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Students Generate Paperwork, The Process, The Savings

21 Jan, 2010 By: Laurel B Sanders imageSource

Students Generate Paperwork, The Process, The Savings

If you sell office equipment and software solutions to higher education
institutions, you’re probably feeling an unwelcome pinch.  Times are tough. 
State budget freezes, underperforming endowments, uncertain future enrollments,
and more students needing financial assistance are challenging institutional
finances. Many also face: 

• New initiatives tying funding allocations to graduation rates, potentially
resulting in reduced funding. 

• Elimination of expensive programs that aren’t meeting organizational goals.

• Mandated spending reductions through hiring freezes or layoffs. 

• Cancellation or delaying of planned equipment purchases and IT projects.

Despite these challenges—perhaps because of them—this is not the time to
neglect the higher education market.  The equipment you sell presents
opportunities for significant cost avoidance and stronger institutional
performance, particularly in admissions. The key is to leverage equipment value
to its fullest capability.  Institutions need representatives who understand:

• connectivity between hardware and electronic document management (EDM)
software; and

• their collaborative role in generating productivity and profit.

Help your clients excel even in trying times, while positioning them for
cost-effective growth as the economy rebounds, especially in the cost-conscious
vertical markets such as education.

Goals vs. reality

Collegiate institutions aspire to educate students and help them succeed. 
Admissions departments strive to enroll the best applicants before they’re
allured elsewhere. A short turnaround enables swift, firm commitments from
applicants & improves institutional revenue cycles. 

The process

Applicants generate significant paperwork. Applications, transcripts and
school reports, recommendations, national test scores, cover letters, photos,
and interviews must be gathered, reviewed, and distributed.  Regulations
governing file access require extensive record keeping, making admissions time
consuming and expensive. Transactions must follow strict regulatory procedures,
and penalties for non-compliance can be costly.

As files are pushed from person to person, pages are lost, misfiled, or sit
on desks awaiting attention.  Disparate storage for forms, video and phone
interviews, photos and letters cause additional holdups and compromise
efficiency.  Delays increase the risk that top students will even be accepted so
enroll elsewhere.

The Solution

By engaging in strategic sales, you can help your clients accelerate
enrollment decisions, eliminate unnecessary paper-related and HR costs, and
operate more efficiently. Here are a few ways to couple efficient capture with
EDM for maximum results:

• Scanners/MFPs – Whether an institution uses high-speed scanners, desktops
or MFPs,  scanning  into  EDM  ends  the time-consuming & costly paper chase. 
By imaging supporting admissions documents as they’re received, they are brought
into the enrollment process quickly—secure  & easily located.

• Shredders – A perfect complement for a mailroom or admissions office that
is ‘going digital’ - shredders ensure paper documents are destroyed as they are
opened and scanned.  This protects sensitive data and helps to mitigate risk. 

• PDAs & laptops – Hand-held devices and laptops let faculty and
administrators access & work remotely on files stored in web-based EDM.  No time
wasted in transit.  No unnecessary trips to obtain a file or signature.  No more
waiting for out-of-town staff to return.  Whether staff needs access to scanned
documents, photos, or data created on the website or portal, PDAs & laptops make
work available.

• Digital workflow – After EDM is in place, automating document routing and
regulating document processing is a great time saver.  Rules-based, electronic
document routing expedites approvals. Costly mailings & cross-campus courier
services are eliminated. Data is extracted as documents are stored, letting
institutions generate decision letters are generated quickly. Processes
previously requiring weeks now take days;  those requiring days are streamlined
to hours. 

The good news: solutions typically deliver strong ROI within a year or

Everyone wins. Efficient scanning, secure centralized access, and
digital routing benefit everyone:

• Applicants—simplified admissions process  & quicker institutional

• Faculty—quicker access to information leads to fast, informed decisions;

• Faculty & administrators— convenient remote access;

• Top prospective students—quicker commitment;

• Institutions—expeditious billing and enrollment deposit collection and
easy, cost-effective audits.

There are ‘soft’ benefits, too:

• Filing staff are reallocated to more meaningful work;

• Knowledge workers remain focused on jobs for which they were hired;

• Staff handles increased work volumes and processes applications more
quickly; Retiring staff’s work is handled easily by remaining staff, cutting

With a little strategic planning and creative selling, your collegiate
clients can significantly reduce expenses while attracting better students. 
Everyone wins.

Laurel Sanders is the director of public relations and communications for
Optical Image Technology.  For information about the company’s award-winning
suite of DocFinity software, visit
or contact

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