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Companies around the world are automating workflows to reduce costs and increase the efficiency of their employees, so why should schools be different? Automating school processes such as HR forms, vacation requests, purchase orders, and parent fees can save money, time, and paper.

Before we discuss how you can achieve these amazing results, let’s take a look at where your school falls into the school automation process.

How automated is your school ?

There are several different stages that schools will experience on the road to full automation. The IDEA model is a standardized model that evaluates the various stages of a school’s digitization, from storing a single sheet of paper in a file cabinet to a fully automated digital workflow that starts at the touch of a button.

Let’s see what level your school has reached so far.

Individual

  • This is school processes in their most basic form. If your school processes operate at the individual stage, all procedure steps are completed and moved by individual contributors.  Your records are likely paper documents stored in a filing cabinet, and a secretary or teacher likely sends the form in the mail or walks it over to the appropriate party for approval.  This process may take hours, days, or even weeks for each approval due to both the delivery method as well as the number of approvals required.

Digital

  •  This is where the school has begun the first phase of digitizing. Physical paper forms can now be uploaded to a computer in the form of a PDF file.  This file is then sent over email to the appropriate parties for approval. Once approved, that form is emailed back to the original sender where it is saved to their computer (and most likely backed up in a filing cabinet as well). Although this stage cuts time off these processes, sending and receiving emails to and from multiple contacts at a time is confusing, making it is easy to lose track of where you are in the process.

E-File

  • At this stage your school is digitized.  Forms and data can most likely be found within a cloud system that is available to all appropriate employees.  If you need a form signed, for example, by all department heads, you would tell them to go to the cloud, download the form, sign it, and then re-upload it back onto the cloud.  Losing forms is now a thing of the past. However, you still may have to remind people multiple times to download and complete a form.

Automation

  • If you have reached this stage your school is fully automated.  Simply upload a form, set up a workflow, and at the click of a button, your form will be routed through the appropriate approval process.  Each decision-maker will receive the form to either approve or deny the request, after which point the form will continue along the predetermined path. The document is then returned to you and be completed with all of the approvals and information you need.  No more lost paperwork. No more tracking people down for approval. Just one click of a button and you’re done.