Electronic Document Management
Kangan Batman TAFE is a large multi-discipline TAFE institute located in the north-west of Melbourne, Victoria. It is host to more than 33,000 students across six campuses. It is a provider of programs ranging from short courses to certificates, diplomas and advanced diplomas. Affiliations with leading universities enable students to progress to degrees and post-graduate studies. Kangan Batman TAFE is regarded nationally and globally for the development and delivery of quality training and its strong ties to industry, and nationally-accredited curriculum.
Kangan Batman TAFE has been using RecFind successfully for many years in Registry to create and track files and record incoming mail and has taken the step of introducing Electronic Document Management (EDM).
In December 2000, a pre-EDM-implementation consultancy was conducted to analyze the current processes of registering incoming mail and to make recommendations on how to implement EDM with maximum effectiveness.
All relevant incoming documents were registered then placed into the internal mail system before eventually being placed into the relevant file in Registry. Using the example of incoming contracts, these would be sent to the TAFE Management Office and then photocopied up to 7 times to be distributed to the relevant Managers. For those Managers at off site campuses this would mean there could be a delay of up to two days as the document made its way through the internal courier system.
According to Kangan Batman TAFE's EDM Project Manager Peter Dempsey, the main issues to be addressed were document security and productivity. "The process of photocopying and distributing documents to remote locations was both inefficient and insecure. We wanted to implement a process that not only decreased the time taken to distribute information, but also increased the document's security."
EDM Enhanced Process
An efficient way of dealing with this particular situation is the implementation of EDM. All relevant incoming mail is barcoded with a preprinted barcode label. These have a slight plastic coating to stop deterioration. The document profile is created as normal within the RecFind database. The only additional field to be entered is the barcode number which can be scanned in using the fixed barcode reader. Upon completion of document registration, the barcoded documents are scanned through a high-speed scanner, in this case a Canon DR3020, using the RecFind High Speed Scanning Module. The scanning does not have to take place at the same time as the document registration. Once the documents have been scanned, they can be viewed and rescanned if necessary. Use of the RecScan software will then make the link between the barcode on the scanned image and the barcode recorded on the document profile in the RecFind database. Once this process is completed the scanned images are available to be viewed by those users who have access to the files and documents within that database. Prior to implementation only a limited amount of end users had access to the RecFind databases. Security can also be applied to scanned images as well as the actual RecFind file and document profile.
Kangan Batman TAFE chose RecQuery Thin Client (RQTC) to give remote locations access to the RecFind database. Peter Dempsey said "a thin client solution had several advantages for us. For one, the installation is only required at the server. All the client workstations require is a browser (Internet Explorer or Netscape) and access to our Intranet site".
"Additionally, most end users are already familiar with our Intranet site and the Internet Explorer browser interface, so staff training was reduced. Finally, network performance is enhanced with the thin client application".
RecQuery Thin Client Running through IE6
Staff training was conducted as part of the implementation which took place in July 2001. Two key staff in Registry had supplementary Administrator training to enhance the skills they already possessed. Training for 70 end users was conducted using one of Kangan Batman TAFE’s computer labs and the general feedback was one of enthusiasm and positivity. Not only did end users now have access to a greater range of information via user friendly searches, they could also view the scanned documents on screen: as single pages or as thumbnails for multi page images.
Electronic Document Registration
It was important that registration of internally created electronic documents was a quick and easy process. Knowledgeone Corporation Account Manager Tony Holland said "If the registration of electronic documents was difficult and time consuming, end users would resist the change"
The RecFind Button, an application that sits on the toolbar of applications such as WORD, Excel, Outlook, GroupWise and Lotus Notes was implemented. The RecFind button will not only allow end users to “check in” their documents, they can also “check out” documents, allowing RecFind to take care of version control.
RecFind Button on the WORD Toolbar
Using the technology of the ISYS search engine that is integrated into RecFind, end users can now also search through those electronically attached documents, search on the actual file name, for example “finance report.doc”, and also documents that have been “checked out”.
Document Attachment Search Branch - RQTC
With EDM now successfully in place, Kangan Batman TAFE are now in a position to implement workflow procedures to further streamline the flow of information between Registry and internal departments.
EDM can be an easy process to implement as demonstrated at Kangan Batman TAFE, and the benefits can be felt almost immediately. Changing the workplace culture of reading from paper can take time to effect. Ongoing staff training is the ideal way to help combat this change.
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