Why Schools Should Stopped Relying on Manual Processes?

 The disadvantages of not using school management software

Processes are present in every organization in order to ensure its smooth and steady functioning. They might or might not be defined, however, without them any organization – even an educational institution like a school or college – would fall apart.

Processes can broadly be divided into two categories – manual processes and automated processes. Usually, modern organizations, like schools and colleges, use a combination of both types of processes in their day to day functioning.

We explore both types of processes in greater detail below:

What are the manual processes?

Manual processes refer to an internal process at a school or college that does not rely on people or human labor or pen and paper to be completed. Earlier, most processes in any organization, including educational institutions, were manual processes. A good example of manual processes is when employees file claims with the accounts department for reimbursements. This usually involves filling in the reimbursement claim form, attaching all bills and particulars, submitting it to accounts, receiving an acknowledgment of submission, following up in person or through the post, etc before the claims are cleared.

Automated processes are merely digitized or electronic versions of the manual process that cuts down on human intervention, time is taken to accomplish this process in the usual way, and the overheads involved, such as paper and other materials. Automated processes are also self-motivated after they have been initiated they rarely need human action until completion. Automated processes usually feature in a school management software that is being used to manage processes in the school or college.

For instance, an automated version of the example given above – employees filing reimbursement claims – will involve an employee using the school management software to request a reimbursement, sharing supporting documents electronically from their device, even if remote, and then the software processing the reimbursement once it has been approved. This process is far less cumbersome than the previous manual process.

It is clear that automated processes have taken over most schools and colleges due to the inadequacies of manual processes. Below we discuss the disadvantages of manual processes that should encourage schools and colleges to allow automated processes to replace their obsolete ones:

What are the disadvantages of manual processes at school?

1. Time-consuming process

One of the key disadvantages of manual processes is the sheer amount of time they take to be performed and to be completed. Manual processes simply take longer than the lightning speed of automated processes being performed by a computer using school management software. For instance, it will take a human accountant much longer to calculate payroll, compared to payroll software or a payroll plugin or feature in a school management software.

2. Increase in paper usage

Paper is both an environmental and financial sinkhole. As we go through global environmental crises, it is important for systemic push backs to be implemented in order to save our earth. Part of this is making real efforts at reducing the amount of paper we consume on a daily basis in order to reduce deforestation. Educational institutions, especially, are huge consumers of paper and paper products. If we are able to reduce our dependence on paper and paper products by eliminating manual processes we might be able to make a significant difference. Paper and paper products are also a huge portion of many school’s bottom lines. Simply put, the paper is expensive and trying to reduce our use of it by switching to automated processes from manual processes are a way to help cut costs on a system level.

3. Prone to error

Humans are extremely fallible which means the work they also do is not perfect. Manual processes rely on humans entirely, which means that they are prone to error. For instance, a simple mistake of data entry on the part of a human accountant while entering figures can result in a dramatically different bottom line and understanding of the final health of the school. Similarly, a simple misplacing of admission application for a potential student can result in the loss of a scholar for an educational institution. This is not the case with automated processes that follow a set of pre-defined rules and thus merely stop working instead of producing costly or time-consuming errors that need to be fixed. Switching to automated processes thus reduces the error rate for processes in a school or college.

For instance, an automated accounting process records numbers and performs calculations automatically. Flags can also be set up for incorrect variables entered into specific fields in case of human data entry. Admission applications are all automatically collated and stored on school errors which means that no child is left behind. One of the key advantages of automated processes, thus, is a dramatic reduction in how error-prone a school or college is towards its stakeholders.

4. Less safe and secure

Manual processes are performed by humans and subject to human security measures such as a locked cupboard or the ethics of humans not looking at confidential information. In these times, it is important to accord data privacy and security its rightful place. In this sense, manual processes will always be vulnerable to the fallibility of humans. Automated processes, on the other hand, usually require permissions to access and administer. They are also present in school management software than generally assigns handles to each user, adjusts permissions accordingly, and tracks usage and history so users are automatically held accountable. Data is also secure due to in-built security measures and privacy settings like passwords and permissions.

In these days of heightened security concerns, it is important to especially protect one of our most vulnerable stakeholders in the educational ecosystem – the students. Not everyone can be trusted with personal and private information such as student medical details, transport details or even personal information like addresses and contact information. Unfortunately, with manual storage of such information, access to it is easy. With automated processes that focus on storage however, such information can be limited in terms of access through the judicious use of passwords and permissions.

5. Cost Inflation

cost inflation

Manual processes are very heavy on the bottom line primarily because of the associated labor and overhead costs. Unfortunately, such costs are also recurring which means that they are perpetual in nature since it is unlikely for all such manual processes to be reduced or eliminated. Instead of hoping for such an eventuality, it might be more prudent to have automated processes take over the role of manual processes in your school or college. This is because while automated processes that are part of, say, a school management software, have an initial investment, they pay off over time by reducing labor and overheads costs on the school. They also rarely have recurring costs associated with it – instead, they continue functioning without interference for years.

6. Decrease Productivity of Employees

Processes are one of the most mentally taxing, tiring, and time-consuming experiences for any employee. While process work is unavoidable in a school, one cannot deny the impact they have on the energy, time, and morale of employees, no matter how small a part they are of an employee’s day to day job. Most employees would rather offload the responsibility of administrative or processing work so that they can focus on their core responsibilities and be more productive where they are most valuable.

7. Limited Access to Reports and Data

reports and data

Processes are a valuable storehouse of information and data on how employees function over long periods of time. Such data allows employees to better streamline their work, management to provide necessary support and resources and for the school or college to just overall start functioning more efficiently One of the most frustrating things about manual processes is the inability to use this readymade knowledge in order to inform future decision making that could increase overall inefficiency. Automated processes, however, as a part of school management software automatically collects this information in the background as it performs its assigned tasks. Everything from timelines, actions taken, issues run into as a certain task is performed is automatically recorded and most school management software also generates reports about the same. Such reports can help inform decision making by a school at both the micro and macro level resulting in improvements in efficiency, finances and just overall functioning of the school.

8. Long Queues

Who likes standing in a queue? Manual processes by their very nature demand human presence and engagement, resulting in situations where there are often masses of people attempting to finish the same process at the same point. Anyone who has stood in line to collect an admission form, to make a fee payment, or to find out examination results is familiar with this phenomenon. Automated processes do away with this obsolete issue once and for all since they allow for such tasks to be performed by authorized users remotely – from anywhere at any time and from any device. This means the permanent reduction of masses of overwhelming people to perform simple tasks and a consequent reduction in pressure and stress on employees and an already overworked infrastructure.

9. Less Adaptable

By their very nature, manual processes become more about habit than efficiency. This means that they are not as quick to adapt since they rely on individual behavioral change as well as institutional change at an organizational level, Conversely, automated processes can be easily making them dynamic beasts that are responsive to change. This means that your school or college’s internal processes will always be relevant to the way modern institutions function these days and actually be relevant to the ever-evolving and changing needs of students, teachers, employees, administrators, and management.

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