Electronic Document Management at
Columbia University
Common Solutions Group, September 12, 2014
Why implement EDM at Columbia University?
• To replace old/antiquated imaging system, the Minolta
Image Management System (MIMS), that stored
documents in an optical/CD-ROM jukebox for the
University's Accounts Payable department. This was back
in 2006-2007.
• Desire to implement enterprise wide ECM/EDM solution
that was secure, scalable, reliable, etc., to deploy
throughout University over the years.
Why OnBase?
• After extensive RFP process, 3 responses were received:
– Hyland Software's OnBase application
– Perceptive Software's ImageNow application
– Ricoh's (then called Ikon Office Solutions) home grown imaging
• Chose Hyland's OnBase for its modules/offerings, but also because it
was already implemented in 2 separate instances at the University (one
which was later absorbed in to enterprise instance)
• Reseller used at the time was the leader in Higher Education
sales/coverage, specializing in Admissions and Accounts Payable
• Hyland Software was and has consistently been a leader in Gartner's
Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Content Management
OnBase's Capabilities with…
• Integrations
• Was integrated with University's home grown AP mainframe
application, allowing communication to and from mainframe
• Integrating with external Admissions application systems via web
• University then upgraded the home grown AP application to use
PeopleSoft Financials, which OnBase was easily able to set up a
near real time integration. Data is sent to and from both systems for
up to date status updates and transaction approvals/denials.
• Integration with Open Text's RightFax Server
• Architecture – OnBase can easily scale out to support enterprise
OnBase's Capabilities with…
• Audit Trails – extensive audit trail, which logs detailed information when
a document is touched in any way, i.e. viewed, printed, modified,
emailed, etc., as well as when any document level metadata is
• Security – OnBase can segregate security access and privileges to
documents and processes based on user's job functions
• Can integrate with LDAP, Active Directory, and CAS
• Workflow/BPM possibilities
Implementation Timeline
~2002 – The University's Undergraduate Admissions Office purchased OnBase
to manage the end to end admissions application processing and review.
Summer 2003 – The Mailman School of Public Health (grad school) also
purchased a separate instance of the OnBase application to manage its
admissions application processing and review.
Summer 2006 – The University began looking in to initiating ECM. Began RFP
2007 – OnBase was chosen as the Enterprise-wide ECM application. It was
developed to manage the University Accounts Payable department, allowing
departments to electronically send invoice documentation to AP, as well as
manage electronic communications between departments and AP. Prior to
doing so, hard copies of invoices were (snail) mailed to AP, which then needed
to be scanned to the old MIMs system, before processing. Processing invoices
averaged 3-4 weeks. This time was significantly reduced to same day for rush
requests, and 1-3 days for normal processing.
Implementation Timeline (cont.)
Fall 2008 – Expanded EDM services to the University's largest graduate school.
Solution was for an end to end Admissions application processing, integrating
with an external application submission vendor, and the University's Student
Information System. Application helped to process over 13,000 admissions
application per year.
Summer 2009 – Expanded to various graduate schools for their admissions
application processing and later to manage Student Advisement in one of the
schools. We also imported one of the previously existing stand-alone OnBase
systems in to the Enterprise application.
Summer 2010 – Expanded OnBase functionality to the University's Purchasing
Department to manage the overall requisition and change order process.
Summer 2012 – University implemented PeopleSoft Financials, which required
an overhaul of the pre-existing OnBase Workflow process. Near real-time
integration with PeopleSoft Financials was also developed.
Client Summary
• The University's Accounts Payable, Purchasing, and Vendor
Management departments using document management and workflow
• 4 Graduate Schools using document management and workflow
• 3 Independent departments using electronic document management
~ 2,500 users throughout enterprise, using a combination of direct thick
and thin/web access, and integrations with external systems.
The Good…
• Increased operational efficiencies across all clients, with enhanced
workflow capabilities or even basic document retrieval.
– Saw huge improvements in processing times of AP, Purchasing,
and Vendor Management requests
– More efficient at managing large amounts of documents associated
to operational logistics of a business process, i.e. collating
supporting documentation for thousands of Admissions applications
• Allowed for proactive approach for transaction monitoring/managing,
direct communication with clients from OnBase application
The Bad…
Implementing brand new technologies and processes came with its drawbacks.
– In initial AP application configuration, the volume of transactions and
processing times wasn't considered initially. For example:
• Overlooking additional clicking when working with multiple systems at
once caused large backloads at first.
• Delays caused by overdeveloping integration when implementing near
real time integration with PeopleSoft.
Reporting tools – required vast knowledge of OnBase database schema.
Canned reports provided with report module were not very useful.
Knowledgeable resources are hard to come by
Expanding EDM to rest of University has also been a challenge. Due to:
– In house resource availability
– Departments not readily seeing positive impact of implementing EDM
– Costs involved with supporting application, i.e. head counts, etc.
Things to keep in mind
• Think BIG. While it's good for smaller departments to begin
implementing basic EDM, i.e. document storage and retrieval, and later
expanding to their respective business units, the enterprise as a whole
should think about standardizing and expanding services to
main/central groups first. Then they should determine what business
processes are shared among various groups and tackle those as well.
This will make standardizing documents/keywords much easier.
• Security – not just security within the application itself, i.e. roles and
responsibilities, but rather security related to PII, FERPA, HIPPA,
Sarbanes-Oxley, etc.
• Document retention – Organizations should think about not only how to
store documents, but how to get rid of them as well.
• As with any IT implementation, requirements traceability is key! This
will ensure that the client's requirements are logged and met.
Things to keep in mind
• One EDM/ECM system may not fit the needs of the entire organization.
Case in point is with legal and medical records storage/management.
There are software packages available that meet the needs of both of
these vertical groups individually that may not fit the needs of the
greater population.
• Always be one step ahead of vendor. In our case, some standard
practices weren't followed/communicated during initial implementation.

Why implement EDM at Columbia University?