Let me start with a disclaimer, —- I don´t like baby steps, to me they usually end up in medocre solutions, I would rather fail at doing something really big and thus set the stage for someone else to do something significant by learning from my failure. However, sometimes, baby steps have their place – to set things in motion so here we go.
While many CEOs now find it trendy to talk about how their organization is using IT, that typically means that there is Internet access and some dysfunctional website which is rarely updated. Sometimes i must admit, these organizations are overwhelmed by the complex solutions we in IT try to pitch. Here are a few very uncomplicated things any serious organization can start doing now …. especially higher institutions in developing countries:
1. Put a PDF copy of every major form used in the organization online. Yes forms are the instruments of bureacracy and in most institutions, there is rarely a process that doesn´t use a form or another. In my experience, sometimes, there are no copies of these forms available or a copy that has been photocopied so many times it is illegible. So just make fresh copies and put them online in PDF — a fresh one is there for anyone to download and print. Going a step further, each form should have accompanying instructions for how to fill it, who to send it to and what else to bring along when submitting the form.
In the future, this could evolve to the ability for students, employees, customers to fill and submit these forms directly online.
2. Put soft copies of popular literature online – employee handbook, procedures for doing certain things, etc. Not to complicate issues (some of those documents might not be for public consumption), only put non-sentive information online.
This shall in the future evolve to an intranet or private part of the website accessible only to users that login, depending on their credentials.
3. Soft copies of all lectur notes (of course lecturers who simply pass of their old student notes or shamelessly copy other´s notes may resist this , slides, lab manuals etc that students use. I had the terrible experience of having to read notes that I could barely see [50th generation photocopies].
In the future, this shall evolve towards a full-blown Learning Management System (like Moodle).
4. Official lists of the institution eg Admission lists and why year books? (So now any organization can fish out those that falsely claim to have finished from one university)
In the future, this shall evolve to online applications for applying for admission online, online registration, e-transcripts and to enable third parties authenticate certificates against forgery.
5. Payslips should be sent to employee´s email accounts (even if they are still using free webmail for now .. the ideal will be all employees use the institutions email system)
These things are easy, cheap and don´t require any contractors so COME ON!!