As students return to schools, colleges and universities, it’s a good time to explore the challenges faced by educational establishments around document management and the digitisation of data.
Like other parts of the public sector, educational establishments are under pressure to move with the times and improve the service they provide. They are constantly striving to improve the quality of their teaching, increase student numbers and make the resources they have stretch as far as they can. But to do this, there are significant challenges around document and information management to overcome.
By understanding exactly what those challenges are, resellers are in a strong position to advise on the technologies available to solve them. At Ingram Micro, we are well placed to set out those challenges, having supported resellers and created solutions for educational establishments for many years. It’s a sector that needs guidance and support on the most suitable solutions available.
The picture now
Educational establishments are definitely feeling the pressure. They are dealing with ever-increasing amounts of data and rising administrative costs. Security is a constant concern, and not just because they are obliged to abide by information governance and compliance regulations. There is also the need to meet quality teaching assurance standards. Against this backdrop, they need to provide secure administrative and teaching processes.
Many educational establishments are still using paper filing systems in parts of their organisation. The limitations of this have been sharply underlined by the recent pandemic. Manual processes also cause bottlenecks at busy times. It’s necessary to optimise processes to control expenditure.
What’s more, digital learning and online services have shifted expectations. Students are tech-savvy and paying a significant amount for tuition fees. They expect the latest technology to accompany them through all aspects of campus life. To be a university or college that’s ready for the future, legacy systems have to be updated and become digital. This is why resellers should be talking to educational establishments about scanning and document management services, systems and processes.
Insight from Canon – a solution leader in the sector
One company that’s definitely worth bringing into the conversation is Canon. As a vendor that’s been supporting educational establishments and solving their challenges for decades, Canon has market-leading knowledge in this sector. Around half of all universities in the UK have already chosen Canon to help them make cost savings that can then be re-invested to expand the services and experiences offered to students. This mean, for reseller partners, Canon is a name you can put forward to customers with confidence.
Where digitisation can make a big difference
Canon understands that there are many processes in the education sector that generate significant page volumes and therefore could greatly benefit from a progressive, integrated approach to data collection and document management. This is particularly true for the four most paper intensive processes, and these have particular relevance within Higher and Further education.
1. Student admission and enrolment
This is a multi-stage process involving application, admission, registration and enrolment. It is a document-heavy area with multiple workflows including verification of data by national assessment bodies, to ensure each student is entitled to attend. Some students may also require additional processing, such as international applicants, postgraduates or those with disabilities. During enrolment, students need to share sensitive documents, such as their passport and driving licence for ID purposes. Ideally, these should remain within sight of the student at all times.
2. Student data management
This is an umbrella set of Governance-Risk-Compliance (GRC) processes, which document and manage a student’s lifecycle from application to alumni. This may involve sharing student records (when permitted by regulation), with third-party organisations, such as social services and immigration offices, the family of primary and secondary students and the students themselves. In addition, information may need to feed into SMS (Student Management Systems), which may be complemented by CRM. For this to happen, data must be captured in a usable format and be able to flow freely, while complying with data protection regulations.
3. Teaching quality assurance
For all the courses and programs they offer, universities and colleges have to gain accreditation to prove they meet certain standards. Then they are evaluated to check the program is delivering what it promised. Accreditation and Evaluation is usually undertaken by an independent body, overseen by ministries of education, and includes both internal and external assessment of teaching quality standards in compliance with that initial accreditation. The processes involve a lot of unstructured data, such as emails and PDFs, are rarely automated and there are no off-the-shelf solutions available. In addition, fraud control is very important.
4. Class delivery support
This encapsulates all the administration required to support the delivery of classes and teaching. It begins the planning of programs, courses and curricula to be delivered and ends with assessing the achievement of students through exams, tests, homework, group projects, etc. This inevitably involves a vast assortment of documents in various formats that need to be accessible and shareable.
Smart solutions to key challenges
When you step back and look at the main areas where there are paper-intensive processes, it’s clear they share a number of challenges – information capture, information sharing, compliance management, and cost and energy management. With the right scanning and document management services, systems and processes, education establishments can overcome these challenges and reap huge rewards. Let’s look at why Canon’s technology is so effective in this area.
Information capture and sharing
With Canon, it’s possible to transform time-consuming, complex processes. Efficient, cost-effective and integrated scan and capture solutions streamline and automate enrolment and admission workflows, while securing confidential and sensitive information. For example, with a Canon scanner, student admissions documents, such as a passport or ID card, can be scanned quickly while students wait. This helps to automate data capture and verification, with the information going straight into the digital student records system and saving hours of manual processing. At the same time, Canon’s technology supports compliance through the control, management and protection of information. Replicate this across an entire university, bringing the same abilities to different areas, such as class delivery support and student data management, and you can see how far-reaching the transformation will be.
Cost and energy management
Increasing productivity and efficiency with smarter working and automated processes, while reducing costs, allows more resources to be invested in teaching. Canon offers fully integrated end-to-end scanning and print solutions that eliminate wasteful processes and duplication. This enables education establishments to fully optimise their imaging devices across various environments, to help cut costs and reduce time spent on administration.
Hardware, software, services and support
In summary, it’s clear education establishments need guidance on how to move on from legacy processes, which means there are plentiful opportunities for reseller partners. By capitalising on Canon’s comprehensive range of innovative hardware and software, you can offer technology that’s already been proven in thousands of educational establishments. Canon’s imageFORMULA range of document scanners includes portable mobile and compact desktop devices, as well as high-volume production scanners, plus network and smart device connectivity support. What’s more, Canon is keen to work with reseller partners to ensure each solution delivers the required results.
By engaging with Canon through Ingram Micro, reseller partners don’t just gain the confidence of working with a leading vendor, it also opens the door to all our services and support. We’re here to support you in exploring opportunities in the education sector. Get in touch to find out more.