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Modernizing School Buildings Leads to Modernized Document Management in San Francisco

In addition to educating nearly 60,000 K-12 students, San Francisco Unified School District is also responsible for the maintenance of scores of buildings, many of which are among the oldest in the state.

Since 2003, San Francisco citizens have voted in favor of bonds to fund the improvement of the district’s aging buildings, but more than 50 still require substantial modernization. A 2011 voter-approved bond measure, valued at $530 million, will finally finish the construction work and improve the safety of the earthquake-prone city’s schools and offices.

With the funds approved, district officials realized that they needed to modernize more than just their buildings. They also needed to modernize the way they archived and accessed their documents.

According to Rick Carr, Professional Services Executive at ARC in San Francisco, ARC personnel, familiar with the district through a long-standing reprographics relationship, saw the district’s need for improved document archiving, including the many new financial and regulatory documents associated with the construction funds. “At the time, the documents were being ‘managed’ by 20 or 30 large filing cabinets,” he says.

The San Francisco Unified School District is not alone in this regard. In fact, document and information management, or the lack thereof, is the last great area of organizational inefficiency, according to research firm Gartner, Inc.

Carr and team analyzed how the district was dealing with its physical document requests. They discovered that the district’s finance group had heavy demands for paper documents. According to Kumar Wiratunga, ARC’s Director of Technology, district workers “couldn’t get their hands on documents fast enough to satisfy the demands.” ARC Document Solutions came up with compelling offer. “We created a customized Archiving and Information Management (AIM) solution to help them transition out of a paper archive and onto the cloud.”

ARC’s AIM service converts all paper items to a digital format, migrates the data to a central repository, and offers instant access and version control through a self-service
management and retrieval system. In addition, this digital archive provides immediate ROI by permanently shedding monthly storage and retrieval costs.

In the end, this improved system of managing the district’s documents enhanced productivity and cuts costs — important benefits for educators, taxpayers, and students alike.

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