Washington State University Streamlines Business Processes to Gain a Competitive Advantage
"ImageSource’s flexible service offerings allow us to manage and implement our projects internally. They provide expertise when and where we need it, ensuring our success."
Washington State University (WSU) enrolls more than 21,000 undergraduate and graduate students between its main campus in Pullman and its three regional campuses. As Washington’s only state-wide university, WSU also has extension offices in all 39 counties, ten regional learning centers, numerous research facilities, and operates 25 Small Business Development Centers. WSU is a leading research institution and offers an Honors College that is rated as one of the best in the nation.
The University realized that in order to stay competitive, exceptional student service and streamlined admission processes to provide quick responses to student applicants would be key. Administrative efficiencies that would allow all branches and departments immediate access to students’ records—while still keeping files confidential and organized—would provide tremendous advantage to the academic institution.
ImageSource® Proves a Powerful Partner
WSU has a history of independence regarding IT. The University prefers to keep implementations in-house rather than to outsource projects and integrations.
Starting with Enrollment Management, WSU replaced their outdated manual and paper-intensive admission processing with Oracle Image & Process Management (IPM). This tier one software provided electronic document management and automated workflow to dramatically increase the efficiencies. However, it soon became clear that without a strong partner providing support and maintenance, the system would not work to its full potential. Frustrated users and departments pushed back.
The University’s forward-looking IT department knew they needed a flexible partner—one which would provide exceptional support, maintenance and training, and still allow WSU to do much of the work on their own.
WSU teamed with ImageSource to create, in essence, an extension of the University’s IT department. As an integrator of other top-tier Enterprise Content Management technologies, ImageSource could prove valuable in helping WSU extend the capabilities of the Oracle products they had in place.
Making the Admissions Solution Successful
In collaboration with ImageSource, WSU was able to realize the value of Oracle IPM in its initial implementation in Enrollment Management. Processing a single student’s application at WSU is complex and requires numerous steps. An application may remain active for up to two years. Coming in various formats and arriving at different times, transcripts, test scores, optional narratives or letters of recommendation are also provided with the application. Other documents, such as admission decision letters, are also stored in a student’s file. Various departments require access to information in these documents.
When they initially integrated IPM with the existing proprietary capture system, WSU found that the inadequate capability of the older system limited the functionality of IPM.
They worked with ImageSource, providers of best-in-breed capture technology including Kofax Ascent Capture and Fujitsu scanners. ImageSource ILINX® Release Script was implemented to connect Ascent Capture with Oracle IPM. With support unparalleled in the industry, ImageSource guided the WSU IT team to implement a fully functional system for Enrollment Management.
The IPM solution provided storage, indexing, retrieval and workflow processing—admissions application processes are now fully automated. All WSU campuses scan and index their own local documents into the IPM repository, which holds well over 500,000 admission documents. Additionally, WSU has converted a significant number of back-files to electronic documents and stored them in IPM.
Leveraging the Benefits University-Wide
Besides Enrollment Management, various departments have become users of the Enterprise Content Management system: the Registrar’s Office, Human Resources and the Graduate School all require ongoing access to student documents.
Leveraging the power of the solution in place, WSU has been able to accelerate information sharing, resulting in a significant cost savings for the university and stronger communication between participating departments and branches.
The system allows more than 400 users at all four campuses to simultaneously and immediately access and view documents from admissions and student records without the paper shuffle and hassle of routing hardcopy documents. Academic advisors and departments can view and print transcripts and other admission documents without calling the Enrollment Management Office for copies.
Regional campuses are processing applications using workflow, permitting admissions documents to be quickly and easily managed and tracked throughout the entire business process. This electronic processing capability has increased the quality of student services and decreased paper volumes.
WSU currently receives a large percentage of both graduate and undergraduate admission applications via the Web. The Graduate School utilizes the system to review applications and make admission decisions.
Additionally, WSU now has the ability to resolve erroneous transactions—such as an incomplete admissions application package—online, in real time, across all users.
Additional Plans to Integrate ECM
Other departments plan to utilize the enterprise infrastructure while users will expand its capabilities to meet specific needs.
As a truly flexible partner, ImageSource is able to provide the specific products and services WSU requires to make each phase successful, further extending the benefits they’ve already achieved. Through a collaborative relationship, ImageSource has supported WSU’s endeavor to build an enterprise-wide infrastructure that provides secure and accurate information sharing, cost savings and a competitive advantage.