Emory Report

June 14, 1999

 Volume 51, No. 33

ITD offers electronic document management system

One of the promises of the Computer Age is the arrival of the "paperless" office, in which information flows electronically from person to person. The Information Technology Division is doing its part to help make that almost-forgotten dream a reality by promoting its new and improved document management system.

Already in use by the accounts payable offices in both University administration and Facilities Management, the system uses the software suite Optix to allow users to scan and store paper documents electronically, manage workflow, offer web access and output electronic files onto CD-ROM. Not all of Optix's components have been implemented, but project manager John Wilson said soon Emory will be making full use of the software.

"We may not be able to completely eliminate paper from our lives, but we can certainly make managing it a lot easier and more efficient," said Wilson, who came to the University last November to kick-start the document management project. He and his team overhauled what had been done before, installing a new server, disk array and tape backup system as well as upgrading to the latest Optix release--not to mention adding other application administrators to help provide support.

The results have been encouraging. "The support of the last five months has really been great," said Allen Clark, an accountant in FM accounts payable. "We used to have at least seven different file cabinets in my office, and now we only maintain one--and it's only half full a lot of the time."

FM also uses Optix in major project management--electronically storing and filing contracts, change orders, billing--and the division plans to begin using the system in purchasing.

As far as support, IT maintains the server and database used by Optix and augments local support at the workstation level, especially for Macintosh users.

Once Wilson's team installs all of Optix's components, departments using the software will be able to access documents through the Internet and electronically usher a document through its approval process. Wilson said he is only now beginning to market the service to University departments; several clients have considered the system and decided to wait until more service is available or until they decide whether the cost would be justified. This last factor may change when IT restructures its pricing framework next year.

For more information about the document management system, contact Wilson at 404-727-1296 or send e-mail to <jbwilso@emory.edu>.

--Michael Terrazas

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