The technology team at Bergen Community College recently faced a situation familiar to many IT departments: A legacy system was approaching end-of-life. The college took this seemingly mundane circumstance, however, and embraced it as an opportunity to support organization-wide goals to reimagine core systems, services and processes by implementing Laserfiche. What began as an effort to replace outdated software resulted in staff and faculty gaining new digital tools and improving the student experience.

 

Thinking Outside the Box 

Bergen Community College—an accredited, two-year community college—needed to replace its legacy document management system. Simultaneously, faculty and staff were in search of a solution to create electronic forms and automate business processes.

“We felt like Laserfiche could be a win-win: It would give us the forms and workflow solution we were looking for and, at the same time, replace the system that was reaching end-of-life,” says Nishika Gupta, documents and records manager at Bergen Community College. “Also, we have a lean technology department, so we were looking for an easy-to-use system that was going to provide out-of-the-box solutions. Laserfiche fit that bill.”

Since implementing Laserfiche, the college has achieved multiple goals in one fell swoop. In addition to replacing the legacy system, the college has used Laserfiche to digitize and automated a number of processes, including in the testing department.

“Students are required to take a placement exam in order to enroll in certain classes, however, they can bypass the exam if they meet specific criteria,” says Gupta. For example, students who have received a certain SAT score, or previously earned a degree in that particular field may not need to take a placement exam.

In order to prove they meet the criteria, however, students had to physically retrieve a paper form from the testing department, and attach the necessary documents in order to determine next steps. “A significant amount of our student population uses this process,” Gupta adds. “It was a good process to automate since the improvement has a high impact.”

The college used Laserfiche to create an electronic form which the testing department now offers online. Now, students can submit documentation in just a matter of seconds from wherever they are, and without dealing with cumbersome paperwork.

Additionally, Bergen Community College used Laserfiche to digitize the grade change process. If a student believes they received the wrong grade, they must contact the relevant faculty member in order to get the grade changed.

Previously, if the faculty member and student agreed on the change, faculty members were required to submit a paper form to request a revision. This presented a challenge after semesters ended, as many faculty members commonly leave town for vacation. The student would have to wait until the professor returned to campus in order to address the change. For urgent cases where the student was waiting to graduate, administration staff would mail a paper form to the faculty member, who would then fill it out and mail it back.

With Laserfiche, the grade change process now lives online through a digital form. Off-site faculty can easily access and amend students’ grades without delay. In addition, Laserfiche enables staff members to track faculty turnaround time and send reminders as needed, all while simultaneously keeping students updated.

“As a whole, our organization’s goal is to ‘Reimagine Bergen.’ For my department, this means reimagining how we use technology and reimagining the student experience. To support this, we are dedicated to implementing solutions that our students are comfortable using. Millennials use technology in every aspect of their lives. For that reason, it’s important for us to leverage technology that expedites student-facing processes in order to meet their expectations.”

—Nishika Gupta, documents and records manager at Bergen Community College

 

Looking Ahead

The college continues to look for new ways to use Laserfiche electronic forms and process automation campus-wide, including:

  • Automating requests for change of curriculum, reinstatement and academic forgiveness
  • Integrating Laserfiche other core technologies, including the college’s ERP and helpdesk systems
  • Implementing Laserfiche’s reporting and analytics tools to help optimize processes, and build and inform campus policies

“Laserfiche was a great fit for Bergen Community College’s needs since it enabled students to better manage their academic progress,” said Zaheer Master, president of Accelerated Information Systems, the solution provider that implemented Laserfiche at Bergen. “Bergen Community College’s innovative use of technology demonstrates a commitment to its students and its vision. The college turned a search for a new system into an opportunity to enhance the student experience.”

With its strategic plan in place, Bergen Community College continues to pursue the vision to “Reimagine Bergen.” This includes simplifying processes to support a one-stop-shop experience for students, increasing effectiveness of personnel, and retaining the student-centric focus.

“Everyone is happy with our Laserfiche solution, especially our students,” says Gupta. “The transparency and collaboration that the system provides has been well received, and we look forward to expanding our use throughout the college.”

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