How to get the best bang for your buck!

Why price is not the most important factor
when purchasing imaging hardware

When shopping for new imaging hardware, many customers look at their budget and let that dictate their purchase. Now I understand that budget is an important factor, however over the last 9 years working with imaging customers, many have purchased equipment based mainly on price – only to discover that it did not meet their long term growth needs.

So in light of these discussions, here is bits of wisdom that can be used as a checklist when considering new purchases:

  • Color or Black & White (B & W) scanning? The majority of scanners automatically come with color option but can also provide B & W scanning for smaller document size files.
  • Is Speed important – scanners are classed by Pages per Minute (PPM). How fast do you need the scanner to scan?
  • How much volume are you expecting to scan per day, week or month? Volume and speed is determined by the manufacturer when they develop the scanner.
  • Manufacturers group their scanners into categories based on PPM and the Daily Duty Cycle (DDC). DDC is how many images the scanner can handle on a daily basis. So if you have a large volume of scanning to be completed on a daily basis, a small desktop workgroup scanner will not be sufficient for the volume – it would break down all the time. Here are the general groupings that manufacturers use:

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

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

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

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

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

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

We are here to help!

Megan Lane
Inside Sales Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.

Mission critical scanner with no maintenance. Really??

I have been reselling scanners and scanner maintenance for 14+ years now. I have helped clients pick their original equipment, maintain it and replace it, and some of my customers are on their third or fourth cycle with me. I am shocked every time I come across an account that doesn’t understand the value of a maintenance contract.

When you have a maintenance contract you have a fixed cost for the year. You don’t have to worry about coming up with the budget to unexpectedly replace or repair your equipment.

Nobody wants to have the uncomfortable conversation with their boss. The one where you admit that your equipment is not covered and you don’t know when production will resume. And as far as repair costs are concerned, all you know is it won’t be cheap.

Remember when you bought your scanner? It was a major decision; you reviewed spec sheets and made comparisons and talked to anyone you could to get a glimpse into your future. Finally, you made the best decision you could. And now that it’s yours, you don’t want to maintain it. Really??

Think about how long it can take to make a purchase. Imagine how if the unexpected happens you may not have the luxury of time. You may not even have access to the correct people who sign off on it. Perhaps the final decision is yours. Do you really want to have to make this decision on the fly? While production is at a standstill?

This equipment was mission critical at the time of purchase and now you have learned to rely on it. But since its’ purchase, there are hotter topics and projects that you focus your budget on. The takeaway? Don’t forget about your scanner and give it the respect and attention it deserves. Take care of your equipment so it can take care of you!

If this scenario sounds familiar or like something you want to avoid. Give us a call and we can help you plan your hardware future.

Ruben Kerson
Inside Sales Manager
(360) 943-9273
ImageSource, Inc.

Webinars – A great place for free information

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

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

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

Questions or comments:

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

Don’t Leave Money on the Table – How To Receive Cash For Old Scanners

As an Inside Sales Account Executive at ImageSource, I am constantly having conversations with customers that realize they have to upgrade their older scanning equipment.

What surprises me is that many customers do not know they may be eligible to receive trade-in credits or rebates for their old scanners when purchasing new equipment.

Some manufacturers also organize eco-friendly disposal of your used equipment at no charge.

If you have old scanners that need replacing, you might be surprised at the trade-in credit/rebates that may make this purchase financially achievable now!

Not all equipment qualifies, so please reach out to our team here at ImageSource to see if you can receive $$$!

Contact Megan Lane at (360) 943-9273 or insidesales@imagesourceinc.com.

Megan Lane
Inside Sales Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.

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

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

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

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

How do they search and find information effectively?

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Where did Virtual Rescan Technology go?

I have personally been selling PC’s, PC Peripherals and scanners since 1995. When I came to ImageSource in June of 2000, I had to learn the document scanner side of things. ImageSource was definitely an early adopter of the VRS (Virtual Rescan) Technology. This insight was driven by being close partners with Fujitsu and Kofax. In the beginning, you had to have extra hardware components in the scanner and host PC to make the equation functional. The installations were clumsy at times, but it really was the best way to get the best quality image from your scanner.

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Why Imprint Documents?

This is a question we ask our customers when choosing scanning hardware for their Enterprise Content Management solutions.  It is easily overlooked when reviewing the specifications of a scanner, as it is a separate hardware purchase and generally is a business process requirement not a scanner specification requirement.

When there is a need to “imprint” or “stamp” a scanned document, it is required to have the date of the scan on each and every page that is processed. This requirement usually is used for tracking purposes or compliance to show that the document was scanned.

Do you Pre or Post-Scan Imprint?
Pre-Scan imprinting is the most common option that allows the organization to have the stamp on both the physical paper copy and the scan. The pre-scan imprint will print on the document PRIOR to the image reaching the scanners imaging lamps.  So the imprint stamp will also be a part of the scan image.

Post-Scan imprinting is generally utilized when an organization needs the data or tracking mechanism on the physical paper after the scan. This is mostly used to indicate if a page of paper has been processed or not.  The stamp is NOT on the scanned image.

Can I automatically imprint on a flatbed scanned documents?
Keep in mind when purchasing a scanner with a flatbed – either integrated with the scanner or as a detachable USB connected flatbed – there is no automatic imprinting option for the documents scanned using a flatbed.  Flatbed scanned documents will need to be manually stamped to meet requirements – either pre-scan or post-scan.

Another option for imprinting is “Software Annotation”…
If only a data or tracking on the scanned image is needed, software annotation could be considered.  With software annotation you have greater flexibility on where the imprint data can be placed on the image. Keep in mind software annotation needs to be part of your batch scanning process and is a separate software purchase to your hardware scanner.

So keep this information in mind when considering what is the “best fit” for imprinting based on your business process AND scanner requirements.
Megan Lane
Inside Sales
ImageSource,Inc.  

Looking at Your Organization as a Whole

Most departments are looking at ways to solve their individual needs and challenges.  They have a hard time looking at the organization as a whole to consider how their issues are similar to those in other departments.

While budgets often direct the decisions of each department, the cost effective way to look at a project is to consider the entire organization.  Putting a finger in a leak is a short term solution. Enterprise Content Management demands that the needs of the entire institution or organization is considered before a decision is made.  Point solutions that address a single application result in the implementation of three, four and even five products that dramatically increase the cost of support, hardware requirements and implementation.

Terry Butler
Chief Solutions Officer
ImageSource, Inc.

Yes, You Need Maintenance on Your Scanner

As budgets get tighter it’s inevitable that the need for hardware maintenance will come into question. It’s like insurance in your own personal life; nobody likes to pay for it but you definitely dont want to get caught without it.

If your equipment is mission critical, you need to keep it covered under a service contract.
If you don’t have the budget to replace it immediately, you need a service contract.
If you are unsure what model it would  be replaced by or where or how to get it you should definately maintain your service contract.

There does come a point in time when it is more practical to put those renewal dollars towards a replacement.  If you’re working with a good company such as ImageSource we will let you know at renewal time that you should be planning for your replacement either this year or the year after. We can help you select a model and also review compatibility.

Upgrades can be tricked and can trigger software upgrades at the sametime, these are best planned for rather than inadvertenly discovered.

If you need assistance planning, renewing or replacing your scanner please give us a call.
Thank you for your time!

Ruben Kerson
Inside Sales Manager
ImageSource Inc.

135 Pages, 60 Seconds.

If you are looking for a production scanner, make sure you review the Fujitsu fi-5950C. At 135 pages per minute in color, this is Fujitsu’s top model. You will want to bundle this scanner with Fujitsu’s ScanCare package. ScanCare is the most comprehensive maintenance plan on the market.  Aside from a variety of responses time to fit your budget, it also includes Preventative Maintenance visits and a generous supply of consumables to keep you scanning for the year. If you need more consumables they offer the ScanAid kits. If you would like more information contact us or come to Nexus 2011 where the full line of Fujitsu scanners will be on display.

Ruben Kerson
ImageSource, Inc.

 

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

I have blogged before about the Fujitsu fi-6800’s reduced footprint, the LED technology that it uses, and the many environmental friendly qualities it has, but there are other features that must be pointed out.  As you can imagine, when a company so well respected and influential in the ECM world as Fujitsu releases a new product, a lot of thought and engineering goes into it beyond just making it faster.  The fi-6800 is packed with features that enhance productivity that was based directly on customer feedback.

I saw a recent live demo of this model and it is impressive.  It’s look, size, footprint.  How quiet it is.  It also became evident, that this scanner is also easier to use than the fi-5900C, the previous mid-volume production heavyweight manufactured by Fujitsu.  This scanner weighs a mere 70 pounds compared to 100+ pounds of other scanners and its compact size makes it physically the smallest in its class.  This scanner was designed with this in mind:  bring production scanning from out back to up front without obviously disturbing the front of office business environment.

This scanner was also designed with batch scanning efficiency in mind.  For example, it can be equipped with a pre or post scanning imprinter depending on the need, and features an active stacker which controls paper speed as it exits the scanner to keep documents orderly and neat.  The front operator panel has a document counter and a batch counter too.  It is intelligently designed featuring an intuitive LCD operator panel which can be programmed in seven different languages.

Speaking of intuitive technology, the scanner offers Intelligent Multi-Feed Function (iMFF) and Automatic Image Quality Checker (aIQC).  According to Fujitsu, “iMFF allows for instant detection of a multi-feed or multilayer document, such as taped-on receipts or sticky notes added to a document. This function transports the document that has caused the alert to the exit path of the scanner, and presents both the physical document as well as the scanned front and back side images to the user so they can decide whether rescanning is required.”  The Automatic Image Quality Checker allows for document batches to be processed without interruption because it marks images virtually with potential missing data (for example folded corners) and others that might indicate multi-feed incidences.  This allows the user to check through the earmarked images and either re-scan or validate without interrupting the image order.

Lastly, the scanner comes equipped with an impressive full suite of bundled software including Adobe Acrobat 9 Standard, Kofax VRS 4.5 Professional with enhanced barcode recognition, ScandAll PRO with Scan to Microsoft Sharepoint, and QuickScan Pro Demo.  The fi-6800 fits well into any Document Management and Enterprise Content Management solution.

Once again, Fujitsu steps out into the limelight and into the front of the pack with production level document scanning for the world.

Ian Hundtofte

ImageSource

  

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

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

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

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

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

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

Highlight on Fujitsu Scanners

We thought it would be a good idea to spend a few weeks highlighting some of the different scanner manufacturers and what kind of equipment and service they offer and the benefits of purchasing their product.  This week we are going to cover Fujitsu scanners.

Fujitsu offers a very wide range of scanner models from the ScanSnap S300 which is rated at 8 pages per minute (ppm) all the way up to the 5900C, which is rated at 100ppm.  For a more complete list of the Fujitsu models available, click here.  The majority of Fujitsu’s mid-range scanners come with an on-site 3 month Next Business Day response warranty.  They also come with a nice package of software including:  Kofax VRS, Adobe Acrobat Standard, and ScandAll21.  Also, most of the scanners are now Dual Interface: Ultra SCSI & USB connectivity, see blog about USB vs. SCSI scanners.

A couple of the newer models that Fujitsu has released, the 6670 and 6770, have 15,000 page daily duty cycles.  That means that they can scan 15,000 pages in one day and not shorten the life span of the scanner.  That is about twice the daily duty cycle of the models they replaced, the 5650C and the 5750C.  That high of daily duty cycle is quite good for a scanner in its price range.  For the lower volume and price range, another two new models are fi-6130 and fi-6140. These little workhorses scan 40ppm and 60ppm and an optional Flatbed can be purchased separately for both models.

Other benefits of the Fujitsu scanners are the service offerings. Fujitsu is one of the few remaining scanner manufacturers that maintains their own warranty and post warranty contracts. This permits for high availability of quality phone support prior to an on-site repair call as well as high availability of parts when and if an on-site service call is needed. Fujitsu service offerings range from Basic coverage (any hardware failure that isn’t consumables, see blog about the difference between parts and consumables) to the more elaborate ScanCare package. ScanCare is a more comprehensive contract which can include several Preventative Maintenance (PM) visits per year and consumables kit(s) depending on the model. First time buyers can sometimes experience sticker shock over the cost of some of these contracts but once you calculate the guaranteed PM visits, the consumables and the end user training,  you should be able to quickly gauge the value. Plus to replace a major part on scanners can often run into the thousands of dollars.  Contracts are much cheaper than replacement scanners and if it’s a mission critical scanner can you really afford not to be covered?

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

 

 

The Importance of ECM Education

We all know that the economy is not as robust as it was two years ago.  That is a fact.  It seems that the immediate reaction when the economy slows is to cut back on “non essential” items.  The question is, what is essential and what is not.

The obvious answer is that items that directly produce revenue are essential and everything else is not.  Often the ECM strategy for an organization is to “limp along” with the status quo and not to spend money on upgrades, updates or even education.

The down economy will not last forever.  Would it not be wise to position ourselves to take the best advantage of new opportunities when they arrive?  One of the best ways to do this is to study the ECM environment and to learn about new trends, new solutions, and new methods.

When the economy rebounds, organizations who have prepared will be able to move quickly and move ahead of the competition by deploying new and innovative ECM strategies.

Educational events abound.  Many are very expensive and should be examined in terms of their potential value.  However, there are values in the arena that should be taken seriously.  These events offer “best of breed” presentations on a variety of ECM and management related topics.

A good example of such an event is the annual Nexus conference sponsored by ImageSource www.nexusecm.com  Nexus is a two day event that provides information on all aspects of ECM including Software, Hardware, Project Management, Records Management, Business Analysis, Planning, and Return on investment.  Attendees learn about Capture and Integration and to participate in general discussions about ECM.  Additionally Nexus provides an opportunity to network with ECM peers.

This post may seem to be directed at organizations that may or may not fund education for their employees.  But the same ideas apply to the individual.  If the company won’t fund you, think about investing in yourself.  Wouldn’t it be advantageous to be a few steps ahead when the job market expands?

Think ahead, do you want to be stuck with the status quo, or do you want to be poised to take advantage of a rebounding economy?

Kathleen Fish
Senior Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.

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