Why Low-Code?

SUNY Cortland, one of New York’s top public universities and a Naviant client, has spent the past 16+ years using OnBase to manage its documents. But Chris Tucker, Manager of Property Control & Duplication Services at SUNY Cortland, has been able to extend the OnBase solution’s value even further. Chris is an OnBase System Administrator passionate about solving the problems he sees around him with “outside of the box” ideas. His favorite tool to achieve this: OnBase WorkView. Chris has used OnBase WorkView to discover 15+ low code use cases that have solved a variety of issues in departments across SUNY-Cortland, including:

  • Accounts Payable
  • Admissions
  • Athletics
  • Facilities Planning
  • Finance
  • Human Resources/Payroll
  • Property Control
  • Purchasing
  • Student Accounts

WorkView’s approach to application development uses platform-based visual design elements like drop-down menus, checkboxes, and radio buttons without the need for custom coding or specialized skills. As a result, you can easily develop, update, and deliver applications within hours instead of days, weeks, or months. Additionally, Chris has found that this technology can enable remote work for many processes, which has improved the employee experience.

To inspire others to find creative solutions to problems using WorkView, Chris shared a few of his favorite applications and how they’re making a difference across the SUNY Cortland campus.

How SUNY-Cortland Solves Problems Campus-Wide Using OnBase Low-Code Applications

SUNY Cortland’s Top 3 OnBase Low Code Use Cases

1. The Admissions Travel Calendar Application

The Challenge

Chris Tucker’s first low-code application solved a workplace frustration experienced by Jillian Tucker, the Assistant Director of Admissions. The Admissions Department relied on a travel calendar system consisting of an Excel spreadsheet on a shared network. Since admissions counselors travel 6-8 weeks every spring and fall, they regularly viewed and updated the spreadsheet remotely. But because the spreadsheet was saved on a shared network, updates often didn’t save in real time, counselors couldn’t interact with the file simultaneously, and it was easy to accidentally create multiple versions of the file.

Knowing that WorkView has a calendar feature, Chris felt confident he could solve this problem using OnBase. He got more information about the spreadsheet and how it was used and by the next morning, he started building a solution. Within a few hours, he already had a working application up and running. He and Jillian Tucker then tested it, made a few tweaks, and by noon, the application was finalized, and the Admissions department began using it. 7+ years later, this application is still used daily, and Chris has only needed to make a few minor updates.

“Counselors use this application every spring and fall, and it’s become a key piece of the puzzle. I’m not kidding when I tell you I spent about four hours creating this, and it still works some seven years later. It’s just incredible how this system continues to work with no maintenance. I’m just blown away by how we don’t have outages or anything like that, it just continues to work day after day, and that’s just huge.” -Chris Tucker, Manager of Property Control & Duplication Services, SUNY Cortland

How the Travel Calendar Application Works

The Admissions Office receives either a paper or electronic event invitation, which is scanned or imported into OnBase. This creates the record in OnBase via the WorkView application and on the calendar. During that event’s life, several changes can be made to its record, including:

  • Whether staff are planning to register
  • Which staff are assigned to the event
  • Which vehicle they will use to get to the event, or if a rental vehicle is necessary
  • Whether they need mobile access to OnBase during the event
  • Post-event evaluations written by counselors
  • Whether meals are provided
  • Parking information
  • Whether there was a higher prevalence of certain majors at the event
  • A detailed history of all the updates that have been made to the record and who made what changes

Whenever one of these changes occurs, all counselors assigned to the event receive a notification. In addition to the records table view, counselors have access to a calendar view. The calendar view lets them view the entire month on one page, with each event’s title and assigned counselor’s name. They can then click on the event posting to view the event’s record for more information.

“The biggest single benefit to travel in WorkView is the calendar feature and being able to identify scheduling conflicts immediately. WorkView also adds the ability to communicate schedule changes associated with particular events to staff in real-time.” – M. Johnson, Associate Director of Admissions

The Benefits

This application has saved employees time since they no longer need to dig through multiple file versions to find information. It has also significantly boosted the calendar’s accuracy since only one version exists. Counselors have also enjoyed the convenience of accessing the calendar on the road or while working from home. They can trust that all updates will be saved in real-time, even if other counselors are in the calendar simultaneously. The history component has also helped staff because if a cell in the record gets deleted, it’s easy to go back and see its previous value. Finally, this application has made it much easier for counselors to plan their schedules. Even though there are 4,800 records in the system, OnBase makes it easy to find the event you’re looking for, get accurate information, and prioritize accordingly.

“The WorkView travel application took us from a cumbersome paper process to a cleaner, more efficient paperless process. An additional perk is data retention. We used to discard paper travel invitations and paperwork after every cycle and relied on staff feedback for detailed historical knowledge of annual events. Now we have the ability to access event information from many years prior for planning purposes – i.e. Is dinner offered with this event? Where is the best place to park?” – Jillian Tucker, Assistant Director of Admissions, SUNY Cortland

2. Records Retention Application

The Challenge

When SUNY Cortland initially implemented OnBase, their solution did not include a records retention feature. Several years later, when the team decided to add records retention to their solution, the records piled up significantly. Chris knew that sorting through each record, contacting its office to determine its respective retention policy, and inputting the data into OnBase would be extremely time-consuming. He also knew it would be difficult to stay organized, given all the different offices, document types, and scenarios involved. To streamline the process and keep the project on track, he decided to turn to OnBase WorkView.

How the Records Retention Application Works

The application holds all the records across the different offices on the SUNY Cortland campus. Each record has a variety of key fields that display data like the record’s respective departments and contacts and its retention schedule. One of the most important fields is the “last update” field, which informs users of the last time the record was updated and what changes occurred. It also states whether the record’s retention policy has been assigned yet. This field lets Chris and his team know if they’ve already contacted and heard back from a record’s respective office. If the answer is no, the application makes it easy to export all data relevant to the record and email it to the respective office so they can determine the appropriate retention policy.

The Benefits

This application has helped Chris and his team stay organized. Having a centralized system with easy-to-spot key fields makes it easy for staff to locate records and track their progress. Additionally, the application’s history feature has boosted compliance and made the auditing process much faster and easier since they have a complete audit trail of all changes made to the records, why they occurred, and the certificate of destruction. The application has also saved the team time because the export and email features make it easy and convenient to delegate retention policy decisions to the offices.

Once all records’ retention policies and data are applied, Chris plans to continue to use the application to sort and update records as needed. He believes this long-term use will let the university continue enjoying the compliance benefits. He also plans to expand the present OnBase document types beyond the ones already input into the system so that all records live in a single system.

“WorkView just works, it’s so efficient. The low-code no-code really is for real. To be able to develop something like that and get it right basically the first time and have it last is valuable.” – Chris Tucker, Manager of Property Control & Duplication Services, SUNY Cortland

3. Property Control and Capital Equipment Planning

The Challenge

As Manager of Property Control, Chris manages SUNY Cortland’s 45 96-gallon shredding bins, 87 copy machines, and other equipment used across the campus. However, Chris faced the biggest challenges surrounding the shredding bins and copy machines.

Previously, if an employee reported a full shredding bin, Chris put in a work order for it to be replaced with an empty one. But without a standardized system for assigning bins and tracking their locations, Chris often found that he had fewer empty bins in storage than expected. This problem was the result of employees on another team distributing bins without putting in an official work order.

When it came to copy machines, Chris needed to physically visit them to know if a machine needed repairs or was low on toner. As a result, it was difficult to anticipate repair and maintenance needs until the problems became urgent.

How the Property Control and Capital Equipment Planning Application Works

To fix the shredding bin problem, Chris made a database in WorkView. He then affixed an asset number to each physical bin that matched its record in the application. He also introduced the new system to the team of employees who had been distributing bins themselves to ensure they wouldn’t do so unless a work order called for a bin with a specific asset number.

SUNY Cortland’s copy machine fleet is also housed in a WorkView database with information regarding their models and locations. Chris even put in hyperlinks for each machine that takes you to an external website that shows real-time information about each machine. As a result, he can remotely monitor each machine’s meter reading, if it’s low on toner, and he can even change fax machine information as needed.

In addition to shredding bins and copy machines, Chris has used WorkView to better organize SUNY Cortland’s other equipment. And you guessed it, this equipment also lives in a WorkView database. Each item is sorted by its respective equipment manager. Having this information readily available means that Chris can easily contact each piece of equipment’s owner with questions and updates. For example, at the beginning of an academic year, Chris can pull a list of equipment currently used by the School of Arts and Sciences. He can then email the list to the Dean of Arts and Sciences and ask if any replacements, repairs, or additional equipment is needed. Then, he adds these updates to the WorkView application and arranges for the necessary maintenance.

The Benefits

These WorkView applications have helped Chris organize and manage SUNY Cortland’s equipment more effectively. They’ve helped him track machines’ locations, easily access information related to them, and in the case of copy machines, remotely monitor their maintenance needs. As a result, Chris can spend less time tracking down equipment and provide faster service to the people who rely on this equipment daily.

Endless Possibilities for Efficiency

Looking to the future, Chris predicts that there will be many more process-enhancing WorkView applications to come. He believes this technology’s immense value will only become an even greater asset for organizations as remote work becomes increasingly pervasive and organizations move further from paper.

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About Kara

As a Naviant Content Writer since 2019, Kara is passionate about helping organizations unleash the power of technology to solve their business challenges. In her weekly articles, Kara breaks down the latest research, trends, and tips in the digital transformation world, specializing in intelligent automation, the cloud, AP & HR automation, artificial intelligence, change management, and more. She is also a Copywriter for the American Marketing Association-Madison, where she contributes bimonthly articles that interview industry experts and highlight the latest marketing trends. When she’s not writing, Kara is working on her latest art project, scoping out new music, or out for a run.