Filestream’s EDMS enhances administrative efficiency at the University of Hull

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Filestream announces that the University of Hull has selected its electronic document management software (EDMS) to efficiently and securely manage the vast amount of administrative paperwork generated from the running of a large educational institution.

Founded in 1927 and located on a 52.7 hectare main campus site, the University of Hull has an annual budget of £190 million and is home to 20,000 students and 2,500 staff. 

With around 900,000 documents now saved in the system, the File Stream EDMS is being used to centrally store and provide multi-user access to a range of information such as:

  • Student admissions paperwork including UCAS results, certificates, application forms and other supporting documentation;
  • HR forms and paperwork for teaching and administrate staff;
  • Occupational health data;
  • Documents for individual departments;
  • A range of financial information such as invoices.

Amanda Dean, The University of Hull’s end-user services team leader, says, “We needed a robust solution to index and store documentation which was easy for staff to use, flexible, secure, simple to integrate with other systems and offered good value for money.  Filestream was chosen because it provided everything we wanted.”

File Stream integrates easily to enhance organisational processes

File Stream replaces another document management system which lacked interoperability with Microsoft Outlook – a key requirement for the IT team – with the supplier also adopting a hosted software model which the University was not yet ready to embrace. 

In contrast, Filestream’s EDMS is written using Microsoft technology and integrates easily with Outlook which allows documents emailed to the University to be quickly saved in the system.  This is achieved as a File Stream tab is added into Outlook allowing users to select an attachment and save it straight away directly into the EDMS.  File Stream also allows information saved on shared drives to be easily added, too.

Furthermore, File Stream has been integrated with other key systems such as a student records application, the University’s main accounts system from Dream and its Proactis purchasing software.  

Amanda Dean explains, “When a paper invoice comes in, a barcode is attached, it’s scanned and automatically indexed. When staff are working in either Dream or Proactis, they can then click on the invoice and see it using the built-in File Stream Viewer – everything is seamlessly connected.” 

Filestream’s EDMS runs on a virtualised VMware environment on Microsoft Windows Server 2012. Data is held onsite at the University’s high availability datacentres.

The software was easy to implement across the campus using Microsoft’s System Center Configuration Manager which adds a File Stream icon to each desktop and ‘pushes’ the software to each device.  This was based on users selected from Active Directory.

Only minimal training was required given the software is designed to be intuitive to use.  This was provided by the University’s end-user services team who showed colleagues how to import, index and then retrieve documents from various File Stream cabinets.

After the tender process, the University used a Filestream recommended third party scanning bureau to scan around 100,000 documents – primarily from the HR department. These were then automatically imported into the EDMS.

EDMS enhances efficiency and international student admissions

Having a central repository of properly indexed documents means fast access to information across a large campus.  Amanda Dean explains, “If you take admissions just as an example, tutors would have previously had to request a document from a prospective student and wait for internal mail to deliver it or spend 10 to 15 minutes walking over to the admissions department to view something.  Now, everything is instantaneously available for everyone from a desktop PC or laptop.”

This is also helping with the recruitment of international students.  For example, the University has an active programme to attract students from China with admissions tutors going there to meet prospective candidates.  Using a web-based version of File Stream, application forms and supporting documents can be imported and immediately made available back in Hull for checking by multiple staff members - speeding up the whole admissions process.  

All files stored in File Stream are encrypted to enhance security and access to this information is restricted for authorised personnel based on job role.  These rules are straightforward to set up within the system.

Amanda Dean says, “I’ve no hesitation recommending Filestream.  They’re professional and provide fast technical support. They worked rapidly on the integration between their EDMS and our other systems. They’ve also written a bespoke application for us to automatically update the indexing in the system when, for example, a student record changes.  There’s never been anything they’ve not been able to help us with.”

Charles Hooker, Filestream’s managing director, says, “All organisations need an EDMS to manage the tsunami of information that we create today irrespective of whether it’s ‘born’ electronic or paperwork that is scanned and digitised. Our software is competitively priced and architected to be easy to deploy, easy to integrate and crucially easy for people to use.”

For further information, please visit www.filestreamsystems.co.uk

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