Schaumburg Community Consolidated School District 54, with 27 schools and three administration buildings, educates 14,000 students from preschool through eighth grade. Located in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, the school district employs approximately 3,000 people.
The Risks of Paper-Based Documents
All organizations must take into account two important characteristics of documents. First, the information they contain is often invaluable. Second, paper burns. These two traits were on the school district’s mind when it decided to look for a way to better protect critical personnel documents. It had not yet lost any documents to fires, floods or other catastrophes, but it knew that the risk was always present.
Paper poses more of a problem than just the risk of loss. It’s also difficult to manage cost-effectively. Paper-based documents must be accessed manually from filing cabinets and taken to employees’ work areas. When finished with the documents, employees must re- file them. All of this manual handling is exceptionally time consuming and, therefore, a serious drain on productivity. Worse, manual filing introduces the risk of documents being misfiled, making them difficult to find again when needed. Searching for a single misfiled document can take several hours.
Furthermore, while a single sheet of paper may be thin, thousands of them take up considerable space.
The Solution: Scanning and Digitizing Documents
After researching several alternatives, it quickly became clear that the solution to the problem was to scan and digitize documents. That way, they could be quickly accessed online, using simple queries, and, more importantly, the documents could be backed up easily and inexpensively, just like any other electronic data.
Schaumburg chose Webdocs, because the solution allows organizations to scan paper documents and store them on any server. Once loaded into the system, authorized personnel can use a standard web browser to access the documents over the Internet from anywhere in the world.
The HelpSystems licensing model was much more cost-effective for the school district than the alternatives. HelpSystems licenses WebDocs on a per- scanning station, rather than a per-user basis. With just two scanning stations, the cost to install and license Webdocs was less than half the cost of the alternatives.
Because Webdocs allows users to view documents in a standard web browser there is no additional fee for installing new software on each and every computer.
Furthermore, the school district wants six users to be able to do the scanning. With HelpSystems, because it does not charge for each user, this is not a problem. The price is the same regardless of how many people use Webdocs.
The Benefits of Going Digital
With Webdocs, backing up the school district’s personnel documents isn’t just possible and easy—it’s automatic. The school district stores the documents on its IBM i server, where they are backed up along with all other iSeries data during nightly backup runs.
This automatic backup capability delivers peace of mind. “We know that if the building catches fire all documents are off-site, on tape,” explained Andrew Drajus, data processing supervisor for the school district. “We can get a new iSeries up and running, install the tape and we won’t have lost a thing. That’s critical because, being a government organization, personnel records are so important.”
While document protection was the primary reason for adopting the WebDocs solution, it’s also delivered several other benefits. “Because documents are all online, records don’t get misplaced, misfiled or lost,” declared Drajus.
Putting documents online has also led to productivity gains. “Secretaries no longer have to get up from their desks to dig through file cabinets, and then possibly forget to file the documents again,” said Drajus. “And, with paper documents, if a document was on someone’s desk and somebody else was looking for it, that wasted a lot of time.” Because an unlimited number of people can simultaneously look at the same document online through Webdocs, that’s not a problem anymore.
The school district also expects to be able reclaim a lot of valuable office space. “Hopefully we’ll eventually be able to get rid of file cabinets once we get everything scanned,” stated Drajus.