Getting it Right: Distributed and Mobile Document Capture

Distributed and Mobile Document Capture carries with it a very similar paradigm shift that the FedEx overnight delivery service and the facsimile machine had in the 70s, 80s and 90s.  The rise, proliferation and ever increasing bandwidth of the internet, along with new hardware devices such as multi-function printers (MFPs), desktop-personal use scanners, digital senders, tablets PCs and smartphones make it possible to capture documents at the point-of-origination, or “the first mile”, a phrase coined by Kofax.  Despite all of the innovative technology available today for implementing distributed and mobile document capture, there is a lot more to it than the common marketing slogans of, ”Put your paper in the automatic-feeder, push the button and walk-away.”  In reality, “Getting it Right” takes a great deal more fore-thought, planning, execution and on-going support to make the usability simple for end-users while ensuring the end-to-end process is fast, secure and visible to those who handle exceptions and/or need self-service access to the documents. Continue reading

ImageSource customers are evaluating the Panasonic scanner: KV-S1065C

Panasonic scanner: KV-S1065C

Why my customers choose the Panasonic KV-S1065C:

1. One of my healthcare customers had a requirement for scanning medical cards.   This scanner is specifically designed to work with many different sized identification cards. They also love that the scanner software allows you to view both sides of the card on one image.  This is a great feature in the medical field. Another great feature is the long paper scanning option for scanning unusually long patient records.

2. Many customers in any industry enjoy utilizing the Kofax VRS software to autocorrect their scanned images. This cuts down time on the end-user manually correcting these images. Productivity is increased substantially.

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Save Time and Money With Advanced Capture

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

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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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300 Million Pounds of Frozen Vegetables

If you haven’t seen our National Frozen Foods customer success video yet, take a break for less than 3 minutes and see how this corporation that produces over 300 million pounds of frozen vegetables a year utilizes their Enterprise Content Management system to increase their business efficiencies.

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Less is MORE

I have a challenge for the readers of this blog.  Are you ready?   Take deep breath.   I want to challenge you to, DO MORE WITH LESS.   I think we are often taught to want more, that we “need more”.   I am challenging you to someone that can do MORE with Less.  I am sure you are wondering how this relates to content management, the topic I was asked to write about.   Well I think I can bring you to that reality, so continue reading.   Today we face an economic reality that is forcing us to do more with less.   It makes you think long and hard about what is important and what is needed.  This concept can be taken all the way to the documents that we deal with for our business processes.  Often we create business process around what we have “always” done.   I think it is time to stop and relook at your business.   How can capturing data as it is created and making it electronic increase productivity as well as reduce costs overall?   Many studies share the ROI of this fact.   Do more with Less.  Stop making more paper, and make Less.  Stop doing more work and do less.   If this is something you are ready to talk about, I know that our team of consultants are the right people to help you conquer that task.  It is a daunting one, but it must be done and you want the right people to lead you through the challenge.   We have done this for many years and have proven to be true professionals and experts at the task.

Please take a minute to read a Case Study done for the City of Kennewick .

“We’ve comfortably taken the leap to a paperless environment. Departments are much more self-sufficient in finding content. I no longer spend countless hours making copies & distributing them.”

– Valerie Loffler, City Clerk, City of Kennewick

Geetha French
Inside Sales
ImageSource Inc.  

Decentralized Scanning: Evolving Thought

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

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

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

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

Ed Figueroa
ImageSource, Inc.

Process Improvements – Leveraging Technology – Content Store

 

ILINX® – Content Store

Simple, Easy, Efficient –

Imagine having information at your fingertips.

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

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

Geetha French
Inside Sales
ImageSource 

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.

The Power of Partnerships

Working with other companies and their staff to deliver a product and service to a customer can be an enlightening experience.  I have recently been working with 4 of the top leading scanner manufacturer partners to assist a healthcare customer with their distributed capture initiative-with the evaluation and the purchase of 160 desktop scanners for capturing patient intake information.

The customer evaluated the 4 manufacturers’ desktop scanners. A number of factors influenced the healthcare customer on their decision to work with ImageSource and to purchase the following scanner evaluated:

  • The ease of use of the scanner equipment and software
  • Availability of the manufacturer’s sales person and sales engineer to be on-site to install the scanner, the numerous conference calls to answer questions that unfolded due to the testing of the scanner and every question was treated with utmost importance.
  • The attention to detail by both ImageSource and manufacturer to modify the demonstration of  the scanner and that the scanner software solved a number of their various documentation challenges (for example – the patient intake documentation varies is size, thickness and also includes plastic cards)
  • The high level of thorough communication between ImageSource and manufacturer (In the customer’s eyes it seemed they were working with one company, not two!)

The greatest learning experience and also the most important factor that made this a stress-free process was the level of trust that was initiated, grown and experienced by all parties involved;

  • From the customer perspective: Working with two teams from different companies- it did not matter who they called (whether it be ImageSource or the manufacturer), they received the same high level of service from both companies. Both companies kept each other informed of the conversations etc. they had with the healthcare customer, therefore alleviating any miscommunications or misunderstandings.
  • From the Reseller vendor (ImageSource) perspective: The high level of communication and interaction with the manufacturer’s sales team created a streamlined cohesive focus to ensure the customer received what they REALLY required from a scanner.
  • From the Manufacturer perspective: Being able to rely on a vendor partner that has the knowledge, expertise in Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and initiative to go the extra step – to focus on how to solve the customer’s challenges, not just sell a scanner. It gave us the manufacturer room to really excel in presenting how the scanner and software was the solution to the customer’s challenges.

It is refreshing to experience this unique partnership among the customer, vendor and manufacturer. And I know from all involved, that it set the stage for a high level of expectation in the future opportunities to do business together. This experience reminds me of this quote I saw recently:

“If we are together nothing is impossible. If we are divided all will fail.” Winston Churchill

Megan Lane
Inside Sales
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.

One-Hit Wonders in Enterprise Content Management

Defining Enterprise Content Management One-Hit Wonders

As I go about my every day sales and business development activities to evangelize ImageSource’s ILINX Enterprise Content Management (ECM) software products, I am amazed to see just how common it is for the originally installed ECM software system to be pretty much unchanged.  The use case is the same (e.g. Accounts Payable, Human Resources, Customer Service, etc.) and the system is used by mostly the same people.  Maybe a new application was implemented for Accounts Receivables, but by and large it is still the same system.  In some cases, the software has been up updated only once or twice, the scanners are original, the servers and workstations in use are running older operating systems and databases and the system might still be using a juke box for archival purposes.  This is very similar to what one might call in the music business, a one-hit wonder.  If you were to ask people in the music business, they would say a one-hit wonder is a very common tale.  And, so it seems that we have the same thing happening in businesses when it comes to Enterprise Content Management.

How did we get here?

What I have observed is that enterprise content management has become pervasive; however, it is actually a series of one-hit wonders.  Meaning it is managed and implemented differently by department and/or line-of-business.  For example, the  Accounts Payable department might use the originally installed ECM system, but the Marketing department uses nested shared folders on the network that also requires one to name the files in a certain manner; the Engineering department might be using some document management module that comes with their engineering software, but for imaged engineering drawings they go to the ECM system the Accounts Payable department uses; and the sales department had their CRM software integrated with a different ECM software application that is “cloud based”, as well as, they have become masters at using their network attached multi-function printer (a.k.a. MFP) to scan-to-email and ad-hoc scanning for imaging.  And, when things don’t work as they are expected to or malfunctions, the information technology department is supposed to pick up the pieces, work some magic (and fast) and “ta-dah” everything is back in working order.

What needs to change?

So how did we get to the point where we have so many different ways to image, file, store, retrieve and process documents and content in our businesses?  More importantly, what can be done about it to improve the situation to drive out duplication, increase efficiency and lower operating costs and risks?  First of all, let’s cover how we got here or better yet, what needed to happen first keeping in mind there is no one to really blame.  A large part of why businesses have not centered their businesses on a single ECM software system is that some evolution needed to take place.  First and foremost, the ECM applications themselves had to evolve from client-server and thick clients to be being truly web-based built on Web 2.0 technology and architecture; it is important to note that not every ECM software company has taken this step.  Secondly, the internet had to become as pervasive as the telephone (land line and/or mobile) and the bandwidth to support business use.  Thirdly, the ECM applications had to become less specialized in just performing one thing, such as, imaging, web content management, digital asset management, etc.  Fourth, the computing platform from which we access the information had to become a non-factor; this means that I can access my information from any device:  a PC workstation in the office, a laptop in a hotel, a tablet device like the Apple iPad and/or a smartphones.  Lastly, the investment of ECM software systems needed to scale to based upon the size of the business to actually be affordable and cost-effective which has largely not been a reality.

A new reality is possible today!

It is from ImageSources’ collective experiences of its employees and the 17 years of being in the Enterprise Content Management business that it can confidently and successfully assist companies and organizations of all types create a new paradigm.   Simply put, we make it possible to take disparate ways and systems of managing documents and content into a single system that serves every department and line-of-business of the enterprise.  It first starts with making document capture so simple and so accessible from any device.  ILINX Capture works with any TWAIN compliant scanner and can be configured to work with virtually any network attached multi-function printer (MFP).  ILINX Capture Mobile and the ILINX Tablet make it possible to capture documents and content in the palm of your hand.  ILINX Content Store  is ideally positioned for those companies that need a complete, full functioning, user pleasing and straight-forward approach to Enterprise Content Management.  It must also have the option to be integrated with business applications (ILINX Integrate) and does not burden the IT department with system management and administration tasks.  Mainly because it is built on Microsoft’s .NET web-based architecture; therefore, updates, changes and new applications can be deployed from a single-administration console and users can receive those updates via their intranet or internet.  If the existing content, documents, images and data in your current “dot.90’s” ECM system is a concern for you, ImageSource has the services and the tools (ILINX Export) to make this all important and critical step of migrating your information into ILINX Content Store.  The remaining question that you might have is this:  is it really affordable and cost-effective to consolidate disparate ways and systems, migrate the information and implement a new ECM software system?  And my answer to that is, “ImageSource’s approach and ILINX has proven to be so for many others, I have no reason why to think the same is possible for you and your company!”

 

What was your “ah ha” moment?

What was your “ah-ha” moment in communicating ECM?

Working in  Enterprise Content Management for over 12 years often times I have found it somewhat difficult to explain what we do and/or sell.  Have you?

I have found that who your audience is often dictates how you explain it.   To an IT group I have described ECM in terms of storage and retrieval of images in to database/repository with searching capability, ability to apply rules for authentication and accessibility, removing silos of information,  ability to do workflow and BPM, and other things like Meta-Data, networks, through-put and HA/DR.   Sometimes their eyes gloss over and other times they “understand.”

To some business folks when I’ m talking ECM I most usually reference things like accessibility of their documentation, being able to search on key fields and automatically route work/documents/content without the use of email or paper files (at its simplest form) and its all stored in a database otherwise known as a “repository.”  Or, when describing workflow, using the old analogy of a restaurant.   When you go in to the establishment a hostess seats you, then you get a menu, a waiter comes up and then you order, that order goes back to the kitchen and you get your meal prepared, then after you have dessert, you get a bill, pay and get a receipt then the bus boy comes and cleans everything up – that’s a workflow.

But what do you say to your mother or father, sister or brother and even children (aka the layman)?  I’ve tried things like, “I sell software that lifts information off paper or documents and puts that data in a data base that allows people to find it. Then the people can see the documents on their computer necessary to do their job.”    But I still get a ‘blank stare.’

Then one day, maybe three or four months ago, my dad was asking me for his usual P.C. help and he said, “my printer/scanner isn’t reading the words as well as it used to.”   Of course, that got my attention! Could my dad know what O.C.R. is?  After 12 years of me talking about IBM, FileNet, EMC/Documentum, Microsoft , Captiva, Kofax, ImageSource and ILINX(r) and him saying, “I still don’t get what you do.”  NO WAY!  How could my dad possibly know about O.C.R?

So I asked him, “Dad, you know what OCR is?”  Guess what, he replied YES!  “Its that software that I use when I want to take words off my documents that are PDF or Tiffs”.   BAM!  He knew!  Finally after 12 years he “figured it out” partially what I did for a living.  Putting this in context, my dad is an automotive guy, first sales and then executive, who had never a need to do any “computing” most of his professional career.

We have a lot of acronyms in our ECM vocabulary:  OCR, ICR, OMR, BPM, OSR, ODAR, HIPI, TIFF, etc etc etc.  (I can go on for a lifetime of our acronyms).   But what do you say so that IT people get what ECM is?  What do YOU say to a business user, who never ever ever thought of this stuff day to day?  What do you tell your mom, dad, brother, sister, what you do every day?   What have you said that brings blank stares?  But, most importantly, what have you said to a customer and then you saw the “light bulb” go off?  It appears O.C.R. is making it in to the mainstream vocabulary, if my dad is any example, because he knows his, “HP MFP does OCR.”

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Debbie Horton
Communications Director
ImageSource

Selecting an Enterprise Content Management Solution

DEFINE THE BUSINESS GOALS

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

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

APPLY AN ECM MATURITY MODEL

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

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

BUILD A ROAD MAP TO PROMOTE LONG-TERM SUCCESS

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

Use a road map‐based approach to:

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

IDENTIFY AND FOLLOW THE RELEVANT INDUSTRY BEST PRACTICES

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

SELECTING A SYSTEMS INTEGRATOR

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

PITFALLS TO AVOID IN ECM PROJECTS

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

Shon D. Mueller
Senior Account Manager

Beyond the cool factor: show me the value

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michael Benayoun
Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. It helps make space in her room

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

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

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

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

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

Capturing Data is important for these reasons:

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

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

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

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

Geetha French- ECMP

Account Executive

ImageSource, Inc.

Phone 360.943.9273

www.imagesourceinc.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information see the PDF below.

Dynamic Duo – ILINX Capture & Canon ScanFront 220P

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

  

“Today’s Trends in Capture”

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

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

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

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

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

Kristina Parma
Communications Manager
ImageSource, Inc.
@KristinaParma

 

Selling is an Act of Respect!

“First I believe that selling anything to anybody, if it’s done with integrity, is actually an act of respect. It acknowledges that the person you’re trying to win over is freethinking and autonomous”

– Bruce Philp, The Orange Code

When I read this statement by Bruce Philp, I smiled. For over 16 years I have been selling as a profession – this statement above sums up nicely how integrity and respect is possible in a sale. The key component from the selling standpoint is you MUST have respect for your customer (or potential customer) and be willing to see them as “freethinking”. Especially when you are questioned and challenged. By having an uncompromising focus on the customer through the whole process – listening and understanding their perspective is imperative in a Enterprise Content Management Project.

Every day we are challenged as professionals to listen and understand someone else’s perspective, as well as add our opinion and expertise to the mix. Seeing customers and colleagues as partners (with their own level of expertise) is a key component to success, especially if it is practiced from both perspectives.

Looking at how we as a company communicate to our customers and talk about our customer partnerships does display many of these elements;

  •  “ImageSource works relentlessly with our Customer Partners to build a relationship of ongoing success and trust. The collaborative approach…”
  • “What has followed has been an extremely successful business venture that has its spirit deeply rooted in a love for entrepreneurship and innovation”
  • “We take pride in our ability to overcome business challenges with integrity and sincerity. Our success is testament…”
  • “… This standard results in strong and collaborative customer relationships that are ongoing.”

Do we walk our talk? Some days better than others.

Do our customers walk their talk? Some days better than others…

In the long run the best measurement of success of a sale is long-term customer partnerships and successful ECM projects…from both perspectives!

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

 

Personalized Scanning – Fujitsu Style

Personalized scanning – Fujitsu Style

Fujitsu is about to release the new ScanSnap S1300, and scanning just got a little more personal.  Canon has recently entered this arena and low and behold, Fujitsu is on their heels.  This mobile scanning solution is ideal for professionals on the go and is easy to transport at only three pounds and can easily fit in a briefcase or laptop bag.  The ScanSnap S1300 is the smallest Fujitsu multi-page duplex scanner for one-touch ease of use – either on the road or in the office.

With distributed capture on the rise, here is another tool that allows the busy, mobile professional the ease and convenience of capturing the information.  This of course lends to improving productivity and efficiency of the individual with little effort.

This scanner can implement cross-platform functionality which increases its value and versatility.  It is compatible with a PC or a Mac giving the customer maximum flexibility and does so seemingly – without any software changes.  Up until now, one had to either purchase a ‘PC’ version or a ‘MAC’ version of scanners in this class.  In addition, it can be powered by either USB connectivity or an AC adapter.

The scanner’s performance is robust too for its size (up to 8 pages per minute) and it even has 10 page automated document feeder.  The scanner can handle documents as small as a business card and up to 34 inches in length.  The software offers several image enhancement features including automatic cropping and color detection, blank page deletion, and de-skew.  As an added feature, it features one button searchable PDF creation, PDF and JPEG and will scan to editable Excel and Word files.

This scanner offers a lot for its size and its price.  Please contact our Inside Sales Team here at ImageSource at 360-943-9273 for more details and upcoming delivery date.

Ian Hundtofte

 

The Next Killer App for ECM

Enterprise Content Management for the most part has become mainstream business.  The ability to scan documents from remote locations has been made increasingly easier by applications such as ILINX Capture and other web based scanning applications.  Indexing documents has been simplified with ODBC compliance and the maturity of systems integrators capabilities of integrating with ERP table structures.  System standards have allowed for ECM repositories to interface with ERP sessions where the users can work heads down in their legacy application and retrieve / view images from their desktop with little to no knowledge of the ECM application – see ILINX Integrate.

Accounts Payable has been the traditional starting point for most organizations in testing the waters for document imaging because it has a definable process, set business rules, and shows a reasonable ROI depending on the number of received images, discrepancies, and time it takes knowledge workers to process invoices.  Other repeatable processes include Contracts, Sales Order Processing, Legal, Shipping / Receiving, and HR Personnel Files.

What will be the next Killer App?  In the past 2 years we at ImageSource have seen a great deal of consideration in HR on-Boarding process.   Understandably, it costs a lot of money to bring in new employees and involves a great deal of resources.  From the application process, to the processing of I-9 information, setting up payroll and direct deposit, insurance, issuance of equipment (laptop, cell phone, scanner) it is no slight undertaking.  Standard ECM solutions as well as products from Autonomy (see Liquid Office), this process can become automated and affordable for most organizations.

From there, where do we go?  With the adoption of smart phones, almost everyone has a camera in their pocket at all times.  This can allow for the capturing of data – snapshot of a document, whiteboard drawing, and presentations can be captured immediately and then fed into the indexing process for ECM.  This expands the reach of content capture and protects the loss of important information.  Technical architecture is now compatible and flexible to allow for almost anything.  Nexus 2010 will provide some great ideas and visions for upcoming solutions.

What is next?  Feedback is welcome.

Jeff Blissett

Senior Account Executive

ImageSource, Inc.

jeffb@imagesourceinc.com

Nexus 2010 ECM Solutions Conference EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT $195

Nexus 2009 ECM Solutions Conference was a resounding SUCCESS!!

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

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


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

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

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

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

Shadrach White
ImageSource, Inc.

In-Process Capture: Who Needs It?

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

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

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

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

Michelle Semple
ImageSource, Inc.

Capture, Connect, Share

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

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

Until next year everyone!!

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

 

Is ECM a Green Technology?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comments and feedback welcome.

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

Document Scanning Best Practices

Content Management Systems are one of the most useful resources companies have available to keep their managers, staff, and customers informed. Managing those files effectively is an ongoing challenge, but a well-planned, best practices implementation makes it significantly easier. Most Content Management Systems start with Scanning as the starting point in the lifecycle of any document. The decision of whether to go with a centralized or distributed scanning model must be carefully evaluated to see which may be a better fit for the organization. Many times a hybrid model of both remote and centralized is required and becoming more popular. When it is done designed and implemented correctly scanning ensures that the data stored in the document management repository is valid, readable, secure, accessible, and useful throughout the enterprise.

Some important things to remember when deploying document a document scanning system:

  • Establish clear goals and objectives before you start or deploy a Document Scanning System.
  • Establish clear and concise business rules around your company’s requirements.
  • Consult a well established Systems Integrator with the knowledge and expertise to help you with defining “Best Practices for Document Scanning” and always check references.
  • Understand the nature of your documents, the quality of many documents may be poor, this in turn will require you to use Image Enhancement Technologies that will automatically clean up the document and improve its readability. These types of technologies are a must especially when utilizing OCR or any advanced form of capture.
  • Scanning and especially the Indexing of documents can be somewhat laborious, so anything to help automate these tasks such as Bar Coding, OCR, database lookups and electronic forms will make life a lot easier.
  • Use the KISS Principle in dealing with data taxonomy and avoid capturing too many fields, but make sure it’s enough to do valuable searches.   Here at ImageSource we try to have 10 document types maximum and 8 data fields which allows for effective searches, retrieval and reporting.

Lastly, don’t lose sight of your short and long term goals, do your homework and study your documents and see how they fit into your business lifecycle and corporate governance. Talk with people throughout you organization and get their input to better understand your documents are used. Finally, if you’re unsure get help, this is not an area where you can afford a mistake. Remember, it all starts with getting information into the system.

Bob Garrido

Senior Account Executive

ImageSource

ECM Best Practices: Document Capture

We are going to start a series of blogs called the “ECM Best Practices” series. This series will cover a range of topics for the next six weeks, including ECM Training, Hot Trends in ECM, Document Scanning, Document Capture, Green Solutions and Integration with ERP.

This week, I am going to focus on Document Capture. Document capture makes life easier and allows us to get more done with less time and fewer resources. Manual processes are both labor intensive and time consuming. Document capture allows employees to perform tasks with speed and accuracy.

Companies today need to look at utilizing Distributed Capture in addition to Centralized Capture. Distributed capture gives organizations the freedom to scan and capture information at remote locations, instead of mailing documents to one central location. Having a central hub is important in scanning, but having distributed capture in addition is necessary to reduce costs, improve accuracy and save time.

One of the hottest capture products on the market today is ILINX Capture. ILINX Capture is a web-based capture product that allows you to capture information anywhere, anytime, any place. Compared to traditional capture products, ILINX Capture costs significantly less and takes less time to deploy and train users. This thin-client application is perfect for small to medium-sized businesses who are looking to improve efficiencies, or for large businesses who are in need of a capture product that can handle large volumes of documents.ILINX Capture

On November 2nd and 3rd, ILINX Capture will be showcased at ImageSource’ s annual ECM Solutions Conference, Nexus, in Bellevue, Wash. This conference is a great opportunity for anyone who is looking for educational content and industry-specific training. The conference will have speakers from Microsoft, Oracle, Cardiff, Bowe Bell & Howell, as well as from ImageSource. There will be a breakout session on Distributed Capture, a two-part session on the new ILINX products, including ILINX Capture, as well as a keynote on the importance of capture.

To register for Nexus, or to learn more about the conference, visit www.NexusECM.com.

To learn more about ILINX Capture, visit www.ilinxcapture.com. For additional information, read this blog post about ILINX Capture.

Kristina Parma
Corporate Communications Manager
ImageSource, Inc.

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Network Scanners, Living in a Connected World

Fujitsu fi-6010N

Network attached scanners have been available for quite a while. But the early version were extremely limited and didn’t always work as expected. The current version of network scanners come with a good sized user interface, touch screen or Keyboard and usual have a version of windows imbedded allowing for an easier setup and a familiar feel. These new units allow for quick deployment in a low volume setting and they are easy-to-use and they manage, secure, and operate as stand-alone solutions.

Many different manufacturers offer a network version of their scanner line.  Canon offers a great Network Scanner, the ScanFront 220.  With Fujitsu’s networthis scanner, you can simplify and standardize document management across your local branches or across the globe. Simply load your documents, log into the network, select the destination, and press the scan button.  It allows many users to access the network via one scanner using their person authentication logons.  Specific user settings can restrict the types of documents the user has access to scan, index, and view.

 

k scanner, the fi-6010N, includes many enhancements for greater ease of use, simplified device management and additional security feature for compliance or to assist with adherence to regulations.  This network scanner provides functionality including scan to e-mail, network fax, folder, printer, FTP website, and searchable PDF in a small footprint which enables document sharing amount departments or the entire enterprise.

The Kodak Scan Station 500 is designed as a walk-up capture station that requires minimal user training and is easy to use. The Scan Station 500 is a standalone solution that works with an existing network and makes use of existing network shared services to communicate with other network devices or destinations. The color touch screen is easy to use and allows you to

 

No matter which network scanner you think might work best for you or your organization, having the ability to scan directly to your network without the requirement of a PC is a great innovation in the document imaging environment.  You can purchase all these types of network scanner at ImageSource, Inc.quickly send your documents via email, fax, to networked drives, networked printers or USB flash drives.

Andrea Latham, CDIA+

Inside Sales

ImageSource, Inc.

 

 

 

Distributed Capture Allows In-Process Workflow Enablement

In traditional capture environments, organizations are submitting their documents, whether in fax or scanned form, in batches.The ability to submit ad-hoc documents using existing hardware like MFPs/MFDs or scanners is the current momentum in enterprises. Reaching beyond this takes forward, out of the ordinary thinking.

How would it be in an enterprise organization to actually place a single document into their local MFP/MFD and submit that work directly in to the workflow allowing the documents to be processed that same day? Inserting lab orders from physician’s offices directly to ancillary services? Placing a new account opening document directly in the workflow queue to get approval and an account number? Scanning bills of lading at the shipping and receiving dock and having them go straight to accounts payable and automatically matched with the P.O.?

We’ve seen many large financial services organizations start to leverage in-process distributed capture in an ad-hoc collection and capture form. Having a simple user interface, minimal clicks at the front panel of an MFP/MFD, as well as very little learning curve has been essential. What could your organization do if everyone could easily scan/import documents so they could get placed in the repository, data base, legacy system or workflow right away? How many millions of dollars would be saved? How many redundant workers would be allocated to jobs needing more workers?

Michelle Semple
Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.

 

Highlight on Canon Scanners

This week we are going to talk about Canon and their line of High/Mid/Low-volume, and check scanners.  Canon scanners are usually priced very competitively.  At ImageSource we also manage scanner service repair and Canon’s are just as reliable and have the same loyal following as other brands.

Canon scanners offer the kind of high-performance features that make converting paper documents easier. Like high-speed precision feeding technology, compact design, high-speed color capability and even flexible configuration options.

Canon’s highest volume scanner is the newly released DRX10C, which rivals the competition with an impressive 128 pages per minute scanning speed in both color and black and white.  Great image quality comes from the onboard image processing chip that can handle multiple image processing functions.  It also boasts the industry’s first dust-free scanning system which prevents dust particle from adhering to the sensor glass.  This minimizes manual cleaning for the end-user thus reducing time spent maintaining the scanner.  This robust design allows for up to 60,000 scans per day meeting the demands of production level scanning.

The rest of the Canon scanner line includes 18 models ranging in speed from 20 ppm up to 112 ppm.  This expansive variety of models allows the end user to find the perfect fit with speed and design for their document capture or distributed capture solution.  Canon also provides 3 different models of check scanners, which is a niche that most of the other well-known scanner manufacturers do not venture into.  This can be very beneficial for those in Billing and Accounting areas of business that deal mainly with processing large quantities of checks.  Having a true check scanner give you the option of reading the MICR codes on the bottom of the checks.

One noticeable difference with the Canon scanner line is that they do not ship with Kofax’s Virtual Rescan (VRS) technology that many of the other manufacturers include as a basic with their standard packages.  It can be added on to any of the scanners as an aftermarket upgrade, so not bundling it with VRS cuts down on the cost.  Talk about flexibility.

And…Finally network scanners with new technology have arrived!  Stay tuned next week for our blog about Network scanners, including those offered by Canon.

Andrea Latham, CDIA+

Inside Sales

ImageSource, Inc.

Phone 360.943.9273

www.imagesourceinc.com

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Distributed Scanning – Sales Perspective

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

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

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

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

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

Jeff Blissett
Senior Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.

 

Document Capture with Bowe Bell & Howell

Bowe Bell & Howell NgenuityThis week we are going to focus our attention on the Bowe Bell & Howell brand Document Scanner.  They are known for their presence in the high-production environment, and with their work-horse 8000 series scanners, BB&H can really enhance your document capture solution in a production environment.

Bell & Howell recently launched the replacement to the 8000 series line with the “Ngenuity” high-production scanner.  These 4 models of the Ngenuity were redesigned to include some of the latest technologies and to make maintaining this scanner much easier for the end-user.  For example, the lamps in the Ngenuity have been replaced by LED technology so they last the lifetime of the scanner and require no warm-up time.  That eliminates the end-user having to purchase these consumables and replacing them on a regular basis.

The internal construction of this scanner is still all stainless steel and now includes a straight paper-path option to reduce jamming and feeding issues.  You now have the option of using two separate paper paths making the scanner more flexible for accommodating your scanning needs.  The Ngenuity also has an unlimited daily duty cycle (number of pages that it can scan per day without reducing the life expectancy of the scanner), which is a great feature not offered by many other manufacturers

Even if you have a lower production or distributed capture environment, Bell & Howell offers their Truper and Sidekick models.  The Truper 3200/3600 models are rated at 67 ppm (pages per minute), the Sidekick 1200 rates at 23 ppm, and the Sidekick 1400 at 43 ppm.  As a point of interest, the Truper made the Guinness Book of World Records for the Longest Scanned Document – an astonishing 3,875-foot document.  Many organizations use the Sidekick models in their distributed capture solutions so branch offices to scan their documents and send them electronically to the home office.

So no matter what kind of document capture solution you might have in place in your organization, B&H has a scanner that can fit your needs.  And ImageSource is a reseller of the BB&H scanners, here to help answer any of your imaging and document capture questions.

Andrea Latham, CDIA+

Inside Sales

ImageSource, Inc.

Phone 360.943.9273

www.imagesourceinc.com

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.

Distributed Capture – Good for the Environment and Your Bottom Line

Capturing information in one location is so “old school.”

Traditional means of capturing paper documents and converting them to digital images has been the norm for way too long. It has for the most part been a centralized process. Companies and organizations send their documents to one location to be scanned and have the information captured. This way of doing business is costly and not the most environmentally friendly option.

Distributed capture is a way for companies to capture information in a variety of locations instead of sending those documents to a central location to be scanned. This is a much more eco-friendly approach, as well as better for your bottom line. Businesses don’t have to spend money sending documents to the central location or on wasted time. They can be much more productive.

The Internet has truly made distributed capture the easiest way to capture information and index efficiently. With products out there like ILINX Capture, users can “SCAN in Seoul, INDEX in Istanbul, APPROVE in Amsterdam, STORE in Seattle!” Because it’s web-based, ILINX Capture gives users the ability to capture information anywhere in the world.

Products like ILINX Capture are both reasonably priced (good for the wallet), and because it’s browser-based, good for the environment.

For more information about ILINX Capture, visit the web site at www.ilinxcapture.com.

ILINX Capturewill also be shown at ImageSource’s ECM Solutions Conference, Nexus 09. To register for Nexus 09 or to learn more about the conference, visit www.NexusECM.com.

Kristina Parma
Corporate Communications Manager
ImageSource, Inc.