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

ILINX – the new ECM software kid on the block!

Since my entry into the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) industry in 2001, the biggest challenge that I see for any company is to turn their ECM investment into one that is utilized across the enterprise, and not just for the benefit of one department. After all, that is the whole point of an enterprise system solution. When the whole enterprise benefits, it reduces total cost of ownership and the promise of a return-on-investment (ROI) is realized.

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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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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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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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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.

Process Improvements – Leveraging Technology – Content Store

 

ILINX® – Content Store

Simple, Easy, Efficient –

Imagine having information at your fingertips.

The power of a piece of paper?   Often what you need to get your job done exists on a “piece of paper” somewhere other than your very own desk.   Think back to life before working in the Document Imaging world and the amount of time wasted trying to gather information. If that was true for me, even in very high tech companies, imagine how it is for others.    Often the things we need to access are very similar between companies and industries.   We all need access to customer information: invoices, P.O’s, shipping information, approval documentation, etc. etc.

ILINX Content Store provides one place to keep this information and a searching capability  similar to a “google” search for your internal documents.  It is truly one of the most user friendly efficient software that I have seen.   How do you make a decision to begin turning the paper in to “less paper?”   Without a doubt in the long run it will save you time and money.   Two things every company can have more of!

Geetha French
Inside Sales
ImageSource 

Building an ECMEcosystem™

The goal of any Enterprise Content Management initiative should be to provide business value that aligns with the overall business strategy of your organization. Our goal with our customer engagements is to help them become more operationally sound by implementing application solutions which enable our customers to serve their customers better. We recognize that the four most important aspects of any business are:

  • Customers
  • Employees
  • Business Processes
  • Business Content

The last three on the list service the first one and if a company’s customers are dealt with in an effective manner that company will grow and prosper and everyone will share in the rewards of that effort.

Over the last 17 years, the biggest challenge we’ve seen our customers and potential customers face is figuring out where to begin in initiating content and process related projects. It is for that reason that we have developed the ECMEcosystem™ methodology and service offering to help eliminate the complexity associated with that task. The objective of our ECMEcosystem service offering is to provide your organization with a road map outlining the hi-value content and processes that either drive revenue or incur cost so that you can make the most informed decision on which projects to initiate first and how to go about executing those projects.

The final report we generate from our ECMEcosystem engagement will outline current processes and also provide recommendations for improvement based on industry best practices and benchmarking, a business case is also included which is almost always necessary for ECM project justification. The final document can be used to identify which departments and processes to target for operational improvement first and / or used as a Request for Proposal (RFP) template to engage software and services vendors.

Cass Holloway
VP, Oracle Solution Sales
ImageSource, Inc.

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

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!”

 

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

Client Vendor Partnership

I’m on my soap box again, looking for anyone to lend a sympathetic ear.  Whether it is RFP season or just engaging in the content management sales cycles, I’d like to provide some suggestions in the requirements gathering / evaluation process.

Before I begin, please take into consideration the following definitions:

Me or I = Not specifically me, but any consultant, colleague, or professional that provides knowledge in a specific area of business functions.
You or Your = Not specifically you, but any organization looking for assistance in improving business functions.

It is shocking to me how organizations invite subject matter experts to learn more about their business process that needs some TLC, and then respond by not giving full information, acting on ulterior motives, being condescending, and trying to position themselves internally as an expert by asking ultra specific offbeat questions.   It is a similar process of going to the doctor and withholding information that might lead to a more accurate diagnosis.  I don’t want to compare what I provide to life saving efforts of the medical community, but want to simplify this by stating “How can I help you if you can’t tell me what is wrong?”

My Top 4 Peeves in the Vendor Client Relationship:

  1. Get past the stigma of “This guy is trying to sell me something”.  We bring best practices, and over 400 examples of similar projects into consideration while looking at your business process.    If you are communicating in an open manner, you might be surprised at how much easier the process is and how much more value you will obtain.
  2. Don’t ask for free services / consulting / advice.  Please respect my profession, experience, and subject matter expertise.  I wouldn’t dare walk into your business and ask you to give me something that has taken you 20 years to develop and perfect.
  3. Respect my time and expertise.  If you are in an active initiative and respect my knowledge and involvement, please do not abuse it by calling me into every meeting to provide educational information when your process dictates that you have to go through a stringent evaluation process for multiple vendors and it is your policy to purchase from the lowest bidder anyway.
  4. You are correct in the assumption that I am in it to make money.  At the end of the day, aren’t we all trying to make profit for our organizations and selves?  I am not asking you to pay a King’s ransom, just an amount that is commensurate with the time spent, value brought, services rendered, AND the perceived value to your organization.

For a few laughs, but a startling dose of reality, please take a few moments to view this video that puts things in a bit of perspective.  Vendor Client Releationship Video.

Here is another related post by Tony Byrne of CMS Watch that expands on this diatribe.  Tony Byrne blog post.

As a systems integrator, we aren’t looking for any special treatment, only fair, upfront collaboration that will allow us to determine if there is value in our service offering, meeting your business needs.

P.S.  I am happy to take you to lunch but I do expect respect and a clear understanding of your fair process.

Jeff Blissett
Senior Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.

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.

 

Top Reasons to Capture Data from an 11-Year-Old’s Perspective!

I am new to the world of Document Imaging and Capture in general.  As of this year it has been one of the things I think and talk about most. Over dinner with my family and in the car I often share things about what I do and how it helps people.   My 11-year-old daughter shares some of her ideas on why capture is important and helpful in her life.

1. Art work and keep sakes from over the years can be scanned and kept forever!

2. Art work and photos can be scanned and shared with grandparents, family, and friends with ease and speed.

3. She doesn’t have to make multiple copies she can make one piece of art and share it with endless people.

4. She can upload pictures and art to her blog and Facebook.

5. If she captures art and uploads it to our family blog, we will have it forever from anywhere she has access to the internet all over the world.

6. She can scan things she works on that parents would make her throw away. i.e.( Homemade I Love Justin Bieber Posters)

7. It helps make space in her room

8. It is green and “everyone” is doing it!

9. She can scan something and email it her parents for our approval in a matter of seconds instead of waiting till we get home to read the document on the fridge (or forget to read it at all)

10.  She can look at memories from second grade school work when she wants vs, having to ask if Dad if he will get the 2nd Grade Memory Box out of the garage ?   (The answer is always “not today”)

10. If we ever had a flood in the garage she would still have the memories that are precious to all of us.

After thinking about the things that are important to an 11-year-old, I realized that these same things carry over to the business world.

Capturing Data is important for these reasons:

  1. Archiving
  2. Save’s Money and Save’s Time
  3. Save’s Space
  4. Disaster Recovery
  5. Productivity Gains
  6. Security
  7. Collaboration
  8. Customer Satisfaction
  9. Regulatory Compliance
  10. Green Initiatives

Sometimes thinking of things through a child’s eyes simplifies the process.  Children help us to see things much clearer.

“The complex develops out of the simple.” – Collin Wilson

Check Out the new i-phone app for ILINX ® Capture

Geetha French- ECMP

Account Executive

ImageSource, Inc.

Phone 360.943.9273

www.imagesourceinc.com

An Innovative Blend…ILINX® Capture with Canon ScanFront 220 / 220P

This week I wanted to highlight a great ImageSource combo that delivers an All-IN-ONE system that is perfect for Workgroup Capture.  This blended technology provides a comprehensive state-of-the-art scanning solution for any organization, regardless of size.

ILINX® Capture is a powerful web based application that allows you to capture information any place, any time.  It can be used for ad hoc and production scanning and indexing.  All you need is access to a browser and you can capture documents from anywhere in the world!

With ILINX Capture you can import and process emails, faxes and business documents and it is easily integrated with third-party and legacy systems. Once released from the scanner, the documents enter the ILINX Capture workflow system; allowing access to documents and batches from a thin web client.  ILINX Capture was a winner of the 2010 Product Innovation Awards –  Network Products Guide.

Now blending ILINX Capture with Canon ScanFront 220 / ScanFront 220P scanner, this allows you to plug your captured information directly into your office network.  With the user-friendly touch screen, you can scan directly to e-mail, FTP, shared folders or USB memory and it releases to a comprehensive workflow system that is assessable from any browser.

Worried about security and access to your network? The Canon ScanFront 220 / ScanFront 220P has robust security features offering fingerprint authentication with easy remote management.

Check out the demo of how it works on You Tube – you will see how easy it is to apply innovation in your workflow processes!

For more information see the PDF below.

Dynamic Duo – ILINX Capture & Canon ScanFront 220P

Megan Lane
Inside Sales
ImageSource Inc.
Phone 360.943.9273
iPhone 360.481.5946
www.imagesourceinc.com

  

The Future Direction of ECM – Oracle 11g

Today I participated in a very interesting webinar today by Andy MacMillan, VP Product Management, Oracle, regarding the release of the much anticipated latest ECM offering from Oracle – 11g.   The speculation is over and it is upon us.  Contrary to popular buzz, they haven’t thrown the baby out with the bathwater and alienated their current clients of the previous IPM versions.  Yes, you can still use a SQL database.  The product is well thought out, clean, and is a true platform play for enterprise deployments.  It is refreshing to see a vendor make a stand against the lower tier, point solutions and talk about extensible architecture that can be used against multiple business processes and span applications.

The workflow / BPM might take a bit of time for clients to get their arms around, but I do believe, once they do, it will be embraced.  The concept of using the BPM platform for imaging across all applications should simplify the implementation of workflow and replication across multiple business processes much easier.  Also, the open integration to MANY line of business applications, in a loosely-coupled manner is a good change from the hard coded integration of the past.  This should make upgrades in the future much easier.

At first glance, and from what I have seen from our test lab, 11g is a complete solution, open and integrated, and a cost effective solution that is well thought out.  There will still be a period where the previous version makes sense to deploy from an experience and proven technology basis, but I’m confident that 11g will be a solid foundation for the future.

As mentioned, ImageSource has 11g installed in a test lab and has been putting it through the paces.  We will be helping clients determine the best strategy and timing for migrations.  We have already developed tools, such as ILINX Export to help in the migration of data.  Please let us know how we can help you in your go-forward strategy.

Stay current by monitoring the ImageSource website for helpful hints and information on our blogs and twitter posts. For more information, please take a look at www.oracle.com/goto/IPM  and also http://download.oracle.com/docs/cd/E15523_01/ecm.htm

Jeff Blissett
Senior Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.

jeffb@imagesourceinc.com
www.imagesourceinc.com

  

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

How ECM Solutions can help Reduce Your Organization’s Cost and Carbon Footprint.

Happy New Year! Let’s go to work on Monday and save some trees and the environment! With the New Year upon us, it is a good time to review the way your organization manages its manual paper processes, i.e., Invoice Workflow, HR documentation, etc.

It has been my experience that once an organization has made the decision to investment into an Enterprise Content Management solution, they have significantly reduced the amount of manual processes, which in turn reduces cost and streamlines a once slow manual process. While this is a great thing and usually the main reason organizations make this investment, many have not considered the environmental benefit that an ECM solution can bring. I reflect back to the time that I worked in an office, that did not employ such technologies, and I remember all the paper that I used in order to share information. Did you know that the average American office worker is estimated to use a sheet of paper every 12 minutes—a ream per person every two and a half working weeks—and to dispose of 100-200 pounds of paper every year? Think about that statistic!  That is just one employee. Studies have also shown that the number of pages consumed in U.S. offices is growing by about 20% each year. This is huge when you think about this on a national and global scale. Because of this unnecessary paper creation, forests are being depleted and there is more pollution due to the creation and disposal of this paper. Over the years we have all gotten a little more conscious about recycling, however, only about 45% of the paper generated in the U.S. is recovered.

So with all of this said… what the solution is? One solution is to capture documentation when the document enters the organization. One can do this by using ILINX Capture to scan the document, once this is done the document no longer needs to be copied or recreated, it is now in electronic format. Better yet, if the document is email or faxed, ILINX can pull right from the source, electronically, and it never has to be printed at all, viola you have already saved a tree. That handles the capture aspect, but what about sharing information. Instead of a having a 200 page document copied five times to reviewed in a meeting, through ECM it can be easliy scanned an distributed electronically with our Image/Process Management Software. Now, I can write about many other bad habits that are due to not have having information electronically, but let’s talk about some real numbers. A Global Manufacture estimates an up to $10 billion cost reduction in the coming years through digitizing many of its processes. This company also has identified approximately $1.5 billion in potential cost-savings, WOW! A large Gas Company has saved 100 tons of paper and $320,000 through the use of making their processes electronic. A Global Aerospace company estimates savings of 8 million sheets of paper and $250,000 by digitizing one of its 100-page manuals.

So, when we all get back to the office from the holiday season, rethink what you do and what your organization does when it comes to collecting and sharing information. If you feel like you would like to learn more feel free to contact us ImageSource.

Happy New Year!

Shon D. Mueller
Senior Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.
www.imagesourceinc.com

 

Tackling ECM in Higher Education – Part Two

In Part One we talked about the problems encountered in Higher Education with departmental solutions, now let’s talk about how to fix it or more importantly how to prevent it from happening. The answer actually is pretty simple, if your thinking about implementing an Enterprise Content Management Solution then narrow your search to those companies that provide these products.  The term Enterprise Content Management is used very loosely today but by true definition is defined as:

the strategies, methods and tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents related to organizational processes. ECM tools and strategies allow the management of an organization’s unstructured information, wherever that information exists”.

This new term is intended to completely encompass the legacy problem domains (i.e. “Islands of Information”) that have traditionally been addressed by records management and document management. It also includes all of the additional problems involved in converting to and from digital content, as well as to and from the traditional media of those problem domains (such as physical and computerized filing and retrieval systems, often involving paper and microforms).

Finally ECM has employed the technologies and strategies of (digital) content management to address business process issues, such as records and auditing, knowledge sharing, personalization and standardization of content. These products are also built on n Tier Architecture which is very scalable and provides easy integration into ERP products and supporting products mixes such as Enterprise Fax Solutions, Electronic Form Products and so on. Here at ImageSource we have built a plethora of tools under the ILINX Products Family that ties all the pieces together both effectively and transparently to provide a seamless solution.

Finally let’s talk about the cost, one of the questions I always hear regarding ECM is how much will this cost? There is no question a true ECM Solution will be more costly than a Departmental Solution, how much more really depends on the customer and how widely across the Enterprise they choose to deploy it. The good news is, you don’t have to do it all at once, and here lies the real attraction of a true ECM Solution, you can start small and eventually grow it to the Enterprise and not worry if this will meet my needs in two years. So ask yourself a simple question when evaluating Content Management Solutions, should I pay a little more upfront or pay less only to find out it will not meet ones needs in a couple of years and finally, think about the costs associated with migration of all that content you already have stored that will need to be moved over when your current solution can no longer support your organization.

City of Richland Wins InfoWorld 100 Award

Congratulations to the City of Richland, Wash. on winning the InfoWorld 100 Award! Richland streamlined their business processes utilizing different technologies, including ABBYY, ILINX, Oracle and others. Check out the Richland case study discussing their solution.

Case Study: http://imagesourceinc.com/CustomerSuccess/CaseStudies/CityofRichland/index.htm

Kristina Parma
ImageSource, Inc.

  

Tackling ECM in Higher Education Part One

It seems whenever I meet with prospects in Higher Education I keep hearing the same thing over and over again, we have a system in this department we have another system in this department but we don’t think what they have will work for our needs. How did this scenario come to be? The answer is pretty simple, in the past, many systems in Higher Education that were chosen focused on specific departments, primarily Admission & Records and the Financial Aid Departments which were prime targets due to the large volumes of content each generated. Thus the beginnings of what we commonly refer to today as “Islands of Information” began to take place,  with each department doing their own thing or nothing at all. Today the business paradigm has shifted with departments such as AP, AR, HR, Student Services, Campus Police, Housing and the above mentioned departments now all requiring Content Management. Each department has its own unique requirements with integration into one or more ERP type of systems being quite common. Tackling all these requirements can be a challenge since the answer lies outside the traditional school of thought and requires us to  look beyond the department and expand our vision around Enterprise Content Management. How we go about doing that will be in discussed in part 2 of my next blog.

Bob Garrido
Senior Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.

 

Excellent Planning and Project Management Earn Awards for City of Richland, Washington

 

Congratulations to the City of Richland, Washington.  Their ECM solution deployed earlier this year has earned  two prestigious awards within the past month.

In early November, the City of Richland won the ImageSource Customer Partner Award for best return  on investment.  The award was presented to Jon Amundson, Assistant City Manager and Christina Palmer, Project Manager at Nexus 2009.

Last week it was announced that the City of Richland was also named to the Info World top 100 list of IT projects.  The solution consisted of Oracle IPM, Cardiff Liquid Office,  a Bundle of ILINX products http://www.imagesourceinc.com/Products/ILINXProducts/index.htm which were used to extend the capabilities of the Off The Shelf Software.

The vision, professionalism and standard of excellence exhibited by the Richland team is to be commended.  Congratulations, City of Richland!

 

Nexus 2010 ECM Solutions Conference EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT $195

Nexus 2009 ECM Solutions Conference was a resounding SUCCESS!!

First I would like to thank every single attendee and our valuable sponsors for your enthusiastic participation and support.  Nexus2010 registrations continue to be completed by organizations that understand the value and importance that this event has on the strategic planning of ECM initiatives for their businesses.  Nexus2010 will be held at the Meyedenbauer Convention Center on Nov. 4th & 5th – 2010.  We are encouraged of course by the outpouring of positive feedback we have received, we are grateful for each and every comment.  ImageSource will work diligently to again “raise the bar” in all aspects of planning, execution and content delivery.  We are listening on our Nexus Twitter feed for any and all recommendations for speakers, breakouts and special events that you feel would be valuable, so Tweet us!

The Green ECM Video can be found on YouTube so check it out.


We are offering a limited time promotion for early registrations of $195 for a full conference pass. Use discount code NEXUS10SPL.  Register early as we are keeping this event exclusive so seating is limited

Also a reminder of where you can find more information on ECM topics, please add us to your RSS feed and Follow us on Twitter.  Stay tuned for our FaceBook fan sites too.

BLOGS
Nexus ECM: http://nexusecmsolutionsconference.wordpress.com/
ECM Project Managers: http://ProjectManagementForECM.wordpress.com
ECM Systems Engineers: http://ECMTechnicalExpertise.wordpress.com
ECM Solutions: http://IndependentIntegratorsOfECM.wordpress.com
ECM Developers: http://SoftwareDevelopmentForECM.wordpress.com

Twitter
Nexus ECM Twitter feed http://twitter.com/nexusecm
ImageSource Twitter feed http://twitter.com/imagesourceinc
ILINX Capture Twitter feed http://twitter.com/ilinxcapture
ECM Support Twitter feed http://twitter.com/ecmsupport

Shadrach White
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.

Capture, Connect, Share

That was the resonating thought left on people’s minds after attending Nexus 2009 at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, WA. The ILINX product line is a unique product offered only by ImageSource, Inc. It’s a flexible web-based capture software suite that allows a distributed capture solution. It has no volume licensing, so there is no limitation on how many documents are scanned. Attendees were very impressed with the ILINX products and how they co-exist with other capture software in the same environment.

“It so easy to become complacent with our day to-day routine, sometimes you need something to shake you and rejuvenate you! This is what our Nexus conference does for me. It gives me a chance to meet my customer and to be remind that what we do improves peoples work environment and in essence we improve our customers’ lives at work and we all know we spend more time at work than anywhere else so we are improving lives! I get a chance to see how our customer are excited about the changes in the market places and they are genuinely excited about improving their environments.“ – Ruben Kerson, Inside Sales Manager at ImageSource

Until next year everyone!!

Andrea Latham, CDIA+
Inside Sales
ImageSource, Inc.
Phone 360.943.9273
www.imagesourceinc.com

 

Is ECM a Green Technology?

Going green is getting easier as technology develops.  The “paperless office” utopia is still being developed but the amount of paper can be, and is being dramatically reduced due to document imaging and content management solutions.  It is a fairly straightforward concept – if a business process begins with physical paper, why not scan it, index it, and store it where multiple people can access, it is secure, traceable and auditable, and it adheres to your corporate records policy?  This concept does not only save your organization money, but it does reduce the environmental impact of doing business.

It is easy to see the savings in industries such as Health Care and Financial Services.  In Health Care the green factor and carbon footprint reduction relates to the courier cost, fax cost, copying cost of duplicating patient records and insurance correspondence.  This is a huge magnitude when you consider the general health of the population.   Financial Services green footprint is also correlated with courier and copying but also in the workflow process to route documents.

There is great information published on this topic at various sites such as AIIM , and also at AIIM.  There is also interesting case examples at  New and Good in ECM.

Distributed scanning  can also have a directly positive impact on a green initiative.  Capturing documents and data at the point of creation or receipt will save on shipping and courier services which also impacts the environment by reducing the oil consumption in transportation.

The digitizing of documents greatly reduces off-site storage costs which also has a direct effect on oil consumption used in the transportation to and from the storage facilities.

Much of the transition from paper to electronic comes with the paradigm shift from physically handling paper to viewing documents and data and routing them from the computer.  This takes time and facilitates true change management disciplines but the amount of money, efficiencies, and resources saved can be tremendous.  To be successful, you need to plan for the initial pushback from the knowledge workers.  In the beginning, they might even print more than what they were before the implementation.  If change is managed correctly, the users will adopt and embrace the efficiencies.

The going green concept is growing and is a focal point of the upcoming Nexus ECM Conference held on Nov 2-3 in Bellevue, WA.  Take a look at the Nexus Agenda for some of the “green” sessions.

Comments and feedback welcome.

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

Document Capture Tools

Scanning your documents into a Document Management System is a great way to improve efficiency and reduce the amount of paper in your office.  And, depending on what kind of paper you are scanning, there are lot of document capture tools available.  Tools such as Full Text OCR, Zonal OCR, and ICR can greatly reduce time spent indexing and validating your documents once they are scanned.

Full Text OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is software that captures every character in the document being scanned and processing it into a fully searchable PDF.  One effective use of this technology is when government users needing to search hundreds of pages of agendas and meeting minutes for a certain topic.  The process of searching these documents is quite time-consuming and most OCR processing occurs overnight when there is less use on the company’s day-to-day activities.

Zonal OCR is similar in that it captures information, but in this case, the software is programmed to look in the same location or “zone” every time.  This is helpful when scanning in documents where the information is in the same location, such as an invoice number.  Most invoices are in a set format so zonal OCR is very effective in this scenario.  When the operator is validating this information, the Zonal OCR zooms in on the zone area that has been predetermined where the information is captured from so they can easily read if the information captured is correct or not.  Hence, one of the biggest advantages of Zonal OCR is that it improves the efficiency of searches which translates into a savings of both time and money.  Some software available that features Zonal OCR also allows the user to draw a box to establish a zone around required text rather than typing in keywords therefore allowing the document to be automatically indexed.

ICR (Intelligent Character Recognition) is the ability for the software to read hand-written information and process this into searchable information.  This is especially beneficial in the financial industry.  And although this tool can be very useful in some situations, the error rate is much higher because handwriting is so varied from person to person.

Andrea Latham, CDIA+
Inside Sales
ImageSource, Inc.
Phone 360.943.9273
www.imagesourceinc.com

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Using ILINX to Integrate with ERP Systems

Enterprise Resource Planning Systems (ERPs) integrate all data and processes of an organization into a unified system. A typical ERP system will use multiple components of computer software and hardware to achieve the integration. A key ingredient of most ERP Systems is the use of a unified database to store data for the various system modules. Most ERP Systems implementation require the standardization of business processes to match the system modules. Although this standardization is difficult during the first implementation, upgrades are quick and relatively inexpensive because of the standardized processes and modules. The process improvements this type of standardization enables are substantial. An imaging system allows you to bring this standardization of processes to your document handling.

ILINX Integrate is designed to complement a wide variety of enterprise systems. One of the biggest uses of ILINX is to provide imaging or document management functionality as a ‘bolt-on’ to existing ERP platforms. When the system integration is done right, most users do not even know they are using ILINX Integrate.  It simply appears as if every needed document is stored right in the ERP system.

In addition to the ROI provided by the imaging itself, it also allows the most basic business processes to be enhanced through workflow applications. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) provides financial software that facilitates sharing information within the company whereby all departments or divisions can see what is transpiring elsewhere in the company. ERP provides transparent information management so that every division is apprised of events as they happen.

Integrating ERP with document imaging technologies using ILINX power and transform a business into a dynamic enterprise.  To learn more about how ILINX products can enhance your current solution, please register for Nexus.

Andrea Latham, CDIA+

Inside Sales

ImageSource, Inc.

Phone 360.943.9273

www.imagesourceinc.com

 

Distributed Scanning – Sales Perspective

“This is going to be the year that document imaging really takes off.  This is the year…………. “.  The adoption of storing files with a standard naming convention on shared drives is still being forced around corporate America when the technology has been around for 20 years to securely scan, index, store, and retrieve in a single repository.  What makes us think that the concept of having scanners at every desk or even on the same physical floor is going to catch on in the 20 years?

“When it is easy enough for the CEO to scan documents from his office, we know that document imaging is mainstream. “ In the industry, we have all heard this claim of the past 20 years.  We have had visions of every organization, big or small, regardless of industry, deploying scanners and efficiently capturing paper documents at the source of receipt.  Multi-Function Devices (copiers that scan and fax) have now become mainstream where most people are comfortable in scanning a document and feel comfortable with the concept. – This is the easy part.  The reason we still fight with adoption is that traditional document capture  software that allows for the scanning  and indexing, has been difficult to understand, use AND had to be loaded on every person’s desktop that wanted to scan and index their documents.

Internet security, reduced file sizes, increased bandwidth, web services, and development of web parts have all been in development high gear.  Companies that have been focusing on these technologies and disciplines have made significant breakthroughs in the Distributed Capture / Remote Scanning marketplace.  See Kofax, Cardiff, EMC / Captiva, ImageSource / ILINX, Oracle / Captovation, ReadSoft.  Out are the complex interfaces that require understanding of terms such as batches, document classes, OCR.  In are the simple interfaces that allow for the scanning at a push of a single button, simple drop down menus, and few key strokes.  Web based scanning applications should be commonplace where the user can scan a document from anywhere, provide simple indexing functionality, start a workflow, and have the document committed to the secure repository.  The concept of “collecting” documents and taking / sending / Fed Ex’ing them to the mail room or scanning supervisor for processing is now not necessary / antiquated / a big waste of time.  The technology is here and now.

Distributed Capture solutions should be thin client, scalable, not linked to a page count, able to support multiple ECM systems, and require little to no training.   This shouldn’t be too much to ask.

How long is it going to take to get the message out to the masses?  Will this be the year of distributed capture?  Comments and feedback welcome.

Jeff Blissett
Senior Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.

 

Best Practices for Distributed Capture

Over the years, many organizations have extended centralized capture with thick client distributed capture components.  More recently, some organizations have begun leveraging their MFPs/MFDs investment with technologies offering front panel integration. But this has lead to difficulty in managing all the various import possibilities, management of the changing hardware, and integration of disparate systems.

The varying systems have resulted in differing ways in which meta data is captured or even which fields are captured along with administrative management of many different systems.  As an example most large IBM FileNet customers are running not only multiple versions of Content Services, Image Services and Panagon P8, but they also have multiple DR, Test and QA platforms for supporting new application deployment, upgrades and functional enhancements.

Having one application, that can manage inputs from fax servers, email, scanners, MFPs/MFDs, and file shares, which allow for consistent document management practices and complete control for records management is quickly becoming a high level priority in large organizations.  With a centrally administered capture system, which can be pushed out to distributed users via a URL, allows for control for all content around the enterprise.  With some thin client applications, best practices can be applied to all documents versus select documents by including fax, MFD/MFP and email ingestion to the processing.

So, when considering how an enterprise can manage all aspects of their day-to-day content, requiring one application to manage everything is quickly becoming a top requirement in “best practices.”

Distributed Capture vs. Paper Processing

It’s obvious but no one wants to admit it. We walk past the rows of files cabinets and do not see them. We’ve always used paper to help us get our work done.  Why change? Because manual processing of paper is a huge productivity killer.

I find it hard to believe that a knowledge worker gets great joy out of retyping information into two or three internal systems or filing documents into those invisible filing cabinets or running files to all appropriate approvers in the work process (and then making a copy for each worker for their personal files.)  Snicker, snicker right?

Imaging isn’t new; scanning isn’t a sexy technology. But in tough economic times with workers faced with furlough days and the same work (if not more) to be completed, it is needs to be addressed. It doesn’t have to be difficult. With the onset of multi-functional devices (the copier, printer, fax and scanning machines) and distributed scanning products like ILINX Capture, the process has been simplified and the financial investment is very competitive.

Imagine the new work day; work is moved electronically to your desk (computer). The “electronic paperwork” is moved to the proper knowledge professional by the computer, not by a person. Time to process takes days instead of weeks. Reminders for work tasks are programmatic (say goodbye to the sticky notes on your computer display). Access to information is readily available at your computer.

Is there anything cool or sexy about managing content electronically? Yep, it’s a green technology. How many trees are cut annually for reams of paper (shipped in cardboard boxes) and file folders? How many copies are made each day so workers have access to information? How about the power consumption from the printers and copy machines? How many metal file cabinets sit in our landfills? You get my point….

You are valuable to your organization because of your expertise. Be a little selfish, choose to enhance your skill set. Inspire your organization to explore the reality of enterprise imaging (scanning) and work-flow products. Learn More at Nexus 2009 and Go Green!

Christie Whitney
Senior Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.

To Renew Or Not To Renew…There Is No Question!

The current business model for enterprise level capture software suites is not simply to sell you a product and walk away, but rather it is to become a partner. The initial purchase is the beginning of that relationship. When you invest in a software suite such as Kofax Capture or ILINX Capture, you are modifying your business processes to accommodate the features and capabilities of the product to hopefully improve you productivity.  Once these capture products become part of your work life you will want to keep up your maintenance/software Assurance/upgrade assurance, so as new versions are released, you take advantage of a new feature or simply to stay compatible with your current operating system. If it was worth investing in originally it is worth maintaining.

Some customers choose not to adopt the partner model and never buy maintenance beyond the first year. Then the day comes when the system goes down and they don’t even know where to start to fix the problem.  And in order to get the current version, the manufacture requires them to pay for all the back maintenance plus a reinstatement fee. Sure the first reaction might be to start over fresh with another product, but once you look at changing your processes to accommodate a different product, you can quickly eliminate the savings you thought you were getting in the first place.

In terms of license volume reduction, it has been my experience that the customer is only saving hundreds of dollars today with the potential of spending thousands in the future.  I think that it is a bold move by some manufacturers  to enforce the “all or nothing” approach to license renewal but it is really in the best interest of the customer to keep current with all of their licenses.  I think this was a driving force when this policy was constructed.  I think it causes a lot of work for more than one person to keep track of licenses that customers may or may not be using when they are considering just a partial renewal.  That is one of many reasons why end users are becoming more and more interested in ILINX Capture, to avoid the hassles of volume-based licensing.  The pro’s to renewing software assurance are obvious and the expenditure is nominal; the cons are sometimes surprising and the expenditure is often alarming.

Whether using Kofax or ILINX Capture, staying current gives you the comfort of knowing that you are entitled to the necessary software to upgrade when the time comes.  And partnering with ImageSource, Inc. lends the right expertise to get the job done right the first time!

Andrea Latham, CDIA+

Inside Sales

ImageSource, Inc.

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Benefits of Enterprise Content Management In A Slow Economy

ECM is a maturing technology.  In the early days, solutions were built to meet the needs of a single department .  Index fields were often pre-defined, allowing very little flexibility for expanding the solution throughout the enterprise. While the only option in those early days was to purchase separate, departmental systems, the result was siloed solutions, redundant costs, and a compliance and records management nightmare.

The industry has matured.  Solutions now use open standards and are designed to be flexible in terms of application design, workflow processes and integration with Line of Business Systems.  Major ECM software platforms such as Oracle, IBM, EMC, and  are designed to be deployed to the enterprise..  The top ECM vendors are experienced at analyzing business processes and designing their solutions to meet the needs of each department within the enterprise, while at the same time providing the ability for each department to search across the enterprise for needed information.   The ability to design and deploy such solutions provides better records management, compliance and business intelligence.

In a slow economy, major cost savings can be realized if organizations will deploy ECM technology in a well planned, strategic manner.  Premier vendors of ECM technology offer education in the form of webinars, white papers, case studies, and ECM conferences. These educational offerings can expand the confidence and knowledge of organizations evaluating ECM solutions.  Any cost incurred by attendance of these educational events and programs will pay for themselves many times over in costs saved by avoiding  labor and redundancy.

It seems that now is the time for organizations to really examine their ECM strategies with the goal in mind of leveraging ECM technology to help the survive and thrive in this economy.

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Multi-Function Peripherals: “How do you support large scale deployments?”

Large organizations will deploy thousands of multi-function peripheral (MFP) devices throughout the enterprise. These devices may be from one manufacturer or several, depending on budget, purchasing processes and authority:

In large organizations purchasing copiers and MFPs can happen in stages.  If well coordinated, one manufacturer/model will be standardized on through a competitive bidding process.  This is not always the case and often several purchases can be made over a budgetary cycle and from different groups or departments.  This can lead to multiple manufacturers/models being supported in different departments by the IT organization.  Each manufacturer and model will have its own software, APIs and configuration procedures required to deploy the devices.  Training programs will have to be created to support the many models and features that users will want to use.

Over a 2 – 5 year period the devices could be replaced with newer models that come bundled with new software, APIs and configuration procedures.  This creates a real challenge for enterprises looking to deploy MFPs on a large scale.  How do we best take advantage of the new features and configuration options?  How does IT manage the content that is being generated by these devices?

Many times MFPs are purchased as part of a generic copier or printer replacement initiative.  Consequently there is no unified, consistent mechanism for integrating them into the enterprise content capture infrastructure. If done well it could enable the enterprise to use of the MFP devices, faxes, and existing desktop scanners with a consistent, common interface for the user and allow for integration into backend content repository architecture.

Most of these organizations have standardized on ECM software platforms that enable the capture, indexing, storage, retrieval and retention of content both electronic and physical.  Production and Desktop scanning capabilities are being used in a controlled way to support capture of both structured and unstructured content.  But few have managed to merge the MFP technologies and capabilities with the current ECM platforms.

MFPs are simply not considered a platform due to the technology changing or being updated by manufactures each year.  One approach is to do it at the operator panel, but when the current device is retired the new model will likely require a new setup or custom software development using the new manufacturer’s API to achieve the same operator control.  A more long term and standardized approach would be to integrate a software platform that can standardize the collection of content from any MFP anytime anywhere.  Take the customized panel, APIs and software add-ons from the manufacturer out of the equation and provide a documented configuration to the new manufacturer/model when new devices are purchased and rolled out.  Create a specification in the bidding or RFP process that states here is how we need you to configure your MFP’s functions to integrate with our Enterprise MFP Capture platform.