I have personally been selling PC’s, PC Peripherals and scanners since 1995. When I came to ImageSource in June of 2000, I had to learn the document scanner side of things. ImageSource was definitely an early adopter of the VRS (Virtual Rescan) Technology. This insight was driven by being close partners with Fujitsu and Kofax. In the beginning, you had to have extra hardware components in the scanner and host PC to make the equation functional. The installations were clumsy at times, but it really was the best way to get the best quality image from your scanner.
Here at ImageSource, we are ecstatic about our Customer Partners! We call them Customer Partners because we believe that they are all truly partners of ImageSource. Together, we’ve been able to accomplish some pretty awesome things.
Why my customers choose the Panasonic KV-S1065C:
1. One of my healthcare customers had a requirement for scanning medical cards. This scanner is specifically designed to work with many different sized identification cards. They also love that the scanner software allows you to view both sides of the card on one image. This is a great feature in the medical field. Another great feature is the long paper scanning option for scanning unusually long patient records.
2. Many customers in any industry enjoy utilizing the Kofax VRS software to autocorrect their scanned images. This cuts down time on the end-user manually correcting these images. Productivity is increased substantially.
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.
Nexus our ECM Solutions Conference is less than a week away. Our pre-conference training starts this Monday, October 31st at the Bellevue Westin Hotel. The training is kicked off with the AIIM ECM Practitioner Certification, as well as the AIIM Capture Practitioner Certification, Conflict Management Course with James Brown and Oracle ECM 11g.
On November 2nd 2011 at 7:00PM come meet us at the Cypress Lounge in the Bellevue Westin for some light appetizers and cocktails to start the conference off right. Come mix and mingle with people in and out of the ECM industry.
We have a number of great organizations such as Fujitsu, IBM, Oracle, Kofax, AIIM, Kodak and many others which help make this an outstanding conference.
If you want to attend our conference register online http://www.nexusecm.com and don’t’ miss out on this wonderful opportunity!
I am quickly discovering that many of the scanners I sold a few years ago are not Windows 7 compliant. If your scanner connects via Fire wire, SCSI or Kofax Adrenaline board, there is a good chance that there is a new scanner in your future. The good news is that the speeds and feeds you paid for originally can now be obtained for a lower price. If you would like to refresh your technology, give us a call for a review to ensure you will not get stuck.
Inside Sales Manager
When purchasing a scanner for document imaging, software is bundled with the scanner that automatically examines documents and applies the correct settings to deliver high quality scanned images. Or in simple terms – it enables image clean-up and clarity to occur automatically at the point of scanning the document. This software SAVES a great deal of TIME and is EASY to use…This little piece of magical software is called Virtual ReScan or VRS.
Many scanner manufacturers include the Kofax VRS software in the scanner purchase price. Fujitsu includes Kofax VRS Professional software with their scanners and Panasonic includes the latest version of Kofax VRS called Kofax VRS Elite bundled with their scanners. Other manufacturers do offer the software at an additional cost (Canon, Kodak etc.).
Some of the features in Kofax VRS Elite software:
- Hole punch removal
- Blank page deletion
- Color detection
- Color smoothing
- Automatic crop and deskew
- Improved recognition (increases the accuracy of OCR & ICR software)
- Scan at the scanner’s rated scanning speed
- Network-friendly images
Take a look at the Image Processing video on Kofax VRS Elite to get a visual on some of the functionality. I have customers that use the software and will not purchase another scanner without it!
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.
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.
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
I have blogged before about the Fujitsu fi-6800’s reduced footprint, the LED technology that it uses, and the many environmental friendly qualities it has, but there are other features that must be pointed out. As you can imagine, when a company so well respected and influential in the ECM world as Fujitsu releases a new product, a lot of thought and engineering goes into it beyond just making it faster. The fi-6800 is packed with features that enhance productivity that was based directly on customer feedback.
I saw a recent live demo of this model and it is impressive. It’s look, size, footprint. How quiet it is. It also became evident, that this scanner is also easier to use than the fi-5900C, the previous mid-volume production heavyweight manufactured by Fujitsu. This scanner weighs a mere 70 pounds compared to 100+ pounds of other scanners and its compact size makes it physically the smallest in its class. This scanner was designed with this in mind: bring production scanning from out back to up front without obviously disturbing the front of office business environment.
This scanner was also designed with batch scanning efficiency in mind. For example, it can be equipped with a pre or post scanning imprinter depending on the need, and features an active stacker which controls paper speed as it exits the scanner to keep documents orderly and neat. The front operator panel has a document counter and a batch counter too. It is intelligently designed featuring an intuitive LCD operator panel which can be programmed in seven different languages.
Speaking of intuitive technology, the scanner offers Intelligent Multi-Feed Function (iMFF) and Automatic Image Quality Checker (aIQC). According to Fujitsu, “iMFF allows for instant detection of a multi-feed or multilayer document, such as taped-on receipts or sticky notes added to a document. This function transports the document that has caused the alert to the exit path of the scanner, and presents both the physical document as well as the scanned front and back side images to the user so they can decide whether rescanning is required.” The Automatic Image Quality Checker allows for document batches to be processed without interruption because it marks images virtually with potential missing data (for example folded corners) and others that might indicate multi-feed incidences. This allows the user to check through the earmarked images and either re-scan or validate without interrupting the image order.
Lastly, the scanner comes equipped with an impressive full suite of bundled software including Adobe Acrobat 9 Standard, Kofax VRS 4.5 Professional with enhanced barcode recognition, ScandAll PRO with Scan to Microsoft Sharepoint, and QuickScan Pro Demo. The fi-6800 fits well into any Document Management and Enterprise Content Management solution.
Once again, Fujitsu steps out into the limelight and into the front of the pack with production level document scanning for the world.
> Incredibly fast color landscape scanning of up to 130 ppm / 260
ipm in 200/300 dpi
> New compact design makes it the smallest in its class
> New intuitive LCD operator panel
> 500-page Automatic Document Feeder (ADF)
> New functions for enhanced automation, power efficiency and
productivity: automatic sorting, automatic stacker and automatic
image quality checker
> Paper protection and Intelligent Multifeed function
> Long document scanning of up to 120 inches
> Daily duty cycle of up to 60,000 sheets
> Multiple interface: Ultra Wide SCSI / USB 2.0 / Kofax Ultra Wide
SCSI and Kofax USB 2.0
> Includes Adobe® Acrobat® 9 Standard, Kofax® VRS 4.2*
Professional, ScandAll PRO with Scan to Microsoft SharePoint,
QuickScan Pro Demo
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.
The three word tagline was chosen because it so accurately describes the critical comments of an effective Enterprise Content Management system.
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.
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.
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.
Corporate Communications Director
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+
The 2009 Microsoft SharePoint Conference held at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas has officially kicked off. It has attracted around 6,000 attendees from around the world.
ImageSource exhibited recently at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco, we will round out this month with attendance at Kofax Transform in San Diego and we will be exhibiting at IBM On Demand at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, which begins October 25th and runs through the 29th.
Then the Annual Nexus Enterprise Content Management conference begins November 2nd and runs through November 3rd. I look forward to seeing you there and hope you can attend some of the breakouts that I will be speaking at, check out the agenda here.
I attended several break-out sessions today at the SharePoint conference and wanted to highlight some of the exciting announcements coming from Microsoft & KnowledgeLake. First I attended ECM for the Masses – How SharePoint Delivers on the Promise. Key areas that everyone who has followed Microsoft SharePoint has considered as gaps in true ECM functionality are starting to be addressed.
- Records Management: SharePoint 2010 comes completed with a revamped Records Center, that includes the ability to create taxonomy schedules and import existing schedules using CSV files. Microsoft is calling this Managed Metadata. More importantly there is now a Unique Document ID that is created for each content item. This Document ID is stored in the database and follows the content item regardess of where the original content is stored or migrated to. This will also make integrating with 3rd party Line of Business applications such as ERP, CRM or Cloud based computing platforms. Other key features include Document Sets that allow you to create work packets/packages, Advanced Routing to determine appropriate library or folder with predefined RM metadata. Check in / Check out, Legal Holds, Folksonomy (tags created by individual users, that can be re-used)
- Web Content Management: In context editing, by implementing the Ribbon UI, familiar to Office 2007 users, authoring and editing exisitng web content is a snap. Rich media support for photos, video and audio files has been updated with a new slice of cool SilverLight that allows web developers to skin the player to match the rest of the sites branding. Also included are web analytics that allow site owners to monitor traffic and size of the site(s).
- BLOB: binary large objects, for years ECM practitioners and tenured professionals have known that storing large image files in the database is a no-no. This architecture created real scalability problems for SharePoint 2003 & 2007. Although it was somewhat addressed with EBS, external blob storage support in 2007. It was still a sticking point for enterprises looking to deploy large SharePoint solutions to support 100’s of millions of content items like TIF files. KnowledgeLake did a nice job of using EBS techniques in their software to bridge the scalability issues. With SP 2010, RBS or Remote Blob Storage is now support at the API level. This will allow third party storage vendors to create fully pluggable storage architectures that can be used to reduce SQL database growth, advance SP scalability and much more.
- Workflow: For many who have used third party workflow engines and tools, the out of the box capabilities of earlier versions of SharePoint were lackluster. In SharePoint 2010 you can build rules based workflow routing for individual content items and document sets based on document actions. Most of the workflow demonstrations I saw were modeled around records management processes. I will have to seek more information on this as the conference progresses.
I also attended KnowledgeLake: ECM on SharePoint 2010 – Features that rock! by Chris Caplinger. This was very well attended and I learned about some of the key Server & Scalability improvements to Indexing, Search/Query and the aforementioned EBS/RBS architecture. Chris gave a sneek preview of the new KnowledgeLake Viewer based on SilverLight, very cool.
Chief Technology Officer
Many people think that scanning documents only requires putting it in the feeder tray and pressing “scan”, but there are many steps that need to be followed when scanning documents into your Document Management System. Documents come in many shapes, thickness, sizes, and conditions, so the first step is to properly prepare the documents for scanning. “Document prep” is a highly important step before scanning, this assists in achieving the rated speed of the scanner and to avoid damage to its components. This includes removing staples, paperclips, or any metal fasteners that might be attached to the documents so that you do not cause damage as the paper is fed through the scanner. You also want to remove any post-it notes or small receipts and attach to a regular size piece of paper to avoid miss-feeding or jamming. Any crumpled or folded document will need to be flattened out so they feed correctly through the scanner. This seems a time consuming first step but it actually makes the scanning process more streamlined and efficient.
Once your documents are properly prepped, it is time to scan them. Often scanner operators will use separator pages to separate the batches of documents, to index the batches together correctly. This saves time with data input on the operator’s side. Scanning software functionality such as Kofax VRS, allows the operator to either manually alter the document to improve quality, or set up settings automatically to do this and speed up the quality assurance (checking the image) process. Once the batch of documents is scanned, Capture Software such as ILINX Capture or Kofax Capture allows the operator will use specific index fields to associate metadata with the documents. These metadata fields will accompany the image once released into repository software so that the document can be searched for and found in the future.
If done correctly, scanning documents can be an efficient business process that will save your company time and money….it is as simple as that! For a demonstration of document scanning (even bring your own documents), attend Nexus. Call Inside Sales at 360-943-9273 and mention this blog for a registration discount!
Andrea Latham, CDIA+
This week we are going to talk about Canon and their line of High/Mid/Low-volume, and check scanners. Canon scanners are usually priced very competitively. At ImageSource we also manage scanner service repair and Canon’s are just as reliable and have the same loyal following as other brands.
Canon scanners offer the kind of high-performance features that make converting paper documents easier. Like high-speed precision feeding technology, compact design, high-speed color capability and even flexible configuration options.
Canon’s highest volume scanner is the newly released DRX10C, which rivals the competition with an impressive 128 pages per minute scanning speed in both color and black and white. Great image quality comes from the onboard image processing chip that can handle multiple image processing functions. It also boasts the industry’s first dust-free scanning system which prevents dust particle from adhering to the sensor glass. This minimizes manual cleaning for the end-user thus reducing time spent maintaining the scanner. This robust design allows for up to 60,000 scans per day meeting the demands of production level scanning.
The rest of the Canon scanner line includes 18 models ranging in speed from 20 ppm up to 112 ppm. This expansive variety of models allows the end user to find the perfect fit with speed and design for their document capture or distributed capture solution. Canon also provides 3 different models of check scanners, which is a niche that most of the other well-known scanner manufacturers do not venture into. This can be very beneficial for those in Billing and Accounting areas of business that deal mainly with processing large quantities of checks. Having a true check scanner give you the option of reading the MICR codes on the bottom of the checks.
One noticeable difference with the Canon scanner line is that they do not ship with Kofax’s Virtual Rescan (VRS) technology that many of the other manufacturers include as a basic with their standard packages. It can be added on to any of the scanners as an aftermarket upgrade, so not bundling it with VRS cuts down on the cost. Talk about flexibility.
And…Finally network scanners with new technology have arrived! Stay tuned next week for our blog about Network scanners, including those offered by Canon.
Andrea Latham, CDIA+
“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.
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.”
We thought it would be a good idea to spend a few weeks highlighting some of the different scanner manufacturers and what kind of equipment and service they offer and the benefits of purchasing their product. This week we are going to cover Fujitsu scanners.
Fujitsu offers a very wide range of scanner models from the ScanSnap S300 which is rated at 8 pages per minute (ppm) all the way up to the 5900C, which is rated at 100ppm. For a more complete list of the Fujitsu models available, click here. The majority of Fujitsu’s mid-range scanners come with an on-site 3 month Next Business Day response warranty. They also come with a nice package of software including: Kofax VRS, Adobe Acrobat Standard, and ScandAll21. Also, most of the scanners are now Dual Interface: Ultra SCSI & USB connectivity, see blog about USB vs. SCSI scanners.
A couple of the newer models that Fujitsu has released, the 6670 and 6770, have 15,000 page daily duty cycles. That means that they can scan 15,000 pages in one day and not shorten the life span of the scanner. That is about twice the daily duty cycle of the models they replaced, the 5650C and the 5750C. That high of daily duty cycle is quite good for a scanner in its price range. For the lower volume and price range, another two new models are fi-6130 and fi-6140. These little workhorses scan 40ppm and 60ppm and an optional Flatbed can be purchased separately for both models.
Other benefits of the Fujitsu scanners are the service offerings. Fujitsu is one of the few remaining scanner manufacturers that maintains their own warranty and post warranty contracts. This permits for high availability of quality phone support prior to an on-site repair call as well as high availability of parts when and if an on-site service call is needed. Fujitsu service offerings range from Basic coverage (any hardware failure that isn’t consumables, see blog about the difference between parts and consumables) to the more elaborate ScanCare package. ScanCare is a more comprehensive contract which can include several Preventative Maintenance (PM) visits per year and consumables kit(s) depending on the model. First time buyers can sometimes experience sticker shock over the cost of some of these contracts but once you calculate the guaranteed PM visits, the consumables and the end user training, you should be able to quickly gauge the value. Plus to replace a major part on scanners can often run into the thousands of dollars. Contracts are much cheaper than replacement scanners and if it’s a mission critical scanner can you really afford not to be covered?
Over the course of my time selling imaging hardware, i.e. scanners, many customers ask me which is better…SCSI or USB 2.0? Actually some don’t even ask, they insist that SCSI (small computer system interface) is still the fastest option. Unfortunately for them, almost all scanner manufacturers have moved to using a USB 2.0 interface as option on their scanners and some are USB 2.0 exclusively.
When the first USB (Universal Serial bus) it was slower than SCSI and at times Flakey. Anyone who has ever installed a SCSI device knows that there was definitely room for improvement in this technology as well. Between double checking SCSI ID’s and triple checking the Termination you could spend quite a bit of time sorting out a SCSI install if it didn’t go right the first time. But when USB 2.0 came out it was stable and fast. In fact there is little to no degradation in speed with the scanners. In fact, Kofax has stopped manufacturing SCSI cards all together. VRS used to be a limitation of USB in a production environment because it required a SCSI adrenaline board interface, but now the latest versions of VRS are more versatile and work with USB 2.0 just as well if not better than SCSI.
USB 2.0 is working its way to becoming the standard in imaging technology because it less expensive than SCSI and so much easier to work with. You also have one less point of failure with the USB 2.0 vs. the SCSI card. So for those people with the common misconception that SCSI is faster and better, I’m here to tell you that USB 2.0 is just as good when it comes to speed and less expensive for your pocketbook. It also opens up the door to using laptops.
ImageSource, Inc. offers the all of the best names in imaging hardware – Fujitsu, Bowe Bell & Howell, Panasonic, Canon– each one with their own strengths, but all equipped with the newest and latest connectivity of USB 2.0
Andrea Latham, CDIA+
Capturing and reading bar codes has been done for many years, but more recently it has expanded due to color technology. There is more information to assist in bar code interpretation and the enhanced bar code ready is able to achieve more accurate readings of all supported bar code types at lower DPI (dots per inch) levels and varying levels of quality. Some prospective users of this technology are not sure exactly when this process can take place, at scan time or during recognition and the answer is…both!
The EBC (Enhanced Bar Code) module is an add-on from Kofax to their Capture product, but can also be added to other Capture products as well. The EBC can be used at scan time if that is more effective for the scanning process, but also can run at recognition if you have many scanners capturing bar code information which needs to be released and processed at the same time through the server.
Enhanced Bar Code recognition is also included in the KofaxVRS product in the Workgroup and Professional versions. The EBC, when used directly from the VRS product can only be run at scan time, not at recognition. So if you are in need of that capability, you may need to look into purchasing the separate EBC add-on directly to the Capture product. If you have more than one installation of Kofax Capture, be aware that you will need to purchase the EBC module for each installation that needs that capability.
In addition, ImageSource offers www.ilinxcapture.com to compliment an existing batch capture environment. ILINX Capture allows content to be submitted in an adhoc manner from around the enterprise and offers enhanced bar code capability.
Some of the new improvements to the EBC functionality includes the ability to work with grayscale images in addition to having improved bitonal recognition capability. Another significant advancement is the support of two-dimensional (2D) bar codes. If you have any questions or need more information on this or other Kofax products, give ImageSource, Inc. a call and we can certainly help!
Andrea Latham, CDIA+
Is ECM for me? This is the question each organization needs to ask themselves before implementing a Enterprise Content Management solution. I came across an interesting post by Ian Llado of Optical Image Technology titled “Six Considerations in Choosing an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Solution for your Legal Practice” that addressed this. His descriptions were more specific to legal offices and legal documents, but they can really be applied to any organization. Below are a few ideas he presented, as well as a few of my own.
1. Ease of the System
The easier, the better. Customers are going to want something that is easy to use. If employees have to learn a whole new process and new technology, it better be as simple as possible. Change in an organization can be very stressful and difficult for some employees, especially if the new technology is complicated. It’s good to provide customers with a solutions that is simple, as well as offer training and instruction about the system they are receiving.
2. Leveraging Existing Software
In today’s economy, everyone is looking for ways to cut back where they can. Many companies already have some technology in place, they just don’t know how to use it. Or, if they have multiple technologies, they don’t know how to use them together. This is where hiring an ECM integrator can be very valuable. It’s good to hire an integrator who is knowledgeable in many different technologies so that if you have Microsoft, Oracle and Kofaxproducts, the integrator will be able to help you decide how best to utilize each of those, as well as how to use them together. In many cases, there is no need for a complete ECM makeover. Many companies already have the necessary technology in place.
The amount of functionality customers need will vary depending on their needs and situation. Some of the examples Llado presented were indexing and retrieval, workflow, Web-based systems, scalability, and retention and destruction schedules. All of these are important and can be applied. It really just depends what companies are looking for in an ECM solution.
ECM training is one of the most crucial components of implementing an Enterprise Content Management solution. Choosing a vendor that offers extensive training of your new system is always valuable. Some vendors will even train customers at their own sites.
6. Customer Needs
You as a customer need to evaluate what your company’s needs are. The more precise you can be, the better. If you can tell the vendor exactly what your company is looking for, they will be able to give you a more specific solution that can satisfy your needs. Llado discusses security as one of the things to consider, but again, it’s all based on customer needs.
7. The Bottom Line
The whole idea behind implementing an ECM system is to streamline your business processes and make everything much easier and compliant. Other benefits could be saved staff time, reduction in employees, etc. However, may companies measure success through their return on investment (ROI). The faster you can see a return, the better.
If you’re still having trouble deciding if Enterprise Content Management is for you, attending an ECM conference can sometimes be very valuable. NEXUS ’09 will be offering a breakout session titled “What You Need to Evaluate Before Installing an ECM System.” To register for this event or to get more information about NEXUS ’09, visit www.NexusECM.com.
Corporate Communications Manager
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+