By Bill Melo
As a parent myself, I have particular insight into the massive amount of paperwork schools must sort through and store. I know this as I have completed and submitted seemingly countless forms on behalf of my children throughout their K-12 experiences. Just recently, I completed the myriad papers to officially allow my youngest to enter his homeroom on the first day of school. And this doesn’t even touch upon all of the health forms I’ve completed throughout the years ensuring the school that my children were up to date on their various shots.
As my example hopefully illustrates, it is easy to imagine the number of documents our local schools – and their respective districts – compile year-in-and-year-out. The amount of documents schools must keep and be able to retrieve to conform to state and federal compliance mandates is staggering. Storing and securing this colossal volume of documents is also a concern
To resolve this dilemma, districts should strongly consider digitizing forms and implementing an enterprise content management (ECM) system. An ECM system not only allows you to index large amounts of files thus eliminating the innumerable storage bins or boxes stored throughout school campus but it enables administrators to easily and quickly retrieve a desired form.
Perhaps the most vital element of the ECM equation for schools transitioning to this technology is the capability to dramatically enhance the safeguarding of data by password protecting access. Using an ECM not only frees up physical space in a school, but it increases efficiency and meets federal compliance by allowing documents and forms to be easily found and accessed, it keeps data safe and protected, and it reduces a school’s eco footprint by reducing amount of paper used. Either way you look at it, it’s a win, win.