Cowbridge School Deploys M-Files Document Management & Scanning Solutions

Cowbridge School Deploys Document Management & Scanning Solutions

9th September 2015

For educational organisations, the vast majority of administrative documents and files have to be organised, stored and made accessible long after they were created.
Whether information is needed for internal use, HR purposes, student queries or audits – efficient and secure document access can present significant challenges. Despite increases in regulation that govern educational record retention, educational organisations are faced with ever-growing restrictions on resources and funding.
One such School that faced these very same challenges and decided to leverage cost-efficiencies through the deployment of leading Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution, M-Files, is Cowbridge Comprehensive.

Situated in Cardiff, Cowbridge Comprehensive has over 1,200 students between the ages of 11 and 16 and more than 300 students in sixth form. With staff members spending one-fifth of each day looking for hard copies, and a success rate of just 50% in locating these documents, Cowbridge required an Enterprise Content Management & Workflow solution that would increase productivity and reduce administrative burden.
Similar staff slowdowns existed at Cowbridge due to files and folders being stored on its server without any audit, version control or record management policies in place. This resulted in staff creating new folders in an ad hoc manner, and files becoming increasingly disorganised. Much like the School’s paper system for managing documents, staff were finding themselves looking for the most current version, but having to check multiple folders and locations.

Streamlining Processes

A key challenge for organisations using paper-based processes, is the disparity in both collating and storing information.
This becomes an even bigger challenge for Schools, Universities, Colleges and Academies due to the vast amount of files being produced on a daily basis. Faster file retrieval, better organisation, and increased data security are the immediate benefits realised from adopting an Enterprise Content Management & Workflow solution.

Electronic Workflows

Cowbridge had a strong requirement to streamline paper-based processes into electronic workflows. The M-Files solution supported this requirement and electronic workflows were rapidly implemented to apply and enforce workflow policies and business rules – that were previously in place. The School worked in partnership with Itec’s ECM, Document Capture and Workflow team to identify, improve and implement efficient workflow processes using M-Files.

Reducing Print Costs and Paperchase

Having worked with Itec to implement M-Files, the School’s staff were provided with a solution that allowed them to securely store and centrally access information. This reduced the need to print documents and helped to increase staff productivity by eliminating paper chase. The Version Control feature has also stopped multiple versions of documents being produced. The M-Files Workflow and e-Signing features have enabled staff to sign documents electronically, whereas the previous paper-based process included printing and passing documents between staff for approval.

“We’re audited each year to ensure that our school policies for fire drills, evacuations and medical emergencies have been reviewed and updated by the appropriate individuals. With the ability to track file versions and furnish a historical log of all document changes to auditors, M-Files has enabled us to substantially simplify our audit management processes.”

Martyn Skinner, ICT Manager at Cowbridge

Locating Documents Quickly

Searching for, and locating, paper-based documents can be a time-consuming task as they are often saved under different files with various names attributed. A key benefit
of deploying M-Files meant that Cowbridge’s staff can find documents based on what they’re looking for and not the location.
M-Files has enabled the School to index each file with specific keywords to help staff locate documents quickly.

Online Documents

To provide staff members with greater flexibility, registered users can now access documents via an Internet browser or mobile device, outside of the School. This has been achieved with the integrated M-Files Web & Mobile Client.

Reclaiming Physical Space

With a paper-based system, Schools have to continuously expand their physical file space to accommodate increases in document output caused by growing numbers of students, alumni and staff; this wastes valuable
space.

Beyond the ongoing storage costs, the management of paper files in terms of requests to view and retrieve documents is often done manually.
At Cowbridge, accounting invoices and student exam material must be archieved for several years.This created both a space and risk management issue. With the M-Files Replication and Archiving feature, invoices that are over seven-years-old can automatically be moved into an M-Files offline vault. This ensures that full document records can be accessed anytime to help maintain compliance.
Therefore, the associated costs of storing and managing paper files has significantly decreased at Cowbridge due to the deployment of M-Files.

Business Continuity

Additionally, in order to improve compliance with its Business Continuity strategy, Cowbridge School needed to store less paper and scan all documents to electronic versions.
This important objective was successfully achieved and resulted in further cost-savings.

Producing Electronic Invoices

Invoices can now be viewed and delivered electronically to gain staff approval. The School’s original paper-based process resulted in over 200 invoices per week being copied and manually added to staff members’ pigeon holes. With the introduction of the Kodak Capture Pro Scanning solution, photocopying invoices is no longer required, thus reducing copy costs. Additionally, there is no longer a requirement to stamp invoices as they are scanned upon receipt and passed for approval using workflows created in M-Files. Important information such as supplier name, date, purchase order number as well as the invoice number are applied at the time of scanning. The electronic invoices are then automatically transfered to M-Files so that staff members can easily authorise them using the M-Files e-Signing solution.

The Outcome

There was a considerable Return on Investment (ROI) realised from Itec deploying the M-Files solution; an immediate saving in administration costs of £1,400 per month.

Through high user adoption rates, it became apparent that there would be a further saving of £85,000 over 5 years.

Risk Mitigation and compliance were hugely improved by the School’s ability to comply with better record management policies by
making documents electronically available.

Disaster recovery and business continuity have also improved with the School’s ability to rapidly recover in the event of paper records
being damaged through flood, fire or theft.

Cost reductions were further achieved by using templates as well as the M-Files workflow feature – eliminating the need to print and copy documents in order to physically
pass them over for review and approval. The Template feature in M-Files also maintains consistency in the creation of documents across all departments and teams.

You can download a PDF version of this case study

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