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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Enterprise Content Management (ECM)?

Enterprise Content Management is a software system that facilitates capture and organization of documents, using automated workflows to increase efficiency and effectiveness of related business operations and processes. An ECM system facilitates storage and retrieval of important electronic documents, including emails, images, faxes, contracts, forms and related data.  Key components of an ECM system include:

  • Capture (automatically ingest or scan paper and electronic documents; includes key-word indexing and OCR)
  • Search (quickly finds what you are authorized to see)
  • Workflow (automate business processes, approvals, audit trails)
  • E-forms (customized capture and automation of related business data)
  • Reporting (who changed what/when, operational statistics)
  • Security/Compliance (managed access, document retention schedules)
What are the benefits associated with an ECM system?

An ECM system will improve, automate, and/or eliminate many of the manual and paper processes that exist on campus today.  It will allow the University to:

  • Avoid processing/storage of duplicated information.
  • Increase productivity and throughput.
  • Achieve centralized and secure document retrieval of important University documents.
  • Protect and track business assets (documents).
  • Support compliance and security initiatives.
  • Facilitate operation as a single, integrated institution rather than separate lines of business.
How long will this initiative take?

This initiative will be big, taking at least five years to implement across campus—integrating processes and systems and significantly impacting administrative operations. While Undergraduate Admission was the first office to implement OnBase, subsequent offices and business processes are being reviewed to determine ECM implementation candidates for 2016 and beyond.  As of mid-2015, data that exists in the legacy ECM system, NolijWeb, has been converted to OnBase.

Why did we choose OnBase from Hyland Software as our ECM system?

OnBase from Hyland Software was chosen as a result of an extensive selection and review process.  A cross-functional team of 15 members spent 5 months developing requirements and reviewing responses from five leading vendors.  Three finalists were brought to campus for two-day live demonstration and review sessions.  Customer references were called to validate satisfication with vendor support and functionality.  OnBase was selected as the best fit for our requirements.

  • Hyland knows the higher education business.
  • OnBase has an intuitive user interface and a very flexible configuration.
  • Hyland provides thorough documentation to assist with implementation and training.
  • The system has good workflow and reporting tools.
  • OnBase will integrate with other University systems.
Do we have peer institutions that use OnBase?

Yes. Other highly selective institutions that have implemented OnBase include:

  • Boston University
  • Columbia University
  • Dartmouth College
  • Davidson College
  • Emory University
  • Harvey Mudd College
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Princeton University
  • Rice University
  • Syracuse University
  • Stanford University
  • Wharton School of Business
  • University of Notre Dame
What kinds of documents/processes are candidates for ECM?

OnBase is a document-oriented system. As such, following are the types of processes that would be candidates for OnBase (listed in increasing order of institutional value as well as implementation complexity/duration):

  1. Simple document storage/retrieval with no workflow (essentially, an electronic filing cabinet, similar to a folder on your PC or on Box). This type of usage is typically not considered high-value in terms of improving processes or gaining efficiencies.
  2. Document storage/retrieval with simple workflows (typically for approval or signoff); does not include electronic forms (eforms).
  3. Document storage/retrieval with complex worfklows and/or eforms to capture associated data; does not require integration with other systems (e.g., Banner).
  4. Document storage/retrieval with complex workflows and eforms that require integration with other University systems; typically transformational for an office.
When should I consider OnBase for my document management solution versus Box?

Use OnBase when…

  1. You require integration with another enterprise system (e.g., Banner, etc.)
  2. You require automated records management (document retention)
  3. You require indexing and retrieval via business keywords (e.g., PO#, Student ID, Term_Code, etc)
  4. You require permissions management and auditability
  5. You require workflow automation (e.g., multi-department processes, approvals, process oversight, bottleneck assessment, etc)
  6. You require OCR
  7. You require operational reporting or statistics

Use Box for…

  1. Individual file storage (working documents, etc).
  2. Ad hoc sharing/collaboration (internal or external) controlled by the individual
  3. Storing files that are not part of an automated business process

There may be other storage needs for which neither Box nor OnBase are appropriate. These needs may require individualized solutions and will be addressed on a case by case basis. Examples include…

  1. Academic or research needs with specialized storage requirements (e.g., media files)
  2. HIPAA-related documents
  3. Credit card data
  4. Long-term document archival
  5. Publically-accessible repositories

We recommend that you view the Box FAQ for additional information.

What should I do to prepare for ECM?

It is recommended that you start with small, individual processes rather than trying to tackle automation of your entire office as a single large initiative. This allows you to become familiar with the ECM system in a low-risk manner as well as allow you to interactively improve planning, design and training for subsequent processes.  As you learn the system, you may adjust how it can be applied to facilitate your operations.

To prepare for ECM, it is recommended that you:

  • Identify and obtain examples of upstream/downstream documents (e.g., Undergraduate Admission)
  • Identify and document your high-priority processes
  • Identify your subject matter experts, people who are:
    • Able to walk through a process step-by-step and diagram what occurs
    • Able to identify and design process improvements (eliminate unneeded steps/data/people)
    • Familiar with document capture/indexing (either paper or electronic)
    • Available to spend considerable time on a focused project
  • Identify your document retention requirements (i.e., don't add a document unless you know when it should be purged/deleted)
  • Determine how you would measure improvements (efficiency, effectiveness, security, timeliness, cost savings, time savings, new capabilitites)
What is an ECM workflow and how does it help?

An ECM workflow is an automated business process that is driven by document events (new document arrived, existing document was changed, etc) and/or by user actions (press a "submit" button on a form).  Workflows can be very simple (send an email when a new document arrives) or more complex (if invoice > $50,000, route to appropriate VP for approval).

Workflows allow manual processes to be automated as well as tracked for reporting and auditing purposes.  Designing workflows requires a solid understanding of how existing business processes work and what the possible exceptions might be.  For example, what happens if a person is away on vacation...should a document approval be re-routed to a proxy after waiting 2 days?

Workflows are typically best suited for high-volume, repetitive tasks that can save many hours over the course of time.  It might not be economical to develop (and maintain) a workflow for a process that occurs only a few times per month.