What began as five campus projects has expanded to include all 11 North Dakota University System institutions as part of a State Board of Higher Education initiative to maximize efficiencies. ImageNow is a document imaging system that allows users to import paper or digital documents through scanning or file/print options. In short, ImageNow takes the hard copy file cabinet and places it on a digital server. At the start, five campuses had their own licenses for ImageNow. This initiative brings all those instances and the remaining institutions under one roof to allow for simpler transfer of student records between institutions, increased data security and additional functionality, among other things.
The beauty of digitized records is not only in the newfound storage space, but in the increased capabilities offered by the system. ImageNow gives users the ability to search and categorize documents, control access through security groups and automate workflows. It takes you one step closer to having paperless processes. Similar to the real life filing cabinet, documents on ImageNow are split into file folders by identifying characteristics like specific student or employee. Each file folder is then assigned identifying information similar to what would be listed on the folder tab. Each document within the folder is assigned a document type (FERPA, W4, etc.) and other information like a records retention date or effective date. Security groups are then based on document type or where the file is located ensuring confidentiality and data security. Now, instead of having to walk across campus to view a hard copy of a student record, campus staff are able to request access to the secure, digital version without leaving their desk. This functionality is even more helpful when you consider collaborative students or programs that are hosted off campus such as the Lake Region State College courses offered on the Grand Forks Air Force Base.
“This is an important initiative because of the efficiencies that can be gained not only in infrastructure and software licensing, but in human resources, as well,” said Madhavi Marasinghe, sponsor and NDUS director of enterprise services. “The ability to streamline our daily processes and sharing of knowledge is a huge benefit.”
As of this month, the University of North Dakota and Mayville State University are fully on board, and Bismarck State College is in the final stages of implementation. Williston State College, Lake Region State College, Valley City State University, North Dakota State College of Science, Minot State University, Dakota College at Bottineau, North Dakota State University and Dickinson State University will follow within the next couple years. Currently, NDUS has 1,234 active ImageNow users. This number has doubled since the system-wide instance was implemented in May 2014.
“One of the great things about centralizing is that the campuses which don’t have the ability to fully utilize ImageNow themselves can now leverage the CTS team for a small fee,” said Janna Kruckenberg, lead business application administrator and ImageNow team lead.
The ImageNow initiative is led by a team of Core Technology Services (CTS) staff. The ImageNow team includes Amanda Kuzel, document imaging specialist; Chad Gratton, senior applications analyst; Erica White, document imaging specialist; Ericka Westphal, applications analyst; Greg Frederick, project manager; Kruckenberg and Marasinghe. A steering committee is also being developed and will be made up of representatives from each campus.