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EDMS (EZD) from the technical side

We are at the final stage of the testing system implementation, and we are preparing formal and legal regulations. (...) At the same time, we are designing the processes on which four project teams are working. This is a huge amount of work, a huge milestone. No one has ever dealt with that so methodically before - says Gabriel Matus, Head of the EDMS project.

Picture of a keyboard

What is the EDMS team working on?

Our task involves learning as much as possible about the product - EDMS, its implementation, training the staff operating the system, and maintaining the system after launching. That includes both technological and substantive support. That means that we will support the staff in case any problems or doubts about how to do things arise. For this purpose, we intend to train a group of employees who are going to support the remaining staff.

What does it mean in practice?

We need to build a testing system, and we are doing it now. The system will help all end users – WUT employees – to learn. Considering the type of the carried-out work and the modular structure of the system, its users are divided depending on the level of authorisation, and, consequently, the necessity to have the right competencies. We are at the final stage of the testing system implementation, and we are preparing formal and legal regulations. We should agree on the content of some of those documents with external institutions, like office instructions and Uniform Subjective File Index (USFI) with National Archives.  We will not be able to put the production of EDMS into operation.  At the same time, we are designing the processes on which four project teams are working (including the team headed by Agnieszka Gawrońska-Chrobak, an interview with whom you can read here – editor). This is a huge amount of work, a huge milestone. No one has ever dealt with that so methodically before. The teams are working on cataloguing the processes and then their substantive description utilising professional tools in a formula prepared by Professor Agnieszka Bitkowska. Professor Bitkowska goes through the material prepared by the teams and then necessary corrections are introduced until the final result meets the previously specified requirements.

So why are the processes so precisely described?

Because we get the whole picture of how things are done at the university, for instance, we can find out that a certain action in process “x” is unjustified, and another action is missing, which breaches the compliance with the higher-order regulations. A detailed process description will show what human resources we need to implement the processes, what tools, and whether we act following the applicable laws.

Let me ask provocatively. Why do we need EDMS? We have USOS, SAP, or Microsoft. Isn’t that enough?

If you do not move forward, you regress. Now, we use the above-mentioned tools in only a small part of the processes in electronic format.  Secondly, we do not operate electronic documentation management at all. As a result, we still have an internal post system in operation, involving walking from building to building, visiting individual rooms, and distributing the post or collecting signatures on certain documents. EDMS is a system facilitating electronic documentation of things. All things. It facilitates managing the documents at every stage, to start with the incoming post, its qualification using the USFI of the received document, its definition, and, finally, sending documents to the external recipients. Naturally, archiving should not be missed. EDMS will help us eliminate paper circulation, although not completely because there will remain some issues, which due to their character, may not be processed through EDMS. Besides, currently, some processes are carried out electronically on the SAP platform or in the USOS system. The number is constantly growing but it will never be possible to skip EDMS. That means that all or most of the incoming correspondence will be converted from paper into digital format and will circulate as such at WUT, to end up archived or leave the university in electronic or paper format if that is required by the recipient.

When do we start working with the new system?

According to the timetable, the productive implementation is planned for late November 2021. Those are the assumptions.  We will do our best to meet this deadline. However, we must consider a training series for the employees who are going to operate the system. We are not talking about a few people, but a few thousand people. Employees have a different level of experience and may not always be available due to professional duties. Those factors may affect, although not necessarily, the assumed deadline. We are aware of that. When launching the SAP system, we came across certain issues prolonging our work. For this reason, we prepared the EDMS timetable with a margin of tolerance. For the time being, all is going according to the plan, and we are striving to keep it like that.

When do you plan the employee training?

First, the WSE Competence Centre, which supports us, will train our internal expert employees, who will later train the other employees. We do not have a training timetable yet because, first, the WSE must state that the system we implemented is complete and properly operating. This is because the training must be carried out in our system. This is an additional advantage to us since the training in our test system is a form of extending its testing phase. The more people will work on the system, the greater the chance of spotting some irregularities.

Did you come across any problems during your work?

This is still ahead of us. Changes always provoke unwillingness. We know that all employees want the introduction of EDMS, and the pandemic only sped it up. I guess that for the time being, they do not think the introduction of EDMS means the necessity to learn about the system, gain new competence, and study. On top of that, there is the need to adapt to a different manner of working and limiting direct contact, which I think might be problematic.