The NCAA Eligibility Center (EC)-a group inside the National Collegiate Athletic Association-is responsible for ensuring that student athletes, colleges, and high schools understand and adhere to NCAA divisional regulations. As part of that process the EC handles more than 500,000 documents annually. To ensure efficient workflows, the EC deployed a KnowledgeLake solution on top of Microsoft SharePoint, gaining an efficient, cost-effective document management system that is easy to use.
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was founded in the early 1900’s as a way to protect student-athletes. Today the association has nearly 1,300 institutions, athletic conferences, organizations, and individuals who help organize and participate in the athletic programs of colleges and universities across the United States and Canada. It has three membership classifications-or “Divisions”-that have rules governing issues such as personnel, amateurism, recruiting, eligibility, financial aid, and playing and practice seasons.
One of the more recent groups created within the organization is the NCAA Eligibility Center (EC), which works to ensure that college-bound student athletes, member institutions, and high schools understand the requirements to participate in NCAA Divisions I and II athletics.
The EC is also responsible for certifying that students’ academic and amateur credentials comply with NCAA standards and philosophy. Annually, the EC renders more than 95,000 academic and amateurism certifications, and reviews the academic records and the sports participation of college-bound student athletes to make eligibility decisions.
This activity leads to a lot of paperwork. Officials at the EC knew they had to find an efficient and cost-effective document management solution to deal with this huge annual flow of paperwork.
“We needed a point solution for document management that would operate on top of our existing Microsoft SharePoint system,” says Gary DeCastro, managing director of the Eligibility Center. “We were looking to replace a manual filing system for creating, storing, indexing, and retrieving documents. And a key requirement was that it had to be easy and quick to deploy and use.”
The EC decided to implement a KnowledgeLake Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution on top of SharePoint.
The organization deployed several KnowledgeLake products. KnowledgeLake Imaging for SharePoint is used for attaching metadata to documents, which helps with storage and indexing as well as basic functions such as search and retrieval. KnowledgeLake Capture is used with the organization’s Canon scanners to digitize paper documents. And KnowledgeLake Connect was deployed so EC employees can upload digital information directly into SharePoint from their daily business applications, such as Microsoft Office Word, Excel, and Outlook.
The deployment took about two months to implement from design to full production.
“It went as smooth as can be,” says DeCastro. “It was a very quick deployment considering the time pressure we were under to get it accomplished.”
The NCAA EC uses the KnowledgeLake ECM solution to process more than 500,000 documents annually. The majority of these documents are secondary-school transcripts that have either been mailed or submitted electronically through an approved e-transcript provider.
By deploying KnowledgeLake products, the NCAA has a document management solution that is tightly integrated with its SharePoint system. It is easy to use and has been cost-effective.
“I’ve been very satisfied with our investment in the KnowledgeLake products and our ability to the integration of those products with our core Microsoft Office applications and SharePoint,” says DeCastro. “We’re continuing to streamline our document management processes with each new enhancement that KnowledgeLake brings to the product suite.”
Tight Integration with SharePoint
The KnowledgeLake products are designed to work tightly with SharePoint, creating a seamless content management system that begins with student documents and other information arriving at the NCAA EC. The documents are then scanned and filed in a logical and easily searched repository on SharePoint.
“We looked briefly at other document management products, but we felt that tight integration with SharePoint and other Microsoft products was essential to making the solution work,” says DeCastro. “It’s one of the primary reasons why KnowledgeLake was chosen over all of its competitors.”
Easy to Use
Along with its tight integration with Microsoft products, the interface on KnowledgeLake software is highly intuitive and immediately familiar to anyone who has used Microsoft products.
“The KnowledgeLake ECM products were not only easy to install, they were quick and easy for our employees to figure out,” says DeCastro. “There is minimal training required, and it is easy to scan, store, and retrieve documents. The KnowledgeLake products’ adherence to the Microsoft graphical user interface and overall user experience facilitates ease of use.”
The KnowledgeLake ECM solution also turned out to be cost-effective. Cumbersome paper-based procedures that used to result in lost staff productivity have been replaced by an efficient document management solution that makes it easy to store and find information.
“The EC’s investment in the KnowledgeLake application suite has improved overall workflow and increased visibility to documents throughout the academic certification process,” says DeCastro.