At EDUCAUSE – and Everywhere – It’s About Partnerships

Proven PartnershipsBecause I’ve been married for at least my share of years, maybe more (I won’t confess how many), I believe I know the importance of partnerships. What struck me at the recent EDUCAUSE annual conference in Philadelphia was that the benefits of partnerships extend well beyond the parties directly involved.

My wife and I (primarily because we don’t have kids of our own) benefit from the “perks” that our respective siblings’ partnerships have provided us: our nieces and nephews. While their parents benefit from no-cost childcare, our nieces and nephews benefit from their association with us: weekends away from the monitoring eyes of mom and dad, additional dollars spent on their behalf, etc.(We embrace a “spoil them, then send them home” strategy, securing affection yet sidestepping any real responsibility.)

For those attending EDUCAUSE, the perks of seamlessly integrated solutions leveraging offerings from partnering providers were featured in the panel discussion featuring Vince DiStasi, Chief Information Officer at Grove City College (GCC) in Pennsylvania. While presenting the business case for implementing enterprise content management (ECM) technologies, Mr. DiStasi referenced the convenience of having ECM-integrated functionality available on multi-function devices.

Currently at Grove City, staff can walk up to any scanner/printer/copier device on campus to scan and index documents directly and securely into the ECM repository. And, as DiStasi noted, in a second phase of the implementation, many of the documents scanned into the repository will also immediately be added to automated business workflows for various review, approval and decision-making processes. This ease-of-use and efficiency is made possible by the partnership and technology integration of HP, the providers of the multi-function hardware, and Hyland Software, the developer of the ECM platform installed at GCC.

Another example comes in the area of transfer credit evaluation (TCE).  As many of you know (and as I had commented on in a previous post), speed and accuracy in this arena is critical to matriculating students ahead of the competition, enrolling them in the right courses and retaining them through graduation in a timely fashion. Because transfer transcripts often in exist in electronic, not paper, formats, it’s important for the ECM platform capturing the documents and data to seamlessly handle the import of electronic data feeds, such as transcripts arriving in XML or EDI formats.

That’s an integral component of an end-to-end TCE process, ensuring that course data is captured quickly, automatically uploaded and efficiently routed for evaluation and degree audit purposes. As was revealed at EDUCAUSE, the partnership between Hyland, with its transcript capture and TCE solution, and Parchment, a provider of electronic transcript services, allows for seamless import at the front end of the process.

Such partnerships should be reassuring – as much for the users of the solutions, as they are for me. Why me? Well, all that extra cash the parents of my nieces and nephews save by offloading their kids to me and my wife on the weekends will, no doubt, be redirected to their respective college tuition funds. Do I want to see that money wasted on administrative inefficiencies when they submit their admissions applications and transcripts to the colleges of their choice?  Of course not. So, here’s my thanks, in advance, for the kinds of partnerships that will eliminate cost-wasting processing hitches on campuses everywhere.

Tom von Gunden

Tom von Gunden directs Hyland’s market research, strategy and advisory initiatives in higher education. Tom holds a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University and spent more than a dozen years in higher education, serving as a tenured university professor, program director and accreditation specialist. His deep understanding of best practices in deploying ECM (enterprise content management) capabilities comes not only from his direct involvement in system implementations in colleges and universities, but also from his prior work as chief editor of Web and print publications focused on ECM and data storage technologies.

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