future

As Rockingham progresses with Softdocs, Evans hopes to further reduce workflow bottlenecks and eliminate inefficiencies throughout the college. Her next project is geared for implementation in the Purchasing department. Their paperless requisition form is almost complete and will continue the trend of ending delays to ensure supplies are ordered in a timely fashion.

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