Process automation is a trend globally towards increasing a business’s productivity and cut down on operational costs. An Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system helps businesses and organizations manage their day-to-day activities.
Based on research done in 2019, ERP systems have proven to increase sales volume for businesses by 15% and enhance the business’s operational efficiency by 45%. Based on the market trends, ERP systems are expected to exceed a total market value of $37.7 billion in 2024.
With such tremendous results, why wouldn’t school workflow be automated, too? Day-to-day school activities can be simplified by the use of an educational ERP system. The systems will perform tasks like:
- Managing attendance records
- Module management
- School communications
- Student admissions
There are tons of task-independent tools or complete management software like GoSchooler. These tools or software can help manage and perform all of the above-listed tasks and many more. They can help centralize data and optimize workflows for multiple parties involved in running a school.
Before discussing further how to attain the stated efficiency results through the use of ERP systems, it is crucial that you first analyze the automation level of the school.
School Digitization Levels
While on the road to a fully automated system, a school will pass through various levels. There are four levels of digitization, and we shall discuss them here.
At this level, all the school processes involve manual labor, i.e., they are not automated. The processes get executed in their basic form. Individuals execute the various process stages.
At this level, all the documents are filed in a cabinet. Any school mails, like admission letters, are sent through the postal service or any other means of mail delivery.
Processes take a long time to reach completion since they are manual. The various authorizations required for the process have to be done by the authorized personnel in person.
At this level, the most basic form of process automation is used. Documents are scanned and uploaded on computers in pdf form. For process executions, they send documents via email from sender to receiver.
The use of email to send documents saves time even though they are still printed at the receiver’s end and used in their physical form. At this level, documents are still stored in cabinets.
They use a file numbering and storage system, which makes it hard to trace documents. When sending documents to more than one recipient at a go, confusion can occur. Aside from that, the sender can also lose track of their process progress.
At this level, the school is mostly digitized. Document storage is on computers, modern storage media, or the Cloud.
Authorizations or signing off required for processes are fast. This is because all employees have access to the stored documents and can sign the form digitally then update the existing file on storage.
Despite the automation of all processes, an employee has to start a prompt for every step in a process. This, therefore, shows that even as the level is digitized, efficiency is still not at its peak. This is because time is spent going to all employees required to perform a process.
At this level, the school is fully digitized. The user uploads a document then selects the desired workflow. The system routes the form automatically to go through all necessary approval processes.
Defining the automation level of a school now forms the basis for choosing and implementing a school ERP system.
Factors to Consider Before Choosing ERP Software for your School
Before choosing ERP software for a school, you should first assess the school’s needs. The school’s needs entail the processes that need automation. A clear assessment of the school’s needs is a derivative of the school’s automation level as per the IDEA model.
Analysis as per the IDEA model will offer a comprehensive analysis. The analysis will include the needs of all affected parties. This includes parents, teachers, students, school management, and the non-teaching staff.
With a complete understanding of the school’s needs, you can choose the perfect ERP software based on the software’s features. The perfect ERP school software will address the school’s needs and include any necessary improvements too.
You should also consider the school’s technical capabilities before choosing the ERP software to install. Various ERP systems are very robust and need high computing power. Internet access is also a factor to consider when selecting an ERP system.
This is because web-based systems require an active internet connection, while cloud-based systems require an active connection that does not have an internet connection. To ensure you get the perfect ERP system for the school, consider the technical capabilities.
You should then analyze the existing products in the market that align with the school’s technical capability.
For small schools, choosing a functional and lightweight ERP system will be better for optimum functioning.
Implementation of the ERP System
After choosing the ERP system that aligns with the school’s needs and technical capabilities, you now have to go through the implementation process. To avoid rejection of the system by the various stakeholders, you should explain how it will ease the school processes and improve efficiency for every user.
For teachers, you can organize a presentation session to show how the ERP software performs a specific task, for example inputting student marks. This presentation will show them the efficiency of the system and improve their chances of embracing it.
For parents, you can use a newsletter to explain how the system will make the learning process easier for students. Explain that it will benefit not only the students but also the teachers and parents too.
Choosing the right ERP system will have a positive impact on a school over time. The eLearning industry discusses a few benefits of school ERP systems here. With the clear observance of the above-listed factors, you will have an ERP system that perfectly automates school processes.
Perfectly automated school processes will bring a sense of unity and happiness to the school environment.