In its efforts to control the time, space constraints, sharing limitations and risk of loss associated with managing paper documents, Washington University in St. Louis turned to KnowledgeLake for an enterprise content management solution for administrative tasks such as accounting and human resources. With KnowledgeLake, the university can deploy out-of-the box solutions as well as rich, customized solutions that meet both document management and security needs for vital university processes.
Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) is one of the premier institutions of higher education in the Midwest. Founded in the 1850s, the historic school offers more than 90 programs and almost 1,500 courses leading to bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in traditional and interdisciplinary fields.
Like many other universities, WUSTL continually seeks ways of creating more efficient and cost-effective operations in support of education, research and patient care. One such initiative has been to contain and reduce the amount of paper generated and stored on behalf of the university’s nearly 13,000 students and 12,000 employees. This includes digitizing tens of thousands of accounting and personnel documents.
“We knew that creating a content management system for the storage and retrieval of these documents would enable us to streamline our operations, providing better service for both students and employees,” says Denise Hirschbeck, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Information Services and Technology at the University.
The university already had experience using KnowledgeLake enterprise content management (ECM) software, and saw it as a good solution for both simple and somewhat complex projects.
“Key considerations in selecting a document management solution are out-of-the-box functionality for simple straightforward document storage needs and standard integration with university applications,” says Hirschbeck. “KnowledgeLake’s strong track record of support and expertise, together with the product’s tight integration with Microsoft frameworks, allows us to leverage existing resources when custom development is required. That makes it a natural choice for planned projects.”
For the finance and human resources projects, WUSTL used KnowledgeLake Capture batch processing and indexing tasks for documents that are scanned centrally. During the scanning process, documents are tagged with metadata so they are filed in the correct locations to assist with easy searches. WUSTL uses a variety of enterprise-scale flatbed and sheet-feed scanners, including Fujitsu fi-4340s, Fujitsu fi-5900s, and HP Scanjets.
The school used KnowledgeLake Imaging for SharePoint with the Microsoft SharePoint intranet to assist employees in schools and departments with searching for, viewing, and annotating documents. A large aspect of these projects involved custom integration with university applications and the SharePoint repository.
Washington University has been able to expand its document management processes through critical areas of operation using the KnowledgeLake software. This provides a combination of robust extensibility as well as easy, out-of-the-box functionality. Throughout its ECM projects, the university has also received valuable assistance from KnowledgeLake technical teams.
Extensibility for Sophisticated Solutions
Hirschbeck says any solution based on the KnowledgeLake software can be easily modified due to its integration with Windows and the Microsoft .NET Framework.
“The great thing about KnowledgeLake is that the software provides both excellent out-of-the-box functionality and tools for our internal developers such as the KnowledgeLake software development kit, which enables creation of the custom functions that many of our projects require,” she says.
Fast Responses to Requests
While the extensibility of KnowledgeLake is a benefit to the university, WUSTL also values the essential functionality built into KnowledgeLake.
“Many of the requests we get for document management solutions can be addressed quickly using KnowledgeLake,” says Hirschbeck. “For example, we have several departments that use similar record types. We created a template that provides the same kinds of document and metadata information used during KnowledgeLake scans. It’s part of a ‘quick start’ foundation shared with us by KnowledgeLake that enables fast, efficient, and repeatable solutions that really reduce the time it takes to respond to department requests.”
Ongoing Support for School’s Needs
WUSTL has also benefitted from its valuable relationship with KnowledgeLake’s technical support team.
“Consulting with KnowledgeLake Professional Services and attending formal KnowledgeLake training is a critical part of adopting KnowledgeLake ECM solutions,” says Hirschbeck. “We have access to the developers and rich support within KnowledgeLake. This can be priceless when a problem arises in a critical production process and requires a quick resolution. It’s been a very good partnership.”