AUT is one of the first organisations in New Zealand to make use of Hewlett-Packard consultancy services aiming to optimise, integrate and reengineer document workflows and business processes.
The university’s director of IT, Liz Gosling, says AUT is blessed with relatively clean infrastructure without large legacy issues and a strong technology base. However, it decided to avail itself of the HP consultancy and “take a step back and look at processes” with a view to boosting their efficiency and effectiveness.
The project looks at key business processes, such as enrolment, to look for the most efficient way of executing them and the shortest process time, she says. The number of steps in a process and the people who touch it are quantified to establish a true process cost.
For universities working in what she calls a “capped funding environment” it is important to focus resources core educational activities and research rather than into administration.
Valeria Phillips, HP’s Imaging and Printing Group market development consultant for the public sector, says costs savings are important, but so too is the ability to access information readily and make decisions quickly.
The process starts with a four hour consultancy meeting, led by a HP consultant, with cross functional teams and end users to establish need and objectives. From there three stages lead to a more optimized environment.
First, IT operations are aligned with education goals. Second, the management of the environment is addressed to reduce support and supply costs. Third, workflows are streamlined in document intensive processes.
It isn’t all about printers. These are the on-ramp and off-ramp” says Phillips. Scanning technology and embedded solutions also enable the processing of structured data on a page and in turn link this into applications for improved process automation.
From there, workflows can be triggered to engage people in sequence or in parallel, depending on the process involved.
Integration with back end ERP systems is also covered and document lifecycles and record management requirements analysed through to archiving.
Phillips says issues of security and confidentiality can also be better managed in such optimized workflows through technology such as “pull printing” integrated with authentication technologies such as ID cards or keypad codes.