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Customers CU Denver

How CU Denver Streamlined Funding Requests with Workflow Automation

Key Results

process

Streamlined processes with 1,800 forms and 17 integrations

money

Increased processing speed of funding requests by 87%

people

Improved communication across departments

Website

http://www.ucdenver.edu/

Industry

Higher Education

Founded

1912

Location

Denver, CO

Size

Large

Use Case

Workflow Automation

Neena Weng’s title at the University of Colorado Denver is Web Services Manager, but she often tells people her unofficial title is problem solver. Her role revolves around identifying and implementing technology that helps solve major problems throughout the university.

The position sits within the Auraria Library, which supports not only CU Denver, but the Metropolitan State University of Denver, and the Community College of Denver as well. The library serves around 42,000 students and 5,000 staff annually.

Weng’s role focuses on transforming inefficient processes in order to save the university time, money, and headaches. She’s incredibly passionate about discovering simple solutions to the library’s toughest problems, which is what brought her to Formstack in 2015. Her original goal was to simply eliminate paperwork and improve processes with online forms. But as time has passed, Formstack has helped CU Denver create robust workflows that are used campus-wide.

The Challenge

Paper-based processes were a big part of campus administrative tasks when CU Denver first came to Formstack. It wasn’t out of the ordinary for paper forms to sit in faculty and staff mailboxes for days, weeks, or sometimes even longer.

“I frequently observed that it took too much time to approve requests,” Weng stated. “We needed to simplify and streamline our processes.”

Those paper forms were difficult to track and would cause confusion when employees sent scanned paper forms to their bosses to be electronically signed. Processes that should take only a week were sometimes taking months. This was especially true for their funding request for professional development form.

“By the time the professional development form was approved, the conference had already passed!” Weng shared.

This form was something that impacted everyone, yet there was no standard process for employees to follow. Once Weng’s team found Formstack, that all changed.

The Fix

Because CU Denver places a large emphasis on employee learning and development, Weng decided to tackle fixing the funding request for professional development form first. In the past, developing new processes and workflows would take Weng and her team months. Thanks to Formstack, it only took a few days.

“I spent less than two days building the form, which includes three steps of workflow approval settings,” Weng remarked.

Using the Workflows add-on, Weng created a dynamic form that flowed across supervisors and departments. She also used the Approvals feature to get the needed approvals in a timely manner. There was no longer a need for paper, and approvals were coming in quicker than ever before. Supervisors especially loved that they now received email notifications about approvals straight to their inbox. Even better, they can approve requests directly from their inbox.

“Formstack is a really thoughtful and very polished product. Out of the box it saved me a lot of time to build a traditional yet complex workflow form,” Weng said. “The Approvals feature is very powerful—we love it! That was the number one reason we jumped on board with Formstack.”

The Outcome

With the new process in place, funding requests were being processed 87% quicker, allowing more employees to fulfill their education goals. To get quick adoption from employees, department heads, and division heads, Weng knew she had to produce education on the new process and how to best utilize Formstack.

“I set up a demo and demonstrated it at the next admin meeting to show them how it makes the process better and holds everyone more accountable,” Weng mentioned.

Soon, word started to spread around the library about how Formstack can transform processes, speed up workflows, and eliminate tedious, paper-based processes. The IT team began receiving invites to many different user group meetings across departments to teach people how to best use Formstack. Weng noted that Formstack provides these teams the freedom and empowerment to transform complicated and inefficient processes, thanks to Formstack’s ease of use and accessibility.

“The bottom line is we want to create processes that are easy and fast,” Weng said. “More departments are reaching out to us and asking, ‘Can we meet to see if we have potential to convert this process into a Formstack workflow?’ That is affirmation that the previous implementations actually worked and helped them.”

In all, CU Denver has transformed their data collection through 1,800 forms, 17 integrations, and multiple features. More than 850 employees access Formstack on a normal basis. Problem-solver Weng continues to investigate challenges and offer up solutions to her teammates using Formstack’s powerful tools.

“The University had the foresight to purchase this product and open this door for us,” Weng stated. “They see the value and a tool they can be proud of.”

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