Like many colleges and universities across the globe, the Finance and Information Services teams at the University of Regina spent years maintaining their own homegrown systems to manage scanned images of financial documents like invoices and journal entries. U of R, a Millennium client and FAST user since 2001, reached out to our technical support team in 2019 to see if it was possible to streamline their processes by importing external images directly into FAST’s Document Management system as part of a larger system-wide upgrade project plan. The team at Millennium, led by Warren Weicker, worked to assist them with a mass document migration project in order to streamline document management and boost access security.
After ample collaboration and lots of testing and programming, U of R was able to implement the FAST Document Management functionality by migrating more than 460,000 document images and approximately 130GB of data into the FAST Oracle database and off of their shared network hard drive. Prior to this migration, certain staff with access to this network drive had been able to view any invoice or journal entry image. After the migration, U of R was able to utilize FAST’s multiple layers of security to ensure that the appropriate staff had access to the correct documents.
To learn more about the project, I met with U of R employees, Maureen Voss, Director of Financial Reporting, and Laurie Crowle, Project Manager and Business Analyst for Information Services, and with Warren Weicker, FAST’s Senior Developer and Architect/Client Technical Support.
According to Voss, “this project 100% simplifies everything.”
She described how prior to the mass document load project, the system used to index images to the Banner document number would break every time an indexer’s computer or Adobe software was upgraded. “We constantly had IS technicians out here fixing our document management system,” commented Voss. Calling up the scanned image in FAST was also more time consuming. When faculty or staff needed to locate a scanned image, they would have to drill into each document one at a time to see if an image was there, then drill down again. FAST would then log into the network server and bring back the image.
In the new process, faculty and staff can tell immediately that a document is present, and with one click, quickly call up the image. The indexing staff can run a “missing attachments” report specially created by Weicker to find documents waiting for an image, and can simply drag and drop the newly scanned image file into the FAST document attachment control.
Crowle described how implementation of the FAST mass document project will reduce FAST’s impact on the IS department. At FAST upgrade time, the in-house created coding embedded in FAST Classic that allowed the image to be called up in FAST would need to be reviewed and tested, making upgrade projects much more complex. Crowle thinks that when they perform future system upgrades, they will need one less IS member on their project team now. Additionally, Crowle reported that, because all of the images are now stored in FAST, Information Services will require less succession planning. She explained that with the legacy system gone “we don’t have to worry about maintaining historical expertise and knowledge because it’s all managed in FAST.”
The mass document load project is an example of how the Millennium team strives to support the unique challenges and opportunities for our clients. We are proud and excited to work with the University of Regina to allow them to decommission their legacy homegrown system, move their historic image data into the FAST database, streamline their processes, and allow them to move onto the next phase of their system-wide upgrade.