UW Information Technology

December 5, 2019

University-wide benefits stem from collaborative document management project

UW faculty teaching in classAs the official record keeper for many academic personnel documents, the Office of Academic Personnel (OAP) is responsible for materials related to retention, promotion, leaves, and other milestones common to the career trajectory of UW’s world-class academic personnel community.

It’s a heavy lift, which is why earlier this year OAP worked with key partners, UW Information Technology (UW-IT) and Records Management Services, to move to UW-IT’s Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system. With this new system, OAP has drastically reduced its reliance on paper files, while also making records management more efficient and record-keeping more secure.

“Our collaboration with UW-IT yielded a true mutual benefit. Through our shared discussions, both parties identified potential areas for enhancement or expansion,” said Margaret (Peg) Stuart, assistant vice provost for the Office of Academic Personnel.

“It was an exciting process of discovery,” said Stuart, who is confident her organization’s switch to the ECM last July will pay big dividends. In the first month alone, OAP processed 1,149 documents electronically.

In the past, many of OAP’s documents were kept as paper files in storage rooms, electronically on local hard drives or in Workday, the UW’s human resource and payroll operations system. But Workday was not designed to address record retention schedules.

Records management and retention are key responsibilities for OAP. Documents need to be maintained in a secure location, for specific amounts of time before they’re purged — for example, certain records must be maintained for several decades. OAP was looking for a system that would support more efficient access and management of OAP files while ensuring data was secure and appropriately retained.

With UW-IT’s solution, they got exactly that. Now, authorized OAP staff electronically enter new documents into the secure and easily accessible ECM.

This move to the ECM system is also a big win for OAP and UW’s environmental efforts, as everyone seeks to minimize the use of paper and lower operational costs by relying on centralized and standardized automated processes, said Cassy Beekman, director of UW-IT’s Enterprise Content Management.

“Whenever we work on a project like this, we focus on the impact it will have on a department or unit,” Beekman said. “We are not simply seeking to go paperless across the University. We want our partners to do their work more efficiently, with systems in place that don’t hinder them.”

The partnership has yielded other University-wide enhancements and tools that can be used by other departments. For example, OAP worked with Records Management Services to develop a new University-wide scanning policy that outlines scanning protocols and quality control measures for all documents scanned into Workday.

OAP and UW-IT also enhanced the UW Person Web Service, a key directory tool that pulls employee data from Workday. The new feature allows UW Person Web Service users to search and map records to former UW employees, a key OAP requirement.

“Looking ahead, our goals are to fully leverage our new document management system as we envisioned — not only related to new documents coming our way, but also moving all our historical paper files into digital format,” Stuart said. “The lessons learned through the adoption project this past year have positioned us well to tackle this next phase of work.”