Following the 2017 Association of School Business Administrators (ASBA) conference, Fuji Xerox sent a survey to conference attendees asking for feedback on the state of document management in private education. The results provide some interesting insights into the challenges and trends being felt by schools and business managers.
When asked to identify the top administration challenges faced by private schools, respondents noted reducing costs, growing student enrolments and increasing productivity as their top three challenges. A similar survey run amongst small to medium businesses also ranked reducing costs as a top challenge – showing that schools are not alone in trying to meet this demand.
Investment in digital transformation
A consequence of the need to reduce costs and increase productivity is many private schools are moving forward with a digital transformation. Respondents noted that their investment in digital has the primary goal of improving operational efficiency, with some schools also focusing equally on improving the student and staff experience.
Survey results show that schools are at varying stages in their digital journey with some taking first- steps to digitise workflows and reduce reliance on paper, while others are investing in more advanced digital tools such as AI and IoT. A small proportion of respondents are still primarily employing paper based manual processes.
For those schools yet to take the leap to invest in digital technologies the primary barriers articulated were lack of time, lack of budget, lack of IT resources and lack of digital data.
Impact of digital investment on printing
Respondents were asked to give their opinion on whether they believe their investment in digital technologies will have an impact on the level of printing in their school. The resounding response was yes, with 100% of respondents believing that their investment in digital technology would impact the amount that they are printing, and 60% of these believe this impact would be a great deal or a lot.
Even though investment in digital is changing the way that schools print, there are a variety of documents that respondents are still printing, as opposed to using digital methods to produce. These include, most commonly, student reports, student records and HR forms.
What does this mean?
Document management is moving more and more from the management of physical paper documents to digital documents. Schools have been motivated to move to digital because of the need to rationalise costs and improve the efficiency of their operations. There is still a way to go in the digital transformation of schools, with some being further along the journey than others. There is no question, however, of the importance that digital technologies and transformation will have on improving school administrative operations.
This is supported by a recent report by The Educator (pg. 22) on key challenges in schools. The report found that keeping up with new technology [and teaching methods] was a significant challenge facing schools.
Where to next?
Taking the next step with digital technologies may seem like a daunting task. It is sometimes hard to know where to start or what to tackle next to address the challenges of cost improvement and increased efficiency.
Fuji Xerox Australia is able to help schools move towards a digital future by working with school leaders to perform an assessment of their documents and processes. Helping the school identify which processes will feel the most immediate benefits of digital transformation. Start by digitising a single process, form or document flow or transform your processes from end-to-end. Speak to us today to find out how we can help.