Transactional Content Management – a catalyst for business process improvement

Despite the massive amounts of investments made in information technology there is still a need for businesses and organizations to continually ask the following questions on four main strategic business drivers:

  1. Reduce Costs: How can we complete “X” process in less time and with less cost and less labor?
  2. Increase Revenue: What can be done to improve the customer experience while shortening the sales cycle and improving our gross margins?
  3. Risk & Compliance: What must be in place in order to prevent unauthorized access and/or actions to our systems and data? What ability do we have to audit and report on the activities within the system?
  4. Competitive Advantage: What can be done to give our customers a “WOW” experience? What can be done to reduce the time from sales order-to-cash to improve self-funding our growth?

The strategic business drivers listed above when reduced down to their basic elements often translate into some type of process that is driven by documents and data. There are many systems that help affect this change like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM); however, they can often times fall short because they are great at processing data, they just aren’t equipped to deal with documents like an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system.

What is Enterprise Content Management or ECM? The Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) Continue reading

Converging Mobility with Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

In a recent report, IDC predicts 87% of connected devices by 2017 will be tablets and smartphones.  In the same report, it is predicted that the purchase and use of PCs will drop from 28.7% to 13% by 2017.Worldwide-Smart-Connected-Device-Forecast-Market-Share-by-Product-Category-2012-2017-iCharts

What does this trend data really mean?  Well, for starters, it might mean that more people will be playing Angry Birds than ever before.  From a business point-of-view, tablets and smartphones are both disruptive and viewed like a Swiss Army Knife:  a single device that can do many things.  However, with these mobile devices, there is both the opportunity for rewards and the potential for risks.  It makes no difference if the mobile device is provided by your employer or is a BYOD situation.  On the whole, the same rules apply; however, there are some nuances about BYOD that invite additional risks to be mitigated. Continue reading

I Am Not a Fan of the Cliché

I am not a fan of the cliché “Best Business Practices”. It is a very over used term and seems to imply there is some magic solution out there that will make everything better. The truth be known, best business practice is leveraging knowledge gained through experience at someone else’s expense. Why would you reinvent the wheel if someone has already figured it out? You wouldn’t. Many times I see companies selling software to customers for the sake of selling something, only to have it sit on a shelf and collect dust.

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AP and Government: Explore Your ECM Solutions

Join ImageSource’s VP of Product Development, Randy Weakly, as he presents solutions for automating and improving your processing methods.

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Paperless Processes: Capturing Documents of All Types

Paper-Wars2013-Cover

AIIM – Winning the Paper Wars

I found the latest research paper from AIIMWinning the Paper Wars – capture the content and mobilize the process troops.”  to be an interesting read, especially since I have seen many of the points discussed when working with our customers—specifically with growth areas in mobile capture, OCR, BPM/Workflow and AP/AR processes.

I am happy to say that the report addressed not just scanning paper records but also looked at the hundreds/ thousands of external paper documents that flow into a company every day.

At ImageSource we help address capture via ILINX Capture®  Many of our customers have experienced progress towards “paper-free processes” and are achieving payback of their investment. If you are looking at addressing some of the issues that were discussed in the report – feel free to reach out to ImageSource…or me…

Megan Lane
Inside Sales Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.

ImageSource: A Fujitsu Premier Partner X 9

Fujistsu_PP_2012

Fujitsu Premier Partner of the Year

In June, ImageSource was named Premier Partner of the Year, 2012 for the Western Region by Fujitsu Computer Products of America. This marks a whopping ninth time ImageSource has earned this status.

You could say, without question, that ImageSource likes Fujitsu scanners. We like them because Fujitsu invests in R & D and quality control to ensure an exceptional product line that continually evolves to meet the demands of an ever changing capture landscape.
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300 Million Pounds of Frozen Vegetables

If you haven’t seen our National Frozen Foods customer success video yet, take a break for less than 3 minutes and see how this corporation that produces over 300 million pounds of frozen vegetables a year utilizes their Enterprise Content Management system to increase their business efficiencies.

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Oracle ECM 11g and Accounts Payable – Integrating Technologies

Accounts Payable is a document intense department with complicated workflows and approval processes. Although our world today is going digital, AP departments are still bogged down by a majority of documents (purchase orders, invoices and supporting documentation) coming in paper form followed by manual routing and approval processes,  keyed data entry to the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, and the physical filing and storage of documents.

While ERP systems handle the information they are designed to process very well, they do not have the capacity to manage data and images simultaneously or perform complicated workflows.  By automating the entire AP process organizations can reduce labor requirements, lessen storage costs, decrease late fees, increase early pay discounts and improve vendor satisfaction.  And because Accounts Payable touches almost every department it is a great launch pad for ECM technology providing a large impact on the organizational business processes and substantial ROI.

ImageSource is an ECM integrator with vast experience implementing Accounts Payable Solutions and an industry leader in implementing the Oracle 11g technology.  Most recently we completed a project for a large manufacturing company integrating Oracle 11g ECM technology with the Accounts Payable system, Oracle Enterprise Business Suite.  As a manufacturer poised for growth due to multiple acquisitions, they were looking for a solution that could handle the increase in invoices without increasing staff.

With Oracle EBS already in place, Oracle 11g was the perfect ECM solution. Oracle’s Solution Accelerator enables such a tightly coupled integration that it makes the two technologies ideal for integration. The result is an Accounts Payable system that has provided an efficient system for imaging, processing and viewing documents related to AP with a reduction in overall labor.

The manufacturer receives over 8,000 invoices a month, 80% in paper form and the other 20% through email and fax.  All are now processed by Oracle Document Capture and Oracle Forms Recognition (OFR) when received.  Oracle Document Capture scans the document and Oracle Forms Recognition automatically extracts relevant data and does some basic validation. The document is then automatically sent to Oracle ECM for more validation and storing of the image. Due to the sophisticated logic with code and BPEL workflows, the system performs all kinds of checks, and is able to move information  from Oracle ECM to Oracle EBS without human assistance. Knowledge workers can stay in their familiar EBS system and reference any invoice they need by clicking on the recognizable paper-clip.  EBS pushes the parameters to the ECM repository and brings back the search results in a web link.

The ease of processing invoices has been improved dramatically. What used to be a manual process of keying in information is now completely automated. The only time an invoice needs any type of processing, barring exceptions, is the physical act of scanning it in. After it’s scanned the Oracle OCR technology adds the appropriate index fields and the Solution Accelerator automatically moves it through the system for validation and storage until it is available to view through Oracle EBS.

Debbie Horton
ImageSource
Communications Director

Anyone Else Hate Carrying a Wallet Full of Receipts?!

We live in a fast-paced world. This is a time when we want information instantly, at the click of a button, on the tips of our fingers. We want information about the economy, the latest news updates, what our friends are doing Friday night, etc.

On any given day, I can open up my Internet browser and check out Google News, then head over to the New York Times and CNN to get my fix for what’s going on in our country and the world. Then I pop open Twitter to get the latest happening in the Enterprise Content Management and Document Imaging world, and to get a good laugh from some crazy tweeps I follow. I’ll open up articles and pictures and see what’s been happening for the last few hours. Jump over to Facebook and I can see what my friends did last night, check out new pictures, see who’s gotten married, broken up, or who’s in a “complicated” relationship. I can see which of my friends once again posted too much information or put up sayings or quotes that make you smile.

The cool thing about all this is that I can also do it from my smart phone. It doesn’t matter if I’m sitting at my desk, riding in a car, waiting for an airplane or lying in a hammock. I can take this information with me everywhere I go.

Moving off topic for just a second; I’m a compulsive receipt-keeper. I keep every receipt I get, and I’m super crazy about it. I like to keep track of purchases, see which pair of shoes my paycheck may have gone to, or see how much I spent on groceries. In my work life, I keep receipts to show our Accounting Department that I’m not spending company money on weekend getaways or skinny jeans.

However, up until recently, this was a task that I could only take care of at my desk. That’s where my scanner is and where my documents are saved. I would have to save up all my receipts from various trips and then wait to scan them in at the office.

Enter ILINX® Capture Mobile! ILINX Capture Mobile is an app that allows you to capture information anywhere. Traditional capture software requires a desktop installation. But now, I can simply grab my phone and capture the documents I need.

For example, say I’m at a customer dinner and picked up the tab. Now, instead of having to be sure I bring that receipt back to capture at my desk, I can open up ILINX Capture Mobile and capture that receipt after I’ve signed. It converts the image to a PDF, and I can give it
some index values. I can then email it to myself to refer back come expense report time.

So if you’re anything like me and hate carrying around a handful of receipts, I would definitely recommend getting ILINX Capture Mobile. It’s available through the App Store and even better, it’s free! It’s simple, easy to use, and will alleviate the pain our wallets feel from bulging at the seams from being overstuffed with receipts. But more importantly, it allows us to capture that critical information, index it, and send it back to ourselves for later use, all at, well, the click of a button.

Kristina Parma
Communications Manager
ImageSource, Inc.

 

One-Hit Wonders in Enterprise Content Management

Defining Enterprise Content Management One-Hit Wonders

As I go about my every day sales and business development activities to evangelize ImageSource’s ILINX Enterprise Content Management (ECM) software products, I am amazed to see just how common it is for the originally installed ECM software system to be pretty much unchanged.  The use case is the same (e.g. Accounts Payable, Human Resources, Customer Service, etc.) and the system is used by mostly the same people.  Maybe a new application was implemented for Accounts Receivables, but by and large it is still the same system.  In some cases, the software has been up updated only once or twice, the scanners are original, the servers and workstations in use are running older operating systems and databases and the system might still be using a juke box for archival purposes.  This is very similar to what one might call in the music business, a one-hit wonder.  If you were to ask people in the music business, they would say a one-hit wonder is a very common tale.  And, so it seems that we have the same thing happening in businesses when it comes to Enterprise Content Management.

How did we get here?

What I have observed is that enterprise content management has become pervasive; however, it is actually a series of one-hit wonders.  Meaning it is managed and implemented differently by department and/or line-of-business.  For example, the  Accounts Payable department might use the originally installed ECM system, but the Marketing department uses nested shared folders on the network that also requires one to name the files in a certain manner; the Engineering department might be using some document management module that comes with their engineering software, but for imaged engineering drawings they go to the ECM system the Accounts Payable department uses; and the sales department had their CRM software integrated with a different ECM software application that is “cloud based”, as well as, they have become masters at using their network attached multi-function printer (a.k.a. MFP) to scan-to-email and ad-hoc scanning for imaging.  And, when things don’t work as they are expected to or malfunctions, the information technology department is supposed to pick up the pieces, work some magic (and fast) and “ta-dah” everything is back in working order.

What needs to change?

So how did we get to the point where we have so many different ways to image, file, store, retrieve and process documents and content in our businesses?  More importantly, what can be done about it to improve the situation to drive out duplication, increase efficiency and lower operating costs and risks?  First of all, let’s cover how we got here or better yet, what needed to happen first keeping in mind there is no one to really blame.  A large part of why businesses have not centered their businesses on a single ECM software system is that some evolution needed to take place.  First and foremost, the ECM applications themselves had to evolve from client-server and thick clients to be being truly web-based built on Web 2.0 technology and architecture; it is important to note that not every ECM software company has taken this step.  Secondly, the internet had to become as pervasive as the telephone (land line and/or mobile) and the bandwidth to support business use.  Thirdly, the ECM applications had to become less specialized in just performing one thing, such as, imaging, web content management, digital asset management, etc.  Fourth, the computing platform from which we access the information had to become a non-factor; this means that I can access my information from any device:  a PC workstation in the office, a laptop in a hotel, a tablet device like the Apple iPad and/or a smartphones.  Lastly, the investment of ECM software systems needed to scale to based upon the size of the business to actually be affordable and cost-effective which has largely not been a reality.

A new reality is possible today!

It is from ImageSources’ collective experiences of its employees and the 17 years of being in the Enterprise Content Management business that it can confidently and successfully assist companies and organizations of all types create a new paradigm.   Simply put, we make it possible to take disparate ways and systems of managing documents and content into a single system that serves every department and line-of-business of the enterprise.  It first starts with making document capture so simple and so accessible from any device.  ILINX Capture works with any TWAIN compliant scanner and can be configured to work with virtually any network attached multi-function printer (MFP).  ILINX Capture Mobile and the ILINX Tablet make it possible to capture documents and content in the palm of your hand.  ILINX Content Store  is ideally positioned for those companies that need a complete, full functioning, user pleasing and straight-forward approach to Enterprise Content Management.  It must also have the option to be integrated with business applications (ILINX Integrate) and does not burden the IT department with system management and administration tasks.  Mainly because it is built on Microsoft’s .NET web-based architecture; therefore, updates, changes and new applications can be deployed from a single-administration console and users can receive those updates via their intranet or internet.  If the existing content, documents, images and data in your current “dot.90’s” ECM system is a concern for you, ImageSource has the services and the tools (ILINX Export) to make this all important and critical step of migrating your information into ILINX Content Store.  The remaining question that you might have is this:  is it really affordable and cost-effective to consolidate disparate ways and systems, migrate the information and implement a new ECM software system?  And my answer to that is, “ImageSource’s approach and ILINX has proven to be so for many others, I have no reason why to think the same is possible for you and your company!”

 

Eating Our Own (Yummy) Dog Food

Every day at ImageSource I use the technology that we help implement at other organizations. It helps remind me why our Customer Partners get pretty excited about information processes that get transformed through ECM technology. Instead of printing, shuffling paper, waiting, shuffling some more, waiting, chasing down the paper, copying, shuffling and filing, we can complete a process efficiently, accurately and have a digital record.

It’s time to submit my expense report, so I’ll use that for an example.

I gather a few paper receipts, and scan them on my Fujitsu Scansnap desktop scanner using ILINX Capture software. Using a desktop browser, ILINX Capture allows me to add indexing to this batch of documents, so I can easily search for them.

My other receipts are already PDF images that I captured using the camera functionality on my iPhone and a handy app called ILINX Capture Mobile. It lets me turn my paper receipts to digital images on the fly, and attach keywords to them. (This is especially convenient when traveling.)

I merge my PDFs into one document using Adobe Acrobat, and go to our intranet site for where I find a LiquidOffice eForm designed for ImageSource expense reports. Utilizing pull-downs, pop-up calendars and automatic calculators, I quickly enter essential data about each receipt, attach my PDF with receipt images and hit submit. After the package is automatically routed to my supervisor for approval, ILINX Connect for eForms seamlessly transports it to Oracle Image & Process Management system.

Our Accounting staff views the documents right from within their accounting software system using ILINX Integrate, without having to go into IPM. Should my expense report documents ever need to, they could be sent through an IPM workflow or packaged and migrated out using ILINX Export.

It is liberating to work in an automated environment. Instead of shuffling paper, my time is free to do things that actually require my expertise, of which report submittal is not one.

Carol Jellison
Creative Director, ImageSource

 

City of Kennewick Launches ECM Solution by Streamlining City Clerk & Payroll Processes

The City of Kennewick, Washington, looked to an ECM solution to help streamline processes. Because of changing economic conditions and a shrinking tax base, Kennewick needed their business processes to enable them to do more with their current resources. As one of Washington’s most progressive cities, Kennewick recognized that implementing a core Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system would help them meet this goal.

To read the entire case study, visit http://imagesourceinc.com.

Organization:
City of Kennewick
www.ci.kennewick.wa.us

Industry:
City Government

Solution:

  • Workflows for Agenda & Payroll
  • eForms

Challenge

  • Required to do more with current resources
  • Paper-intensive processes
  • Manual routing for approvals laborious & expensive
  • Documents difficult to locate
  • Duplication of documents
  • Payroll process labor intensive & error-prone
  • Excessive storage space required

Key Benefits

  • Flexible workflow allowing various approvers depending on need
  • Documents easy to locate and always available
  • Changes are easily accommodated
  • Agenda ePackets are easy to build, distribute to Council & public
  • Most current version of documents accessible across all departments
  • Reduction in storage
  • Infrastructure for storage & electronic workflow can be leveraged city-wide
  • Integration with existing Payroll system improves accuracy
  • Intuitive indexing & validation
  • Automated data entry
  • Payroll processing reduced 90%, or more

Products

Kristina Parma
Communications Manager
ImageSource, Inc.

The Next Killer App for ECM

Enterprise Content Management for the most part has become mainstream business.  The ability to scan documents from remote locations has been made increasingly easier by applications such as ILINX Capture and other web based scanning applications.  Indexing documents has been simplified with ODBC compliance and the maturity of systems integrators capabilities of integrating with ERP table structures.  System standards have allowed for ECM repositories to interface with ERP sessions where the users can work heads down in their legacy application and retrieve / view images from their desktop with little to no knowledge of the ECM application – see ILINX Integrate.

Accounts Payable has been the traditional starting point for most organizations in testing the waters for document imaging because it has a definable process, set business rules, and shows a reasonable ROI depending on the number of received images, discrepancies, and time it takes knowledge workers to process invoices.  Other repeatable processes include Contracts, Sales Order Processing, Legal, Shipping / Receiving, and HR Personnel Files.

What will be the next Killer App?  In the past 2 years we at ImageSource have seen a great deal of consideration in HR on-Boarding process.   Understandably, it costs a lot of money to bring in new employees and involves a great deal of resources.  From the application process, to the processing of I-9 information, setting up payroll and direct deposit, insurance, issuance of equipment (laptop, cell phone, scanner) it is no slight undertaking.  Standard ECM solutions as well as products from Autonomy (see Liquid Office), this process can become automated and affordable for most organizations.

From there, where do we go?  With the adoption of smart phones, almost everyone has a camera in their pocket at all times.  This can allow for the capturing of data – snapshot of a document, whiteboard drawing, and presentations can be captured immediately and then fed into the indexing process for ECM.  This expands the reach of content capture and protects the loss of important information.  Technical architecture is now compatible and flexible to allow for almost anything.  Nexus 2010 will provide some great ideas and visions for upcoming solutions.

What is next?  Feedback is welcome.

Jeff Blissett

Senior Account Executive

ImageSource, Inc.

jeffb@imagesourceinc.com

Distributed Capture Allows In-Process Workflow Enablement

In traditional capture environments, organizations are submitting their documents, whether in fax or scanned form, in batches.The ability to submit ad-hoc documents using existing hardware like MFPs/MFDs or scanners is the current momentum in enterprises. Reaching beyond this takes forward, out of the ordinary thinking.

How would it be in an enterprise organization to actually place a single document into their local MFP/MFD and submit that work directly in to the workflow allowing the documents to be processed that same day? Inserting lab orders from physician’s offices directly to ancillary services? Placing a new account opening document directly in the workflow queue to get approval and an account number? Scanning bills of lading at the shipping and receiving dock and having them go straight to accounts payable and automatically matched with the P.O.?

We’ve seen many large financial services organizations start to leverage in-process distributed capture in an ad-hoc collection and capture form. Having a simple user interface, minimal clicks at the front panel of an MFP/MFD, as well as very little learning curve has been essential. What could your organization do if everyone could easily scan/import documents so they could get placed in the repository, data base, legacy system or workflow right away? How many millions of dollars would be saved? How many redundant workers would be allocated to jobs needing more workers?

Michelle Semple
Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.