January 15, 2018 debbie.m

Automatically Better! A Look At Automating Website Functions

SHORPY_8b29345a.previewYour website should be making tasks easier and more efficient — not slowing you down!

Yet this was exactly the problem facing our friends at the Cornell Alumni-Student Mentoring Program (CASMP).

The CASMP program fosters personal and professional relationships between enrolled students and alumni at Cornell University, with over 900 alumni and 2,000 students matched so far. Making an appropriate match requires not only collecting detailed information from applicants, but compliance with security protocols required by the university’s Risk Management Office. The cumbersome process involved an online registration form, answered with a personal reply and waiver form sent via postal mail. Signed waivers had to be returned to CASMP by mail, which were then scanned by an admin and delivered to the Risk Management Office. Missing signatures or errors on the forms, which were not uncommon, required a further round of personal follow-ups for corrections, again via mail. Variance in mail delivery and follow-through from applicants meant that the process typically took a couple weeks at best to complete, and in one case, almost two years! As a result of all the tedium and repetition involved in the application process, registration rates for the program were staying lower than expected.

Sanmita was asked to find ways to streamline the process and make it more efficient. Our expert team was able to quickly assess the site’s functionality and implement automated processes, resulting in dramatic improvements — here’s how we did it:

First, we integrated the registration and waiver functions into a two-step, completely online process. Then we incorporated unique digital signatures assigned to each applicant — this already saved a great deal of time and effort. But we didn’t stop there — we also created a “save” function so the applicant can return to the application process at a later time. Previously, applicants had to create multiple accounts if they had to stop before completing the application. The completed online forms are sent as an email attachment to administrative staff at CASMP, who then forward the waivers to the Office of Risk Management. What used to take weeks to process has now been reduced to minutes.

At Sanmita, we like to say, “Numbers Tell The Story.” As we tracked the progress of the CASMP project, we saw the agreement completion rate for alumni increase from 80% to 100%; for students, the rate more than doubled, from 40% to 100%! And how’s this for the bottom line: CASMP estimated that processing the approximately 450 applications received each year was costing them over $11,000 in administrative time. That cost has been nearly eliminated!

There are lots of ways to automate website functions which can save your organization time and money, and make your site users a whole lot happier. Contact us to see how the experts at Sanmita can make your website automatically better!

 

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