What ILINX Has in Common with Two Giants: Alibaba and Apple

I read a post recently titled Customer-centric and easy-to-use is the new business model (The Alibaba story) that really hit home. The author, Gerry McGovern, a customer-centricity guru, points out that Alibaba, the world’s biggest online commerce company, has defined a clear mission of “making it easier to do business across the world”, as founder Jack Ma put it. I think it’s safe to say that this model has merit, as the company claims the biggest IPO in the history of the world.

As a long-term Apple user, (my first Mac had a hard drive with 512 KB memory) I can say that their progressively intuitive interfaces have been a compelling reason for me to continue using their technology. In fact, the Macintosh project started with an Apple employee named Jef Raskin who envisioned an easy-to-use, low-cost computer.

Apple has stayed true to this model to present day, according to technology industry analyst Jeff Bajarin. In an article published by Time Magazine, Bajarin outlines six key principals that set Apple apart from the competition, three of which are: Continue reading

Moving Content Easily from Email to ECM Repository

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

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

ILINX Capture Email Import capabilities include:

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

Continue reading

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

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

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

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

How do they search and find information effectively?

Continue reading

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.

Is your scanner ready for Windows 7?

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.

Ruben Kerson
Inside Sales Manager
ImageSource, Inc.

Northwest County Goes Live with Oracle ECM 11g and Automated Records Management

A sizable county in the Northwest recently partnered with ImageSource on a major Universal Records Management solution. Implementing Oracle’s latest technology – Oracle ECM Suite 11g – the county’s Public Works and Utilities (PWU) led the shift to an automated system for managing records. By putting a state-of-art records management system in place, PWU is blazing the way for the county to effectively manage records and retention policies county-wide.

The impetus to automate records management at the County included a variety of challenges.  They were working from an electronic digital vault for storing documents that had been developed internally and operated with antiquated architecture and technology. The indexing structure was extremely complicated so they had difficulty finding and storing information and the vault had zero records management capabilities. There was no official File Plan in place and content was kept in multiple formats and several locations; paper files, network file system and the vault.

The starting point for the project was to perform a Policy and Procedure review.  From that ImageSource Professional Services delivered several reports including eDiscovery and Public Disclosure recommendations, a vault migration strategy, a metadata model and an official File Plan for automating records management with government mandates and regulations.

Once the structural foundation for records management was analyzed, evaluated and a governance plan put in place by ImageSource, the technology implementation was the next step. Oracle 11g was selected as the infrastructure for several reasons. Recently redesigned, Oracle ECM utilizes JAVA programming technology for its ECM suite, providing the most recent Oracle technology and a solid foundation for years to come.  11g also provides a tighter integration between vertical components, which at the end of the day, provides a wider range of choices and more flexibility in architecting and designing solutions.  Oracle 11g also provides a host of benefits in the context of the broader Oracle line-of-business platforms – weather its Siebel, CRM on demand, JD Edwards or PeopleSoft – the integrations will be tight. The other Oracle products used to support this implementation are Oracle AutoVue, Oracle Secure Enterprise Search and URM Adaptors for SharePoint and the Network File System.

Utilizing Oracle ECM 11g and its Universal Records Management (URM) module, records management policies are now in place for three workgroups within Public Works and Utilities. A system was designed around the core concept of contribution folders. In order to ease transition, the Oracle software was designed and set up to mimic the folder structures that the County was using on their network file system. The contribution folders have a hierarchal structure and content contribution to the folders is extremely easy with drag-and-drop functionality. The hierarchal structure enables automatic assignment of metadata and records management policies without ever having to key index values.  Direct contribution capabilities into the file structure are also available from Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.

The County went live with this new Records Management solution a few weeks ago and is now moving toward a completely automated records management system in PWU. This solution also provided the County with the infrastructure to facilitate Public Disclosure Requests and to automate records management County-wide. The benefits will be far reaching as the County moves into full production and later expands the many enterprise capabilities of Oracle 11g.

Debbie Horton
ImageSource
Communications Director

Inside KOM Day 2 – Document Imaging 2011

 “You may have read about Kodak in the news lately. CEO Antonio Perez commented on the Document Imaging division in his recent address to Wall Street Investors highlighting this division’s market growth and solid cash flow generation.” Again Kodak executives focus on the Channel Partner message.  “We need your help to extend new solutions to our customers.”    – Tony Barbeau, General Manager

Mr. Barbeau made sure to be specific about the needs of customers in the document imaging solution space.  This was well received by the partners as enthusiasm spread throughout the room.  Bud Webster and Russell Hunt did a tongue in cheek ‘cheesy’ unveiling of some of the new scanner models being released. Mr. Webster introduced the i5000 will deliver superior productivity with advanced features. This scanner doesn’t slow down when you turn on the advanced features; dynamic flow technology allows the scanner to deliver enhanced image quality and performance. Mr. Hunt introduced the i2600 workgroup and department scanner, this unit delivers the sharpest and clearest document image clarity on the market. The ease of use has been increased with one button scan to SharePoint and an LCD operator panel for the user. When the scanner is not in use the unit swivels upright to provide a near zero footprint this makes the scanner ideal for tight workspaces. Some have said all it needs is a handle for easy portability. Kodak provides a three year worry free warranty term for the Kodak i2000 scanners. This gives customers the peace of mind to purchase a world class scanner that provides 3yr advanced replacement.

Kodak continues to deliver high end microfilm solutions with the i9600 ImageWriter. I know this is still an important function for long-term archival of historical or vital records but it sure seems old school. Nevertheless the Kodak ImageWriter leads the market in performance, durability and feature set.

Russell Hunt went on to comment that, “We remain committed to improve and enhance our process for deal registration to protect opportunities. We are committed to communication about our programs and products. We want you to understand our vision and corporate strategic direction. We will provide you with effective tools to drive business.” “Kodak wants you to be loyal to Kodak, to be a strong ambassador of our products and services. The Channel Partners can help foster open communication and increase sales to help Kodak document imaging group drive growth”.

According to Mr. Hunt no competitor offers what Kodak does in terms of Industry Commitment, End User Knowledge, Technology and the People to help drive customer satisfaction and growth. We are focused on helping you be profitable and successful; in turn this will enable us to drive our growth and goals for revenue targets.

Next up SharePoint took the spotlight with Mike Gannotti; Senior Collaboration and Technology Specialist http://www.seproductivity.com with Microsoft. You can find him on facebook http://facebook.com/samurai.mike and twitter http://twitter.com/gannotti

Opening SharePoint facts from PowerPoint 2010 Slide Deck:
• 100M+ seats of licensed SharePoint software and growing
• Windows for the Internet
• 1900 publicly reference able internet sites, Ferrari was used as sexy example

I thought it was cool that that Mr. Gannotti shared Microsoft’s internal nickname for SharePoint, ‘Pac man’. Just like the video game of the 1980’s SharePoint gobbles up other Microsoft technologies and is positioned to be the cornerstone of everything Microsoft does for Web2.0. After Mr. Gannotti’s presentation I asked Mike what he thought the single biggest revenue opportunity was for the Partners in the room. He stated that he thought Workflow consulting was a big area. This is important because Systems Integrators like to consolidate Software Sales, Maintenance Contracts, Professional Services and Hardware to give customers a single point of access.  Personally we have found that the revenue opportunities around SharePoint services are valued at a much lower rate than other project work our company does. There seems to be way more buzz around SharePoint than actual Partner revenue being generated. Eventually Partners have to see the dollars come in before a wholesale shift to focusing on SharePoint solutions occurs. As a Microsoft Gold Partner we are skeptical that the revenue opportunity is significant, we have invested time to generate revenue around SharePoint services and projects without much return.

In Conclusion I must first thank John O’Grady, Tony Barbeau, Russell Hunt, Sophia Marchi, Jeff Shuey and the entire Kodak team for the hospitality they showed me as one of a thousand attendees. I was surprised at the amount of focus on the Latin American Region (LAR) in terms of excitement for growth and revenue generation. I believe the America’s partner community and region has much to offer Kodak in terms of innovation, sales and growth. The event continues through the end of the week for Kodak Employees with the Circle of Excellence Awards.  Check out http://twitter.com/jshuey for more updates throughout the event.

 

Knowledge is Power

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

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

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

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

Thanks for listening.

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

Shedding a little more light on the new Fujitsu fi-6800

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.

Ian Hundtofte

ImageSource

  

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three Essential Components of ECM – Capture, Connect and Share

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Debbie Horton
Corporate Communications Director
ImageSource, Inc.

 

IBM Information On Demand 2009 – Las Vegas Conference Day 2

IMG_0061IMG_0063

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A breakout session that I attended today was Getting Microsoft SharePoint Content Under Control with IBM ECM. I was going into the class expecting to see tips and best practices on how to configure SharePoint using IBM tools, but there was no tips or tricks.

The class was really about IBM connectors for SharePoint.  I thought the IBM folks did a good job of providing a nice and easy UI that integrated with SharePoint seamlessly.  Check out screen shots below, taken from my iPhone.  The first picture is the indexing screen and the second is the search screen.

Phong Hoang
Development Manager
ImageSource, Inc.

 

 

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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Microsoft SharePoint 2010 – Las Vegas Day 4 ‘Adios’

Leaving Las Vegas

Leaving Las Vegas

I sitting on the plane packed with SharePoint conference attendees, including Jeff Teper – Corporate Vice President, Office Business Platform.  Lots of conversations around the plane about the conference and the exciting new features and opportunties that are coming in 2010.

I look forward to the Beta 2 release of SharePoint 2010 and Microsoft Office 2010.  Windows 7 was release yesterday, I have had it at home for several weeks.  As a user and technology executive I can say that Windows 7 is definately a major step forward in simplicity, user experience, stability and efficiency.  Having spent 3 days being bombared by SharePoint 2010 messaging and seeing the product in action I am pretty impressed with what the SharePoint and Office teams and Microsoft have done.

I look forward to seeing you at Nexus 2009, we will be showing sneek peeks of SharePoint 2010 and talking about some of the new features during SharePoint specific breakouts.

Shadrach White
Chief Technology Officer
ImageSource, Inc.

 

Microsoft SharePoint 2010 – Las Vegas Conference Day 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shadrach White
Chief Technology Officer
ImageSource, Inc.

 

KnowledgeLake 3.0 & SharePoint 2010

During the SharePoint 2009 Conference being held in Las Vegas this week I got a chance to preview some of the latest ECM technologies built for SharePoint.

One of the standouts was newly minted technology from KnowledgeLake.  They showcased a new viewer built in SilverLight that is really slick.

Also worthy of mentioning was the new redaction technology used in conjuction with the Fujitsu fi6140 scanner to automatically redact sensitive areas of  document with a password protected encryption key.  Once scanned and redacted the document can be easily shared without revealing key personal or confidential information.  It’s definately not your dad’s redaction technology.SilverLight Viewer from KnowledgeLake

I had a chance to sit down with Ron Cameron and discuss his take on SharePoint 2010.  Needless to say he is a fan.  I asked him to sum up what it would mean to existing users of MOSS 2007 when planning upgrades.

“The transition to SP2010 will be fairly painless if planned well.  The heart and lungs of the platform remain the same.  There are a lot of added features & the object model expansion will give existing customers a whole new level of integration and scalability options.” 

Based on the upgrade breakouts I generally agree with the exception of how customized your current MOSS platform is and the extent to which custom web parts are used in your sites.

There is much more to blog about on SP2010 and I will be updating several of our ECM Blogs with relevant topics on Records Management, Remote BLOB Storage, Document Management, Web Content Management & Scalability s be sure to check them out often for updates.  The next couple of weeks are going to be really exciting as we put the finishing touches on our Nexus 2009 ECM conference so I’ll try and post more as time permits.

KnowledgeLake and Fujitsu sponsored a rocking beach party at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.  Special VIP guest KnowledgeLake Man was showed up, I even got a couple of pictures.

Dude I love SharePoint & KnowledgeLake

Its a bird, its a plane, its KL MAN!!
Its a bird, its a plane, its KL MAN!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shadrach White (not pictured)
Chief Technology Officer
ImageSource, Inc. 

Microsoft SharePoint 2010 – Las Vegas Conference Day 2

Today I attended several breakout sessions.  First up, Booz Allen Hamilton: The Right Information to the Right People at the right time – How Social Computing empowers BAH.  Walton Smith from the Business Portals and Social Media team gave a very insightful presentation on the evolution of Social Networking platforms at BAH.  He focused on how creating a suite of social media tools has fostered increased communication, collaboration and innovation.

Capture

Tag Tile – Tag Cloud

Three key elements to the adoption of Social Networking in an organization can be illustrated by the following:

  • You already have Social Network(s) within your organization.  The challenge is that it isn’t formalized, searchable or managed using a platform like SharePoint at an Enterprise level.
  • Change Management is the pivot point of successful adoption and usability.  50% of the Social Media teams budget at BAH is spent on change management, the other 50% is development of the Social Computing platform.  It’s important to understand that we can learn to work together differently, to evolve using the tools that are available today.
  • Outlook is most likely your Defacto Collaboration tool.  The problem is all the information is stored in silos and not easily browsed or searched to find important information & knowledge.

Enterprise initiatives to adopt and manage these important technologies should incorporate key areas of the organization from the outset, Legal, Marketing, HR and IS.  It is vitally important to have Executive support and visibility.  Use your Executive team and the most tenured employees as the foundation for populating social media.  Have their profiles, experience and messaging populated and available as an example.  This creates top down adoption and enthusiasm.  Other areas to focus on as outlined in the presentation are:

  • Develop Information sharing policies
  • Make the adoption viral, show recently updated profiles and Tag Tiles / Tag Clouds to highlight the most recent and popular content
  • Don’t put anything on the Social net you wouldn’t want your mother or boss to know
  • When on boarding new employees use the Social computing platform

Much of the effort to change people’s perception of Social Computing as a tool and not a toy will come from connecting communities of people together and providing information that ultimately speeds work productivity and decision making.

Social Networking provides a venue to feel more connected to your colleagues.  You most likely have more in common with the people you work with than you think.  The bigger the organization the harder it is to connect and find valuable information.  The wheel often gets reinvented and the time to complete ‘like’ activities is compounded.

There was much more to get absorb from Walton’s presentation but these are some of the highlights I took from the breakout.

I will be presenting more on this topic at Nexus 2009 held in Bellevue, WA. at the Meydenbauer Convention Center Nov 2-3, 2009

Shadrach White
Chief Technology Officer
ImageSource, Inc.

 

Microsoft SharePoint 2010 – Las Vegas Conference Day 1

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.

SharePoint 2009 Conference Badge

SharePoint 2009 Conference Badge

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.

  1. 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)
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Shadrach White
Chief Technology Officer
ImageSource, Inc.

SharePoint ECM Gaps, Should you be concerned?

I have been in this ECM industry for over 10 years and have never seen a product grow as fast as Microsoft SharePoint –  MOSS 2007.  Nearly every organization that I have visited recently has some version of SharePoint in-house. I ask myself, “What are these gaps that I keep hearing about and how are they affecting these organizations? Is it affecting their ability to control documents and are they compromising security of critical information?”

Understanding these gaps and knowing some excellent third party application tools will help assure success of your SharePoint initiatives. Many of these issues will be covered at the Nexus 2009 event held in Bellevue, WA on November 2nd and 3rd. I have found several organizations that have experienced stalls or cancellations on certain project initiatives due to lack of understanding these gaps and what tools are available to help them.

Some SharePoint gaps include Management, Audit and Security functionality. I want to point out the gaps in Imaging, Metadata and Search functionality. SharePoint has shown limited ability to scan and index large volumes of documents. Also missing is the ability to do discreet or constrained searches. I have found an excellent third party application, KnowledgeLake,  that is perfect for handling these gaps.

KnowledgeLake has developed a suite of software products on the .net platform that works directly with SharePoint. These tools give you the ability to scan high volumes of documents, hard copy and electronic, fast and easy, add metadata (including data extraction from LOB’s) and more importantly the ability to do discreet searches.

If you are serious about taking advantage of the ECM portion of SharePoint then you owe it to yourself to research the award winning KnowledgeLake products.

Build vs. Buy

Over the course of my last 12 years in the Enterprise Content Management space, I have seen many progressions and changes.  When the industry was in its infancy stages, we relied on specialized PCI cards to drive the scanners at rated speeds, high resolution graphics cards to display clear images on a monitor, and every system installation needed holy water sprinkled on it to ensure that there weren’t any compatibility issues or conflicts with the operating system.  There were hundreds of software vendors that claimed to be the premier document imaging / document management / scanning / (whatever new term that AIIM came out with) system.  Systems were sold, installed, and many failed.  We have seen progressions where the hundreds of vendors have consolidated to a few leaders that are recognized as true ECM platforms.  We have seen Microsoft enter the market with SharePoint which has driven the need for a new wave of products and services to bridge the gaps in its functionality.  Along with these progressions and changes with the vendors, we have also seen how internal IT departments look at ECM.

In the beginning, there was many components, many moving parts, and technology that the IT staff wasn’t readily familiar with.  As the first and second generation systems were installed, the product sets matured where the IT staff technology professionals could be trained in a platform that was sustainable.  As this progressed software vendors could switch their focus from making the systems work in a rudimentary sense, and switch the focus to the development of features and functionality that led credence to aspects such as compliance, accountability, governance, and security.  The successful Tier 1 vendors (see Gartner report for leaders) now have scalable products that address all aspects of ECM – document imaging / document management / web content management / forms management / records management / workflow – Business Process Management.  With this, training is now readily available to equip any IT staff with the tools and resources to maintain and build upon systems where compliance, accountability, governance, and security are all part of the core.  Knowledge and education are now key determinants for success.

With this knowledge and education comes empowerment to the IT staff.  In the industry today, I am seeing an increasing number of corporate IT staffs choosing to forego their existing systems and internally build components that allow them to store, retrieve, maintain, and manage scanned images and data.   I understand that there are many talented programmers and systems architects in the workplace that are capable of building database management functionality and that can build user interfaces that allow for searching file structures.  What I don’t totally understand is the value to organizations when a top resource is consumed in developing a product / system and maintaining and supporting the product / system.  It has taken Oracle Stellent, IBM FileNET, EMC Documentum, OpenText (to name a few) each over 15 years to come up with a product offering that is stable and that meets 85% of most organization needs without customization.  Why reinvent the wheel when there are cost effective, proven solutions that can automate business processes that will show efficiencies and pay for themselves over time?  There are many technology focused companies that have invested multi-millions of dollars, and many years  in developing methodology and products.   I don’t know how an organization that is focused on their specific expertise – retail, manufacturing, healthcare, banking, can morph into a software development / systems delivery organization.

Build vs. Buy – no correct answer, but definitely worth discussing.

Feedback welcome.

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

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