I recently watched a segment on King 5 News around how some government agencies are using legacy systems for their day-to-day work. The article was highlighting the software program used at the Department of Licensing to process vehicle registrations, however, there are a number of additional agencies that are using legacy programs and platforms for their day-to-day processes. The segment went on to discuss how expensive it would be to update all of those systems. Continue reading
The Times They Are A Changing
Change. Change on college campuses in administrative systems has historically been slow. Most universities still admit and manage students using a complex web of people, mail, paper, manual routing and data entry. They know it is inefficient and costly. So why is higher education lagging behind when there is a huge opportunity to gain efficiencies, particularly with the technologies and best practices we have today?
Risks. Rolling out many small software projects across a campus can delay addressing the big picture, and give the illusion of avoiding risk. The need for collaboration and the high cost of managing multiple systems with duplicate data sets are not addressed initially. The risk then becomes in controlling the waste. Somebody is eventually going to add that up.
Future. Though higher education is still in its infancy compared to most sectors, a new awareness of the need to manage unstructured content is gaining momentum. Along with that realization are the departmental process reconfigurations and then it can’t happen fast enough. People in an organization touch and re-use information despite their department of origin. The future is to manage a piece of content once and make it available to those who need it. Continue reading
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?”
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.
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
Senior Account Executive
Most Higher Education institutions have a student portal where students and parents can review mounds of information. From courses completed to the amount owed to events occurring at the school, the portal provides critical data. It acts as a self-service device to drastically reduce the amount of phone calls and emails that were once necessary.
However at most institutions, the ability to get REAL TIME information for a student applicant is very difficult. Questions such as, “Did you receive my transcripts? What else do you need? When will I know if I am accepted?” continues to be a difficult task.
At AACRAO in Seattle next week, you will have the opportunity to see the first student portal that is linked in real-time to the entire back room process for student enrollment. Not only will true enterprise content management (ECM) give the applicant peace of mind, it will provide huge benefits to all departments within student services.
Stop by ImageSource booth #106 during the AACRAO exhibition and don’t forget to register for the 5pm session hosted by ImageSource.
This is a really different experience.
Chief Solutions Officer
ImageSource is really excited about the AACRAO conference being held in Seattle next week. In our booth (booth #106), we will be demonstrating how a student applying for college can go to the University portal and view the progress of their application.
This process will dramatically reduce the number of phone calls and emails that are fielded by an overworked Admissions office. At the booth, you will see the though process behind a new ECM process.
ImageSource is also giving a presentation Tuesday evening at 5 p.m. Any College, University or Higher Ed Institution looking to become more efficient when it comes to students can’t miss this.
Can’t wait to see you there!
Chief Solutions Officer
Congratulations to the City of Richland, Wash. on winning the InfoWorld 100 Award! Richland streamlined their business processes utilizing different technologies, including ABBYY, ILINX, Oracle and others. Check out the Richland case study discussing their solution.
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!
ECM Solutions almost always yield two kinds of green: Green in your wallet and Green for the environment.
Manual processes take time and are labor-intensive. Green solutions allow companies to better use resources, time and money.
Company A does not have an ECM solution. They do all their reviews and approvals manually. They route documents manually and have to make copies for every reviewer/approver. Joe is the person who receives all the necessary documents to start the application process. He then has to make copies for five other people to review and approve or deny. Once those five people have reviewed the documents, they have to route the documents to each of their bosses, another five copies. The entire application process takes about four to six weeks. The applicant is then notified by mail if their application has been approved or denied.
Company B has an ECM solution in place. They are utilizing electronic forms and workflows. Jim receives the necessary documents to start the application process online. He goes to his Inbox and there is an email informing him he has documents to review. He reviews those documents and then routes them electronically to the next five people who need to review them. Then those five people route it to each of their bosses. There is a two-day limit on the number of days each person has to review the document. The entire process takes about one week. The applicant is then notified by email and/or phone if their application has been approved or denied, and no paper had to be printed or copied.
Company B, the one with the electronic forms and workflows, is saving time, money, resources and being more efficient which benefits customers. Turnaround time is much faster and they didn’t need to use any paper. No documents were lost and applications can be stored in a repository for later recall. Company A on the other hand, has a completely manual process where they have to route documents by hand and file them in a file cabinet.
Company B is saving money by using an electronic process. They no longer have to print, copy, etc. This is also much better for the environment. They don’t have to use paper and other materials since everything is done electronically. The return can also be significant because of time savings, cost savings and labor savings.
To learn more about how Green Solutions can help yield more “Green,” join ImageSource at their annual ECM Solutions Conference, Nexus 09. There will be a multitude of presentations on how improving processes can help save you money and be more environmentally friendly. To learn more about Nexus or to register for the event, visit www.NexusECM.com.
Corporate Communications Manager
If you don’t know about ILINX Capture, you should.
ILINX Capture is an amazing Web-based application that allows you to capture information any place, any time. This flexible product is designed to streamline business processes, and allow users to index quickly and accurately. ILINX Capture also costs significantly less than traditional scanning solutions, and because it’s browser-based, users can access it from anywhere in the world.
The benefits ILINX Capture offers are incomparable to other traditional capture platforms. ILINX Capture is also easy to deploy, taking only about a minute per desktop. This thin-client platform is also easy to maintain. Other benefits include:
- Minimal training
- Low total cost of ownership
- No page count licensing
- Supports distributed and centralized environments
- Improves accuracy of information delivered
- Image-enables line-of-business applications
- Configurable based on the user needs
ILINX Capture is also compatible with different ECM systems. The application can release information to your current line-of-business application, but i will also work with a variety of Enterprise Content Management systems, including:
- Microsoft SharePoint
- EMC – Documentum
- Oracle UCM and IPM
- OpenText – LiveLink
- IBM Content Manager
- FileNET P8 and Image Services
- It can also complement existing Input Accel or Kofax Capture implementations
Corporate Communications Manager
Do you have the proper governance in your plans to deploy an ECM Solution for your organization? There are so many organizations now deploying ECM Solutions and so few of them are paying attention to the Governance aspects of the project. It is not surprising to me to see so many of our friends run into more problems with expensive system deployments that cost more than budgeted and have slow results on benefits. Without planned, clearly defined Governance structure and processes your organization may run into the same problems.
There are some Solution Providers , including ImageSource, Inc., that specialize in assisting organizations plan and structure appropriate Governance to assure measured success of their project initiatives. It is very important to plan ECM Governance in the very early stages of a project. These plans should include prioritizing strong IT project management with constant executive management involvement. Make sure you spend the time to identify clear ways to benefit your business with ECM.
A Global Chip Manufacturer used the lessons learned on Governance from an experience solutution provider and found great success with organizational correspondence, an effective reporting system and the ability to use existing technology. If you are serious about deploying a successful ECM solution then you need to plan appropriate Governance from the beginning and use the experiance of a qualified solution provider.
Written by an ECM Specialist currently serving on the AIIM National PAC – Professional Advisory Council.