BP Logix

BP Logix

BP Logix helps leaders in regulated industries transform the way they get work done with powerful digital process automation. Our award-winning, low-code platform, Process Director, helps businesses digitize and automate their most complex and unique processes – all while ensuring compliance at every step. We are trusted by major brands in regulated industries, including universities and colleges, Fortune 500 pharmaceutical and manufacturing companies, leading financial institutions, utility providers, healthcare organizations, and public sector entities.

Recent posts by BP Logix

3 min read

Automating the Approval Process in Biotech and Pharma

By BP Logix on May 25, 2021 3:43:04 PM

Download the Process Director for Life Science Product Fact SheetHeavily regulated industries inherently have a lot of rules. The biotech and pharmaceutical industries are no exception. Adhering to complex regulations requires significant amounts of administrative work to ensure that the proper directives are being followed. Extensive regulations also present significant risks of hefty fines for noncompliance. Failed clinical trials also present a significant risk to pharmaceutical companies and can cost billions a year. 

Getting a new drug to market involves an infinite number of variables, many of which influence who needs to sign off on content development and research projects. This leads to a very complex process that, if done manually, can be very inefficient.

While eliminating steps in the approval process can lead to losses, waiting for approvals that delay a new product’s launch can be equally costly. Streamlining the approval process improves time to market while reducing risks. An effective business process automation strategy is key to a much more efficient approach.  

Research concept approval

The process of getting a clinical trial approved and budgeted often requires the collection and organization of significant amounts of data. Researchers must submit information on the type of study, the objective of the study, the subject of the study, and use case descriptions. This data needs to be accurately and completely documented for researchers to have any chance of obtaining the resources to move forward. Automating this process with digital forms that enforce requirements can ensure all the necessary application data is present, mitigating the risk of delays or bad clinical studies moving forward. 

Once the data is collected, the proposal needs to be vetted and approved. Who needs to approve the project and in what order is often driven by several variables. Whether a project is studying a molecule or a device may dictate whether legal, medical, or regulatory experts need to approve it. Significant efficiencies can be realized by incorporating these rules into an automation system that defines the approval path.

Pharma Content Approval Processes

Once research is completed or drugs are ready for the market, the process of disseminating information and data on these advancements requires significant scrutiny. 

Scientific Publication Review

Once new findings from research studies are ready for publication, an extensive review process is initiated. Reviewers may include third-party experts and professionals with diverse backgrounds. The appropriate protocol depends on the type of product being studied, the country or region the data is being published, or the type of data being presented. For example, some products may require review by a minimum number of statisticians or lawyers. Finding the right resources and routing the document efficiently to each expert for their review is a complex process that can easily be held up or delayed. Automating the routing process based on these variables can eliminate the manual process of designing workflows for each individual project. 

Marketing Content Review

Publishing marketing content also requires multiple levels of approval before it can be made available to the general public. But, marketing content comes with an additional level of complexity and risk. 

Marketing content can be delivered through a variety of channels and in different forms, leading to a much more complex approval process. Video is created for TV or the internet, web copy and brochures also need to be created to publicize the benefits of a new drug or device. Content can also be developed for different markets that speak different languages. All this content is required to go through a specific approval process and each of these variables dictates the appropriate path. 

Managing the approval process through multiple levels including legal, medical, marketing, and patent review slows the process of getting products to market. But, it is vital marketers get this approval process right. Ineffective management of the process can lead to misleading messaging reaching the public resulting in significant penalties. For example, publishing content that overemphasizes the benefits of a new product that is not balanced with acknowledgments of side effects and risk factors can result in hefty fines. In 2012 GlaxoSmithKline was fined $3 billion and Abbott paid $1.6 billion for miscommunicating information in direct to consumer advertising


Automating the approval process provides many benefits. Rules and variables can be used to automatically route content to the appropriate reviewer. By digitizing and automating the process, sophisticated systems can not only ensure content is signed off on by the appropriate authorities but can also calculate the most efficient route to final approval. For even greater efficiency, leading platforms can also create parallel paths so reviews can happen simultaneously on a single document. 

Time to market is a competitive differentiator in the pharma space but shortcuts can be costly. A solid automation strategy can streamline the approval process, reducing risk and increasing competitiveness.

Topics: publication planning publication management
3 min read

Improving collaboration workflows for drug approval

By BP Logix on May 11, 2021 11:22:37 AM

Time to market has a significant impact on profits, particularly in the ultra-competitive life science and pharmaceutical industries. Delays in bringing products to market can lead to deferred or missed revenues. But, the heavily regulated drug approval process requires a variety of inputs and approvals to validate each step of the process, extending the development period. While there are many hurdles to clear, skipping any of these steps can expose operations up to compliance risks. 

Pharmaceutical firms with well-tuned automation strategies that enable professionals to easily collaborate around the drug approval process will be better positioned to capitalize on market opportunities. Improving how teams are built and creating workflows that move documents and data quickly through the process are two areas that can be streamlined with smart automation.

Vetting resources

Each stage of the drug approval process, from research to publications to marketing copy, requires input from a variety of professionals. Statisticians, physicians, chemists, pharmacologists, and copywriters all must contribute, approve and validate content and data as it moves through the pipeline. In many cases, these experts are third parties that must be properly vetted to ensure that they are in good standing in their field. Working with experts that have been excluded or disbarred can jeopardize the process. This task of researching and documenting contractors’ status can be very manual and slow. 

Automating this collection of data and documentation of certifications can lead to significant time savings. Executing consulting agreements with contractors is another important part of the process which, if skipped, can lead to legal issues down the road. An automation platform that enforces rules to properly vet and engage third parties is a smart way to reduce risk. 

Automating approval workflows

Once resources are procured and vetted, managing and coordinating how collaborators work together is key to streamlining the approval process. Whether it is an approval of a research publication or a study protocol review, approvals need to be routed to the appropriate people at the right stage of the process. Appropriate controls and constraints also need to be in place and enforced. For example, a minimum number of people may need to review and approve a document. Automated workflows can be built to ensure that documents don’t move forward without the required number of experts signing off on content. Rules within the workflow can also force users to record key data points that may be critical in the event of an audit. 

With so many different professionals required to complete so many tasks, workflows can get complicated, especially at large firms running a high volume of projects. These approval workflows can be unique to every company, clinical study, research publication, or marketing copy. Over the years, organizations have learned what works and what doesn’t within their operation based on corporate culture, markets, products, resources, and risk tolerance. In some cases, this institutional knowledge lives in the heads of more experienced professionals and is applied manually to define the path that each project takes through the approval process.

Instead of reinventing the wheel or mapping workflows for each individual project, significant efficiencies can be gained by standardizing and automating the process. By implementing a platform where rules and steps can be standardized, workflows can automatically be created based on the types of products in the pipeline or available resources. This not only significantly increases efficiency but also documents institutional knowledge. 

Workflow platforms can also provide greater visibility of the entire process to identify bottlenecks and enable changes to the workflow before the process stalls. Incorporating rules and analytics into your workflow automation also allows the system to identify critical paths so professionals can work in parallel, leading to greater velocity. By automating the administration of the approval process, products can get to market faster and at a lower cost.

Low-Code vs. Build vs. Buy

By implementing a low-code solution, pharmaceutical companies can create systems that adapt to their unique processes instead of adjusting processes to an off-the-shelf generic software package. Low-code BPA options are also much less disruptive, quicker, and less expensive than building a solution from scratch. 

The rush to digital transformation and automation is redefining how businesses operate. The velocity of change will only accelerate. Streamlining administrative tasks that hinder the drug delivery process will lead to better corporate performance.

2 min read

University Vaccine Tracking - the New Higher Ed Requirement?

By BP Logix on Apr 23, 2021 12:25:23 PM


A recent Los Angeles Times post announced that UC and Cal State Systems are among the first state university systems to implement plans to require COVID-19 vaccines for students who want to take classes in person this fall. How will universities keep track of student inoculations? At BP Logix, we have developed an application for university vaccine tracking, in anticipation of what is proving to be a trend in higher ed nationwide.  You can sign up to get a 14 Day demo of our Vaccine Tracker here

How many universities will require vaccination?

Rutgers and Cornell were the first to announce the requirement weeks ago. Brown in Rhode Island, Northeastern in Boston, Nova Southeastern University in Florida, and Fort Lewis College in Colorado have announced they plan to require vaccines this fall as well. Add the UC and Cal systems and it's clear that the dominos are falling. 

Though there could be some legal issues with making vaccination a requirement for university attendance, a USA Today post reported that most parents seemed likely to be in favor of required vaccinations if the condition would allow the return of the traditional college experience. That sentiment was shared by students at Boston University, which just released their plan to require vaccination.

Private universities, which normally have more autonomy over student choices, and which, in some cases already required some types of vaccinations before the pandemic, are more likely to be able to adopt the requirement without legal challenges. 

An expert in both university life and law offered the following perspective in the above-cited USA Today article.

Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, a professor at the University of California, Hastings College of Law who studies vaccine law, said, "even before the pandemic it was normal to see variation in universities' vaccine requirements. More universities may also make decisions after they see their peers act."

If many universities adopt mandatory vaccinations as predicted, a vaccine tracker will need to be readily available.  

Vaccine tracking will become a priority - is your university ready?

Current conditions make it seem the pressure is on universities to require students to get vaccinated. Although vaccinations will lessen worries about spreading the virus, the new challenge of implementing a vaccine tracker will arise.

How can universities keep track of student vaccinations? How difficult is it to set up vaccine tracking programs or applications? In response to inquiries by our Higher Ed customers, BP Logix is debuting a Vaccine Verification Application that is now available for purchase.  

Our long-term focus on higher education helped us prepare a vaccine tracker solution

Our experience with our higher ed customers gives us great insight into which processes within higher education have the greatest demand for automation. Our library of higher education Apps has been built based on our highest used and requested processes from our customers. This background was instrumental in our development of the university vaccine tracking application for higher education which is available today.

Learn how higher ed is using process automation to transform and scale. Check out BP Logix low-code platform for higher education at the link here.     

Topics: vaccine tracking
3 min read

Better Student Engagement through Automation - Webinar Recap

By BP Logix on Mar 31, 2021 11:53:51 AM

In our recent webinar on how automation can drive better student engagement, a strong dialogue between Charles Araujo from Intellyx, the digital transformation experts, and John Rezendes, Director of IS Operations from Cal State Stanislaus uncovered great insights into how Higher Ed institutions are leveraging technology to improve the student experience.

Experiential Trends and the Impact on Student Engagement

To frame the conversation, Charles discussed the evolution of the experience economy and how that has shifted business models to focus on delivering a better customer experience as a new form of value. In the new experience economy, businesses must continually reinvent themselves to deliver on evolving customer expectations. This evolution of customer, and in this case, student experience expectations, has changed the landscape of how we deliver educational services to students, and has accelerated due to the changes brought on by Covid-19.

Covid-19 as the Instigator for Student Experience Evolution

John Rezendes is living in the center of this evolution, and has embraced the opportunity for change. Taking advantage of a multi-campus pilot that Cal State Schools kicked off in 2019, John partnered with BP Logix to start automating processes that were too time consuming for his homegrown platform and too complex for simple automation tools.

Like many Universities, a mandate to optimize for better student experience was a primary driver in the shift of the IT team from a focus purely on back-office process optimization and infrastructure to student facing departments and processes. With the perfect storm of this mandate for change and a pandemic, John and his team took up the mantle of transforming the enrollment experience with the help of his partnership with BP Logix. Hear John in his own words at the video below.

How Automation Initiatives Can Drive Better Student Experience 

The initial focus in improving the enrollment experience lead John’s team to prioritize the Course Change process as an early win. Prior to their automation initiative, students were filling out paper forms and hand delivering them across the university for signature. With their new initiative, a dynamic process was set up on the BP Logix platform to grab course enrollment data from their SIS, and make sure that a student’s course selection and available options were auto-populated, that the form was then electronically routed to the right departments for approval, and the whole process was tracked and visible by both enrollment services and the student. “Now, we can keep everybody in the loop, we can let everybody know where it is in the process, who’s done what with it…these things can take minutes as opposed to days,” said John.

One of the biggest takeaways from the conversation came in a discussion around lessons learned. John discussed the importance of breaking both cross-functional and technology silos, and specifically the role that data integration has in elevating the student experience. "There has to be a way to get data from one system to another, and the processes behind that to make sure data is tracked and handled properly." Their ability to move data from SQL Databases on premises into the cloud, and back into Sharepoint is a big part of the value that the BP Logix platform gives his team in how they’re able to improve the ease of use of their student facing processes and thus the student experience. Added John, “It’s the glue to what we do.”

You can watch the webinar in it’s entirety at the link below.

Watch the Webinar


2 min read

10 Steps to Engaging End Users for Successful Automation

By BP Logix on Mar 16, 2021 7:27:39 AM

Let’s face it, organizational change is difficult. Business leaders who can take an innovative idea and push it forward to adoption within their organizations are hard to find, and they are often rewarded when successful.


When undergoing a new automation initiative, choosing the right technology partner is important, but engaging end users and preparing stakeholders to adopt a change mindset is of equal importance. Here are 10 steps for making your Automation initiative a success. 

  • Choose the right process - Collaborate with end users to choose the right process. Initially, choose a process with high impact but low complexity that you can roll out quickly and will generate excitement for end users.
  • Analyze Stakeholders – Research and identify ALL the stakeholders who will touch, or are touched by the process, including users, managers, and administrators.

  • Communicate! -User buy-in is incredibly important, so discuss the benefits of automation with users, and explain how it will make their job easier.

  • Gather Requirements - Document both the inputs and outputs of the process as well as any pain points, with the context provided by your stakeholder interviews. 
  • Map out the current process and define requirements –Sketch out the process from beginning to end, considering the view from the end user’s perspective, and try to implement new efficiencies. 
  • Build iterativelyRegularly check-in with stakeholders to get feedback on progress and take note of any evolving requirements. 

  • Train end users –Explain to users how to use the new system and to run the process, so they are comfortable with using it.

  • Documentation - Create a process guidebook. Good documentation of the process and how to use it is the key to enabling your users to do self-serve troubleshooting. 

  • Test and tweak -Ensure that Stakeholders test the process and that process designers make tweaks based on the feedback.

  • Roll out to production and monitor the system closely – Have needs been met? Is everything running smoothly? Watch for ways to further improve the process as it runs.

    Interested in learning more about how to successfully launch a business process automation initiative?  We're ready to talk.

Schedule Your Demo Today!


Topics: business process automation
4 min read

Digital Transformation in Higher Education - The 3 Step Process

By BP Logix on Mar 10, 2021 7:57:11 AM

The pandemic has spurred the digitization of processes within every industry, but it hit institutions of higher education harder than most. Digital transformation (Dx) is essential, not only to provide services safely today, but to keep up with evolving student expectations. Higher education leadership needs to tackle key questions like . . . “How do I build a more connected student experience? How can I get faculty and staff on board and enthusiastic about digital transformation of their departments? How can digital transformation simplify processes for students?"


Defining Digital Transformation as it Applies to Higher Education

EDUCAUSE provides us with a great definition – “Digital transformation is a series of deep and coordinated culture, workforce, and technology shifts that enable new educational and operating models and transform an institution's business model, strategic directions, and value proposition.”


An Evolving, 3-Step Process

Step 1 - Digitization

Student facing forms, applications and other documents that used to be distributed in paper form via the sneaker net are now stored and completed online. Records and reports are ideally stored on the cloud and can be accessed from anywhere. Digitization has occurred gradually over recent decades, but paper forms still exist on campuses across the country, despite the challenges with COVID-19.

Step 2 - Digitalization

The process of digitalization is the collective utilization of technology for specific operational purposes, like research, administration functions, payroll, procurement, or online delivery of courses. Many of our customers have undergone digitalization of their departments, which offers encouraging green shoots of progress. The difference between digitalization and the final step: digital transformation is that Dx demands a coordinated effort to efficiently implement digitization for every practical purpose throughout the organization. 

Step 3 - Digital Transformation

This concept might be described as a global movement within and throughout an organization. A movement to transform the workforce's attitude, the company's culture, an effort to coordinate every department.  To steer, in this case, an entire educational institution's digitalization efforts in a strategic direction to increase value and deliver a better experience across the student journey from recruitment to graduation. This takes organizational willpower, strong leadership, and an increased level of cross-departmental coordination. 

Digital transformation can be a daunting task for leadership and IT teams, a time-consuming effort at reprogramming, of continuing support as staff members strive to fully understand their role in adapting to and driving change. It must be more than a task for the IT team if it's truly going to be successful, though IT has a strategic position as both a driver and implementer. Ultimately, institutional leadership must sponsor an organization-wide mandate. Organizational silos must be busted to deliver lasting change.

A global solution for a movement encompassing every department

By investing in a platform built for driving digital transformation in Higher Ed, designed for the needs of a higher education institution, implementation can be accomplished without extensive IT resources. A low-code/no-code platform requires no software development expertise to digitalize processes across departments. With the right coordination, business users and students alike can help the organization make great strides in Dx.  

BP Logix offers a simple, low-code/no-code solution for bringing your Digital Transformation strategy together through efficient digitalization across departments.


Some ways our Higher Ed customers have utilized our platform to drive Dx:

  • To create a seamless experience for students in enrollment and registration by connecting applicable data from different legacy platforms, to surface elsewhere to students in online forms. .
  • To automate manual HR processes.
  • To save hours of development time automating financial applications.

Benefits backed by customer testimonials:  

John Rezendes, Director of IS Operations at Stanislaus State commented on the system's simplicity:

“Process Director gives us a suite of tools we can use without needing a lot of development experience. It's cutting development time at least by half to get an electronic form and a backend workflow up and running and working for our students on campus.”


Eddie Serrano, Deputy Director for Research Business and Operations at UNC mentioned the ease of coordinating data.

"With Process Director, we were able to quickly modify existing financial forms — Expense Reimbursement, Invoice Payment, Purchase Order Request — to track COVID-19-relatedexpenses." . . . "Our new workflow also allows us to easily seek other necessary approvals according to procedural changes instituted by the University."

 The easiest way to implement digital transformation is through the combination of an organization wide initiative and the right automation platform designed for Higher Ed. 

Interested in learning more about how your university can use a low-code platform to jump start your digital transformation initiative? View a demo of Process Director. Watch our webinar "Process Automation Solution Tailored for Higher Education" .


Topics: digital transformation
4 min read

7 Ways Workflow Automation Software Can Improve Your Onboarding Process

By BP Logix on Feb 12, 2021 8:07:45 AM

The process of onboarding new hires is critical both to the organization and to the success of new employees. A well-designed onboarding process improves employee retention in the first three critical months of work, sets the pace for engagement, and can either make or break initial productivity.

And yet, according to a Gallup report, only 12% of employees reported that their companies did a good job of onboarding. With that in mind, it should be no surprise that 51% of organizations reported losing new hires within the first 6 months.

Clearly, employee onboarding is in a bleak state. The situation has only deteriorated since the pandemic began and work-from-home policies were implemented. 

But with HR automation, employee onboarding does not have to be a task for HR teams to dread and avoid. The right workflow automation software takes away most of the onboarding work from your hands and makes it much more fulfilling, engaging, and effective for everyone involved.

The Role of Low-Code Process Automation In Onboarding and HR

While workflow automation is normally a strategy employed by IT teams, and might not seem rife for use cases within HR, Onboarding has increasingly become a set of processes that take well to automation. Even more so when paired with a low-code platform that can be utilized by those without a developer skillset.

Specifically, onboarding involves new hire paperwork, orientation, training, performance tracking, and project management. These are repetitive tasks, and intelligent automation systems handle them effectively. 

 For new hires, onboarding is full of uncertainty, pressure, expectations, and a general feeling of being overwhelmed and oftentimes, lost.

One study showed exactly what employees want from onboarding:

  • 76% wanted on-the-job training
  • 73% wanted a review of company policies
  • 56% wanted to be assigned a mentor or buddy

With this data in mind, it becomes easier to understand just how powerful workflow automation in employee onboarding can become to make the process easier for all parties involved.

1. Simplify Onboarding and Training of Remote Employees

Remote working threw a wrench in an already difficult onboarding process. Without physical contact, tasks like training and document generation have become more of a challenge. However, virtual onboarding using automated workflows can make sure the proper training, resource provisioning, and other critical processes are always consistently counted for.

 What makes automated training so effective is that employees are taken through every process step-by-step without room for manual error. Unlike an employee handbook, automated workflows are dynamic and can pivot quickly to handle new policies.

2. Digital Tracking and Document Management Eliminates Manual Bottlenecks

 Automated HR workflows carry you through pre-processing, onboarding, and ongoing employee management. At each of these stages, an automation solution like BP Logix’ Process Director generates dynamic forms for applicants to fill along the way and automatically stores, shares, and updates records as needed. Audit trails are always there for compliance purposes.

 You can even automate the setting up of new accounts in payroll systems, trigger notifications to the people concerned, and requisition any resources needed such as software licenses or access credentials. This eliminates the headache of manual document pivoting from system to system, or worse: scanning and filing. 

3. Track the Progress of New Employees Automatically

An automated workflow system also allows HR teams to track the progress of all new applicants as they go through the virtual onboarding process. Processes can be designed to automatically capture important metrics and run reports as needed to keep track of applicants as they advance through the system.

 The detailed data and analytics availed by automated HR workflows provide precious insights that can help you figure out how to improve your onboarding processes for the future, including finding the critical path to make processes more efficient.

4. Standardize the Onboarding Process Across All Applicants

In organizations without automated onboarding processes, some new hires come in and receive a full concierge onboarding program, while others come at a bad time and are left to their own devices. Leaving onboarding processes to individual leaders allows for markedly different new hire experiences.

 Automated onboarding processes streamline and standardize this experience so that everyone receives the same treatment. 

 The system also ensures that employees are trained in the same way, creating a consistent brand experience for every client. When new hires are left to figure things out, variance exists between the way each employee carries out supposedly similar tasks.

5. Improved Policy and Regulatory Compliance

The right onboarding platform can be programmed to ensure compliance at every stage. Whether that's overtime compliance, fair labor standards, FMLA, federal civil rights, accountability, or labor laws, automated workflows can be built to take care of the complex compliance regulations for you.

 It is common knowledge that HR compliance has become a minefield. However, unlike manual onboarding processes, automated onboarding also provides visibility into the whole process and makes compliance audits much easier.

6. Integrate with Legacy Applications

Integration with finance applications, active directory and legacy ERP systems like Peoplesoft make sure data easily gets from one system to another, without manual error. Low-code automation platforms equipped with robust integration capabilities, like BP Logix, make sure documents and data can be easily actioned and never fall through the cracks.

7. Collaborate with Other Team Members for Successful Onboarding

Using automated workflows for onboarding new employees sets up channels for communication and collaboration not only with HR teams, but with other team members as well. The right onboarding platform can integrate with email and UCC platforms to ensure that even new team members stay involved and engaged with their team.

Automate HR Workflows to Ease Administrative Workload: How BP Logix Can Help

Onboarding is a challenging and complex process that demands a high level of commitment from HR teams to conduct successfully. However, thanks to the power of a Low Code onboarding platform like BP Logix, you get to take much of this workload off your plate and create an effective onboarding process for your new hires. 

 BP Logix specializes in intelligent BPM software with a low-code platform that excels in automation of critical business functions in HR and across the business.

Contact us to learn more about how our intuitive AI-powered engine can help transform your HR onboarding to a smooth, effective process for you and your prospective hires.

Topics: hr automation
6 min read

Workflow-driven Digital Transformation to Improve the Student Experience

By BP Logix on Sep 28, 2020 7:26:26 AM

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, one of 13 state institutions in the University of Wisconsin system, needed a way to improve how it managed and tracked documents for critical processes to keep the school running smoothly. Their criteria for the right solution included:

  • Cross platform compatibility
  • Price
  • Ease of development
  • Ease of use
  • No per-seat licensing
  • No barriers to development
  • Excellent responsiveness and support

The UW-Eau Claire team looked at 106 products and decided on Process Director from BP Logix. The eForms Project Lead, Mike Sharp, said: “What wowed me was the demo. When I called to schedule the demo, I was asked to send one of our forms. No one ever asked me that before. BP Logix asked me for a form, converted it quickly and demoed our form. They personalized the demo – and that was a huge wow!”

Let’s look more closely at how automation and workflow are helping many universities dramatically improve the student and administrative experience.

 Higher education is experiencing unprecedented change. Colleges and universities face lingering uncertainty as a result of the COVID pandemic, but they also are coming head on with the stark realities of declining enrollments and changing demographics. To remain competitive, schools must meet the demands of a new breed of student, one that is digitally savvy and may not be interested in the traditional model of higher education. Many want a different type of college experience, and in order to survive and thrive, schools have to transform to meet these changes.

 Effective college IT teams are not sitting back to see what happens. By using data and applying the right mix of technology, they are providing their schools with an agile foundation that can react to changing situations and identify ways to thrive. This enables them to deliver student-facing applications and solutions that are unique to today’s college environment.

 The new college student experience

Today’s college students are digital natives. They have grown up in a digital world and expect access to technology as a way to navigate almost every part of their lives. Just about everything they want is available through their smartphones, and they now expect to be able to click their way through tasks and plans. Innovative colleges and universities understand this and are going through a transformation, powered by workflow, to help students with everything they require from admissions all the way to graduation.

 The first step is to establish a foundation that can reliably help achieve these new goals. Workflow provides this because it can be aligned with the goals of both students and their higher education institutions in a way that moves beyond legacy systems and uses digital solutions to change course as needed. It’s not just a way to make better use of data and create efficiencies of scale. In the context of education, it is used to provide a more connected overall experience across the student’s lifecycle.

 Some organizations see their processes as a series of unconnected events. They don’t recognize the need to effectively orchestrate the user experience, nor do they always see the value of deploying solutions in a student-driven context. From a business standpoint, this is critical because it’s the essence of customer satisfaction. Give students (customers) what they need to be successful, and be willing and able to adapt as the route to success changes.

 Using workflow and data to drive transformation

University IT teams realize that workflow is more than just a series of tactical activities. The data from the diverse set of technologies that make up the university IT ecosystem can be used to create user-friendly apps that improve how students engage with their school. This promotes connectivity to the institution, which leads to a better student experience. But schools also have the benefit of collecting data from these applications and processes to learn about student behaviors and preferences. Armed with that kind of data, they can remain agile and prepare for anticipated changes.

 The concept of digital transformation is perfectly suited to the university environment because schools must operate a complex web of offerings to keep students engaged. This includes everything from admissions, financial aid, and registration to health services, student activities, and career counseling. And that’s just scratching the surface of what today’s students expect.

 Innovative schools recognize the importance of adapting traditional process principles and leveraging the inherent flexibility of workflow. With that as the centerpiece, the process of digital transformation enables integration among other applications, user inputs, data sources, and other elements that improve awareness and process accuracy.

 Workflow as the key to adaptability

The models for how to operate and scale these schools for a modern student body have to remain flexible. The impetus for many of these transformations include: 

  • Student demographic shifts: More college students are attending part-time or are balancing school with other life priorities. These students may require more flexible scheduling options, access to financial aid resources, and career advisory services, among other things. With each semester, these demographic shifts are likely to change to some degree, and traditional methods for supporting students will need to align accordingly
  • Revenue impacts: There is no question that universities have to be marketable and competitive from a financial standpoint. A key way to ensure they can maintain aggressive revenue goals is to reduce costs at every level of the organization. For the IT department, this doesn’t require a reduction in student services if the technology is used for repeatable processes and rapid application development. In fact, schools that apply workflow effectively can become leaner while increasing their efficacy in supporting the student population.
  • New learning styles: Today’s students are digitally aware and expect a balance of interactive digital education along with in-person coursework. This will increasingly be a key point of differentiation for schools.

 Delivering on these objectives requires university IT teams to strategically manage their data and processes as the foundations for the new college experience. The insights this approach can derive will enable schools to meet today’s demands and prepare for the future.

 A higher ed transformation framework

The most important aspects of aligning with the student experience all have to do with usability paired with functionality – ease of use, solution context, and communication. The backbone, however, is effective workflow, which ensures that all these elements are met so that users can be both more efficient, and consistently meet their needs to make student life easier and more meaningful.

 Let’s look at these in detail:

 Ease of use

Today’s typical college student grew up accustomed to an inbound style of productivity. Rather than having to wait in lines and submit paperwork, they use online apps and smart forms to submit information and receive results.

 There is an expectation among these students that they’ll have access to digital tools for most of the tasks they want to accomplish. College IT teams can use workflow automation tools to create sophisticated, low-code digital applications that take into account the necessary data and workflow sources on the back-end, and consider how users on the front-end will actually use the app. By being able to create simple apps that integrate relevant information, including smart forms and processes, students can get the information they need and take action on things like class scheduling, financial aid, and other relevant events. The teams who build the apps benefit when they apply an agile approach to development.

So while Process Director is easy to use for those who need to build applications intended to engage students and help them with decisions and actions necessary to their experience, that ease of use is also reflected in elegant, simple usability that encourages repeatability and adoption.

Relevance and context

Managing multiple classes, along with administrative issues like financial aid, all compete for students’ attention. Add to this to extracurricular activities like intramural sports and campus activities, and it becomes clear that schools have to piece together a massive amount of integrations and connections among data repositories to deliver solutions. Optimizing the use of data can have huge benefits, including the ability to interpret student and school trends. That data can ultimately help schools to be more efficient in things like operational expenditures and hiring.

Human interaction is complex, but workflow can be automated with rules to pair different sets of data and route it to appropriate decision makers. This level of automation functions not as a linear phenomenon, but as a continuously shared collection of usable elements that allow for context-based structural changes, last moment decisions, and individualized attention depending on each circumstance.

A case management approach can help greatly when delivering applications that integrate historical data on students (transcripts, payments, scholarships). With navigable data that can be filtered for omission or inclusion depending on the situation, applications can adapt as the students’ situations change and evolve. This approach supplies students with applications that provide them with what they need when they need it, all without forcing them to search outside the context of the case to find answers.

School-to-student communication

Students receive emails, texts, direct messages, and a host of other types of communication to keep them connected to their school. But information can go unnoticed if it doesn’t fit with how they are accustomed to consuming it. Schools have to ensure that students see important messages, but also create ways for students to communicate back with them.

To facilitate connecting and communicating across departments, the data collected from applications, forms, and sources can be organized into a collective portal that delivers all students’ actionable information into a single interface. That reduces response time and enhances the kind of communication students require in order to meet deadlines, stay on top of opportunities, and keep their good standing with their school.

The data-driven digital transformation of higher education cannot happen on an application-by-application basis. Schools that want to align their goals and processes to student behaviors will apply digital transformation through the use of smart workflow and processes. To serve these needs, Process Director provides digitally transformative and contextual education workflow solutions, facilitates efficient distribution of information, and streamlines the monitoring and management of information.

4 min read

Higher Ed Needs an Agile Approach to Workflow Automation

By BP Logix on Sep 16, 2020 1:59:35 PM

Higher education institutions adhere to a disciplined cadence of organizational milestones in order to operate effectively. To manage workflows and processes, ensure that documentation is delivered and acted upon correctly, and enforce accountability across all stakeholders is a job that’s highly dependent on the orchestration of workflows across the many teams in a university organization.

Forward-thinking colleges and universities are using workflow automation to support business processes for every aspect of the educational lifecycle, including student management, hiring, facilities, vendor management, capital expenditures, compliance and governance, and a host of other issues that demand continuous oversight and action.

True workflow automation is most successful when IT teams adopt an agile approach that allows them to create a rules-based environment that facilitates repeatable actions and shares data among different applications and repositories. Being freed from the responsibility of manual intervention allows IT teams to identify new and better ways to deploy data to support new processes. And in a time where so much is new, being able to develop and implement solutions to new issues can deliver meaningful value.

Process Director is used by a variety of colleges to support their digital transformation initiatives. With digital process automation capabilities, it enables schools to integrate data among processes across a wide array of services and departments. Different schools look for various ways to achieve this, and the use cases of BP Logix customers illustrate how BPM can be a critical aspect of higher education transformation and organizational growth.

 Rapid application development and forms automation

All schools in the United States had to move quickly to transition students from on-campus classes to 100% remote learning in the spring of 2020. All of this had to happen in a matter of weeks, and it involved a long list of details, dependencies, and processes to coordinate across the student experience.

 At the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), there was a desire to provide students with a way to change their grade type for the Spring semester. This would encourage students to choose a “Pass/Fail” option rather than drop a letter grade while they adapted to a new style of learning.

 The UPenn IT team sought to enable this option for students quickly and easily. Using Process Director, they created a digital form driven by an automated process that gave students a fast, efficient way to request the new grading option and have it approved. With the workflow, requests were automatically routed to the appropriate school registrar for processing. Students were notified when the school acted on the change request, and the school registrar gets a PDF copy of the whole transaction.

 The key for UPenn was speed and accessibility to data. Process Directors’ forms-building capability and rapid application development approach allowed them to build this in a short time period.

 Automation and governance for student records

UCF Global is part of the University of Central Florida system that serves a global population of more than 64,000 students every year through 93 bachelors, 86 masters, and 27 doctoral courses of study.

 A key challenge for the university is managing private student data that is distributed across many different repositories and applications. Because that personal data is protected by governmental compliance standards, it’s critical that the school safeguard how it’s accessed and used. With student records management as a primary driver, the UCF Global IT team sought a way to be efficient and secure with data, but to also make it usable so they could deliver rapid solutions for their students. By adopting Process Director, they have been able to take advantage of a diverse set of functionality that is supporting their needs. This includes:

  • Comprehensive and automatic logging, with digital signatures, of every action taken by any actor, human or automated.
  • The highest levels of encryption of data at rest and data in transit.
  • Digital signature of documents.
  • Granular permissions structure, with temporary privilege escalation.

By ensuring a safe environment for transactions and storage of student data, UCF has been able to build processes that automate the flow of student information through all processes in the student lifecycle, from admissions to graduation.

 Digital reviews and approvals

One of BP Logix’ higher education customers, the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), used Earth Day as the impetus for adopting a BPM approach. With a mandate to reduce paper usage, the UTEP IT team embarked on a plan to eliminate paper where possible by relying instead on the digitization of forms through scanning and digital storage. It quickly became clear that efforts to improve reviews and approvals through digital means could lead to other efficiencies through BPM.

 With the rollout of this new digital emphasis, the UTEP IT organization began to implement Process Director BPM across more parts of the University. They focused their efforts on 1) the easy movement of documents across campus via electronic workflows, 2) enabling the review and approval of electronic documents via email, 3) the ability to have dashboards that allowed users to edit, view, and receive messages regarding activities and tasks as well as to retrieve reports, forms, and notifications, 4) Having electronic records signed via a digitized image of a signature and 5) ability to populate a series of form fields by extracting information from a database instead of requiring users to input that data.

 With broad usage of Process Director’s capabilities, UTEP has instilled an agile, prowess-driven mindset in how IT delivers solutions to various departments. Speed has been a critical driver, but so too is how comprehensive Process Director is at ensuring that necessary participants are included in reviews and other transactions throughout the various university lifecycles.

4 min read

Is Your College Prepared to Change Course?

By BP Logix on Aug 26, 2020 2:13:24 PM

In recent days, three major universities — the University of North Carolina, Notre Dame, and Michigan State — sent students home and moved all classes to online formats after COVID outbreaks created health and safety scares. It is likely that more will follow a similar course of action as millions of students arrive on college campuses in the coming weeks.

 Even with the best conditions and preparation, schools will be faced with mass groups of students congregating on campus, in social gatherings, and in the streets of the local town or city. In short, it’s a recipe for an outbreak and it will force schools to be swift in their efforts to adapt.

 Colleges facing the reality of opening in the fall

University IT leaders spent the spring and summer creating strategies and backup plans for the coming year. All different types of scenarios were taken into account and failover plans were created. But as these plans were being developed, the coronavirus continued to spread, and with it was more uncertainty.

 Now that the new school year has arrived, the reality is that keeping 18-22-year-olds compliant with social distancing and mask-wearing is likely much harder than anyone had accounted for. What we’re facing is what will likely be a domino effect of schools that need to reverse course and go 100% virtual learning after they’ve opened their doors.

 Some are calling for all universities to keep their doors closed until there is a sustained flattening of the curve. In a blog by NYU business professor, Scott Galloway, that tied the current situation with colleges’ ability to operate, he said, "Right now half of colleges and universities plan to offer in-person classes, something resembling a normal college experience, this fall. This cannot happen. In-person classes should be minimal, ideally none.”

 Immediate action needed by IT teams

So, what happens when your plans have to change in a matter of days? Are you prepared to adjust your systems to keep school running smoothly and give students the kind of college experience they seek? Those schools that have effective workflows and processes in place will be the ones who will minimize disruption. Their IT teams will be tasked with carrying the burden of communication and delivering a complete but effective digital experience for students and faculty.

 Consider just some of the changes that schools will need to employ: 

  • Housing arrangements: students being asked to leave dorms will need systems for transporting their personal belongings or keeping them in place for safe-keeping by the university. Schools bear a heavy responsibility for young people who are away from home, who need to make major decisions in a short period of time.
  • Academic delivery: just like we experienced last school year, schools that go 100% online will need to support faculty who need to adapt their material to a virtual format. Some professors simply won’t be proficient with technology to make the change. Others may have special needs for the type of instruction they perform.
  • Safety: in the cases of the schools that have recently gone all online, students were given only a short period of time to leave campus. The school needs to provide communication and online resources for students to operate in an orderly, safe way.
  • Refunds: there will no doubt be an increase in students opting out for the semester. They will want refunds for tuition, housing, and other fees.

 The key will be to rely on the IT infrastructure to deliver everything through digital channels, and do it quickly. The most important factor will be communication: the school needs to get information about changes, course structure, fees, and a host of other issues, and they can’t afford to miss a beat. So schools will need to use application integrations to pull data out of existing sources and deliver them through social media, the college website, phone calls, and any other manner that will guide students through a smooth transition.

 Using data to meet digital transition needs

The origin of effective solutions is data — access to it, ability to transact with it, and responsiveness to it. University and student data are stored in a wide variety of applications. They range from the basic (spreadsheets and graphics) to complex (some data analytics solutions and massive ERP systems). While all of that data serves a purpose, it’s no good if it can’t be accessed and put to use to solve problems.

 When school IT teams need to adapt entire systems in a matter of days, access to data is critical. Using information is important, but using it in context with other data is where schools stand to be most effective. To do this requires being able to build software apps quickly and for specific purposes.

 Because speed is critical, creating solutions means reducing development time. To meet this challenge, low-code development can be employed as an efficient way to build integrations and applications fast. It is a methodology and approach that uses reusable, pre-built components of code and applies them in a drag-and-drop fashion. It simplifies the coding effort and accelerates the pace at which applications can be delivered and put to use.

 No school operates with a single system of record they can rely on for all necessary data. Rather, colleges use a variety of different student information management systems and other types of enterprise planning apps. The key becomes, then, the ability to integrate data from those sources into custom-built apps to serve their changing needs. Speed will be critical to developing these new apps. Schools will not have time for traditional software development cycles, which means non-developers will have to be included in the process of scoping and building apps.

 The right mix of planning and having a workflow-based approach to application development will enable universities to adapt with limited disruption to the campus environment. And as the school year progresses, there will likely be even more change, so making the investment to build the right foundation will put schools in good shape for what promises to be an unusual school year.

8 min read

Ready, Set...Go? Making Student Safety a Priority

By BP Logix on Aug 19, 2020 2:37:20 PM

Controlling the spread of COVID-19 is the primary goal for health officials across the country, and they are especially concerned with the potential for more spreading as college students are returning to campuses. With clusters of people in their late teens and 20s accounting for major increases in cases in heavily populated states, school administrators are also concerned and most are taking crucial steps to creating a safe and healthy return to school for students.

 The reality for young people is that while they run the risk, just like everyone else, of contracting COVID, the possibility of being hospitalized for it is low. The Centers for Disease Control indicate that only 4% of people in their 20s who have COVID will need to enter a hospital. For those in their 20s and 30s, the fatality rate is currently about 0.1%. This is good news, but we still haven’t seen the result of thousands of students living together, being in classrooms, going to parties, and partaking in seemingly normal college behavior. There is no leaving that to chance.

 Most schools have already put measures in place to create a safe environment at school, but it will take effective coordination across each university’s community to protect students and contain the spread of cases.

 The colleges and universities that navigate this most successfully will be those who stick to a disciplined plan but are agile enough to make changes as new information becomes available. A plan has to be specific in the actions that different departments will take, and there must be orchestration among teams, workflows, and processes to ensure consistency and a common focus on outcomes. Let’s take a closer look at the actions that are most critical to making this work.

 Implement regular COVID testing

University student health services will be a critical player in the plans to create a safe school campus environment. Schools are already planning to utilize student health services to, a) identify students who have the virus and provide treatment for them; and b) to reduce the spread of COVID by quarantining test-positive students. These preventative measures will likely be the single most effective way of containment, according to health officials.

 Students from different parts of the country are essentially bringing all different types of exposure levels into the same environment when they set foot on campus, and this creates an entirely new potential breeding ground for the virus. Testing students before school starts, at regular intervals, and perhaps any time a student travels outside of the local area need to be operationalized and put into action.

 In order to provide this kind of testing and make use of the resulting data, colleges will need to do the following: 

  • Create a regular, mandatory cadence for testing in conjunction with student health services officials. Testing intervals should be coordinated with local health officials and need to comply with state and regional regulations.
  • Communicate to students through all available means (mobile app, email, social media, and on-site signage) that testing is mandatory, explain the process for getting tests and results, and be clear about test logistics. This step may be the most important because getting the attention of a busy student body is challenging, no matter what the content of the message is.
  • Employ incentives for compliance, and penalties for lack of compliance. Schools cannot function if students do not abide by the testing program. Lack of participation could create gaps in awareness which could lead to faulty assumptions about the overall state of the coronavirus on campus. By making enrollment for the following semester contingent on compliance, for example, schools can create incentives for adhering to the testing plan. Schools might want to consider initiating a campaign for those who participate, or even gamify it so students are incented to take part.
  • Establish defined testing locations in convenient campus locations, or provide testing through mobile delivery. The keys here are to make the testing locations visible, easy to access, and not demanding on students’ time.

 With testing results, schools can take the next set of steps to ensure they operate responsibly. These include:

  • Providing medical services or even hospitalization for students who test positive.
  • Coordination with faculty for students who must miss classes or tests due to treatment.
  • Data collection to establish awareness of positive and negative trending cohorts.
  • Initiate planning for dramatic measures, including shutting down living facilities or classroom facilities, if needed. The right data will also give schools foresight into planning for the following semester or quarter.

 Increase student awareness via peer evangelism

Colleges need students to be aware of risks, treatments, and their responsibilities in order to maintain a safe environment. Communication to students will be most effective when it comes from other students. For this reason, universities should consider creating a corps of student evangelists who are visible, accessible, and effective at modeling the right types of behavior, and acting as effective resources for other students.

 Some schools, like Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, are recruiting Public Health Ambassadors to support the University’s new reopening and operating plan. This group will be responsible for enforcing plan policies, and for encouraging members of the campus community to engage in healthy, safe behaviors, which include: 

  • Hand washing, use of disinfectants, and actions that students need to bake into their ongoing, regular behavior.
  • Social distancing and mask-wearing.
  • Avoiding large gatherings. This might include advocating new types of social get-togethers that are geared for 12 or fewer people as alternatives to large parties and group recreational activities.

 These programs can be effective when students are equipped with the right policies and behaviors to communicate. But it’s the optics of peer-to-peer influence that give these programs validation among students.

 Students in these programs need training on written communication and public speaking and should be equipped with the right platforms (social media, college website, on-campus visibility) to help them amplify their messages. This might include a specific brand that connects the goals of the program to the student corp of evangelists. Their program and messages should have regular exposure in regular communication channels that help imprint their brand and message on the minds of the student audience. 

Create a “low-touch” campus

Universities have a wide variety of meeting places, all of which need policies for ongoing cleanliness and safety. The more people who enter these spaces increases the risk of coronavirus spread. Keeping these places clean, or shutting some of them down, will require a continuous set of tasks that campus teams must orchestrate across all facilities and programs.

 For starters, campus buildings must have clean air filtration systems which may require significant infrastructure improvements, but will also have a major impact on reducing the spread of the virus. Buildings, classrooms, and all physical elements of the school will need to be cleaned on a regular basis. There is also a need for seating arrangements in classrooms, meeting rooms, and other common areas that keep people at a safe distance from one another.

 Some schools are establishing best practices for facilities cleanliness for classrooms that include: 

  • Classroom configurations that are adapted to 30% of normal capacity. Two empty chairs should sit between occupied ones.
  • Daily (at the minimum) disinfecting with industrial-strength solutions for all buildings.
  • High-touch surfaces (desks, doors, windows, for example) will need to be cleaned at least every hour, if not more.
  • All classrooms should have video capabilities so lectures can be recorded and provided through digital channels for students who choose remote learning.
  • A daily assessment process and communication channels to cancel on-site classes if a student or professor in that classroom has tested positive for COVID.
  • Hand sanitizing stations placed in classrooms, all buildings, and generally distributed across the campus. 

Even for schools with a smaller physical footprint, students are accustomed to freedom to most buildings, and that creates more to manage and clean. School administrators and facilities teams should determine which buildings to keep open and which to close. This list could be based on campus needs combined with the complexity of the logistics of maintenance. A hierarchy might include:

  •  Critical facilities: these include anything related to health services, buildings with small classrooms where classes will be held, safety services (campus security), and some parts of administration (financial aid, academic counseling).
  • Small group facilities: some buildings will be used for smaller groups including classes with fewer than 12 students. But schools might also have recreational locations or student unions that allow small groups to meet for exercise, clubs, or studying. Even the campus libraries will have to use a distancing plan to keep students apart from one another, while still providing access to research and study materials.
  • Phased activity facilities: one option for things like recreational facilities and administrative services is to segment usage. For example, it may be that students are allowed into certain buildings on certain days, based on alphabetical order, academic major, or some other designator that will allow the overall population to be spread out.
  • Temporarily facilities: it will make sense in some cases to provide temporary locations for services. Student COVID testing, for example, might be best delivered if it is done in a conveniently situated, but temporary building, Similarly with some classes, it may make sense to lock down permanent buildings because of the logistics of cleaning them, and instead, use portable or other types of buildings.
  • Closed facilities: buildings with large lecture halls and places that draw large numbers of students will need to be closed. These include large recreational facilities, on-campus restaurants, and other services that are designed for congregating.

 Many colleges are getting creative in providing some sense of normalcy for students with things like:

  • Broader access to WiFi and tented, outdoor study areas to encourage safely distanced common areas for studying and socializing.
  • Access to masks, everywhere, and all the time. Both as a way to serve forgetful students who leave masks at home, and to instill the behavior of mask-wearing, clean masks should be available at locations around the campus.
  • Dividers made of plexiglass can be installed in libraries and eating locations to give students the ability to be in the same area but to do so at a safe distance.
  • Mobile health screening available across campus. Any student, at any time, should be able to quickly and easily be treated if she/he feels ill. This is important for student safety, but also to curb the spread, and to behavioralize students to seek help before their condition worsens.

 Parents and students across the country are facing difficult decisions about when, if, or how they are going to return to school. University leaders are working hard to ensure that the environment they create will protect students and the entire campus community.

 While mask-wearing and social-distancing are crucial, so are the behaviors that schools mandate and instill in students, and across the university. With the right focus both on immediate health needs and preventative measures, colleges will likely see that they have created a foundation for long-term success and leadership for student health and safety.

Contact us today to learn more about solutions to support your COVID-19 response.

3 min read

Colleges Use Workflow Automation for Administrative Orchestration

By BP Logix on Aug 13, 2020 9:02:12 AM

The 2020 fall semester will likely be the most disruptive that universities have faced in the past few generations. When last year’s rapid, mass exodus out of classrooms changed in-person to remote learning overnight, higher education IT teams went into reactive mode. At the time, they were still months away from understanding and planning for what will become the next normal. Now, as colleges begin to open for the new school year, we’re seeing that communication and orchestration among processes and teams will be among the most essential factors in having a successful re-opening. The key to that coordination is automated workflow.

Pairing agility with orchestration

University IT teams provide solutions based on function and milestones. In the university setting, much of this activity is structured around the vital campus departments like administration, financial aid, admissions, and student services. Their corresponding milestones typically map to calendar events like enrollment, the semester cadence, and FAFSA deadlines. All of this effort requires documentation and the sharing of data across a variety of different stakeholders, which is the fundamental job of business processes and workflows.

 But the coming year will have many unforeseen changes, so having a workflow-driven approach that includes automation, continuous learning, and predictability will create significant organizational advantages for college IT teams.

 The advantages of workflow automation

Automated workflow supports the various needs of higher education administrators because processes drive virtually all aspects of campus and academic life. It provides an agile approach to process development and management that ensures that higher education IT departments can serve a wide variety of stakeholders (administrators, parents, students, financial aid organizations, among others). Workflow has the added advantage of providing continuous monintoring to maintain adherence with governmental, organizational, and industry governance requirements and compliance frameworks.

 By automating workflows -- and every university, no matter the size, has a LOT of workflows -- teams can create a rules-based environment that facilitates repeatable actions and shares data among different applications and repositories. After all, the educational lifecycle is vast; it includes student management, hiring, facilities, vendor management, capital expenditures, compliance and governance, and a host of other issues that demand continuous oversight and action. Being freed from the responsibility of manual intervention allows IT teams to identify new and better ways to deploy data to support new processes. And in a time where so much is new, being able to develop and implement solutions to new issues, that can deliver meaningful value.

 Focus on outcomes, automate everything else

Coordinating data and documentation among different campus departments typically requires a large set of process-driven milestones, most of which must be integrated among various school departments, students, and sometimes the government. For example, student financial aid can be funded by the school’s FAFSA offering, through the school’s privately funded scholarships, or grants. To ensure that all interested parties (admissions, enrollment, housing, among others) have the financial aid information they need to make decisions that support the student experience, they need a framework for coordination.

 Forms, paper documents, approvals, data sharing among applications and databases, tracking, and general lifecycle management -- these are among the actions and artifacts needed to make decisions. These are usually unconnected and disjointed pieces within the overall process, but with so much at stake, it’s critical that milestones are achieved and deadlines are met. Workflow creates order among, and between different data sources and process stages to develop a system that is inclusive of the various participants and enables consistency and compliance. Ultimately, the process is about speed and efficiency, which is precisely what fast-adapting universities will need as they encounter issues they have not yet accounted for.

 Automating (and protecting) student records

Let’s consider an example from a large university system; UCF Global is part of the University of Central Florida system. In addition to managing the data of thousands of students (the entire university system supports more than 64,000 students every year through 93 bachelors, 86 masters, and 27 doctoral courses of study) in their system, they are obligated through a sense of responsibility, and through compliance mandate, to keep that data protected.

 Using automated workflow helps solve for these requirements with a rules-based framework that provides:

  • Comprehensive and automatic logging, with digital signatures, of every action taken by any actor, human or automated.
  • The highest levels of encryption of data at rest and data in transit.
  • Digital signature of documents.
  • Granular permissions structure, with temporary privilege escalation.

 By ensuring a safe environment for transactions and storage of student data, UCF has been able to build processes that automate the flow of student information through all processes in the student lifecycle, from admissions to graduation.

3 min read

Has COVID Provided an Opportunity to Reinvent Higher Education?

By BP Logix on Aug 5, 2020 1:21:07 PM

The fall-out from COVID has created short-term change in every institution and plans to address a new course of action are focused on “getting back to normal.” But the notion of normal is not only hard to define in the current climate, but it’s also based on a concept that may be gone forever. Colleges and universities are clearly going through massive disruption and it’s causing stress among administrators, students, parents, faculty, and staff.

 But schools can also use this time to reframe while maintaining their mission. The time to change is now, and colleges that are willing to adapt their approach can come out of this period with a better plan for their longer-term success. To do so will require a new focus on what it means to be an institution of higher learning, and what the goal of education is all about

 Higher education is more than a degree

Colleges and universities perform a wide variety of services, but ultimately, they are responsible for student advancement. For some that means having access to better career opportunities upon graduation; for others, it has to do with broadening themselves as individuals. But higher education institutions also have a responsibility to society to provide opportunity and access and to hopefully create an environment that encourages growth through work and merit. Inherent in that contract is the idea that education and growth are good for society, but it doesn’t mean that it has to follow the current prescribed path to do it. The English philosopher, G.K. Chesterton said, “Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.”

 With this in mind, it makes sense that schools might want to take a step back to rethink how they achieve their mission. Higher education has always promised to be a place for students to learn and develop skills so they can become thoughtful, enlightened contributors to society. However, many are asking how a school can achieve this, or how it can achieve anything of value when they’ve demanded that their entire student body take classes remotely in the fall. And from a practical standpoint, this scenario begs the question of economic viability — how attractive to prospective students can a college be if all it can offer are lectures via Zoom?

 To be true to their missions and to be able to deliver real value, schools don’t have to operate with an “online OR remote” quandary. If they remember their focus on giving people access to learn and develop usable skills, they likely already have what they need to be successful.

 A new foundation for higher education

While uncertainty and the stress it causes is top of mind for students and university administrators alike, schools know that remote learning will be a significant part of their future, irrespective of changes due to the COVID pandemic. Rather than seeing virtual learning as a short-term panacea, or even a set-back, it should be championed, and there should be a focus on how to deliver the best academic product through digital means.

 This can actually create advantages for schools that commit to doing remote learning well. In fact, a report by Babson College found that in 2018, more than 30 percent of U.S. college students had already taken an online course and were planning on taking more. What’s more, today’s college students came of age with smartphones and online access. The move to virtual classrooms isn’t as drastic as originally thought.

 Herein lies the opportunity. Colleges have invested heavily in technology infrastructures to provide better delivery of academics and student services. While the original purpose may not have been solely to deliver remote learning, the tools, applications, and processes that university IT teams have at their disposal can create the foundation for their next phase.

 Additionally, the applications and databases that make up that tech infrastructure provide the means to measure student performance through digital means in a way that offline engagement can’t. This isn’t a signaling of robotic, data-driven forms of learning. Quite the contrary; with all of this technology, students can learn more about themselves and where their strengths and weaknesses are. They can make more efficient use of their time to review lectures and course materials in an on-demand format. Ultimately, they can focus on outcomes rather than just adhering to a checklist of academic requirements.

 This is about more access to more students. It also opens up more opportunities to change how instruction is delivered and when it is delivered. Schools will need to think through the ramifications of a multidisciplinary approach that takes into account academics, scheduling, grading, and every other form of engagement that students are accustomed to.

 Perhaps most importantly, the “next normal” is about creating a different type of student. The future promises nothing but change, and those who are most agile and adaptable will succeed. So, while colleges and universities are rethinking how to balance online and offline learning, maybe they can start to remake the college experience as preparation for the world they’re entering, and the one that society needs them to thrive in.

6 min read

Bring Your Staff Back to Campus with Maximum Safety and Wellness

By BP Logix on Jul 29, 2020 11:57:26 AM

A return to regular schedules is coming soon for many colleges and universities across the country as COVID-related restrictions are lifted and the fall semester approaches.

The transition is a welcome move for schools that had to rapidly adapt to a completely new learning environment in March and April. Students left campus, instructors learned how to teach in an online format, and administrators scrambled to create and deploy new processes and solutions.

But with schools getting ready to have hundreds or thousands of people back on their campuses, they must also develop healthy and safe ways to reintegrate faculty and staff. They need to be able to do so in a way that allows them the freedom and flexibility to perform their work, but also keeps them protected.

Schools must create and deploy a comprehensive reintroduction plan to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, while also addressing the fears and safety concerns of their staff. The foundation of this type of plan takes into account a variety of health and wellness factors, most of which can be implemented in an actionable way. There are also behavioral components that have to be factored in, and ultimately, creating and operating such a plan will take the efforts of university HR, IT, and administrative leaders. 

An effective plan will go a long way in managing virus-related issues in the campus setting and will provide peace of mind and build morale for employees as they return to work. 

Here are four general areas, and a variety of specific actions and considerations, that colleges and universities can take to ensure they are providing a safe and trusted working environment for their employees.

Establish On-site Guidelines

Large numbers of employees returning to a shared workplace all at once creates a major risk for the spread of viruses. Managing schedules, creating a framework for how they can interact, and operating with firm guidelines on social distancing are all critical for protecting employee health at work. Colleges should identify a path that balances productivity with flexibility, and includes at least some elements of the following:

Flexible work options: some jobs simply don’t need to be performed on-site, and employees in those roles should be encouraged to continue working remotely as much as possible. A good rule to follow is: if in-person interaction is not needed for an employee to successfully execute her job, she should remain at home. Additionally, to reduce the number of people on campus at any one time, work schedules should be staggered into shifts.

Facilities and maintenance: it’s important to prepare facilities to be clean. All campus buildings must have efficient, clean air filtration systems which may require significant infrastructure improvements, but will also have a major impact on reducing the spread of the virus. Buildings, classrooms, and all physical elements of the school will need to be cleaned on a regular basis. There is also a need for seating arrangements in classrooms, meeting rooms, and other common areas that keep people at a safe distance from one another. 

Hygiene practices: social distancing should be mandated and reinforced, and to do this, reminders of effective hygiene need to be available everywhere. This should include having things like hand sanitizers and cleaning stations throughout each building, and schools should provide masks, gloves, and disinfect wipes for phones, computers, door handles, and everywhere people are touching.

Responsiveness: managers cannot be afraid to act quickly to send employees home who display signs of illness, or even close offices if they’ve been inhabited by someone who has been sick. 

Restrict travel: school leaders should mandate that only essential travel is permitted for employees who must attend school-related activities. As much as employees like traveling to conferences and industry events, schools need to take a break from those for the coming semester (and possibly beyond). For individuals who travel on planes, trains, or busses for personal reasons, it’s important that they quarantine for a safe period before returning to the workplace.

Encourage Well-being

College HR and health departments should prepare programs that support the emotional and mental health wellness of employees as they get back to work. These are as important as physical health concerns, and doing so will reduce disruptions in productivity, they will also create an environment where employees feel safe and trusted. 

There are so many ways for schools to help employees stay balanced and to avoid stress. Consider some options that can have a huge impact: 

Watch for signs: Everyone should be given some form of training to recognize signs of depression and anxiety in themselves and others. Many employees have been isolated for a long period of time, and coming back into the workplace at a time when there is still a great deal of uncertainty can add to their stress. Encourage people to watch out for others and demonstrate compassion. In general, an organization that cares for its people will ultimately be rewarded with happier, healthier employees.

Be a resource: HR teams should communicate information on any mental health benefits provided in your school's health insurance. It would also be helpful to email regular reminders, and display signage that reminds people both to social distance, but also to care for themselves. Any programs that support employee efforts to maintain emotional health should be communicated and supported.

Create a community environment: Support groups and opportunities for employees to voice concerns are important vehicles for employee wellness. While still practicing social distancing, it would be helpful to organize groups for people with various interests. Some will be parents struggling to get back to balancing kids and work, others may be caring for a sick relative. Having a sense of support through a work community can help employees handle the many issues they are facing as they reintegrate.

Communication and Training

Effective ways to enable employer-to-employee and employee-to-employee communication are going to be critical to keeping the workplace safe. This will help schools reinforce policies, but will also help avoid confusion at a time of change. Some of these efforts can piggyback on existing programs, while others will require new efforts:

Training: Whether it’s through regular email communication, an employee manual, or through an employee portal, you will need to train employees on a detailed and comprehensive set of guidelines about things like:

  • Expected health practices like hand washing, use of disinfectants, and other things that employees will need to begin regularly doing.
  • Work hours and schedules. Since you will likely have some form of staggered scheduling and work from home policies, these will need to be spelled out clearly and with corresponding expectations.
  • Social distancing reminders cannot be emphasized enough, and a codified training will do a lot to establish important, necessary habits in employees about safe contact.
  • Employees need training about when to stay home, what to look out for when feeling under the weather and what to do if you feel ill when at work. 

All-hands meetings: Interactive town hall meetings are an excellent forum for employees to hear from management about decisions being made that will impact how they work and will educate them on factors related to their health. These should be done regularly (even weekly) so that employees feel they are in the loop and have a voice. Include options to broadcast via video calls for employees working at home.

Use a standard communication platform: Tools like Slack or Google Hangouts can help employees stay connected in real-time. These give them the ability to communicate among one another (which also reduces the need for face-to-face interaction), and it allows for management to deliver news and alerts rapidly.

Flexible Processes

One of the keys to successfully navigating the new normal is through flexibility. No one knows what the coming months will bring, and campus leaders must be aware that they are asking a lot of their employees to be back at work. As such, certain rules and guidelines must be followed, but they must also make allowances for the fact that much can change rapidly. Being cognizant of when to change, and then operating in an environment where change can be implemented are essential ways to approach reintegration. It also gives employees assurances that campus leadership is being responsive to health and safety needs.

Be prepared for productivity swings: Managers must be comfortable knowing that productivity may suffer at times while employees adapt to new ways of working. While goals need to be maintained, being flexible in the face of change will enable teams to set appropriate objectives, but be able to re-scope those plans if they need to be changed.

Technology solutions will need to adapt: In a normal environment, IT support staff are able to meet face-to-face with employees who need a laptop fixed or have problems with their workstation. But now that most support is done over the phone and through digital means, it may mean supporting employees in a different way. Rather than go through normal acquisition processes, some schools are doing things like ordering and shipping laptops and monitors directly from Amazon to employees who need them. Always remember that serving employees to make them productive and feeling supported is the goal.

Employee support: Many will be facing unique challenges in their lives, and they will not be very effective at work unless they have the help required to handle the issues they face. HR teams should create shortcuts to help employees gain access to medical benefits, financial counseling, and other types of support that will enable them to navigate a challenging time for themselves and their families.

How schools return to work is as important as when they return. Looking out for students and the myriad services offered to them is core to the mission of all schools, but without the backbone of the staff and faculty, no school can operate effectively. 

COVID-19 has disrupted the world, but it also offers colleges and universities an opportunity to transform the higher education workplace. The steps taken now will be critical for the success of hiring and managing employees in the future; we simply cannot know what lies ahead in the coming months and years, but by starting with the health and well-being of employees, schools can be assured that they have the right foundation for sustainable success.lp cover 2


4 min read

How Higher Ed Can Use Predictive Analytics for Student Recruitment and Retention

By BP Logix on Jul 22, 2020 1:36:54 PM

The use of predictive analytics has enabled colleges and universities to perform critical planning for things like enrollment and student retention, and also to understand trends that impact academics and student services. 

With the right mix of data points, schools are better equipped to make smart choices that will impact every aspect of the educational lifecycle. At a time when higher education administrators are anxious about enrollments and operational expenses, being able to predict how to allocate resources and funding can be a major benefit to surviving the first school year after COVID-19. 

Using data to make predictions is nothing new for innovative colleges. In fact, it’s becoming an increasingly useful tool for admissions planning and to help schools avoid the coming enrollment cliff. But in the midst of preparations to resume classes in the fall after months of dealing with the effects of COVID-19, many schools are wondering if anything is predictable in today’s environment. 

Trends among prospective and current students are in a constant state of change, which means that predictive models that worked in the past are no longer usable. With so many unknowns facing colleges and universities, it can sometimes seem that admissions, operations, and IT leaders are increasingly having to make decisions in the dark. Predictive analytics, however, can shed light on a challenging situation.

Benefit from predictive analytics  

To benefit from predictions, schools have to integrate vast amounts of data from various repositories, and then make decisions about how to allocate their organizational attention and resources. Armed with that information, they can make informed decisions that reduce operational friction and improve the acceleration and implementation of actions that impact goal-driven outcomes.  

Some critics are suggesting that predictive analytics are ill-equipped to support the current needs of colleges and universities. The argument is that available data about student intentions and needs have changed so much over the past few months that it can’t paint an accurate picture of what’s to come.  

But the whole purpose of using data to make decisions is predicated on when the data is used. And data changes continuously, so predictions are always based on new information that is informed by changing behaviors. At times of massive change, predictive analytics is probably at its most effective, and colleges and universities are going to benefit from using it as they plan for the fall of 2020 and beyond. 

Let's consider the promise of predictive analytics and look at what schools have been able to do with it:

  • Create programs and frameworks that make student success a primary element of the school’s mission
  • Enable a discipline of adaptability and flexibility that enable schools to meet changing needs as they arise
  • Deploy technology effectively to solve operational issues
  • Maintain quality as a core component of all student-directed efforts

Improve student outreach and retention

Even with so much change happening as a result of COVID-19, colleges and universities are on a never-ending cycle of recruiting, enrolling, and retaining students.  Irrespective of how those students are going to learn, be it through online classes, on-campus, or some hybrid version of the two, schools need to identify students who will be a good fit, convert them into students, and then retain them for the duration of their college experience. That process starts with data.

Communicating with prospective students has always been heavily informed by data. For starters, schools won’t be able to host as many students on-site, as travel restrictions are delaying or even canceling traditional recruiting events. That means that digital communication will become a particularly important channel for marketing efforts, and those efforts will need to be highly targeted to get the attention of prospects who have many options in front of them. 

Schools are able to reach potential students through paid digital media ads, direct mail, email nurturing, and other online formats. These efforts will likely provide schools with even more accurate data about students’ intentions because these channels also give them an avenue to collect data as well. As that collection of information grows, it starts to inform decision-making and creates the ability to start making predictions. 

Some examples of data sets that schools will be able to collect through direct communication include things like:

  • Geographic interest: understanding where pockets of interested students live will help schools maximize their marketing spend by investing heavily in these areas. Conversely, they can reduce spending on areas where there is little interest.
  • Financial aid: schools can ascertain the potential for students to fund their educations and the resulting financial aid requirements that need to be provided for students. This will be a huge benefit to economic planning.
  • Hiring: admissions departments will be able to make predictions about the number of incoming students  which can be used by HR teams to scale up or down as needed. 

Similarly, as current students spend more time away from campus due to sheltering-in-place, it’s critical that schools maintain communication with them. Keeping students informed of upcoming changes and guiding them through an uncertain future will help them stay connected. It also is an important aspect of student retention.

Research has shown that when students are having their needs met and have actionable ways to achieve their goals, retention rates rise significantly and they stay on the path to completion. With data about students’ patterns, backgrounds, and behaviors, schools are identify specific areas where they can support a student who is at risk. Some of these include:

  • Predict when a student is likely to drop out. When students’ grades decline or they continually take less demanding workloads, they may be on a path to leaving school. Intervention through academic counseling, tutoring, or other academic services can keep a student academically engaged and feeling connected to their school.
  • Identify students who are facing financial challenges. When tuition bills are habitually late or if a student has a complex web of financial aid sources, algorithms can alert students to alternative sources of funding. Or there could be a process that signals the financial aid office to contact the student to initiate a meeting to explore options to fund their school experience.
  • Alert when a student may be facing a mental or physical health risk. Health services information can be pulled together to identify students who may be at risk for certain types of health issues. Student services organizations can be marshaled to help the students take part in counseling and other medical and social services to ensure wellness. 

Students may not be interested in predictive data, but what colleges and universities do with that data is critical to students’ success. By employing predictive intelligence and analytics, schools can help students do more than simply navigate the four or more years of college. They have the tools for a meaningful experience that keeps them engaged through graduation.

Topics: application development automation
5 min read

How to survive a dip in Higher Education enrollment

By BP Logix on Jul 17, 2020 1:24:12 PM

Even before Coronavirus spread across the globe, colleges struggled with financial constraints and declining enrollment. Now, they’re scrambling to implement tools and reconfigure processes for remote learning.  

Some universities have already issued statements that the upcoming fall 2020 semester will continue virtually, which could even last through spring 2021. Students are also seeking tuition refunds after switching to online classes, sparking class action lawsuits across the country. 

Because of this, it’s more critical than ever that colleges and universities future-proof their academic and operational model. Nothing but uncertainty lies ahead, and those who are not prepared are likely to fall. But while America’s colleges and universities are sure to lose students in the short term, the pandemic’s obstacle is only temporary compared to the permanent structural forces affecting higher education. 

Digital learning and declining enrollment for fall 2020

Education experts predict that college enrollment will be lower next semester and many colleges and universities are unsure if they will hold classes in-person in the fall.

According to The American Council on Education, a higher education lobby group, on-campus college enrollment will fall by 15% in the upcoming fall semester. This would cost institutions nearly $23 billion in foregone revenue, which would force many campuses to close their doors. Likewise, schools that are able to remain physically open through the pandemic are expected to see a surge in enrollment once it’s safe for students to return to the classroom.

Many universities have already announced their on-campus operational plan to encourage student commitment and provide some assurance of what form their education will take. Some, like Boston University (BU), plan to reopen its residential campus for the fall semester, but other universities like California State University–Fullerton plan to start the fall term online. 

Some universities are also attempting to lead prospective students to enroll in the fall, rather than defer for a year until the pandemic is under greater control. For example, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is offering free tuition to all incoming freshmen who enroll in its campus-based programs next year and will reduce published tuition for all of the following years by 61%. 

According to Lynn Pasquerella, President of the Association of the American Colleges and Universities, colleges are not sure what to expect. “There’s some certainty with respect to a decrease in the number of international students that’s already been in rapid decline with a 14% decrease over the past few years. And they’re worried that this current global pandemic that has spurred an economic recession is going to further catalyze a depression, making it difficult for parents to send their children to college. On the flip side, I think we will see enrollments in online programs rise quite a bit, driven by adult learners — many of whom have been recently laid off — looking to wait out the recession and use their time productively by skilling up.”

Virtual processes can combat shrinking college budgets

The shift to digital learning and online classrooms has forced colleges to refund on-campus expenses like housing, meal plans, gym memberships and more––resulting in huge financial deficits and struggling colleges. On top of this, schools are also expecting a decline in enrollment this fall. 

Yet college leaders have more to worry about––even if campuses reopen this fall, there are worries that many students won't return for fall 2020 due to the recent economic downturn that’s left many unable to afford tuition. Even more, universities are forecasting steep enrollment drop-offs among international students who feel hesitant to study abroad so closely after a global pandemic. And for colleges that rely on international students, officials are bracing for international enrollment to drop by 25%, causing a loss of $70 million next year.

Plunging student enrollment will present different challenges for higher education organizations. Fewer students means less tuition, and much of funding at the state and federal levels relies on the number of students who show up and occupy seats. Even if students are enrolled digitally, they won’t be occupying dorms or purchasing meal plans, causing colleges to lose major sources of revenue. 

It’s not just students who will be missing from campus––renting out property and real estate throughout the summer for things like conferences and freshman orientations, tickets for sports games and summer camps are also a big source of revenue and employment for institutions. We’re even at risk of losing college football and fall sports, leaving organizations faced with the decision to play in front of empty stands, which would eliminate ticket revenue and incur broadcast licensing fees.

  During a recession, enrollment usually goes up as more and more look for safety during a time of high unemployment or look to re-sharpen their skills. Now, university officials are nervous that families whose personal finances have been hurt since they filled out financial-aid forms may decide college has become an unaffordable investment for the time being. 

Following the mid-March college shut-down of campus, schools have announced hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. Universities project that a $14 billion federal aid package will not be enough to keep struggling schools afloat, and experts say this recession is just the beginning of hardship if schools cannot identify ways to persuade and convince students to return in the fall, despite colleges preparing to transition into entirely digital learning by the end of the semester. 

Establish future-proof workflows and processes with BP Logix

Colleges and universities are turning more and more to digital workflow solutions that connect their students and employees. Now that students aren’t in dorms, faculty aren’t on campus and the entire world is working from home, there’s still a critical need for structure and process implementation. 

While scale of technology may always be an issue, the approach to problem-solving can be addressed by schools of any size. Workflow can be the defining factor for schools being agile because it is foundational for how problems are solved, irrespective of the technology that’s used.

To implement smooth transitions and enable changes in structure, exchanging data from information systems and financial applications must be solidified and secure. This allows colleges to create clear views into student information and provides the ability to relocate employees so you can become extremely agile as the “new normal” begins to take shape. 

In a normal environment, the reliance on paper forms and manual intervention for decision-making milestones might be tolerated. But with massive pressure to conserve money and be highly efficient during this time of great change, college management, admissions and IT teams have to pull together all these things into an integrated, rapidly moving set of workflows in record time. New workflows and processes require a variety of forms, documents, requests, and decisions to be made.

Many BP Logix higher education customers are already using Process Director to handle these types of issues. Schools like California State University Stanislaus and the University of North Carolina NRI cite their ability to be flexible and quickly develop new processes as major advantages of using Process Director’s workflow automation capabilities as core to their foundation.

Successfully adapt to remote learning and survive a dip in enrollment for the coming semester(s) by transforming your processes and workflows. Process Director delivers capabilities like workflow automation that enables higher education teams to use pre-configured templates to quickly enable remote learning and reduce enrollment decline. 

CTA Banner 3


Topics: workflow management
4 min read

Machine Learning and Workflow Enable Smart Planning for Higher Ed

By BP Logix on Jul 8, 2020 10:11:23 AM

Behind the admissions process at any college and university is a complex set of activities, milestones, and decisions that go into evaluating students and offering opportunities for enrollment. While the admissions process has never been simple, new layers of complexity have been added as schools deal with new admissions policies and processes in the wake of a post-COVID world.

As more institutions look to adapt, they will need the help of machine learning to support complex layers of decision-making and an agile approach to serving their own needs and those of prospective students.

How machine learning helps smart admissions planning

Colleges typically operate according to an admissions rubric that uses some combination of test scores, high school GPA, and extracurricular activities. Additional measures are also considered, and some academic majors within the school are impacted and are more competitive than others. Now that schools are challenged with hitting aggressive enrollment numbers, even more factors will come into play. Some schools will continue to rely on standardized test scores while others will choose to eliminate them. Hybrid learning options will change the numbers of students that schools can enroll. These factors will have to be agile as schools adapt to meet changing needs in the coming years.

Schools that admit too many students won’t have the resources to serve their needs and aren’t equipped from an institutional level to rapidly adapt to an increase. Conversely, admitting too few students means less enrollment revenue, fewer students in classes, and an impact on staffing and other resources. Hitting the sweet spot of the right number of admitted students is essential, but it’s also a delicate process of prediction.

Process Director applies machine learning (ML) to make sense of historical admissions and enrollment levels, and other demographic data to deliver informed, accurate information that makes intelligent recommendations. It uses Process Timeline, a workflow engine that is easily modifiable by non-developers, can operate in parallel with other applications and processes, and delivers the concept of time-awareness to processes and workflows. The combination of this predictive analysis with case management provides a structure that can identify patterns in current and historical data, and apply that to the admissions process.

The data derived from student information systems (SIS) for student data, learning management systems (LMS) for course capacity, and other repositories of essential data can be integrated into the admissions process. Planning and execution of all admissions activities can be dramatically improved when the data can be analyzed to create a more complete picture. Machine learning can identify patterns and predict behaviors which can then contribute to building the right processes that support expected workload.

Without the ML component, most schools are modeling simply from old data. With Process Director, that data can be predicted in real-time, and continuously improve within this churn of new data and recorded results to improve the reliability of enrollment data.

Process Director and Predictive Analysis

A variety of large, small, public, and private colleges and universities are already using Process Director as the engine for application and admission processes. Workflow automation ensures applications are given the necessary level of scrutiny and review in order to meet the school’s specific requirements. Process Director also enables admissions teams to rapidly build and deploy applications through low code development. This empowers teams because they are equipped with a tool that builds applications that work in a human-directed work style.

Especially as schools have to operate within time constraints as they accept applications, review them, and then deliver acceptance or rejections, it is critical to be able to build and apply the most impactful workflows and processes. Schools are transforming the way they manage the admissions process through Process Director innovations, including:

Document and forms management

Students submit all manner of supporting documentation to improve their chances of admission. This includes transcripts, test scores, recommendation letters, confirmation of awards, and other documents. Some of these are submitted digitally, while some are delivered in paper form. Process Director is able to digitize these documents and include them in each students’ file, which eliminates outdated and inefficient processes like managing files through email attachments and paper-based artifacts.

Reviewing documents or searching for a specific asset about a particular student is enabled through Process Director Knowledge Views, which are easy to configure and even easier to use. The machine learning component can recognize aspects of the students’ academic and extracurricular performance to understand his or her student potential.

The result is more context about a student, provided through validated documents. Process Director also enables sharing of information with trusted decision-makers so that milestones in the process can be made with greater efficiency.

Application integration

The application submission is usually a student’s first touch point with the university, but also a way to engage student data with other applications that can improve her experience. Process Director uses built in connectors for a variety of student information systems, and allows users to construct forms that can pull and deliver data that can be useful for things like financial aid and scholarships, and eventually for housing, remote learning, on-boarding, registration, and course scheduling.

Workflow-enhanced decision-making

The final result of all this work is, for lucky students, acceptance into a desired school. To enable this, Process Director uses the following innovations that make it a first choice for many colleges and universities:

  • Attractive, web-based, and responsive user interaction;
  • Built-in support for multiple languages, locales, and cultures;
  • Easy integration with a broad array of databases, web services, and applications;
  • Directory synchronization with LDAP, Active Directory, and Windows network security;
  • Full integration with federated authentication services, including Oauth and SAML.
  • Strong encryption of data at rest, and data in-flight;
  • Digital signature of documents;
  • Granular permissions structure, with temporary privilege escalation.

Colleges and universities have to adapt their admissions processes as young people evaluate their path through higher education. No school can meet the demands of the post-COVID-19 world on an application-by-application basis.

Small schools that want to align their goals and processes to student behaviors will need to apply change through the use of smart workflow and processes. To serve these needs, Process Director provides digitally transformative machine learning and workflow, facilitates efficient distribution of information, and streamlines the monitoring and management of admissions activities and information.


3 min read

Digital Transformation Leads to Operational Efficiency in Higher Ed

By BP Logix on Jun 30, 2020 1:24:14 PM

Colleges and universities must operate with maximum efficiency if they want to have the financial and organizational resources to deliver on their mission to educate and develop students.

At a time when the future is so uncertain, it is critical for schools to emphasize accuracy in their data, accountability in their technology, and have a foundation that will support change. Doing so requires that college IT departments commit to optimizing their technology foundation through the process of digital transformation.

Universities are complex ecosystems that require processes for HR management, financial aid and services, facilities management, capital expenditures, teaching tools, and now more than ever, options for remote learning. Key to having both focus and flexibility to deliver on this wide variety of tasks are workflow and process management.

By pivoting to embed different approaches to teaching and school administrative needs, colleges can transform the way they support their stakeholders and create continuous efficiency as part of the fabric of their normal operations. Business process management (BPM) supports the various needs of higher education functions because processes drive virtually all aspects of campus and academic life.

Lead the digital transformation of your institution with Process Director

BP Logix customers regularly cite Process Director for its agile approach to processes that ensure that higher education IT departments are able to serve a wide variety of stakeholders (administrators, parents, students, financial aid organizations, among others), and still maintain adherence to governmental, organizational, and industry governance requirements and compliance frameworks. Additionally, higher educational institutions are often constrained by a limited budget, and Process Director BPM provides a foundation for delivering effective solutions in a cost-effective way.

Consider how schools are currently benefitting from their transformation efforts. With the creation and re-use of customized, automated processes IT teams are able to do the following

  • Reduce dependence on manual and paper-based processes for student and staff
  • Eliminate redundancies by creating a unified front-end for all campus digital needs.
  • Deliver a better student self-service experience and empowering students to drive their educational paths.
  • Streamline and reduce the steps involved in the review and approval process for requests.
  • Track and summarize requests that needed to route through multiple departments before approval.
  • Meet compliance and regulatory requirements and improve internal audit controls.

Let’s look at some examples of how these things are being realized by schools that have adopted Process Director to support their transformation needs.

Continuous growth, change, and innovation

Davis Applied Technology College (DATC) in Utah has made continuous improvement and transformation part of its strategy for growth and student success. It does this through digital delivery of programs to students and HR, finance, and other types of services to support staff.

Prior to using Process Director, these efforts were hampered by an outdated system of data collection and integration. The school had cabinets filled with paper forms, but recognized how the processes that were manifested in those forms would benefit from workflow automation.

The DATC IT team initiated their transformation efforts with the rapid deployment of Process Director to a number of departments in only a short amount of time. Positive outcomes came rather quickly; the student services department alone the school was able to deliver 17 completed processes within only a few quarters after being deployed. Finance, HR, and IT departments all showed measurable progress in short timeframes.

DATC’s Director of IT said, “Knowing where our business processes and workflow are without having to chase them down is invaluable. What used to take days is taking hours — what used to take weeks is taking days.”

Protecting and automating student records

UCF Global is part of the University of Central Florida system, and supports more than 64,000 students every year through 93 bachelors, 86 masters, and 27 doctoral courses of study.

A major challenge is handling the massive amount of private student data. While that data is protected by federal and state regulations, it’s also important for the school to build trust with students by doing everything possible to safeguard their data. Process Director helps solve these requirements by providing:

  • Granular permissions capabilities, with flexible (and temporary) privilege escalation.
  • Comprehensive and automatic logging, with digital signatures, of every action taken by any actor, human or automated.
  • Data encryption at rest and data in transit.
  • Digital signature and verification of documents.

Digital transformation has helped UCF create a safe environment for transactions and storage of student data. They have been able to build processes that automate the flow of student information through all processes in the student lifecycle, from admissions to graduation.

Colleges and universities are preparing for a variety of different scenarios in both the near and long term. To help them have a foundation that enables agility, Process Director delivers digitally transformative education workflow solutions, which facilitates the efficient streamlining and management of information.



4 min read

How Colleges and Universities are Preparing for Post-COVID Reopening

By BP Logix on Jun 24, 2020 6:12:04 AM

American colleges should be applauded for their quick and decisive action to protect the health and safety of their communities when COVID-19 first hit. Now that states and institutions are gradually shedding shelter-in-place policies and allowing the opening of businesses and gatherings, there will be scrutiny on higher education leaders to create a logical, workable plan for the fall semester and the foreseeable future.

In an effort to determine effective plans for reopening in the fall, colleges and universities are currently reviewing guidelines and policies from a variety of private and governing bodies. Because there is no single organization policing these plans, it is up to individual institutions and state-wide systems to evaluate guidelines and policies and ultimately determine what will be most effective for them.

Four areas to focus on when returning to campus

To be judicious and thoughtful in their approach, most schools are taking into consideration the advice of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), state and local guidelines, local laws, and the concerns and needs of their own campus communities. University leaders are rapidly reviewing their own policies, in addition to research from the CDC, the American Health College Association, and insights from a variety of college presidents. From this work, we can see that there are four main areas of focus around which colleges and universities are creating their own set of reopening guidelines:

Student and faculty behavioral strategies

Schools want to reduce the spread of viruses by limiting exposure among students. This includes reducing class sizes for on-campus courses, mandating wearing of face masks, and education around things like hand washing, self-care, and limiting gatherings to small groups. Much of these efforts will require education and instilling behaviors. Some schools will choose to simply not return in the fall to seriously limit any form of exposure. Others will pursue a hybrid plan of online and offline courses. Those that will have students on campus in the fall are preparing for the need to increase staffing and resources at campus health facilities.

Effective management of campus facilities

University facilities, student services, and IT teams are working quickly to adapt the physical environment of their schools to be more conducive to social distancing. This includes upgrading and managing ventilation and water systems, adopting continuous disinfection and cleaning practices, limiting usage of common areas like recreational areas, dining halls, and student unions. The impact of these things will dramatically change the student experience, and schools are being cautious to balance safety with student needs.

Balancing remote learning with student needs

The move to online learning that began in March 2020 won’t go completely away. Some schools are opting for 100% online in the fall, while others will adopt a hybrid model. Schools realize also that most students have access to laptops or tablets, which will enable them to be effective at connecting to online, remote classes. For students who don’t have the technology required, colleges will need to provide these to them or offer an effective way to stay engaged when not in actual classrooms and lecture halls. Most schools are currently developing comprehensive strategies for online learning as a long-term option for college students, so what happens in the fall of 2020 could likely form the foundation of the future of learning in higher education. Doing so requires more than just porting coursework and curriculum to an online format, and will demand the efforts of academic experts, IT leaders, and representatives from student, faculty, and university administration.

Protecting the physical and mental health of students and faculty

The CDC recommends that schools develop protocols for isolating, transporting, and caring for students and faculty who develop symptoms or are diagnosed with COVID-19. These include processes that impact health and safety regulations beyond just the campus; local and state health officials will need to be alerted and cases tracked.

The actual implementation of fall plans will undoubtedly integrate various elements of these four factors. Current scenarios that are being considered include the following:

  • Business as usual - some campuses, like Purdue in Indiana, will resume normal campus life and on-campus learning, albeit with precautions and social distancing policies in place. For schools that choose this route, students will be in classes, some recreational activities will resume, and there will be a semblance of normal campus life.
  • 100% online - the California State University system has opted to keep all students at home and go completely online for the fall. There will be economic factors that these schools will need to deal with, as some students will opt not to return to college or may take a gap year. Additionally, faculty and IT teams will be working feverishly to ensure that they can deliver all aspects of academics via the Internet.
  • Hybrid model - the hybrid model of learning will function with classes being conducted both face-to-face and online. For many schools taking this route, they have established a threshold for the number of students allowed in an on-campus class. Many have chosen to limit the number of students in a face-to-face class to fewer than 20. All other classes will be conducted online.
  • Adapted schedules - a common approach is to begin the fall with a mix of online and in-person classes, and to reduce the amount of time the students are on campus. Many will start with their regularly planned beginning of the semester but will close at the start of the Thanksgiving break. That break will last until after the new year, which limits the amount of travel to and from schools, and thus, hopefully reducing exposure to students and faculty.

As colleges figure out their plans, they are factoring in things like feasibility, economic impact, and ensuring they are staying true to their academic missions. Irrespective of the path they take, it will undoubtedly hasten the implementation of certain strategies that some schools had planned for a much later time. But just as universities are leaders in innovation, they may be the best places to see how disruptive changes will impact the face of the new university.



Topics: COVID19
3 min read

Process Automation Helps Higher Ed Admins Maintain Operational Continuity

By BP Logix on Jun 4, 2020 10:41:39 AM

Colleges and universities have received a lot of praise for how they’ve reacted to the COVID-19 crisis. They had to scramble to put courses online, relocate students out of university housing, and deal with a host of student and institutional financial issues.

Now, colleges are looking to the summer, fall, and beyond as they prepare to maintain some level of continuity in the face of uncertainty. The methods they apply to these challenges will define them for the current and next wave of students, and may reshape higher education for the long term.

Higher education faces disruption

Challenges to American higher education were already on the minds of university administrators and IT leaders before COVID-19. Student enrollment has been in decline, new legislation is requiring them to put efforts into technology compliance, and students’ needs are changing with a new generation entering college.

But then came the coronavirus, and the speed required to meet changing needs has meant that new technology solutions are being applied in almost real-time. For schools that use manual processes and workflows, those changes have been slow to come to fruition. But for institutions that have been willing to apply process automation to their workflows, the ability to shift to meet changing demands has helped them prepare for the uncertainty they face.

Maintaining operations with process automation

Here’s why that’s such a major advantage: most tasks, especially repeatable ones, can be automated so users don't waste time and lose focus. Process automation is all about getting stuff done; at best, it gives people the freedom to do what they're good at while automating the things that can bog them down. Basically, it’s an approach that emphasizes speed while providing guardrails so that key measures aren’t missed. In the complex environment of a university, being able to apply speed to rapidly changing issues is critical.

Universities can improve rapid process change and effectively guide participants by doing the following:

  • Maintaining focus: Centralize all activity on a project towards a specific goal. Eliminate distractions and extraneous activity, enable people to work where they are, when it’s most convenient for them, and in a way with which they are most comfortable.
  • Utilizing status alerts: Use alerts to improve response time for project milestones and timelines.
  • Reducing bottlenecks: Waiting for approvals or feedback can be major momentum-killers. Process automation can eliminate the typical delays that usually accompany decision making; waiting for another participant to deliver feedback on your work can cause collateral damage that the entire team feels. Enabling things like mobile channels keeps projects moving forward because it reduces wait times.

Most importantly, organizations that apply process automation are prepared for current needs, and for an uncertain future. With a process and workflow foundation and the ability to do things like apply case management to specific tasks, and use case management capabilities, process automation can support the need to capture data from multiple sources and communicate it to necessary stakeholders. These are critical for colleges to manage information and act on it quickly.

Benefits of process automation in higher education

When outcomes change rapidly, as is happening as state, federal, and institutional mandates are being continuously updated, process automation offers a foundation on which admissions, housing, financial aid, facilities, HR, and other operational elements that a college can build from. Specifically, it allows agile IT teams to do the following:

  • Automate processes, integrate apps with existing systems, and easily connect to data from multiple sources so information and functionality render in a single user experience. Each instance of building a connector can cost as much as $25,000 in developer expenses when using traditional methods. Process Director, for example, uses process automation so that even non-developers can pull necessary data into applications.
  • Optimizing ROI from legacy applications to rapidly deliver user experiences and increase user adoption. This is especially critical at a time when students and faculty will be engaging with new forms, systems, and experiences that guide them through things they haven’t done previously, such as registering for online courses, purchasing digital textbooks, applying for financial aid in new ways.
  • Designing and building best-in-class apps that can be deployed when needed. Provide the ability to iterate and improve as schools learn more.
  • Recognizing and delivering solutions for all aspects of the university experience. This includes things like HR management, student recruiting, facilities and operations, and alumni relations.
  • Migrating applications from on-premises to the cloud.
  • Delivering applications in mobile formats to increase usage for students, faculty, and school staff.

Adaptation to recent changes is a critical priority for innovative university administration and IT leaders, which is dictating new operational approaches. These include a new-found focus on how services are delivered and what that means for student engagement. To facilitate these changes, the effective application of process-related solutions will be critical to have a long-term effect.

Learn how colleges like Cal State Stanislaus and Ogden-Weber Technical are using process director and preparing for a post-COVID reopening

5 min read

Colleges Use Workflow & Process Management to Navigate COVID-19 Disruption

By BP Logix on May 21, 2020 2:06:10 PM

nathan-dumlao-ewGMqs2tmJI-unsplash (1)

No matter their size, private/public designation, endowment, or geography, all colleges and universities are experiencing major changes due to COVD-19. While large universities have received the most attention for the challenges they’re experiencing, it’s often smaller schools that are hit hardest. 

Faced with limited budgets and fewer resources, small colleges are already dealing with the challenges of meeting enrollment demands, effectively servicing students and being nimble enough to adapt to change. With major disruptions for all schools because of COVID-19, smaller schools have to make moves to be prepared for navigating uncertain territory. 

There is no question that smaller schools are an essential part of higher education. They usually have better student-to-faculty ratios, offer specialized academic tracks and are better options for students who want to be part of a smaller environment. 

Small liberal arts colleges emphasize a broad array of academic disciplines, while some regional schools focus more on training for professional services like fire services, nursing and other service-related professions. 

Higher education workflows address key technology needs

The changes that stem from the coronavirus have thrown everyone for a loop. Schools are having to build solutions immediately to address current needs and they are developing plans for an uncertain future. The major difference between big and small schools in the current education landscape comes down to technology and how it’s applied to solve these problems. 

However, budget restrictions of smaller schools prevent massive student relationship management systems and armies of software developers that spin up solutions as needed. While scale of technology may always be an issue, the approach to problem-solving can be addressed by schools of any size. Workflow can be the defining factor for schools being agile because workflow is foundational to how problems are solved, irrespective of the technology that’s used.

Establishing a workflow & process management foundation

Effective workflow, however, is more than just a series of tactical activities. It aligns with user intent and is applied to the unique technology functionality required of a college’s students, faculty and other stakeholders. 

It also helps to create behaviors that maximize usage and deliver meaning to users. This is especially important when higher education is changing behaviors for things like online learning, applying for financial aid, hiring and offering new types of student services. 

A workflow foundation will also help when even those new solutions change as schools change regulations to adapt to new governmental and health and safety requirements.

The three most critical aspects of aligning workflow, technology and university needs are ease of use, solution context, and communication. Effective workflow ensures that all these elements are met so that users have not just a more efficient experience, but one they can begin to rely on to consistently meet their needs irrespective of the rate and type of change they will experience in the short- and near-term. Let’s look more closely at how these factors can support the needs of smaller schools:

Workflow & process management simplifies digital experiences

Process Director provides a great example of how ease of use can translate into effective solutions. It enables the creation of sophisticated, low-code digital applications that take into account the necessary data and workflow sources on the back-end, and considers how users on the front-end will actually use the app. 

By being able to create simple apps that integrate relevant information, including smart forms and processes, students can get the information they need and take action on things like class scheduling, financial aid, and other relevant events. The teams who build the apps benefit from Process Director’s agile approach to adapt as needed to increase adoption and productivity. 

While Process Director is easy to use for those who need to build applications rapidly and continuously meet changing needs.

Workflow & process management provides context for data

Small college IT teams use Process Director to optimize the use of data so that the applications they create help students engage and complete tasks with limited disruption to their schedules. 

Process Director helps direct the way that organizations surface and orient data through interactive forms and workspaces. Just as human interaction is complex, Process Director looks at the workflows in applications not as a linear phenomenon, but as a continuously shared collection of usable elements that allow for context-based structural changes, last moment decisions, and individualized attention depending on each circumstance.

The case management approach inherent in Process Director also helps greatly when delivering applications that integrate historical data on students (transcripts, payments, scholarships). With navigable data that can be filtered for omission or inclusion depending on the situation, applications can adapt as the students’ situations change and evolve.

This approach supplies students with applications that provide them with what they need when they need it, all without forcing them to search outside the context of the case to find answers.

The Importance of Communication

Students and faculty are being bombarded with emails, texts, direct messages and a host of other types of communication in order to get the information they need. However, that information can go unnoticed if it doesn’t fit with how they are accustomed to consuming news and alerts. Schools need to ensure that students see important messages, but also create ways for students to communicate back with them.

With capabilities that facilitate connecting and communicating across departments, Process Director can help schools collect applications, forms and data sources into a collective portal that delivers all student’s actionable needs into a single interface. That reduces response time and enhances the kind of communication students need in order to adapt to changes, stay on top of opportunities and always be current about how they can interact with their school.

Final thoughts

No school, irrespective of size, can meet the demands of the post-COVID-19 world on an application-by-application basis. Small schools that want to align their goals and processes to student behaviors will need to apply change through the use of smart workflow and processes. 

To serve these needs, Process Director provides digitally transformative and contextual education workflow solutions, facilitates efficient distribution of information and streamlines the monitoring and management of information.

Learn how colleges like Cal State Stanislaus and Ogden-Weber Technical are using process director and preparing for a post-COVID reopening

Topics: application development case management education COVID19
4 min read

Low-code Development Supports College Admissions Changes Due to COVID-19

By BP Logix on May 11, 2020 5:45:32 PM

headway-5QgIuuBxKwM-unsplash (1)

"There's no good time for a pandemic. But for admissions, this has got to be the worst time.”
- Jon Boeckenstedt, vice provost for enrollment management at Oregon State University

For millions of current and incoming college students, the financial, health, and social factors surrounding COVID-19 are causing them to change their higher education plans. As a result, college admissions and IT departments are going to have to change their normal processes to adapt to the needs of a whole new wave of college students.

Consider the findings from a recent poll about incoming college freshmen: One in six high-school seniors who expected to attend a four-year college full time before the coronavirus outbreak are now planning to embark on a different path in the fall of 2020. Three out of five students who still plan on attending college are seriously concerned about their ability to afford college.

The reality of all this uncertainty creates a huge workload for college admissions officials and IT leaders who will need to develop new software applications processes to address a variety of admissions issues, including:

  • Enrollment deferment 
  • Changing admissions requirements
  • Communication with students
  • Timelines and plans for reopening campuses, which includes facilities and scheduling

These are just some of the issues that schools are dealing with, none of which can be addressed in a simple fashion. For IT departments, the key is agility. Decisions are being made by school leadership on a daily basis which impacts enrollment, admissions for the fall semester and beyond. 

Low-code development starts with data, builds with process

University data and content is currently stored in a wide variety of applications. They range from the basic (spreadsheets and graphics) to complex (some data analytics solutions and massive ERP systems). All of that data serves a purpose, and in a time when colleges are moving quickly to create new and updated admissions and enrollment processes, the data has to be able to be called into use whenever and wherever it can be most applicable. Information is important, but using it in context with other data is where schools stand to be most effective. To do this requires being able to build software apps quickly and for specific purposes.

The best way to bring new applications to productive use is to reduce development time, and when addressing the changing landscape in response to COVID-19, speed is critical. To meet this challenge, low-code development has emerged as an efficient way to create software. It is a methodology and approach that uses reusable, pre-built components of code and applies them in a drag-and-drop fashion that simplifies the coding effort and accelerates the pace at which applications are built.

Rapid application development for the post-COVID university

The promise of low-code development is attained through speed, efficiency, and the democratization of technology. Business needs can be met through rapidly-built applications that can be created by non-programmers. All of a sudden, solutions can be created and put to use by those closest to business problems. At a time when the future is difficult to plan for, this level of agility will give college IT departments their best chance at delivering solutions for these unique times.

It’s easy to think of low-code as a rip-and-replace substitute for all application development, but in this case, it’s more about enabling university administrators to iterate on their changing admissions application requirements.  It also puts people who are closest to problems in a position to create or at least initiate solutions. But much of the ability to do that corresponds to understanding admissions needs, changing academic requirements, and the available data the school can work with. Even though low-code is much easier than complex development, it still demands time, a plan, and trial-and-error. 

There is no one single system of record that can be used when changes are happening so quickly; colleges typically rely on a variety of different student information management and other types of enterprise planning apps. The key becomes, then, the ability to integrate data from those sources into custom-built apps to serve their changing needs. Speed will be critical to developing these new apps. Schools will not have time for traditional software development cycles, which means non-developers will have to be included in the process of scoping and building apps. 

Learn how colleges like Cal State Stanislaus and Ogden-Weber Technical are using process director and preparing for a post-COVID reopening

Topics: application development case management education COVID19
4 min read

COVID-19 Impacts Higher Ed HR Practices – Workflow Automation Can Help

By BP Logix on May 5, 2020 3:17:09 PM

alex-batchelor-6iAxBlkb8N0-unsplash (1)

Changes happening now in higher education as a result of the coronavirus pandemic are undoubtedly having a major impact on students all across the country. The way they engage with classes and benefit from various services will undergo sweeping changes as social distancing becomes more normalized into every day human behavior. 

There have been hero-like efforts by many who have conceived and delivered short-term solutions; these are the people in IT who have had to integrate systems, build custom apps, and generally drive a completely new face of the university in record time. But their solutions are helping with changes that affect more than just students.

What many may not realize is this: for schools to remain viable and adhere to their mandates, they will need to change their HR practices in order to create a workforce that can deliver the next phase of higher education. To do that will require HR processes that enable them to hire, reassign, and manage the right people to deliver solutions for the new world of higher education.

Agility to meet changing HR needs in higher education

Higher education strategies for HR have typically been built around hiring that’s mapped to long-term growth plans. But in the face of COVID-19, these plans are largely thrown out the window while schools move rapidly to adapt to their new and changing needs. As a result, a new HR playbook must be created.

Some schools have established hiring freezes. Others have reduced staff who were performing outdated functions. Others recognize that they need people who can turn their campuses into innovative engines that can recreate what a university is going to be in the post-COVID world. For some, that means hiring for these roles, while for others, it means reassigning existing staff and faculty. For each of these situations, schools need to develop effective workflows for smooth transitions and ensure they have the staff they need to limit disruption.

All of these situations require some form of organizational orchestration which can be driven by effective workflow automation. At most schools, the goal is to do whatever is necessary to finish out the school year and maintain the effective delivery of classes. But forward-thinking colleges are not only delivering for the short-term. Long-term strategies can wait, but limiting disruption by deploying the right staff is a priority. But it takes more than a checklist to ensure that goals are met. 

Using workflow automation to meet immediate and long-term needs

Staffing changes involve many organizational and personal data. In order to create smooth transitions, these changes must be supported through data from HR information systems and financial applications. This enables a title change or reporting structure to become officially recognized and creates a clear view into an employee’s job description and responsibilities. It means that schools can reallocate employees where they can most be beneficial in meeting new challenges and sets up the college to be agile once a “new normal” begins to take shape. This is clearly important for the college - the HR team is able to quickly adapt as needed. But it also takes into account the issues of privacy of individual staff information.

To make this all happen requires a variety of forms, documents, requests, and decisions to be reviewed and acted on. In a normal environment, the reliance on paper forms and manual intervention for decision-making milestones might be tolerated. But with massive pressure to conserve money and be highly efficient during this time of great change, HR and IT teams have to pull together all these things into an integrated, rapidly moving set of workflows in record time. 

Many BP Logix higher education customers are already using Process Director to handle these types of issues. Schools like the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP)  and Davis Applied Technology College (DATC), near Salt Lake City, cite their ability to be flexible and quickly develop new processes as major advantages of using Process Director’s workflow automation capabilities as core to their foundation.

With a limited budget and vague goals, all college HR and IT teams need to be able to innovate to hire, reassign, and perform other essential tasks related to having an efficiently operating workforce. Process Director delivers capabilities like workflow automation and lightweight application development functionality that enable higher education HR teams to do the following:

  • Rapidly build processes and create forms to collect new and existing HR information housed in existing applications, and to be able to integrate that with updated information from the employees themselves.
  • Create time-dependent milestones that use automated communication and workflow to ensure that the right decision-makers are included.
  •  Efficient approval handling.
  • Insight and visibility into all aspects of processes.

Workflow automation can intelligently apply relevant data from various applications and documents into a shareable profile of each employee. This case management approach provides clarity for all workflows that touch each employee so that important decisions that impact their working situation can be achieved faster and with greater context. Process Director also has native integration with popular HR systems like PeopleSoft and other enterprise apps which makes it easy for non-developer to build workflows with the full complement of various application modules that are relevant to employee management.

COVID-19 has clearly changed all aspects of higher education and will test the ability of university leaders to maintain the viability of their schools. When they are able to build the right school with the right people, colleges and universities will be prepared to meet the demands of the new normal. Through the application of workflow automation, colleges will be equipped to meet both the short-term changes and long-term HR demands required in our changing world.

Learn how colleges like Cal State Stanislaus and Ogden-Weber Technical are using process director and preparing for a post-COVID reopening

Topics: application development case management education
4 min read

Case Management for Student Mental Health

By BP Logix on Mar 31, 2020 10:12:51 AM

Canva - Photo Of People Near Cork Board

College students face a world that is far more complex than it was even 20 years ago. They must navigate more than only their academic environment; the world they’ve grown up in, and the path for a post-college life present challenges that have left many with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Without a doubt, this is a massive issue. Many administrators are applying innovative ways of helping students through individualized care, supported through effective approaches like case management.

Student Mental Health Trends

Emotional and mental health issues like depression and anxiety have become far more prevalent among today’s higher education students, with many feeling that these issues are among the biggest barriers to fully engaging and performing well in school. More than 16% of  students reported that depression had a negative impact on how they performed with academic and social issues, with anxiety impacting more than 24% of students. Mental illness is clearly affecting far more young people, so it’s important for schools to provide mental health support for their students and for students to have opportunities to seek the help they need.

The management of mental and behavioral health requires different processes and the coordination of many people. Effectively administering services has become more sophisticated and requires the input of a broader array of medical and university stakeholders, and more data from a variety of sources. The key is to focus these inputs and resources so they can deliver better outcomes for students in the form of treatment, medical care, intervention, or other avenues. The most effective way of achieving positive results is through applying a case management approach. This provides insights and context for each individual student who is receiving services and treatment.

Mental health case management has to incorporate strategies from multiple fields and departments across the institution. It includes social workers, psychology professionals, and medical doctors, and the information they provide about the student must be centrally collected and accessible so they can collaborate. Despite its complicated nature, best practices for behavioral health case management can be summarized by three guiding principles: individualized care, professional responsibility, and a comprehensive approach to treatment. Each of these is an umbrella under which many aspects of effective case management fall. Let’s look at these in more detail:

Individual student care: Case management takes into account that not all situations are the same. Effective case management must take each client’s unique combination of situations and needs into account. This means being able to pull relevant data from different data repositories to get a comprehensive picture of the student’s situation. It might include:

  • Background: student demographics and personal information from administrative applications can provide a picture of the student’s family situation and support structure.
  • Academic performance: information coming from grades, projects, and reviews may give insight into trends about where, and when, students have been both successful and unsuccessful academically.
  • Medical history: university healthcare and insurance information will provide information about substance abuse, medications, or other factors that might contribute to students’ situations.

Professional responsibility: academic organizations are dealing with very sensitive information, so case managers and social workers need a special kind of discipline. The two most important factors in maintaining a disciplined and responsible approach is through, 1) effective documentation, and 2) patient privacy:

  • Documentation: higher education health professionals and their support staff must maintain accurate, up-to-date records of their clients that are easily accessible when necessary, and can be used in processes that deliver services. While in the past that meant detailed, hand-written notes kept in a physical folder, the transition to digital patient records has facilitated more diligent documentation along with more streamlined coordination of care.
  • Privacy: college and university healthcare providers have to abide by compliance mandates to protect student privacy. A case management approach can ensure guidelines so that patient information is only shared for specific needs and only with student permission. Those guidelines will be used to share information where necessary and permitted, and prevent data from getting into the wrong hands.

Comprehensive approach: successful behavioral health case management requires an understanding of all aspects of a student's life. The right case management solution will connect all relevant providers so as to better integrate clients' medical, social, educational, and vocational information and then apply that information into effective treatment. This treatment may come from university health services, or through contracted arrangements with other providers. But by coordinating through a single case management application, academic organizations have a much better way of achieving the kind of success that’s needed to address very serious problems, and help students become successful.

Case management is a powerful way to enable higher education professionals to be effective contributors to the successful delivery of student health. It also enables integration of relevant data, and timeline-driven workflows that can give professionals visibility into the best courses of action. Case management enables organizations to build and manage digital applications that coordinate the efforts of different groups, yet can connect them all to the same goals. This creates a powerful framework that helps university departments and the power of their IT stack to achieve truly powerful outcomes for students in need.

Process Director can be used to apply a case management approach for student mental health services. It allows schools to integrate data and documents from various applications into a shareable profile of students under care. This provides clarity for all workflows that touch the students during their treatment so that important decisions that impact their mental health can be achieved faster and with greater context.

Topics: application development case management education