Whether it's an elementary school with fewer than 100 students or a huge district serving tens of thousands, the time is now for educational institutions to start implementing document management strategies at every level.

The fact is that, at this point, many are already collecting student data and storing it digitally, but if they don't have a plan for how they manage, access and safeguard it, this could lead to some serious issues, according to Open Access Government. While some may want to move to entirely paperless processes – at least behind the scenes; doing so in the classroom may be a sight more difficult – that would require significant buy-in at every level of the organization, and also necessitate the use of automated workflows to make sure the people who need access to student records have it on-demand.

Why it's necessary
A look behind the scenes at just about any school that's been around for decades or more uncovers the use case for backlog digitization: There are likely several or more filing cabinets brimming with student documents dating back years, taking up a lot of space and making pulling any needed data a time-consuming chore, the report said. With a high-volume scanner and proper strategy, these issues become a thing of the past, and additional layers of security come into the picture as a matter of course.

Getting it right
These needs are certainly what seem to have prompted Marion County, Florida, recently began the task of scanning its decades worth of school files, according to the Ocala Star Banner. With the right investments, the district has set about scanning some 9 million pages of older student and employee data, in addition to having scanned new files beginning in May 2018.

With such a large task, it should come as no surprise that this is expected to be a multi-year project, with Marion County Public School officials saying they hope the job is completed by 2024, the report said.

Schools that are considering taking a similar leap may need to carefully examine how to do so, as a means of ensuring they lay out the right path for themselves on what could be a long-term concern.