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How Higher Ed Can Optimize Document Management

Hagerman & Company

Picture this: You need to find a copy of the facility’s room plans to continue your maintenance project, but there are dozens of places it could be. You search through stacks of hard copies and various databases to no avail.

Sound familiar? You’re not alone.

Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence for many facility management teams. Expansive campuses and digital infrastructures mean finding the documents you need can be tricky, especially if project management systems are misused. But with rising operational costs amid smaller budgets, focusing on something like university document management software might seem low on the list of priorities. Other higher ed leaders might ask, “Aren’t there more pressing concerns?”

But the reality is that using modern tools and processes can be transformative for institutions at large. There’s a reason why, according to the Harvard Business Review, automation – as can be achieved with document management tools – is an immediate way to improve efficiency. Plus, as universities prepare their students for the real world, it’s vital they mirror the real world – even in their operations.

But what budget-friendly tool can integrate with your current systems and actually help? In this article, we dig into what challenges higher ed facility teams are facing and how they can optimize their university document management with Meridian®.

The Unique Challenges in Higher Ed Document Management

In higher education, document management and access can be completely halted if your project management system has been changed or is down. These systems are not meant to be long term document storage applications! This is just a small part of the challenges that educational institutions face, along with:

  • Data Inconsistency: Conflicting information across systems.
  • Time-Intensive Document Retrieval: Difficulty in quickly locating specific documents.
  • Compliance Risks: Failures in meeting regulatory standards due to poor document handling.
  • Operational Inefficiencies: Disorganization can lead to delays in decision-making processes.

“Universities are under increasing pressure to streamline project costs and get more efficient. Meridian gets our users the historical and current project information they need fast, saving costs and delivering clear value.”

- AriAnne Gilliland, (Former) Design & Construction, University of Colorado – Boulder

Advanced Features of Meridian for Enhanced University Document Management

So how can facility management teams start to fix their outdated or poorly organized repositories? The first step is finding the right tool to use.

And you wouldn’t be alone in this search for a better document management support tool. 90% of organizations are looking for automation tools to streamline their processes. That’s why our team recommends Meridian, as it is a semi-automation tool that uses advanced features to address the challenges of university document management head-on.

The right tool can transform how you manage documents. Often, facility leaders don’t realize the full suite of options that are offered by the software. Some of the advanced key features include:

  • Document Loading Tool: Automatically imports documents from various systems, utilizing existing metadata for consistency and accuracy.
  • IntelliWizard and IntelliModules: These tools allow for extensive customization of metadata, adapting Meridian to the unique needs of each institution.
  • IntelliPort: A bulk upload tool that includes the accuracy of metadata upon import, a significant upgrade over basic Meridian functionalities.

These features collectively streamline the document management process. They ensure higher education facilities operate to the best of their ability. However, the benefits of Meridian extend beyond mere document organization.

Compliance and Security

Meridian helps ensure compliance with regulatory standards in higher education. This is important for a number of reasons, as different states have different guidelines for document retention. It offers a robust framework that simplifies responses to Open Record Requests, which makes document retrieval faster and more efficient.

Further, Meridian’s data security features mean that you have complete control over who has access to a file. It’s much better than file sharing on a network drive, which comes with an inherent risk.

For instance, if you download a file, you can’t control who sees it. Meanwhile, Meridian has document permission or viewer settings. This level of security is particularly important for sensitive research facilities within universities. It ensures that only authorized personnel have access to important documents.

Manual Management and Legacy Issues

Higher education has been built on generations of information and documents. The sheer volume of drawings and documents accumulated over decades can make accessing and archiving a daunting endeavor. This is compounded when legacy knowledge is lost due to retirement or turnover.

Meridian offers a solution for historical document retrieval. The systemized approach simplifies the handling of current documents while preserving historical data. That means vital institutional knowledge is not only retained, but easily accessible for current and future generations.

And, with the right training, that experience can be transferred across departments or individuals as needed.

“Manually accessing, archiving, and managing decades worth of drawings and documents can be overwhelming. In facility management, there’s usually only one or two people who actually know how to find anything. Meridian adds a level of self-sufficiency to finding documents for everyone else.”

- Jennifer Sample, Technical Solutions Consultant at Hagerman & Company

Customization and Integration

The ability to customize and integrate Meridian into existing legacy systems is significant for facility management teams. The customization means that you can fit the program within each department’s specific document management processes. That customization can take various forms, such as managing operational CAD files that show the current conditions or layout of a building.

Additionally, integrating Meridian with other systems will break down any potential data silos, which leads to more unified operations. You’ll see an improved flow of information, meaning staff members are making data-driven decisions across campus facilities.

Budget Optimization and Staff Efficiency

By automating key aspects of document management, Meridian has been shown to significantly reduce the time staff spend on document retrieval, as evidenced by case studies in similar educational settings.

Having a central tool that removes manual and duplicative data uploading is helpful in a world where facility management groups are often expected to do more with less.

Improve Your University Document Management with Meridian

Higher education organizations must recognize that the world continues to evolve. Meridian offers a tool to do just that – an effective way for facility management teams to keep up with a rapidly digitizing world.

Higher education institutions who need to optimize their document management system will find Meridian and its supported integrations vital. The enhanced security and streamlined efficiency means less time wasted on manual tasks that simply take up time and resources. Instead, you’re able to focus on the most important thing – educating the present to lead the future.

Our team brings a wealth of knowledge to this unique space to help you get there. Our document management consulting services will provide your facility with the guidance to unlock your document’s potential.

Interested in upgrading your current document management systems? Learn more about the Hagerman approach.