Why Courts Need Document Management AND Case Management Systems

Document Management System (DMS) needs should be identified holistically, not just for the needs of the courtroom processes. A successful implementation will be gained through a well thought out plan and a DMS solution that can not only integrate with a courts Case Management System (CMS), but also with Fiscal, HR, Procurement, and other department’s line-of-business systems.

To accomplish a successful implementation of an electronic environment there has to be an overall vision and buy-in from all the key individuals of the court system.

  • Culture and vision which incorporates technology as part of the business strategy
  • Identify areas to integrate technology with the courts business strategies
  • Implementation of an electronic DMS to be used by all departments
  • Integration of the DMS with CMS and other line-of-business systems
  • Provide public access to documents via a web portal (e-Access)

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We are here to help!

Megan Lane
Inside Sales Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.

eCourts Blog Series: 3 Reasons Why You Should Integrate Your Courtroom Processes Today

Want to exponentially increase the value of existing and new technologies? Take an integrated rather than a one-application-can-do-it-all approach. Let each system, your case management (CMS), document management (DMS), and other line of business (LOB) applications do what they do best, and they will empower each other. Integrating these systems optimizes processes, allows for the exchange of data between systems and departments, and maximizes your technology investments.

As experienced integrators of DMS, ImageSource has taken the paperless courtroom to a whole new level that encompasses electronic form processing (real-time) during hearings, eFiling, public access, justice partners access and more—all through multi-system integration.

Example 1: Nightly and weekly audits can run against both your DMS and CMS systems. This allows the push and pull of information to update case information, and eliminates redundant, manual data entry.
Example 2: By accessing a common DMS, integrated with your CMS, your Courts, HR, Accounting, and any other departments share documentation that will streamline the collection of fines and accessibility of information.
Example 3: An integration between your DMS and Web Calendar, or other scheduling system, puts electronic documentation at the fingertips of Judges and Clerks in the courtroom, providing immediate updates and eliminating the shuffling of paper.

If you’d like to learn more about how ImageSource has successfully implemented and integrated the court systems, I invite you to explore what we’ve done for the Superior Court of California, County of Stanislaus.

April Gentry
Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.

Webinars – A great place for free information

On Wednesday, August 20th at 10:00 PST, ImageSource and Fujitsu will be broadcasting a webinar about optimizing your hardware called Proactive Scanner Management. During this webinar you can learn about Fujitsu scanner trade-in programs as well as the latest and greatest models available. Learn about the out-of-the-box software as well as when to consider ILINX Capture for a more robust solution. This particular webinar will be recorded and available for viewing at your convenience if you are unable to attend the live event.

Webinars are a great source of learning usually for no cost. They can provide information on hardware you are considering as well as software solutions. Topics can also include specific verticals and solutions such as the upcoming “Paperless Courtroom” webinar featuring ILINX Capture and IBM FileNet. These topics are typically covered by industry experts that have been involved in successful implementations.

Webinars are a valuable source of information and something the savvy consumer should take advantage of.

Questions or comments:

Richard A. McDermott, ECMp, CDIA+
Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.
360-943-9273 T
360-943-4449 F
http://www.imagesourceinc.com

Transactional Content Management – a catalyst for business process improvement

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

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

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

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

ImageSource implements groundbreaking paperless courtroom solution, featuring ILINX® technologies

Stanislaus County Superior Court is a pioneer in digital courtroom document processing, as featured in a recent article in the Modesto Bee. Not mentioned in the article is the fact that their successful solution was implemented by ImageSource and features ILINX technologies.

Stanislaus had the vision, and we helped them get there. The technologies used—ILINX Capture and IBM FileNet—have been designated as a solution of choice by the California Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). The addition of ILINX eForms was added to further streamline courtroom processes. The powerful combination of technologies used offers a robust, scalable and easy-to-use option to automate courtroom processes enterprise-wide.

The family court division has been paperless since early spring of 2014 and is being expanded to traffic, civic and criminal cases, and eventually to the entire courthouse. Clerks search for, and organize documents for upcoming cases based on a web calendar. Judges and commissioners access documents during cases on tablets while on the bench, eliminating a daily stack of about 40 paper case files. Legal documents that require completion during a hearing are now electronic and are filled out, reviewed, approved, signed and routed for printing on the spot. Continue reading

Team Unity – Cultivating Productivity on the Field and in the Office

When was the last time your entire organization or department met together before sitting at your desk and going on with your daily work? I’m not talking about those hour long weekly meeting to discuss status on projects or sales reports. I’m talking about a quick and fun, 10-15 minute huddle with your team that sets the stage for each day.

According to a recent Gallup Employee Engagement analysis, when employees don’t feel motivated to participate in the workplace, productivity drops and absenteeism rises. In fact, companies with highly engaged employees showed nearly four times the financial growth rate of companies with lower engagement.

Coming from a sports background and having participated in team sports my whole life, I’ve learned that motivation, unity, morale, communication and feeling loose is key for any team to be successful. I believe you have to be in that mindset every day you step into the office. Every work day should feel like a game day or like you’re going into battle. Everyone on your team should be on the same page and be heading towards the same goal. And yes, every team’s goal may be different depending on what you do, but in the end what really matters is the motivation and mindset of your team while heading towards that common goal. Continue reading

5 Reasons You Need to Meet in Person

I have been with ImageSource for almost 11 years and in the computer industry almost 47. My journey has taken me from field engineer, to systems support engineer to management and finally to sales. To say I have seen it all is an understatement. Anyone who knows me has always heard me say that email, voicemail, Twitter and Facebook are all great sales tools, but that is exactly what they are – tools. There is no substitute for face-to-face meetings.

Just this past week the ImageSource executive team and I completed our third week of Nexus ’14; a week of personalized, private sessions where we meet with customers to discuss their unique ECM needs. We met with all of our customers face-to-face; listening to them, (I repeat: listening to them), taking notes and presenting the future direction of ImageSource. The results exceeded any of our expectations.

My clients are just like yours: They want to Skype, email and text. But here’s why you still need face time. Continue reading

Moving Content Easily from Email to ECM Repository

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

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

ILINX Capture Email Import capabilities include:

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

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Why I Love Electronic Forms!

I love electronic forms!

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

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

Converging Mobility with Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

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

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

The ImageSource Customer Service Difference

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

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

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

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

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

How do they search and find information effectively?

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Where did Virtual Rescan Technology go?

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.

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Busyness is killing Business

People seem to be busier than they ever have been. One result we have experienced due to the decrease in hiring over the last few years is that employees are taking on more work and working longer hours. Some people are doing the work of two people.
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Rock, Paper, Scissors

rock paper scissorsAs the Fourth of July approaches, we reflect on the formation of our government and the fact that the 3 branches of government are co-equal, as laid out in the first three Articles of the Constitution and several amendments.  If you think of Capture, Content Management Repository and Business Process Management (BPM) they are the three pillars of successful ECM in the enterprise.  Having one without the other does not give the enterprise the full benefit and ROI the technologies have to offer.

Sometimes explaining the value of utilizing all three of these to customers can be challenging.  So, here’s a fun and simple way to think about it:  The concept is best illustrated by the game, “Rock, Paper, Scissors“, which is a game everyone knows.  Depending on circumstances, each application has a chance to provide more ROI than another one, but without one the other cannot truly provide processes efficiencies.  Just like our government and if any one branch vetos or stops a bill.
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Are you “Powered by ILINX?”

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

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Rule Your Data with IBM Datacap Taskmaster

AIIM’s (Association for Information and Image Management) research reveals that 40% of organizations that implement a Capture Solution will achieve a ROI within 12 months.  AIIM separates capture software into 3 categories: Ad-hoc image, batch image and batch transaction. There are many capture products available but one in particular I would like to discuss is IBM Datacap Taskmaster Capture software which is classified as batch transaction.

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Panasonic Panaboard-Not Your Average Whiteboard

I have discovered great benefits that Interactive Whiteboards offers in day-to-day activities that many of our private, government and education customers are utilizing. Highlighted below are two of the more popular interactive whiteboards that are requested by customers – the Panasonic UB-T880 and UB-T880W Panaboards.

What is an Interactive Whiteboard?

  • It is a Whiteboard that uses a projector to display PC Images onto it’ surface and lets the presenter operate the data on the board, with a finger or an Electronic Pen that works like a PC mouse. It is an active, visual-based educational tool.

Benefits

  • Makes it easy to create effective, eye-catching teaching materials and it promotes active, visual-based teaching and learning.
  • Intuitive operation that allows you to freely manipulate music, movies and images, to change ordinary meetings and presentations into visually active exchanges.

Features:

For a great list of features – check out the brochure.  You will be surprised at all it can do!

I discovered some interesting “out of the box” applications of interactive whiteboards:

Remote Conferencing – for Board meetings, company staff meetings and training (using the remote conferencing system)

  • Education – the Panasonic Interactive Panaboards can be purchased with RM Easiteach software. The Panaboard’s information can be saved and distributed to students via flash drive or email. It is a great collaborative teaching tool.
  • Education –  a School district that did not have the funding or infrastructure to put multiple computers in every classroom  – they now use the Panasonic Interactive Panaboard in 700 classrooms to provide Web and Multi-media learning applications and interactive activities involving the web and built-in stereo speakers.
  • Healthcare – a hospital that uses the Panasonic Interactive Panaboard as an operating room scheduling tool. Also utilizes the Panaboard in waiting rooms to help entertain adults and children for hours while they wait.
  • Utilities – a Utility company that uses the Panasonic Interactive Panaboard as a tool for monitoring different functions such as water and power.
  • Firefighting – Fire Station that uses the Panasonic Interactive Panaboard for training and as an interactive tool for Google Maps – they use the touch capabilities to zoom into a specific location of a fire to discuss different ways to access to location etc.

 If you have an interesting way you are using an interactive whiteboard please share this information – we could all learn from your experience and wisdom!

Megan Lane

Inside Sales

ImageSource

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

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

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San Jose State University Enrolls Students with Oracle and Peoplesoft SIS

San Jose State University Campus

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

Gain control of unstructured content

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

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

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

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

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4G and Content Management

With the advent of LTE, HSPA+, and Wi-MAX (collectively referred to as 4G) information can be transferred at speeds never before thought possible. 4G for most of us is old news. However, it occurred to me that organizations rarely consider how this efficiency can actually be utilized. Most of my peers/colleagues utilize one form of a cloud drop box or another.  These tools are great for one or two Power Point presentations and maybe a couple case studies. I remember the first time I turned on my iPad/Mobile HotSpot and opened cloud app. ABC, it was information at my fingertips when and where ever I wanted it—I felt a sense of freedom. As time passed I added more and more “IMPORTANT” content to my personal cloud. Certainly you can all guess what happened next. The pile of paper in my cloud was 10x the size of the stack of paper on my desk at work. 4G connectivity, the cloud and “IMPORTANT” information is a great tool. If you add one more piece to the puzzle (enterprise content management) it can be invaluable to your organization.

For a moment try to imagine where organized, “MOBILE” and secure content could add value to your organization. Content that is safely tucked away behind your firewall yet still available to the appropriate men and women in the trenches. The applications begin to seem endless. As you know almost any type of files can be managed inside an ECM solution.

In one scenario a construction manager is remodeling the third floor in a local university building. It becomes immediately apparent that the plumbing was modified at some point to accommodate for an additional bathroom. The CM only has the original blue prints in his/her possession. What he/she needs are the updated “As-Is” drawings. These documents have of course been printed, folded and filed away back at HQ. It is obvious now that dollars are about to be spent on the recovery of these drawings. The only question that remains now is; how many dollars could be saved?

Decision makers and labor workers alike can all benefit from the innovation of fast mobile internet. However, the content being sought after or delivered must be organized and secure. I challenge anyone who reads this post to add a comment below: How can high speed mobile internet and content management be effectively combined to reduce cost or increase an organization’s bottom line?

Joshua D. Gilmore
Account Executive
ImageSource Inc.

 

Are You Realizing the “E” in Your ECM Projects

I’ve  worked in the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) industry and sold software solutions in this space for over 12 years now. Since then I’ve been involved in hundreds of transactions and sales cycles with many Fortune 1000 companies. One thing that stands out very clearly  in my time in this industry is the fact that I’ve never worked with a single organization that had a plan to realize the “Enterprise” part of Enterprise Content Management software.

One story that vividly sticks out in my mind is an engagement we were called into back in 2002 with a Global 1000 company that was evaluating ECM software to solve their invoice processing challenge. After an evaluation period that lasted about two months, we were selected as the vendor of choice and went into the contracts phase of this engagement. One of the things we wrote into the contract was a clause that stated this company retained the right to execute on an enterprise license for everything in our ECM product suite for a specified dollar amount within 365 days of the signed contract.

Exactly 364 days from the date we put that clause in the contract and the CIO of this particular company executed the option for our ECM software suite, and paid a significant sum to do it. When I met with this CIO a couple of weeks later to discuss his roll out plan he informed me that he didn’t have a plan to roll out the software and what he purchased was a “tool” for his “tool kit”. As I left the meeting I thought that was a rather odd statement for him to make and I filed the information away in my memory bank. As the days turned to weeks, then months and finally years, the “tool” that this particular CIO bought never left his tool kit. The sad conclusion to this story is that 5 years later this same CIO went through another ECM vendor evaluation and spent millions of dollars more on another enterprise license with another company. The challenge here wasn’t the software because the software (FileNet) at the time was a leader in the ECM space, the challenge was that this CIO didn’t have a deployment plan or a method to help him create one. Because of a lack of planning this CIO wasted millions of shareholders dollars in direct, indirect and opportunity costs because of his lack of foresight in planning.

The ImageSource ECMEcosystem™ consulting methodology was created with this dilemma in mind, the dilemma that companies don’t have the resources, expertise and time to strategically plan for successful project rollouts. Our ECMEcosystem can help organizations:

  • Create an appropriate strategy to help them rationalize their current ECM infrastructure
  • Assess the organizational maturity level and responsiveness to change
  • Monetize ECM in a way that is meaningful to C-Level executives
  • Accurately capture requirements and use cases to develop an accurate road map
  • Put together cost / benefits analysis to justify the payback and ROI of an ECM investment

One of the key questions every project team should ask themselves before engaging in ECM initiatives should be, “Wouldn’t it make more business sense for us to invest in some ECM planning before engaging in the complexity of ECM acquisition and project roll-outs?”

As someone once said, “If we never take the time to do something right, when are we ever going to find the time to do it over?” Those are words that ECM project teams should live by!!

Cass Holloway
VP, Oracle Solution Sales
ImageSource, Inc.

Why a good ECM Integrator is important?

I am a big fan of HGTV, especially one particular show “Holmes on Homes.”  For those of you who are unfamiliar, it is about a general contractor who is on a crusade to weed out bad contractors who take short cuts when performing the job they were hired to do. Because the “bad contractors” took short cuts and didn’t do the job right in the first place, they created more problems over and above those which they were originally hired to fix in the first place. “Doing it Right the First Time” has become the mantra of the show.

By now, you may be asking yourself what one of my favorite TV shows has to do with ECM…well, frankly, everything. After 43 years in the computer industry and having worked in many aspects both in the technical and sales side of the business, it will still continue to amaze me that I see as many failed implementations as I do.

The sad part is that it does not have to be if customers would take more care in the evaluation process and place more focus on the integrator who understands solutions and less on the software vendor who provides a tool.

First let’s define an expert. An “expert” is someone who does 12 things, 12 thousand times, not 12 thousand things 12 times.  A good integrator is just that, they are” good” and can be an asset to the customer looking to implement any ECM solution.  Many times a customer will focus on the software vendor to provide this expertise. Software vendors sell software. The problem with this is the software vendor is interested in selling their software or selling you additional software and possibly ignoring the fact you already have what you need or supplying you with the incorrect software for the solution you need.

I have witnessed this many times and to say it can create a messy situation is quite an understatement.  In one such case, the customer purchased well over a million dollars in software, but the software vendor and his reseller never understood the requirements of the implementation and certain costly components were left out of the solution. Worse yet, false expectations were set for the customer regarding professional services and implementation costs.

How does this happen? First and foremost, neither the software vendor or reseller had any actual experience with ECM nor the costs associated with implementation. Neither understood the solutions requirements and they purposely deflated the services costs fearing they would jeopardize the software sale. Using an “expert” integrator would have provided the necessary solution, protected the customers’ interests and a positive experience would have been the outcome for the customer.

Another unfortunate circumstance we all share is the state of our economy. Economic times like the one we find ourselves in have a way of bringing out all kinds of new so called “experts.”  In this environment the customer must make sure they are able to separate “the contenders from the pretenders”.

I am a firm believer you get what you pay for. It continually irritates me to see a customer pay for the same real estate multiple times because they hired someone unqualified to implement their solution.  Following a few simple steps can prevent this from happening.

  • Remember the definition of an expert
  • Check  multiple references
  • Ask for a list of customers with similar solutions and have honest and open conversations with these customers about their experiences
  • Beware of the integrator who tells you they can have someone on site in just a couple of days to begin work. Any integrator worth working with will be worth the wait.  An expert integrator will typically have a 30 – 90 day interval before project start date.
  • You get what you pay for

Bob Garrido
Senior Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.

Utopia ECM

Utopia ECM (Enterprise Content Management) can be defined many different ways.  My definition is when the ECM system is so intertwined with the business process and business software applications that one really can’t exist without the others.  The users of the systems don’t even think about the fact that they are using ECM technology. Here are some examples:

  1. The sales rep submitting an expense report and scanning their receipts into an electronic workflow, doesn’t even think of the technology that they are using to start a business process.
  2. Traveling executives can retrieve, review and approve invoices and expenses from their laptop computer in a hotel room anywhere there is an internet connection.
  3. The employee on the order fulfillment line pulls up the supporting documents for the order details and instructions directly from their business application, but the source of documents were really from an integrated ECM system.

Remember how things like this used to happen without imaging, document management, workflow and system integration?
This concept of Utopia ECM became very apparent to me recently in an upgrade and migration project for an existing customer who is moving from an antiquated ECM application to ILINX.  It made me actually stop and wonder how they went from the simple concept of creating an electronic file cabinet, to a system that is virtually integrated into every department and many of their business processes throughout the company.  What I found out is that they took things one step at a time and have been sticklers about the following: 1) You get what you plan for, not what you pay for and 2) select vendor/supplier partners who have your best interests at heart.  The rest is just details.

Utopia ECM, isn’t that what we all want for our businesses?

John Smetana
VP, ILINX ECM Sales
ImageSource, Inc.

Building an ECMEcosystem™

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

  • Customers
  • Employees
  • Business Processes
  • Business Content

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

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

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

Cass Holloway
VP, Oracle Solution Sales
ImageSource, Inc.

Oracle ECM 11g and Accounts Payable – Integrating Technologies

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

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

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

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

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

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

Debbie Horton
ImageSource
Communications Director

Taking PeopleSoft to New Heights in Higher Ed

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

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

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

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

Where’s My College Application?

A foreign student has applied to four different schools across the US. She spent two years in a community college where she received her Associate of Arts degree. She applied online at all four schools where she hopes to be accepted into a School of Engineering.

It has been three weeks and she and her family have not yet heard from any of the schools as to the status of the enrollment process.

In the meantime, hundreds, if not thousands, of new applications are being handled by enrollment services. Documents, including letters of recommendation, visas, foreign document permits, health records and transcripts are pouring into these universities. Additionally, there are automated transmissions imported into these schools in an attempt to reduce the workload of already overworked university staff.

Phones are constantly ringing with calls  from concerned applicants and parents. Emails are accumulating and can no longer be answered due to volume and reduced staffing requirements.

At most institutions, this happens to be standard practice during the enrollment time period, and universities are looking at better ways to service their applicants and to help break the bottleneck in the work process.

At AACRAO in Seattle next week, ImageSource will present the answer – a view of how the student services operation will look. A major university on the west coast has accepted the challenge and is determined to change the process through true Enterprise Content Management. It should be made clear that this is not document imaging. This university will continue to use their student information system, but documents entering the university will be processed immediately and will be sent to various workflow queues where they will be pushed through the system. As information is processed, it will be uploaded to the student information system, work packages will be distributed automatically to knowledge workers, and plans are being considered to update information to student portals for self-service.

Terry Butler
Chief Solutions Officer
ImageSource, Inc.

A Higher Ed Solution You Don’t Want to Miss…

In the 90s, a lot of Higher Ed institutions acquired document imaging systems to get rid of the volumes of paper from student files, accounting records, human resource documents, etc.

Times are changing now, and there are demands for student portals, integrations with Student Information Systems, the ability to capture electronic transmissions, the need for extensive workflows, and quite frankly, the ability to work more efficiently. More work has to be completed by less people. In most cases, staffing levels have been reduced.

The problem is, most systems currently installed in these institutions were built by Hershey, ImageNow, Nolij and other client server technology software manufacturers, and were built for specific purposes, primarily to eliminate space.

However, In order to meet the demands for campus-wide ECM solutions, there is a need to move from client server platforms into true n-tier architecture products, where standard document imaging has been integrated with Web Content Management, where records management and digital asset management is all part of a suite of products. Content needs to be ingested at the beginning of the process and pushed to knowledge workers.

In today’s world, content is not about scanned pieces of paper, it is not about bar code indexing, or OCR technology.  Universities are demanding products that are versatile and can be supported by a light IT staff.  The cost to repeatedly introduce an RFP for every IT need has been realized.  The requirements now set forth in an RFP for content management solutions far surpasses the ability of the traditional scan, store retrieve systems of old.

The new technologies available in Enterprise Content Management platforms will be demonstrated at the ACCRAO conference in Seattle, the 14th through 16th of March.  At booth 106, you will see how a student portal will work.  At the ImageSource presentation Tuesday evening at 5pm,  you will see the inner working of the system designed for San Jose State University, due to go live early spring.

Terry Butler
Chief Solutions Officer
ImageSource, Inc.

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

Selecting an Enterprise Content Management Solution

DEFINE THE BUSINESS GOALS

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

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

APPLY AN ECM MATURITY MODEL

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

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

BUILD A ROAD MAP TO PROMOTE LONG-TERM SUCCESS

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

Use a road map‐based approach to:

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

IDENTIFY AND FOLLOW THE RELEVANT INDUSTRY BEST PRACTICES

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

SELECTING A SYSTEMS INTEGRATOR

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

PITFALLS TO AVOID IN ECM PROJECTS

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

Shon D. Mueller
Senior Account Manager