Miami-Dade Public School District Eliminates Paper and Cuts Event Approval Time in Half
CLIENT: Keisha Johnson Cabrera, Director of Facilities Rentals
GEOGRAPHY: Miami, FL
VITALS: 435 schools in district, 350 schools tracked in system; 370,600+ students; 1.5+ years using Dude Solutions Event Management software
CHALLENGES: With a shortage of staff, the department was overloaded with paper documents to sort through, extending the time involved in the event process and leaving them with little data.
RESULTS: Now that the event process has been streamlined, the team has said goodbye to paper stacks and gotten buy-in from leadership thanks to being able to share data.
FAST STATS: 28,246 events held in 2017; Event approval time reduced by 50 percent
Not long ago, you would have thought Keisha Johnson Cabrera’s office was a paper mill. As Director of Facilities Rentals for Miami-Dade Public Schools, her desk was rarely seen without stacks of papers used as part of the district’s event approval process. At that point, their event request forms were paper only and the entire process was done manually. They were short on staff and time, and sitting down to send out invoices and confirmations personally or track down each requester’s documents was becoming tedious. Adding to that was the fact that their many file cabinets were filling up, and if you needed a specific document that had been filed incorrectly, you were out of luck.
It wasn’t just that their paper process was inconvenient, though — the main issue was that it wasn’t effective. They had little-to-no way to see how much money they were giving to different organizations and how much they were bringing in. Without this data in front of them, they had no real way to gauge how they were doing or make informed changes to improve their process. Realizing that their paper usage wasn’t sustainable, they began taking a serious look at their event software options.
When Keisha and her team found Dude Solutions, they felt the software was a good fit from the start. “I knew you didn’t write it for us, but it felt like it was...The way they structured it all made it feel very comfortable, very workable,” said Keisha about how customizable the solution was for her needs.
What took their implementation of Dude Solutions Event Management software to the next level was their use of a Dude advocate. Keisha and her team opted for an advocacy program, meaning Dude expert Chris Shirley traveled to Miami and set up shop with Keisha. He helped the department through implementation, offering in-person guidance on how to customize the solution to their unique requirements and see the results they were after. Since Keisha was running a department of just three team members, only two of which were full-time, having the extra help getting up and running proved highly valuable.
Speaking of her decision to use Dude advocates, she said, “If you want a person to come in and do all your heavy lifting, this is it...I call Chris with a question and he’s like ‘Okay, this is what we’re going to do’...So I get to focus on my work. To get these things done with no heavy lifting, I love it.”
At around six months in, they really started to see the value. It was at this time that district leadership wanted to see the results, and for the first time, Keisha was able to show them the data. They were finally starting to see the impact: real data, dwindling paper stacks and positive feedback coming in. “It’s not just efficient — it’s super efficient,” Keisha laughs.
When asked about the short and long-term effects of having event software, she reported:
- The event approval process has decreased from 15-20 days to just 5-12
- The department is no longer reliant on paper
- They're able to look up invoice or scheduling information within a few clicks
- Getting to share reports with stakeholders
- Having the ability to relay profit sharing with schools
- Being able to easily pull documents needed from the server
- Revisiting fees based on data, such as utility costs
- Owning data that enables them to see which customers are coming back and which aren't - and why - so they can make informed decisions
“If you’re going from a paper-based program, what’s taking you so long? If you need the data, what’s taking you so long?” Keisha advises other facility scheduling departments that haven’t invested in proper event management software. “If you want answers to any of these questions about utilization of your facilities, if you want to be super efficient, if you want all this stuff in one place, if you want to get out of the paper business, what’s taking you so long?”