Unformatted text preview: EXCELLENCE IN PRACTICE BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY
NORTH AMERICAN EXCELLENCE AWARDS: IMAGING, MERIT
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Brigham Young University has improved efficiency in its student admissions and financial
aid processes as well as reduced physical storage of paper with its associated high cost. Located
in Provo, Utah, BYU was ranked by “U.S. News and World Report’s “ in 1996 as the 22nd
best of the “Top 100 National Universities”. Home to more than 30,000 students, BYU,
sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the LDS or Mormon Church),
believes in providing the best possible college experience to both its undergraduates and
BYU is using Staffware Workflow and Data General’s AV Image to scan and control the
four million documents and 15,000 undergraduate applications the Admissions and Financial
Aid offices receive annually. The system is a result of an on-going program BYU had
implemented to review and evaluate methods for reducing paper and increasing efficiency.
What started out as a mere research in 1990 became a reality in January 1994 when BYU
installed its first Staffware/Data General system. The implementation has achieved significant
improvements in productivity while realizing substantial cost reductions. These benefits
• 65 percent reduction in personnel • 80 percent reduction in storage costs • Reduce the processing cycle time • Improve operator efficiency—eliminated the numerous amount of paperwork • Immediate and accurate access to information—prior to implementation of system,
the process of accessing information took 24 hours • Automatic data conversion achieved a permanent archiving and audit trail
management system • Maximizes Admissions and Records resources—those once in charge of manually
retrieving indexed microfiche are now acting counselors It became clear that the use of workflow and imaging technologies as a way to manage
documents was not just a departmental need, but a university-wide requirement. Such areas like
accounts payable and receivable, as well as serving as a resource of videoclips and graphic materials
for interactive instruction in electronic classrooms would benefit from such technologies.
138 BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY
THE SYSTEM APPLICATION The Staffware system is used to automate the procedure of approving or rejecting student
enrollment applications as well as those applying for financial aid. The offices, consisting of
100 people who are also the Staffware users, receive about 15,000 new freshman or transfer
applications and an additional 5,000 returning former students in a year. The admissions
process requires certain data be processed from every document into the host system and the
letters of endorsement be read by two counselors for all students. In addition, all documents
for 60 percent of the new freshman and transfer applicants are reviewed by two counselors.
Not counting unscheduled document queries, there are in excess of 300,000 accesses to one
or more images for individual admissions in a year.
Thus, the following is a sequence of how the paper documents were handled before
Staffware was implemented:
• Sort documents into groups by document type, processing group and by stamped date • Direct work to processors • Data enter documents—process information into the system • Sort documents into folders for storage (including computer generated documents) • Manually retrieve and re-file as needed for each decision-making task • Purge documents from files and prepare filming • Microfilm documents to be archived • Index archived documents • Retrieve and copy documents as needed.
The new processing sequence consists of: • Receive Application on the Web (students can access the BYU web page and can
either fill out the forms within the web page or download) • Print Turn-Around Pages/Applications • Sort Mail by Area • OCR and Link to Host • Retrieve as needed • Batch Enter Data by Document Field • Batch Update Host Database • Delete/Archive Documents 139 EXCELLENCE IN PRACTICE
THE KEY MOTIVATIONS BEHIND THE SYSTEM The need to implement a workflow and imaging solution emerged out of several factors.
First, the outdated microfiche and microfilm technology BYU was using to archive student
transcripts and student record information was at the end of their useful life. Files for active
paper documents were maintained in each office and were purged and archived as they aged.
An index system with reel and frame number for manual retrieval tied individual images of
archived student documents to their University Student Information (USI) system record
was still in use. The system has the disadvantages of dealing only with archived images and is
very labor intensive.
Second, the increase in volume of documents compounded the office space requirements
for admissions and records personnel. Growth in departmental staff had not led to growth in
office space, and the large bulky file cabinets were consuming valuable space.
Third, the absence of a document database for student records led to inefficiency in
processing student applications. Filling requests for student records would take a minimum
of 24 hours, be handled by at least three people and frequently would yield incorrect or
Lastly, the need for changes in the process itself. Each of the 15,000 undergraduate
applications received annually includes a six page, two-sided form, transcripts, standardized
test scores, letters of recommendation, the required essay, and more. BYU wanted more than
a retrieval and storage technology, they wanted a way to shuffle the paperwork around.
THE CURRENT SYSTEM CONFIGURATION. The Staffware Workflow and Unix and client-server-based AVImage easily integrated
into the existing mainframe environment. AVImage includes the Win-Track Document
Manager and AVImage viewer, DB Link, AVImagizer Toolkit and OpStar Optical Storage
Manager. The AVImagizer Toolkit provides an easy way to add images to host-based
applications without the need for modification, allowing actual document images to be “paperclipped” to student applications and records in the system. The AVImage package includes a
Data General AViiON 8500 server, nearly 100 personal computers, a Data General 10GB
CLARiiON Disk Array, and a 72-platter Opstar optical storage jukebox. AVImage uses the
existing campus-wide Ethernet network to image-enable the admissions, financial aid and
Important to the BYU solution was the addition of the Staffware workflow automation
product. Staffware allows the graphical definition of workflow applications that are used to
manage departmental chargeback and scheduling. BYU chose this system for a variety of
reasons; open systems standards, an appropriate user interface, and coping with data
compression and storage over networks. Getting the key software to communicate was really 140 BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY
important. The Staffware features of DDE and extensive APIs enabled it to “sit” on top of
the accounting system without any problems.
IMPACT TO THE COMPANY • 65 percent reduction in personnel • 80 percent reduction in storage costs • Reduce the processing cycle time • Improve operator efficiency—eliminated the numerous amount of paperwork •
• Maximizes Admissions and Records resources
Immediate and accurate access to information—prior to implementation of system,
the process of accessing information took 24 hours
Financial Aid provides assistance to about 25,000 of the 30,000 students enrolled at the
university. About 40 percent or 10,000 of these students require two or more counselor
interviews where access is made to the student’s electronic file. Document images are available
to the counselors upon demand with less than two second response time where before inquiries
for student records would take a minimum of 24 hours, be handled by at least three people
and frequently would yield incorrect or incomplete information. Not only is the performance
of the counselor improved, but even more important, service to the student is enhanced
while increasing the privacy of the student’s information.
COST SAVINGS Brigham Young University does not measure Return on Investment in monetary figures.
Instead, the institution measures effectiveness through the improved services it provides to
the student body, better utilization of its counselors, more storage and the elimination of the
COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE. Brigham Young University did not implement the system to gain a competitive edge.
For the reasons stated above, a workflow and imaging was identified.
THE IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS AND METHODOLOGY. In 1990, BYU began to the process of evaluating electronic storage and retrieval document.
As time passed, it became clear to BYU that electronic imaging systems were becoming more
sophisticated and were integrating a series of operations, i.e. workflow, that could significantly
influence performance in their work place. By June of 1993, funding was allotted to the 141 EXCELLENCE IN PRACTICE
Admissions and Records department and bids were requested in July. In December of 1993,
the award was awarded to Staffware and its partner, Data General.
The Staffware Workflow technology and the Data General AViiON Image server were
added as a secure mode to the network in January 1994. Software installation and training
for Staffware and AV Image continued until the middle of March. Actual production for
capturing the Financial Aid documents for the school year 1994-1995 began in May.
Similar workflow processes for capturing active Admissions documents and indexing
them for retrieval either from the imaging system or by linkage with the host system were
implemented in July 1994. In November, the workflow procedures for processing data from
the images of new admissions documents into the host system were ready for implementation.
The backlog to applications that had already been received and processed into the host
system before the new procedures were ready for implementation. A decision was made to
complete this cycle and begin new procedures with the next term cycle. The Admissions
decision workflow was partially implemented in December. The complete workflow automates
the process of calculating an Admissions Preparedness Index that includes objective
information such as high school GPA and ACT scores included in the host system database
and subjective factors provided by a read group who have evaluated the student’s essay, letters
of endorsement and recommendation that are part of the image database.
The following is a time line of the implementation process: 142 BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY
THE OVERALL TECHNOLOGICAL AND BUSINESS INNOVATION Brigham Young University not only achieve its goal of improving the speedy processing
of data, timely available of information, and the quality of service to the university community
in a cost effective way, it also realized that the combined workflow and imaging technologies
opened the door to re-structuring organizations.
Many organizations are structured to manage paper efficiently. This is true of most
admissions and records departments at large college institutions and many large corporations
that handle large volumes of paper. Through the use of workflow and imaging, the business
environment can be reengineered so that the primary focus is on providing the service and
not how the work is being processed. 143 ...
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- Winter '08
- Brigham Young University, Mountain West Conference