Compliant Public Disclosure Starts with Smart Records Retention

If there’s one message I consistently hear from customers today, it’s how big of a deal public disclosure is for the government and how we need better solutions around it. That being said, you would not believe how many of these organizations don’t feel that they have a good handle on their content.

In Washington State, public disclosure refers to the release of all documents and content to the person making the request. These documents at minimum need to be available for the requestor to view. There are some exemptions to this, such as sealed case files.

Good public disclosure practices really start with one thing: good record-keeping (and destruction). We hear time and time again from customers that they’ve never thrown anything away for fear that the document may be needed at a later date. While they may be thinking that this is the best way to avoid throwing anything away that should be kept, it also means keeping records that should have been destroyed.

Some aren’t aware of the fact that when a public disclosure request comes in, organizations are required by law to turn over any documentation pertaining to the request (as long as it is subject to disclosure). That means that if documents haven’t been destroyed and fall under the specific request, those documents need to be turned over as well, even though they are past the retention period. This poses a huge risk in regards to potential litigations.

Getting your records in order may seem like an overwhelming task, but here are some steps you can take to move toward better practices related to retention and disposition of records.

  1. Understand YOUR Organization’s Requirements for Record Retention and Disposition
    Every organization is different. Certain records have to be kept longer than others, some records might need to be sealed, others may need redaction before they can be turned over, etc. Each organization, each department, even each business process may have different requirements around records. Determine and document what the requirements are so that when you start to do an inventory of content, you have a definitive plan regarding what needs to be kept and for how long. Click here for a link to the Washington State Records Retention Schedules.
  2. Where are my Records?
    Identify where records are kept. Are they stored on a network share? In a file cabinet? In a content management system? Somewhere else? Are they in paper form? Electronic? Are there video files? Regardless of where the documents are kept, the regulations are around how you get the content organized, not the file format or how hard the collection process is. This will help ensure that there are not duplicate documents, and if there are, that only the pertinent copies are kept so as not to be a factor in a potential litigation.
  3. Perform an Analysis and Inventory of Your Records
    Some organizations choose to do this internally, some hire a contractor, and some take a hybrid approach. Regardless of which path you choose, determine what content you have, what needs to be kept, and what can be disposed of before evaluating any technology. This will keep you from bringing content into a solution that will need to be immediately disposed of after the initial analysis.
  4. Choose a Solution that is Flexible and Easy
    95% of organizations I work with are looking for a solution that is easy-to-use yet flexible enough to change with requirements. They want something that can easily set up to work with current retention and disposition schedules, yet can be updated without too much effort if laws or regulations change.
  5. Trust the System
    If you’ve done the prep work correctly, then what you need to do is trust what you’ve put in place is going to work. Choose a good partner with a track record of success to help you.

These are just a few ideas to get you thinking about what can be accomplished around public disclosure, records retention and your content. ImageSource has been assisting customer partners with these types of solutions for the last 20 years. We have done everything from initial consulting through implementation and support. Below is a short list of some of offerings:

  • Expert consulting to determine your “as is” state and develop a plan to get you to your “desired” state using industry best practices
  • Assessment of your current technology and how it can be leveraged
  • Solution evaluation to perfectly match technology with your requirements
  • Solution deployment, configuration, training and rollout
  • Document collection, conversion, scanning, taxonomy definition and automated classification and metadata extraction
  • Data Migration
  • Ongoing partnership for system/process tuning, growth and support
  • Managed applications services

The ILINX platform can assist any organization with getting a handle on their content.

11 Questions to Ask in Order to Buy the Correct Wide Format Scanner

At ImageSource, we have many customers who call in asking for information on Wide Format Scanners. Selecting the right Wide Format Scanner for your needs is imperative, as manufacturers do not normally provide evaluation scanners for you to test.

I always recommend that customers review a software webinar demo before buying these larger scanners. The software functionality and ease of use is an important differentiator between scanner manufacturers. The incorrect software combined with a scanner that does not meet all your needs can be a costly investment that cannot be returned to the manufacturer. In this category of scanner, the cheapest price tag does not necessarily mean the best fit!

There are some basic questions that we always ask our customers in order to qualify what scanner(s) is the most appropriate. I would like to share these to help you with any future selection processes/decisions.

  1. Do you need B&W, Grayscale, Color capabilities?
  2. If Color is required, is it Color critical (such as photos and art work), or simple color (such asline drawings or printed maps)?
  3. What is the largest size original you will be scanning?
  4. Is speed important? Will this be production scanning or just occasional scanning?
  5. Approximately how many scans per month?
  6. What condition are your originals in? Poor (folded with a lot of background), Medium or Good quality?
  7. What kinds of media will you be scanning? Paper, blueprints, Mylar, stitched linen (very old documents), maps, etc.
  8. Do you need thick document scanning capabilities?
  9. Do you need a stand and catch basket?
  10. Will this be a scan-to-file application or do you need scan-to-print (copy) functions as well?
  11. Will you need to edit, modify or convert any of the images into CAD or GIS file formats?

We have been working with the major Wide Format Scanner manufacturers for many years so we are here to help give our expertise for any questions you may have. ImageSource will make it easy for you and guide you towards the “best fit”.

We are here to help!

Megan Lane
Inside Sales Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.

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

Moving Content Easily from Email to ECM Repository

Wouldn’t it be nice to contribute content to your Enterprise Content Management system right from Microsoft Outlook? Well, it is possible to accomplish just that with a simple right click of your mouse with ILINX® Capture Email Import.

With ILINX Capture Email Import you can submit single or multiple email messages as well as attachments and complete the indexing in a streamlined and simplified process.

ILINX Capture Email Import capabilities include:

  • Flexible content capture options:
  • Email body only
  • Attachments only
  • Both email body and attachments
  • Automate the capture of the index values:

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Why I Love Electronic Forms!

I love electronic forms!

I love being able to not just fill out, but also submit forms electronically either from my PC or my tablet. It’s easy to change information if I mistype something or need to change information. With paper forms, you typically have to reprint the page and enter in all the information again. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve screwed up filling out a paper form and had to redo it. There’s also something nice about being able to click the “Submit” button at the end and not have to print and mail a document in and double-check to make sure it was received on the other end a few days later.

I’ve noticed that more companies and organizations are turning to electronic forms for both consumers and constituents. Users can fill out forms and attach relevant documents or information to the form and in some cases, even sign the form right then and there, no printing necessary! 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

The ImageSource Customer Service Difference

I am a customer service specialist. Ninety percent of my job is customer service. It is my goal to offer effective solutions and products at a fair price and to do so above expectations. Which brings me to my most recent encounter regarding a lack of service – I cancelled my cable today. It felt as though they believed the customer needed them more than they needed the customer. Millions of dollars are spent on attracting customers, but how are companies treating the customers they have? When trying to reach the cable company to address my concerns, (my bill had increased by 50 percent), it took 10 minutes just to get to a live person on the phone. And when that person could not help, I was transferred to a different department where I was on hold for another 10 minutes. Shortly after I hung up. The next day I dropped off all my equipment at the local office and cancelled the service without ever being asked why I was cancelling. Continue reading

Increase in small home-based businesses equates to growth of content to manage

Small businesses are major players in the U.S. Economy. According to Forbes.com, over 50% of the working population (120 million individuals) works in a small business.

With the advancements in technology it has become easier for people to create and run small businesses, without insurmountable operating expenses, out of their homes. In fact, 52% of all small businesses are home-based (Forbes.com). This has led to small business growth nationwide and changes in the way these businesses operate.

How do they manage the increasing inflow of content to their businesses?

How do they search and find information effectively?

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10 Ways to Improve Capture OCR and Indexing

The recognition phase of capture may seem to be the most important step relevant to automated indexing – since it is, after all, the phase where OCR is performed. But at least half of the factors relevant to successful indexing occur during the pre-recognition steps, particularly in obtaining appropriate image quality for OCR and indexing.

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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.

Are you “Powered by ILINX?”

Organizations are realizing more and more every day the need to reduce paper, automate labor-intense processes and eliminate duplicate tasks. Since we all know time is money, this is important now more than ever. But how do you choose the right technology to assist with this? We hear quite frequently that users are comfortable working within their line-of-business systems and that bringing in a large, complicated content management system will only confuse them. My response to this is, “Are you Powered by ILINX?”

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ROI of Document Imaging

Forrester Research analyzed and evaluated ECM technologies and came out with The ROI of Imaging. Forrester Research, Inc. is a global leader in business and technology. They define imaging as software for scanning, capturing, indexing, retrieving, processing and archiving digital images of documents and electronic forms. Many organizations rely on paper intensive business processes and because of that, imaging is a very important component of Enterprise Content Management’s value.

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Save Time and Money With Advanced Capture

Does your organization waste valuable time and resources to manually prep documents? Are you tired of manually typing in data which oftentimes isn’t inputted accurately and error-free? If you want to venture away from these tedious slow processes, there are solutions out there! Advanced capture technologies will streamline and automate the transformation of documents into structured electronic information for your business processes.

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Conversion of Documents at California County Assessor’s Office Creates Paperless Office

ImageSource was the privately contracted vendor for a California County Assessor’s Office that embarked upon a major project designed to create a paperless work environment. The project processed and imaged 25 million pages of file documents. Documents were scanned at the rate of 125 images per minute, 8 hours a day. The County also implemented day-forward imaging rather than filing incoming paper documents. The entire project was completed in approximately one year.

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San Jose State University Enrolls Students with Oracle and Peoplesoft SIS

San Jose State University Campus

There is a new way to process students into Universities that are using Peoplesoft SIS. It is called WebCenter Content and it is built by Oracle.  The first installation in the country is in full production at San Jose State University (SJSU).
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The Top 5 Mistaken Beliefs About Content Management

Gain control of unstructured content

Your company may or may not have a strategy for managing content, the unstructured information streaming in and out of all areas of your organization on a daily basis. It’s likely you at least have a partial strategy where one or more of your departments is capturing and storing some type of unstructured information for later retrieval.

In a world where the use of digital channels is enabling companies to synthesize large amounts of information in seconds, organizations are making it a top priority to gain control of that rogue 80%, which is the approximate amount of unstructured information slipping through the cracks. This information is not easily accessible because it is scattered and isolated in departmental or personal file systems. This is the information you should be arming your employees with so they can do their jobs.

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If You Don’t Have Time to do it Right the First Time, When Will You Have Time to do it Over?

Growing up, we learn that it’s important to plan for certain events. We plan for moving, vacations, presentations, and even certain disasters. Planning for an IT project is just as important. I recently saw a statistic that said 62% of all IT projects fail to meet their stated goals, and that more than 50% of all Enterprise Content Management projects fail. This means that it’s more important than ever to make planning your Enterprise Content Management projects top priority.

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Content Collection and eDiscovery

If your organization is like many others, a call from legal or human resources to produce evidence for an electronic discovery (eDiscovery) request can turn into a time consuming and expensive endeavor.  Searching through and analyzing emails, electronic files, SharePoint, and other content is an arduous task, especially if all of that information is contained in silos, with no common repository.

We have helped customers, at the very least, from a cost savings perspective; realize savings from de-duplication of content.  In many cases, customers can see a return on investment in less than one year!

ImageSource can implement enterprise content management solutions that can collect all of the data in you environment, according to your policies, and make it available for legal search and discovery.

We can advise you on best practice for implementing a “content collection, archiving and eDiscovery” infrastructure that will utilize your file plans, and make sure you address these legal concerns:

  • “We don’t want to keep too much content”
  • “We want to keep the right content”
  • “We want to meet the government’s requirement that consistent, repeatable processes are in place”

We’d love to discuss your specific situation, and leverage our expertise to help solve your challenge.  There’s no reason why, with the technology available, that organizations should still be struggling with the same problems from the ‘90s.

Archie Horton
Regional Sales Manager
ImageSource, Inc.

Decentralized Scanning: Evolving Thought

Doctors, for a long time, assumed our brains (like so many other complex machines) had a “top down” structure for how we process and store data. Historically, medical scholars thought that there must have been an overpowering component within the brain (hippocampus) that would call on certain brain neurons for information. If you needed to recall when your wedding anniversary was, the hippocampus would call on neuron 56352.2, for example. If it needed to recall how to jump start your car battery, it would call neuron 7362.3. To prove this theory, doctors in the 60’s hooked up test subjects to various sensory equipment and would ask them a series of questions. They thought, if you asked the test subjects certain things, very specific neurons would fire. So, they began monitoring these specific neurons in the brain… And they wound up waiting and waiting and waiting. Unfortunately for the doctors, instead of a neat, logical correlation between particular memories and particular neurons, they found a hodgepodge of neurons being called. With each question, many different neurons lit up… What was going on?? Surely, memories resided in a specific location in the brain. As much as doctors wanted to find a hierarchy in the brain, it just didn’t exist.

Eventually, doctors began to realize that various memories were actually stored across numerous parts of the brain. At first, scientists thought this theory to be somewhat primitive and disorganized. As counterintuitive as they thought this might be, this brain model theory would make one’s memories far more resilient. In the old model, if the specific brain neuron was damaged, we’d have lost that memory forever. With the more modern understanding, however, the loss of a single brain neuron doesn’t amount to a sudden vanishing of data.

Within the business world (very much like our brains), we constantly try to find hierarchal structure when building companies and organizing business processes. In my review of how companies around the world are adapting within this highly competitive landscape, more and more operations are decentralizing various processes and procedures. They are accommodating new consumer expectations, as opposed to forcing the centralized “brick and mortar” approach to work. The older centralized approach ultimately has become too slow, too costly, and too inconvenient for this modern fast pace demanding and competitive economy. This model creates a single point of failure, which can be detrimental in the grand scope of a business. In the world of imaging (or information capture), more organizations are placing their ingestion gateways out on the web, or simply closer to the consumers themselves. Take a look at the Wikipedia, Ebay or Craigslist business models. Why burden the consumer with complex ordering processes and procedures? Why not empower them with a “24/7” means of ordering services, on their whim or demand? For banks, more new and existing customers are opening accounts online, and more loans are being executed right away as a result of branches being able to capture critical consumer information in “real time”. An insurance adjuster with a hand held capture device like an iPhone can snap a picture in the field and deliver that content directly to a claim file instantaneously. The demands placed on business in this technology age are unmerciful. Business practices should strive to meet the consumer’s needs at new levels and understanding “how” to do this via technology is a step in the right direction. It is possible to utilize all of our business “neurons”. We can branch out and capture more data and accomplish more of our goals.

Just like neuroscience, we need to evolve our thinking in the world of business operations. Distributed Capture, or providing consumers a simple means to interact and request services or products, is the not the wave of the future… It is the demand of the present.

Ed Figueroa
ImageSource, Inc.

When Free Isn’t Free… Details as to Why!

Have you been offered free capture/imaging software lately?  Or are you competing against someone who is offering free imaging software?  I’m sure most of us in ECM have come across this scenario. This blog isn’t about generalities about why free isn’t free, but specifics of why these solutions are not ready for prime time and may not be your best investment.   Here are things we’ve learned about to ask those vendors when considering their technology:

  • Will they do a POC (Proof of Concept) for you? Or even a custom demo?
  •  Will it cost you to put in the POC?
  •  What amount of time does it take the vendor to set that up for you?
  •  Does the application have the ability to be configured easily?
  • Are there wizards for configuration?  How long will it take to set up the software?
  • Can you set up data base look ups through wizards?
  • How do you search and retrieve existing batches to make modifications?
  • How many of the references they provide were given “free” software?
  • What does it cost year after year once its installed?
  • What are the recognition rates, once set up?
  • How much does it cost to pay for services to install the software and configure it?
  • How many staff do they have to support you once the product is installed and there are issues?
  • Have you ever been installed in financial services, retail, transportation? Or what are your references?

This blog is to arm you with things to look out for, so you get the best solution for your enterprise.  Good luck with evaluations!

Michelle Semple
Vice President ILINX Capture and IBM/FileNet Sales
ImageSource, Inc.

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

Taking PeopleSoft to New Heights in Higher Ed

The PeopleSoft ERP system you use for Student Information Services (SIS) has been built to support nationwide and world wide applications. As such, it cannot provide unique challenges for each business need.Typically, we see IT shops and business directors working around the deficiencies in the product in an attempt to meet specific business objectives.  We also see universities purchasing complimentary products to try to meet specific needs and requirements.

From an IT perspective, the cost to write custom code to modify PeopleSoft is prohibitive, or the software simply cannot meet the business objectives. With this in mind, ImageSource, a systems integrator for Oracle, has built several modules for higher education that will have a dramatic effect on how universities conduct business. The integration is codeless, so although we “talk back and forward” to PeopleSoft, there is little requirement to have PeopleSoft technical staff supporting the project.

This new module provides true business workflow that can be designed and built by the business unit, allowing work to be pushed out to the specified knowledge workers. The pilot project recently completed at major California University has been deemed a complete success. This solution now allows them to provide critical real time service to students, parents and faculty.  With the initial implementation in Finance and Student Services, this university is ready to implement the program campus-wide and gain substantial ROI.

If you’d like to know more about how this solution works please email Lynne Butler, ImageSource Higher Ed Business Consultant, at lynneb@imagesourceinc.com

Are Your Documents Controlling You?

As your business grows and expands, so does the paper that supports it. Important information can easily be lost or duplicated because the paper has gotten so out of control.  Your employees are spending hours that could be spent on growing your business even more on manually handling, searching and coping that paper mess.

Now there is an economical, paperless way to do business! ILINX® software gives you the ability to scan, securely store, search, send or share all of your business content.  It doesn’t just have to originate from paper either- you can import Microsoft Office files, email, digital media or just about any other type of file.

Another benefit that ILINX offers is that it works hand in hand with your other business applications. You have the ability to be able to click a button and it will instantly pull up any documentation that relates to what’s currently up on your screen. Without ever leaving your business application! Think about how efficient this will make your office- seamlessly joining together your paperless office with paperless processes.

By having a digital office, it also will allow you secure and quick input and access to all business documents- from anywhere. Any computer, any browser. You will be in complete and total control of your documents. ILINX is also very reliable, scalable and manageable. It is designed to have minimal impact on your IT resources, its user friendly and easy to maintain over time.

Interested in learning more about the technology and making your office go paperless? Check out our webinar:

Jennifer Jepson
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!”

 

ECM Moves to Simplicity

A trend worthy of mention in the ECM industry is the move to simpler-to-use products. ImageSource is answering the demand for these streamlined products, not only from an integration point of view, but also by developing our ILINX product line. What is really worth noting is that the products mentioned below are streamlined without sacrificing performance. Let’s explore what simple ECM means for organizations.
Users
From a user’s perspective, ECM is becoming more intuitive, accessible and affordable. Heavyweight capture players like Kofax are applying their expertise to products like Kofax Express, geared for small to mid-sized organizations. It is functional without requiring a lot of training or know-how. Another capture application, ILINX Capture, is web-based, enabling capture at any desktop browser. It has a mobile app, ILINX Capture Mobile for capture without the desktop or laptop. In yet another mobile development, ImageSource recently announced the launch of their ILINX Tablet, the first business-centric tablet to hit the market. Users also appreciate ILINX Integrate, which image enables their line-of-business systems. They can view content from within their primary application without having to open a content repository.

Administrators and IT Professionals
Thin client apps, like ILINX Capture, allow for administration, deployment and maintenance from a central source. Graphical user interfaces allow workflows to be created effortlessly, automating rules and decisions. ILINX Content Store is a supercharged, yet streamlined content repository that is as easy manage as it is to master—and it’s also a web app. The simplicity of all of the products mentioned above mean fewer resources are spent on training and administration.

Organizations
Simple ECM benefits the enterprise on many levels. First, fewer resources are used to deploy and manage information systems. Secondly, as complexity decreases, user adoption improves. Lastly, as ECM is distributed, organizations are able to ingest content from a much wider variety of sources, sooner, so information is available more immediately.

Carol Carbone Jellison
Creative Director, ImageSource

Knowledge is Power

At an increasing rate, I am getting asked the question “Is SharePoint a good fit for our business”?  I shouldn’t single out SharePoint as the question really is “What XYZ product would be best for my ECM needs?”  Before this question can even be considered, the business processes need to be understood.  Inputs, outputs, systems in place, and platform preferences are all very important to consider.  Is there a workflow process to be considered?  Where and when is data keyed into systems?  Is it keyed into multiple systems?

Talk to similar companies / organizations / departments that have gone through the process.  Go on site visits to see how companies are using technology to solve business problems.  Get educated.  Seek out your local AIIM chapter.  Go to relevant conferences that have a large congregation of people who are using solutions for content management.  Seek out systems integrators that have multiple offerings and address full end to end processes.

When information is gathered from the RFP process, it usually results in software manufacturers responding with one thing in mind – license revenue.  You shouldn’t worry about licenses or product until you have determined your end goal, efficiencies, and points of integration.   Also, keep it simple.  Successful projects don’t need to overly complex, long, and expensive – they need to solve a business problem.

I don’t usually go to the doctor and ask for a prescription until the doctor has done a thorough diagnosis.

Thanks for listening.

Jeff Blissett
Senior Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.
www.imagesourceinc.com

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

 

Why Training is Important

I recently had a conversation with an individual about ECM training.  This person needs to learn how to build a new application for both capture and her ECM system.  When I described the training and associated cost to her, she could not understand why the training is a comprehensive as it is or why the cost is what it is.  Her feeling was that the system must not be “user-friendly”.

What we tend to forget is that a successful implementation of a new application includes much more that creating fields and assigning properties.  It is essential that the entire business process be taken into account.  ECM systems are designed to replace your paper manual paper and other  processes.  Throwing together some fields that hopefully allow you to find your information is not enough.  It is necessary to know your processes inside and out and to  look at other processes that might touch your application as well.

As with everything else, it is the up front planning and effort that make the end result “user-friendly” .

One place to learn more about the subtleties of ECM is at the 2010 Nexus ECM Conference in Bellevue, WA on November 4 and 5.  Please consider attending this event.  It will be well worth your investment.

Browser-Based ILINX® Capture Technology Integrates With Canon Workgroup Scanners

Canon ScanFront 220 & 220P Embedded with ILINX Capture provides seamless and secure, all-in-one solution to scan, index and route documents across an entire operation for advanced information exchange and maximized coordination

Companies are always looking at how they can run more efficiently and one way to accomplish this is to provide end-users with the ability to scan, index, send and store documents regardless of physical location. The integration between ILINX Capture and the ScanFront 220/220P gives organizations the opportunity to capture information at the source and direct it to the next process, significantly reducing employee error and the amount of time needed to route documents and information.

Administrators can customize the scanning experience for the users and create buttons that send data through Email, FTP, to a file folder, or they can choose to store the documents on a USB memory stick. Once released from the scanner, documents enter the ILINX Capture workflow system, which is fully customizable and extensible, allowing access to documents and batches from a web browser.

The Canon imageFORMULA ScanFront 220/220P, a powerful network scanner with a small footprint, provides customizable Job Buttons that allow for one-touch access to routine scanning tasks. The scanning process can be as simple as pressing a single button, but can also provide the power and flexibility of a fully functional scan station. Once a document is scanned, ILINX Capture allows index values to be entered at the scanner interface, auto-filled or input at a later time.

The ILINX Capture and imageFORMULA ScanFront 220/220P integration provides secure distribution of documents across a network, improves company wide information dissemination, eliminates information handling errors, mitigates records management risks and a reduces costs associated with sharing information.

Debbie Horton
Communications Director
ImageSource

Selecting an Enterprise Content Management Solution

DEFINE THE BUSINESS GOALS

Your ECM initiative must begin with the identification of clearly defined measurable goals. These goals must emerge from cross‐functional planning groups. Too many efforts begin with a list of requirements for the ECM Solution, but these requirements cannot be defined accurately at such an early stage. The goals themselves will typically number between five and 10, and require agreement from all business units before you begin
constructing shortlists of vendors. This will help you avoid lengthier discussions at an inappropriate stage of the ECM effort. The goals should be strategic in nature, reflecting your objectives over two or three years. The overall business goals should succinctly and quantitatively summarize the essence of the required ECM solution, and they should be linked to the overall strategy of your organization. They should also be clearly phrased so that the benefits are clearly understood and actively supported by the executive sponsors and stakeholders. These objectives will form the basis for all requirements of the ECM project and will be the tool that allows irrelevant features to be quickly identified. The benefits of this approach include:

  • Faster short listing of suitable vendors.
  • Reduced expenditure in the selection phase.
  • Increased clarity about the solution components necessary for the appropriate solution.
  • Greater project transparency and more support from high‐level sponsors as a result.
  • Easier building of business case for the initiative.
  • Accurate listing of requirements.

APPLY AN ECM MATURITY MODEL

The adoption of maturity models is inhibited by the perception that they are abstract and theoretical, with little connection to the real world. Yet the appropriate maturity model can provide the basis for practical decisions, cost savings and the mitigation of many risks. A maturity model is a tabular representation of solution areas such as Capture, Workflow, Search and Retrieval, Web Content, or Records Management, together with a rating of how “mature” or developed that solution area can be. A simple thick client capture technology would have a low rating, while a sophisticated, thin client capture technology would score higher. The model can therefore be used to assess the level of maturity a future ECM Solution should have. It also assists in the articulation of a strategic vision and permits insight into the complexities of reaching that vision. A complete and realistic evaluation of all aspects of your current environment is necessary to assess the maturity level of your current system. Without this initial assessment you will be unable to determine what future levels of maturity are achievable, or how much effort is required to exact the corresponding changes. Such analyses also help to simplify buying decisions, and clarify whether the products on which your existing solution is based require upgrading or replacement. Benefits from applying maturity model analysis include:

  • The creation of a succinct, easily communicable summary of status of the ECM Solution to executive sponsorship and stakeholders.
  • The difficulty and cost of moving an ECM Solution to the desired level can easily be underestimated. A maturity model helps expose these difficulties and costs, and provides valuable input to the design of another indispensable tool — the road map.

BUILD A ROAD MAP TO PROMOTE LONG-TERM SUCCESS

A road map is a high‐level representation of the planned changes against the chosen timeline for those changes. Road maps are commonly represented as Gant charts, with the overall effort typically divided into overlapping phases. Each phase represents the changes required to raise the maturity of the ECM Solution to a higher level on the maturity model. The complexity of the required change will determine whether multiple steps for a particular solution area are taken in any one phase. (A phase typically ranges from three to six months.) This approach helps mitigate the risks associated with lengthier endeavors, such as attrition of key staff and budget reallocation away from the project.

Use a road map‐based approach to:

  • Ensure that the order in which you deploy the ECM Solution components matches the priorities of your overall business strategy.
  • Help organization leaders avoid deploying short-sighted point solutions and silos. Easy win can be considered, but not at the expense of higher‐order goals.
  • Permit a more thorough assessment of vendors and filter out those that can’t support your vision of your solution.
  • Allow a careful assessment of how long it will take for your ECM Solution to provide business value.

IDENTIFY AND FOLLOW THE RELEVANT INDUSTRY BEST PRACTICES

Choose a Solution‐Deployment Methodology: ECM programs which diligently apply a project management office (PMO) and solution‐deployment methodology have a significantly higher chance of succeeding. The methodology will provide focus, optimize time to value and help reduce potential risks. Discuss the most appropriate methodology with your vendor. The methodology that your organization primarily endorses may
not provide the full benefits. An intelligent mix of your existing practices and those extolled by the vendor for its products is usually optimal. Choose the Right Team: The right mix of staff will ensure that the right strategy and designs are established, that costs for core‐development phases are reduced and that on‐the‐job training for in‐house staff is provided. Apply a Form of Requirements Tracing: Requirements tracing is a method by which the requirements of the individual phases are aligned with the goals identified and selected for that phase. This provides focus and helps ensure the exclusion of costly and unnecessary features. It can also prevent, or reduce, scope creep. Collaborate With Your Vendor: Involve your main vendor in the selection of the appropriate products and the design of the ECM solution architecture. Some of these changes are likely to involve third‐party products and will require a firm statement of compatibility from your main vendor.

SELECTING A SYSTEMS INTEGRATOR

When implementing an ECM Solution you should set your sights on a full‐service Enterprise Content Management integrator that provides infrastructure and services that streamline information processes. The vendor should help your organization leverage your information assets through document imaging, distributed capture, workflow and integration with existing business software systems. A true ECM vendor will have a comprehensive approach, including analysis, training and support; will advance efficiencies, security, compliance and competition through your entire organization. Teaming with Experience: Your organization should work with a vendor that can bring several years of ECM experience to the table. This results in well‐defined, long‐term goals that are enlightened and effective. Let the Problem Drive the Solution: Work with a Vendor that does not come to you with a specific idea of what product you need, but instead concentrate on specifically defining business challenges that you face. This process leads to business solutions that integrate with your standing technology investment and result in real returns for your organization. The vendor’s services should provide an independent and objective approach. Many vendors use a one size fits all philosophy. Find a vendor that is flexible and has proven methodologies to help you define a truly suitable solution. Best Practices: In each industry there are recognized best practices and leading tools that are used by organizations based on their size and demographics. Seek a vendor that has a breadth of experience to draw upon, so that you can leverage their best practices and apply them.

PITFALLS TO AVOID IN ECM PROJECTS

  • Primary causes of excessive deliberation and consequent budget overruns in ECM projects include:
  • Disagreements while building a business case for the required investment.
  • Poor selection criteria leading to difficulties in selecting a vendor.
  • Difficulties in recognizing products to match the solution components.
  • Business users rushing to install ECM products to gain short‐term benefits.
  • Underestimation of the importance of change management.
  • Inconsistencies between the requirements cited and those which govern the deployed solution.

Shon D. Mueller
Senior Account Manager

Beyond the cool factor: show me the value

Although I have always worked in the IT industry, I have never been what people call an early adopter. As an example, I was still one of those people with a standard cellphone (you remember? the type that only lets you place a call and receive a call) until last week when I received an iPhone for my new job at ImageSource.

I will adopt a technology when I can easily and quickly identify the benefits it will bring me, which usually means it has to be affordable to begin with. The cool factor wears off after a while… I have to say that within the last 10 years, we became spoiled with an abundance of “freebies.” With the advent of freemium business models, it is now easier to find free applications, services or products over the Internet. Need free email?  Sign up for Gmail. You need more storage? Just pay for it. That is why I will always spend some time trying to find a free solution to my problem first. Only when I can’t seem to find a good enough solution for free will I explore the possibility of paying for it. Call me cheap, I call this common sense!

With an initial cost of zero dollars, you might be tempted to think that Return on Investment (ROI) would be infinite. However, you have to factor in time and switching costs in the equation. If I realize it will take a long time to find what I want, or learn how to operate a free application in comparison to the benefits a non-free solution can bring me, I will gladly pay for it. However, if I can’t find a free or reasonably priced solution, I will choose the status-quo solution and will wait until the switching costs decrease. As an example, I recently paid $15 for a video screen scraping solution after I spent 30 minutes trying to find a free solution that would be good enough. I am still not fully satisfied with Jing, the solution I eventually purchased from the makers of Camtasia, but it was good enough as a solution to my problem for the financial and time investments I made.

Every day, we are discovering new ways to do old things that may not change our life dramatically but definitely contribute to making it easier and more enjoyable. I was among the people who were reticent about the idea of going digital when it came to photography back in the early 2000s. I felt like I needed to have printed photos in order to enjoy them. To me, if not on paper, they could not be called photos to begin with. Fast forward to a few years later, and I probably became the biggest proponent of digital photography. When I moved from Chicago to Los Angeles in 2008, I scanned all of my older photos from the 90s and disposed of all of them as I realized it was easier to access them on a computer rather than having to access and sort through them in stored boxes. I used the move event as an excuse to go all digital. When you think about it, there are probably more chances of my pictures fading, getting destroyed, misplaced or lost in these boxes than if stored digitally. Obviously, those precious photos (most of them taken at the time when I had hair) are now scrupulously stored on (1) my external hard drive for easy access, (2) DVDs for backup, (3) a (very inexpensive) external backup service for disaster recovery. Welcome to the digital age!

As we all know, paper will not go away any time soon and the volume of physical content even continues to grow. However, the volume of electronic content grows at a faster pace than paper content. With ubiquitous capture devices such as digital cameras, smartphones, as well as desktop scanners, everyone is now a contributor to the explosion of rich media, including photos and videos.

ImageSource just released the first version of a free iPhone app (you should know I like freebies by now) for distributed capture called ILINX Capture. It is a very simple and intuitive, yet very powerful application that allows users to capture a photo with their iPhone, index it and have it sent to their email in a PDF format. The enterprise version of this distributed capture solution is obviously more advanced but we can imagine future versions of the iPhone app that would complement the enterprise version and allow users to send the photos of scanned documents to particular server locations, repositories or send them in formats other than PDF. What is interesting about this is that we are slowly but surely covering the “last mile of digital distribution.” What I mean by that is that the distribution of content had traditionally and historically been addressed by larger operations such as newspaper editorial staff or broadcasters. The largest staff in the world will never be able to cover every event and breaking news at the time they occur. We are now putting all the tools and applications in the hands of the consumers so that everyone is potentially a content contributor, be it text, photo or video content.

You can imagine all sorts of use cases with an application such as ILINX Capture for iPhone. On the Menuism website, for example, users can not only write reviews of the restaurants they frequent, but also upload photos of the establishment as well as the menus. With applications such as ILINX Capture for iPhone, it is easy to imagine all sorts of other real business or consumer applications, including expense receipt submission that would allow users to store and index receipts at time of purchase before they are consolidated and submitted as part of an expense report. Consumer-oriented companies such as Shoeboxed built a service business around scanning, indexing and validation of receipts and business cards to make it easier for end users to retrieve this type of information after it is categorized. Can you think of other business-oriented or consumer use cases for ILINX Capture for iPhone?

Michael Benayoun
Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.

 

How Many Organizations Have Initiatives to Truncate Content at its Source?

I’m sitting in the local IBM ECM UserNet conference in Irvine and David Caldera, Product Marketing,  is speaking about the IBM/FileNet road-map.  He has communicated, and it is proven, that there is huge ROI in deploying ECM solutions in an enterprise.   Many companies have jumped on the ECM bandwagon and have implemented storage and retrieval in their enterprise.  But, how many have taken the initiative to actually truncate content at its source?  What does this mean: truncate content at its source?

To truncate content at its source,  I am referencing an initiative to keep electronic documents as electronic documents (i.e. not printing out the Word Document or Excel Spreadsheet for review), utilize fax server technology and ingest faxes as images (ingesting faxes directly in to a capture application so meta data can be attached to it and accessed through a repository),  take in outside content as EDI and leave it as EDI (by utilizing COLD technology and storing it with users being able to view the content with template overlays),  and leave email messages and their attachments in their electronic format (by capturing the email, ingest the email’s content and strip off the attachment so that it can be preserved in the repository in electronic form).  A truly GREEN organization.

How can we help enterprises achieve this?  One method is to simplify the process that content is captured at the end user.  This may include embedding capture technology in every day applications like Word and Excel.  A simple to use “button” placed in the application that evokes a simple window that allows the user to fill in one or two key meta data fields – like Kofax currently offers with Kofax Desktop and ImageSource offers with ILINX ® Capture.  Another option is to leverage existing multifunction devices, having a capture application sweep the directory and push some light indexing or not, back to the submitter or sending it to a central data processing center.  Most importantly, capturing the content in-process!

In-Process Capture through thin client applications is the most consistent and efficient way to truncate content at its source.  Enabling knowledge workers to submit content as part of their process, versus at the end of their process.  All knowledge workers, not just high volume workers, having this capability.  Leveraging ad-hoc, highly distributed capture processes throughout an enterprise.   For example, the executive assistant who has contracts, high dollar Purchase Orders, NDA’s, HR documents, or regulatory submissions being able to commit these documents right in to the repository or workflow.  Another example, to enable agents or sales people in the field to submit claims, reports or expenses from their automobile, prior to leaving the customers parking lot, so that financial transaction can be processed immediately.

Some organizations “think green.”  Its time now for these companies to go to the next step and put their IT projects behind these eco-friendly initiatives.

“Today’s Trends in Capture”

Are you manually processing documents? How much time are you spending on this? How many employees does it take? How much is it costing you in paper, ink and other supplies? Have you ever thought about implementing a solution to automate your processes through document capture and workflow processing?

ImageSource recently held a webinar titled “Today’s Trends in Capture” that highlighted different aspects of document capture, including centralized capture, distributed capture, real use cases, benefits and challenges as well. The webinar also discussed how there are a variety of capture products available depending on what you’re looking for and what business challenges you are looking to solve. If you would like to view this webinar, please visit our website. ImageSource will be hosting additional webinars, so please stay tuned for dates and topics. If there is a topic you would like to see discussed, please let us know.

One product that was highlighted was ILINX© Capture. ILINX Capture is a web-based capture product that allows users to access it from anywhere in the world wherever there is an Internet connection. ILINX Capture is a perfect example of a product that is great for distributed capture. ILINX Capture provides businesses with a variety of different benefits, including the following:

  • Requires minimal training
  • Supports distributed and centralized environments
  • Streamlines business processes
  • Reduces costs associated with paper (shipping, printing and copying, tracking lost documents)
  • Configurable based on user needs

Document capture has proven to be a success in many organizations world-wide. Nexus ’10, ImageSource’s annual ECM Solutions Conference, offers a variety of tracks on capture. Nexus ’10 will be held in Bellevue, Washington at the Meydenbauer Center November 4-5. To learn more about Nexus or to register for the ECM Conference, visit http://NexusECM.com.

Kristina Parma
Communications Manager
ImageSource, Inc.
@KristinaParma

 

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

Three Essential Components of ECM – Capture, Connect and Share

At our recent ECM Solutions Conference, Nexus, ImageSource announced the new brand strategy for our ILINX product line – Capture | Connect | Share.

The three word tagline was chosen because it so accurately describes the critical comments of an effective Enterprise Content Management system.

Capture:
The more effectively an organization can get information into their system the better they are able to manage that information. Critical content comes into organizations every day. How are you capturing your information? How effectively are you managing all types of content (paper, electronic content, video, pictures, etc)? What technology are you embracing to enable electronic information? Fax machines? MFPs? Desktop scanners? Production scanners? Because Capture is the “on-ramp” to any ECM system, having the right tools (ILINX Capture Products) will enable the success of your ECM system.

Connect:
Seamless integration with line-of-business systems is essential for user adoption, simple end-user training and overall Change Management. With the use of ILINX Connect products, organizations can access all critical documents from one central ECM repository without ever leaving the LOB system they are familiar with. ILINX successfully integrates ECM systems with SAP, JD Edwards, PeopleSoft and others.

Connectivity between different ECM systems is also essential in order to maximize the benefits of all the various technologies. ILINX integrates technologies such as SharePoint, Oracle, LiquidOffice, Kofax, and more.

Share:
Business operations depend on getting the right information to the right people at the right time. Having the right tools to access that information easily is the functionality built into the ILINX Share products. Organizations must be able to export targeted information effectively for public disclosure requests, specific agenda items, invoices, and much, much more. Having that information easy to retrieve in a well organized, usable format is essential.

ILINX products are the cornerstone of many successful ECM solutions. Visit the customer success stories page on our website and see how organizations, both public and private, are creating effective ECM solutions utilizing ILINX technologies.

Debbie Horton
Corporate Communications Director
ImageSource, Inc.

 

In-Process Capture: Who Needs It?

Enterprise imaging and capture has been deployed in most large organizations around the world for many years.  This includes pushing capture out to remote sites in a semi-centralized way.  This approach still has a great deal of overhead in terms of support, maintenance, infrastructure costs, and many times postage to this more localized site.  What if every company could leverage their existing office equipment to capture content at the source, whether it is the organization itself or its customers/partners, to get content in as part of their normal work process?

Inserting capture in-process allows service level agreements to be achieved or even exceeded, move content/images through the organization quicker and more efficiently, and leverage the knowledge worker’s expertise who are  in front of the customer in a limited, yet simple,  efficient manner.  Who could benefit from this?  Well, just about every company.

If you are a retail organization setting up a new credit account – imagine scanning the document on the local printer/scanner and it goes off to the financial institution without keying in anything.  So, the cashier can ring other customers as the approval is being sought.  If you’re a distribution company who just dropped off a pallet of goods to a center and that signature can be scanned in from the truck, with an internet connection, to the accounting department to generate an invoice that same day?  Or if you’re a financial services organization and you have high valued customers out on the golf course and you want to get their application in and an account number generated before going to the next hole?  What about a physician’s office who needs to provide a referral, prescription or orders for surgery to a hospital, doctor or pharmacy, so that by the time your really sick patient arrives the process or prescription has already been issued?

Lets start saving some trees,  maximizing efficiency and providing real customer service with in-process capture!

Michelle Semple
ImageSource, Inc.

Microsoft SharePoint 2010 – Las Vegas Conference Day 3

Kraft Foods and Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) gave excellent presentations on how they have adopted SharePoint solutions.  Each took different approaches in deploying the platform.  Kraft focused on Web Content Management and CCE deployed using Business Product Online Services BPOS for employee team sites, collaboration, search, calendar shares and business intellegence.

In both cases the organizations selected SharePoint as not only a technology but a platform to enable their employees to engage more collaboratively.  Both organizations are eager to continue building out cutting edge ECM, WCM, BI and Social media applications on SharePoint 2010.

kraftfoods  Kraft Foods Digital Marketing group led by Rose Moda worked with Blackwell Consulting and Razorfish to deliver an extensbile, flexible and highly scalable web content management platform.  The customer facing websites are crisp, easily updated, brand flexible and powered by SharePoint.

Kraft is the second largest domestic food manufacturer and distributor with an annual revenues of 42B.  They have some of the best known brands that you find in your refrigerator or pantry everyday.  Including Maxwell House, Oscar Meyer, Oreo, Philedelphia Cream Cheese and Nabisco.  40 of the Kraft brands are over 100 years old.  Kraft has 168 manufacturing and food distribution facilities worldwide.

With 270 sites globally and 3 different (web) Content Management Systems, Kraft forcasts a $2.2M cost saving over 2 years using the SharePoint ECM platform.  They are currently running 64-bit versions of MS SharePoint 07 (MOSS) and MS Commerce Server 07.

Kraft wanted the new platform to provide fast, easy publishing.  In order give the sites clean brand awareness – reusable rich media web parts were developed that could be skinned to provide flexibility and uniquness across specific brand sites.  The platform had to be scalable and bullet proof, Frank Perkins from the technical team was part of the team that helped make sure the infrastructure was rock solid.

Maria DeLuna, Technical Director at Razorfish (a Microsoft company), was responsible for leading the design effort.  Key objectives were driven by the fact that each brand wanted flexibility ‘no strict templating‘.  This is not an easy task considering the re-usability goal that was necessary to gain ROI.  Out of the box skins & web parts were used to provide key internet marketing tools for polling, customer registration, product rating/reviews and newsletter functions.  By doing this each brand’s marketing group attained feature rich integration with no backend development work needed, this speeds deployment by not having to wait for development to code standard functions.  They achieved full creative layout control over were these webparts could be placed, this gave them more flexibility to what marketing does best, ‘create a vision’.

Web Parts Generate XML -> Apply XSLT -> Add Form Ctrls -> Render HTML
You can have one web part for navigation but present it differently on a brand’s site by using CSS.  For instance one recipe webpart by all brands don’t look the same.  Besides who wants to go to a Cool Whip recipe and have it presented the same way an A-1 Steak Sauce recipe is presented.

Kraft used a flexible template model that could incorporate standard content items but seperate them from presentation UI to let each brand have its own identity.  This cuts way down on what I call excessive wheel building.  Functional content items are bundled in a content group so they can be shared across sites and customized using CSS and XHTML to give them a unique look and feel.  Gene Hong from Blackwell gave a technical overview of the web part properties and content publishing process.

cokelogoCoca-Cola Enterprises has 75K employees, spread across 431 facilities worldwide.  23 – 30K of those employees are knowledge workers connected by PC’s, Laptops and Mobile computing devices.  They have 4 distinct lines of drinks, Sparkling (coke), Energy (monster), Juice, Water (dasani) and Tea.  Brett Kirkland (Priniciple Architect), Shahira Elsohy and Jonathan Phillips (Public Affairs) presented “The Sky’s the Limit – Journey to the Cloud”

CCE decided in 2008 to that it needed a 21st century communications platform.  They wanted to consolidate the communications infrastructure to reduce the number of vendors providing those services, this drives ROI.  They needed real world collaboration for employees, thus increasing the social networking culture between groups.  The vision was to establish digital communications as the key enabler to engage employees to drive sustainably collaboration and ongoing innovation.  Employees have good ideas and valuable knowledge, connecting them better would give CCE a competitive advantage.

In March of 2008 CCE announced that it had selected Microsoft for its integrated communication and collaboration platform using Online Services for SharePoint, Exchange and Office.  By moving these technologies to the Cloud and taking advantage of a SaaS licensing model they gained ROI and efficiency by off loading support, ongoing hardware and software upgrades and daily maintenance.

  • Key success factors included:
    Active and Visible Executive Support – critical
  • Market as an ongoing change management campaign well before launch
  • Simplified Integration
  • Created two-way communications

For a marketing video clip visit this link Coca Cola & Microsoft
Also this video from CCE Executives on the Decision to go with BPOS

Shadrach White
Chief Technology Officer
ImageSource, Inc.