ImageNow: Working Lean and Green

May 13, 2016

For nearly 10 years, an increasing number of departments on campus have benefited from ImageNow, an electronic document management system that acts as a repository for digital files and offers the ability to create workflows that can be completed online without leaving one’s desk. In these times of tight budgets and reduced staff, ImageNow provides an opportunity to use university resources wisely while reducing our environmental footprint.

Environmentally-friendly efficiencies

An electronic document management system like ImageNow offers several advantages.  First, documents can enter the system through a variety of methods.  Employees can scan physical documents or email or print electronic documents from a computer directly into the system.  No longer is there a single location for each document.  Instead, digital copies are stored in a primary location with back-ups on several servers, making them more secure.

Electronic documents can be transferred between departments more efficiently and in less time, avoiding the “sneaker-net” required when papers are transported via campus mail.  An order of operations can be set up in ImageNow for each document’s life cycle, such as routing for signatures, thereby eliminating the question of where the document goes next.  This allows departments to streamline their processes and potentially speed up workflows where staff is lacking.

Finally, ImageNow meets the university's mission of supporting environmentally-sustainable practices and reducing the amount of paper used on campus.  Currently ImageNow houses over 4 million electronic documents at UW-Platteville.

Entering its 10th year on campus

ImageNow was implemented on campus in 2007 primarily for document management related to student enrollment.  The Registrar’s Office and Admissions were early adopters.  All transcripts were transferred to ImageNow from the legacy system, Compass in 2010.

In 2009 use of ImageNow expanded to administrative areas when Financial Services chose the system for streamlining purchasing invoices.

The Distance Learning Center began implementing ImageNow two years ago as both an electronic repository and for workflows with electronic signatures.

Michelle Zasada, Student Services Manager for the DLC reports that things are “going well for us here in the DLC. [ImageNow has] expedited processes for us both within the DLC and in our work with other departments as we’re able to share documents across departments. As we’ve only been using it for a year, we’re also exploring more ways to use [ImageNow] and [any] new functionality that may be coming out as they release updates.”

The Graduate Studies Program initially used ImageNow as an electronic repository but has recently incorporated the workflow functionality for the transferal of documents to the proper offices.  According to Dee Dunbar, Program Associate, “As of today, we have all of our past and present students’ paper files transferred into ImageNow. [It] is a very easy program to work with, saving time and money in our office budget.  I would encourage every office to incorporate ImageNow into their daily usage.”

Other areas that have adopted ImageNow include Accounts Payable, Auxiliary Accounting, Continuing Educations, the Cashier’s Office, General Ledger, Human Resources, Veteran’s Services, and the latest, the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. 

The School of Education and University Police will begin transferring documents to the ImageNow repository next, while the Foundation and Purchasing will be implementing workflows.

An ImageNow user group for key decision-makers and lead ImageNow users was convened in April for the purpose of sharing information regarding upcoming activities and projects related to ImageNow.  Greg Bies is the group’s facilitator.    

Think ImageNow might work for you?

Creating a repository for your digitized documents is a relatively quick process and does not require an IT Prioritizations request.  Contact your IT Support Liaison for information on how to get started and arrange for training.

Duplicating a physical workflow using electronic documents is more complex and almost always requires an IT Prioritizations request.  The deadline for Spring/Summer 2017 projects is September 16, 2016. Contact your IT Support Liaison for assistance with this process.


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