Case Study: University of Tennessee at Martin

Each year, the University of Tennessee Martin (UTM) Business Affairs department had the task of taking incoming student’ ID pictures and processing them during orientation. It’s a busy time of year, and as new students flood the campus and old ones return, office administration tasks are the last thing on anyone’s mind.

The method the school had been using was to set up six digital camera stations during orientation, each one manned by an employee. Students would be sent to the photo stations during registration, with a goal of approximately 300 ID photos taken within a short amount of time. The pictures would be processed and uploaded to the school’s ID card program, CBORD, and the cards would be printed later that day.

Students would then go back to the registration area, line up by the photo stations and wait for their cards to be handed out. It’s a time when students should have been exploring campus or spending time with their families, but they were spending it waiting in line. It was also time that the administration be used for something else, so this was inconvenient for both the school and the students. Then they found PerfectForms.

Mike Abney, process improvement facilitator of the University of Tennessee Martin, said that “With PerfectForms, we took an entire department paperless – automating 20 processes in 2 weeks with just one resource!”

Mike Abney had spent 23 years in IT support services with the school when he was named to the newly created position of process improvement facilitator. With a low cost of just $360 a year for a full user license, he found PerfectForms was the solution he needed. He was looking for a SaaS offering used to develop form-heavy web applications that could be tailored to the needs of business users with no prior knowledge of programming. Because of our ease of use, power and affordability, he chose PerfectForms.

With the PerfectForms form software, the school did away with its old system and automated the entire student ID process. Instead of standing in line for hours, students can go online to request their ID before they even arrive on campus and upload their own photo. If a student forgets to register for an ID, the system detects this and automatically e-mails them, asking for a photo. The entire process is now completed before move-in day, and the students have their ID cards waiting for them when they arrive.

This saves not only time and hassle, but it eliminated the cost of hiring photographers and staging photo areas. The school now even has student assistants who supervise the process, freeing up regular staff for other projects.

The university’s new system actually took first prize at the Professional Development Group’s First Annual Best Practices Awards. This award recognizes colleges that implement the best and easiest to manage programs that save money for the school.

That award let Mike Abney know he was on the right path. It was only the beginning of hundreds of processes across campus that his team would automate. He has now involved the enrollment and admissions process, plus student vaccination forms and purchasing forms.


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