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Regular version of the site

On the Way to a Lean Office

Irina Martusevich tells us about HSE’s transition to a new electronic document management system

© iStock

On February 15, 2021 the University will transition to a new, 1C-based electronic document management system (EDMS). We talked to Irina Martusevich, Chief of Staff at HSE University, about the long-felt need to change the EDMS, the transition process, and the advantages of the new system.

Why transfer to a new EDMS?

— 18 months ago, we carried out an audit and found out that the university has about 200 various information systems. We had to set the integration between them, so that people didn’t have to enter the same data in different systems several times manually. Setting each of these connections, for example, between SDOU and IS-PRO or ASAV, was quite costly in terms of both time and money, since there are not many companies on the market that support this platform.

The SDOU system itself was also quite old: it hadn’t been updated for a long time, worked slowly, and any adjustment took an unreasonable amount of time. Everyone who had to work with it complained.

The IT Office analysed all the systems available on the market and decided to transfer to a united platform, 1C, which will streamline business processes and minimize manual labour.

— What user problems will it solve?

— We recently conducted a study that showed that the volume of office forms registered in SDOU this year has grown three times compared to the last year. This happened because during the transition to distance learning, some processes simply couldn’t remain on paper, and an office form turned out to be the most convenient tool, which is completely automated.

Meanwhile, we still have our paper forms: orders for group passes, orders for parking passes, key issuing, and many other things.

We are going to turn all these paper forms in services. We already have some successful practices, such as booking rooms and equipment for events via HSE BMP or the new service for ordering stationery. We hope that the expansion of these services will help us decrease the excessive amounts of paperwork.

Importantly, the new system will use a qualified digital signature. This is also aimed at decreasing paperwork.

Unfortunately, Russian law still limits the extent to which we can decrease paperwork, but even today, there are certain documents that we can turn digital in our educational process, at the Administrative Office, and the Finance and Planning Office in the near future. In all spheres of life, there is a trend for conscious consumption and the avoidance of excessive spending. The concept of a lean office is gaining popularity as part of this global trend, and we support it.

Today, many employees in fact work as ‘couriers’ between rooms and buildings, so we are also thinking about creating a document delivery service: an employee places an order, and then simply tracks the status of their order on the website.

How is EDMS more convenient than SDOU?

— First, it has an intuitive, simple interface. Not every employee is able to study endless system manuals and commit them to memory.

Second, EDMS can be individually adjusted, so that an employee can see the volume of current tasks and determine what they should focus on right away. You can add only the widgets you need on your desktop. For example, system administrators will need expanded functions, while a department head would need only several buttons – ‘Approve’, ‘Send to be reworked’, and ‘Create an assignment’.

Managers will be able to supervise the executive discipline, as well as the questions and assignments categorized by their source – Rector, Academic Council, or Rector’s Council.

And third, in the new system, the necessary types of reports can be set. It has been a major pain in the neck in SDOU – employees had to make special requests to admins, while automated reports do not always return the necessary data.

Meanwhile, SDOU will remain as a database of historical documents, and we are not going to turn it off completely.

How will the system be developed further?

— I believe that a serious area for development is intellectual algorithms, which detect incoming documents, automatically create a record card in the system, and send it to the relevant user. But this mechanism would require quite long-term learning, since the system of responsibility at HSE University is very ramified.

We are also going to create a mobile app that will help supervisors perform operations in the system.

I believe that our joint effort will help make the way we process documents up-to-date, convenient, and effective.

Author: Yulia Giatsintova, November 24, 2020