Converging Mobility with Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

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

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

Tired of entering the same information over and over?

Wouldn’t it be nice to supply your doctors’ office with all your pertinent information only once? And then, after you have entered the information, that information would then automatically be populated into all of the required forms and systems necessary? Now it is possible; by using products that are part of the ILINX Suite offered by ImageSource. ILINX eForms is a user-friendly, web-based software that allows you to easily capture information from a desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone. It has a lean engine that automates the routing, tracking and approval for data extracted from forms across an enterprise. Imagine the amount of time we could save by entering information only once instead of entering the same information over and over. Want to learn more? Watch this ILINX eForms demonstration to see this tool in action.

April Gentry
Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.

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

Paperless Processes: Capturing Documents of All Types

Paper-Wars2013-Cover

AIIM – Winning the Paper Wars

I found the latest research paper from AIIMWinning the Paper Wars – capture the content and mobilize the process troops.”  to be an interesting read, especially since I have seen many of the points discussed when working with our customers—specifically with growth areas in mobile capture, OCR, BPM/Workflow and AP/AR processes.

I am happy to say that the report addressed not just scanning paper records but also looked at the hundreds/ thousands of external paper documents that flow into a company every day.

At ImageSource we help address capture via ILINX Capture®  Many of our customers have experienced progress towards “paper-free processes” and are achieving payback of their investment. If you are looking at addressing some of the issues that were discussed in the report – feel free to reach out to ImageSource…or me…

Megan Lane
Inside Sales Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.

ILINX eForms—For those who like to do 2 things at once, like walk and capture!

ILINX has yet another tool to enable capture anywhere your work takes you. ILINX eForms is a flexible, user-friendly electronic forms software for the capture, processing and delivery of data, images, even signatures. It can do so in a variety of ways, by using a keyboard, a finger or stylus on a touchscreen (using Intelligent Character Recognition or ICR) and even a database lookup. It allows you to add an attachment, or take a picture and embed it in the form. And ILINX eForms can be accessed on a variety of devices, from desktop to tablet to smartphone. Did I mention it is flexible?

Continue reading

4G and Content Management

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

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

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

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

Joshua D. Gilmore
Account Executive
ImageSource Inc.

 

As Easy as One, Two, Capture

Enterprise. Content. Management (ECM)— “Enterprise content what… Enterprise rental cars?”

People who are not in the ECM/ technology industry are most likely unfamiliar with this three- word term. Just watch our hilarious Street Smarts Video to hear the various answers. This is a phrase that can sound a little intimidating and jarring. I, myself am new to this industry, and I’m not going to lie—right before working at ImageSource I was intimidated. Prior to my start date, I had repetitive thoughts running through my head, “How am I going to learn and master the Enterprise Content Management industry?” But luckily when I began working at ImageSource these thoughts soon disappeared.

Don’t be fooled by the ECM term, a broad description will make understanding this industry possible. ImageSource is a full service Enterprise Content Management solutions provider and integrator. This means we offer services and infrastructure using paperless technology. Everyone has tons of papers, documents and files. This can range from a small doctor’s office that needs to keep track and organize their patient’s health charts, medical history, insurance, etc. to a larger scale such as an entire city in California: organizing, processing and recording thousands of papers a day. ECM comes in by capturing (such as scanning), organizing and storing all these papers which can be easily retrieved even from a remote location.

Real Life Snippet:
Just yesterday I went to the car dealership to pick up our company car after getting it serviced. Like any other business, you receive services, pay for the services, and then get a receipt.  Upon receiving the receipt my first thought was, “I need to make a copy so I have one for my expense report and so that our accountants have a copy as well.” BUT this is where ImageSource comes in. ImageSource offers a product called ILINX®. And keeping up with the times, we have a smart phone app called ILINX® Capture Mobile. All I had to do was grab my iPhone, open up the app, and capture the receipt by taking a picture. I then typed in some data to index the receipt such as the date, location, and name of the company. The image then converted to a pdf and was immediately e-mailed to my own address. Now when I send in my expense report, I have the receipt ready to go.

My brief personal experience shows that we can even hone down to the individual such as you or me to explore the benefits of ECM and its services– all of which makes our daily lives a bit easier.

Tracy Lim
Communications Manager
ImageSource, Inc.

Anyone Else Hate Carrying a Wallet Full of Receipts?!

We live in a fast-paced world. This is a time when we want information instantly, at the click of a button, on the tips of our fingers. We want information about the economy, the latest news updates, what our friends are doing Friday night, etc.

On any given day, I can open up my Internet browser and check out Google News, then head over to the New York Times and CNN to get my fix for what’s going on in our country and the world. Then I pop open Twitter to get the latest happening in the Enterprise Content Management and Document Imaging world, and to get a good laugh from some crazy tweeps I follow. I’ll open up articles and pictures and see what’s been happening for the last few hours. Jump over to Facebook and I can see what my friends did last night, check out new pictures, see who’s gotten married, broken up, or who’s in a “complicated” relationship. I can see which of my friends once again posted too much information or put up sayings or quotes that make you smile.

The cool thing about all this is that I can also do it from my smart phone. It doesn’t matter if I’m sitting at my desk, riding in a car, waiting for an airplane or lying in a hammock. I can take this information with me everywhere I go.

Moving off topic for just a second; I’m a compulsive receipt-keeper. I keep every receipt I get, and I’m super crazy about it. I like to keep track of purchases, see which pair of shoes my paycheck may have gone to, or see how much I spent on groceries. In my work life, I keep receipts to show our Accounting Department that I’m not spending company money on weekend getaways or skinny jeans.

However, up until recently, this was a task that I could only take care of at my desk. That’s where my scanner is and where my documents are saved. I would have to save up all my receipts from various trips and then wait to scan them in at the office.

Enter ILINX® Capture Mobile! ILINX Capture Mobile is an app that allows you to capture information anywhere. Traditional capture software requires a desktop installation. But now, I can simply grab my phone and capture the documents I need.

For example, say I’m at a customer dinner and picked up the tab. Now, instead of having to be sure I bring that receipt back to capture at my desk, I can open up ILINX Capture Mobile and capture that receipt after I’ve signed. It converts the image to a PDF, and I can give it
some index values. I can then email it to myself to refer back come expense report time.

So if you’re anything like me and hate carrying around a handful of receipts, I would definitely recommend getting ILINX Capture Mobile. It’s available through the App Store and even better, it’s free! It’s simple, easy to use, and will alleviate the pain our wallets feel from bulging at the seams from being overstuffed with receipts. But more importantly, it allows us to capture that critical information, index it, and send it back to ourselves for later use, all at, well, the click of a button.

Kristina Parma
Communications Manager
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!”

 

ECM Moves to Simplicity

A trend worthy of mention in the ECM industry is the move to simpler-to-use products. ImageSource is answering the demand for these streamlined products, not only from an integration point of view, but also by developing our ILINX product line. What is really worth noting is that the products mentioned below are streamlined without sacrificing performance. Let’s explore what simple ECM means for organizations.
Users
From a user’s perspective, ECM is becoming more intuitive, accessible and affordable. Heavyweight capture players like Kofax are applying their expertise to products like Kofax Express, geared for small to mid-sized organizations. It is functional without requiring a lot of training or know-how. Another capture application, ILINX Capture, is web-based, enabling capture at any desktop browser. It has a mobile app, ILINX Capture Mobile for capture without the desktop or laptop. In yet another mobile development, ImageSource recently announced the launch of their ILINX Tablet, the first business-centric tablet to hit the market. Users also appreciate ILINX Integrate, which image enables their line-of-business systems. They can view content from within their primary application without having to open a content repository.

Administrators and IT Professionals
Thin client apps, like ILINX Capture, allow for administration, deployment and maintenance from a central source. Graphical user interfaces allow workflows to be created effortlessly, automating rules and decisions. ILINX Content Store is a supercharged, yet streamlined content repository that is as easy manage as it is to master—and it’s also a web app. The simplicity of all of the products mentioned above mean fewer resources are spent on training and administration.

Organizations
Simple ECM benefits the enterprise on many levels. First, fewer resources are used to deploy and manage information systems. Secondly, as complexity decreases, user adoption improves. Lastly, as ECM is distributed, organizations are able to ingest content from a much wider variety of sources, sooner, so information is available more immediately.

Carol Carbone Jellison
Creative Director, ImageSource

Eating Our Own (Yummy) Dog Food

Every day at ImageSource I use the technology that we help implement at other organizations. It helps remind me why our Customer Partners get pretty excited about information processes that get transformed through ECM technology. Instead of printing, shuffling paper, waiting, shuffling some more, waiting, chasing down the paper, copying, shuffling and filing, we can complete a process efficiently, accurately and have a digital record.

It’s time to submit my expense report, so I’ll use that for an example.

I gather a few paper receipts, and scan them on my Fujitsu Scansnap desktop scanner using ILINX Capture software. Using a desktop browser, ILINX Capture allows me to add indexing to this batch of documents, so I can easily search for them.

My other receipts are already PDF images that I captured using the camera functionality on my iPhone and a handy app called ILINX Capture Mobile. It lets me turn my paper receipts to digital images on the fly, and attach keywords to them. (This is especially convenient when traveling.)

I merge my PDFs into one document using Adobe Acrobat, and go to our intranet site for where I find a LiquidOffice eForm designed for ImageSource expense reports. Utilizing pull-downs, pop-up calendars and automatic calculators, I quickly enter essential data about each receipt, attach my PDF with receipt images and hit submit. After the package is automatically routed to my supervisor for approval, ILINX Connect for eForms seamlessly transports it to Oracle Image & Process Management system.

Our Accounting staff views the documents right from within their accounting software system using ILINX Integrate, without having to go into IPM. Should my expense report documents ever need to, they could be sent through an IPM workflow or packaged and migrated out using ILINX Export.

It is liberating to work in an automated environment. Instead of shuffling paper, my time is free to do things that actually require my expertise, of which report submittal is not one.

Carol Jellison
Creative Director, ImageSource

 

ILINX® Capture Mobile Now Available!

ImageSource proudly released ILINX® Capture Mobile, an iPhone app to quickly and easily capture information on the go!

ILINX Capture Mobile allows users to capture an image of anything – receipts, notes, etc. – attach keywords or index values to the document, and email a copy back to yourself. ILINX Capture Mobile is a mobile accessory of ILINX Capture, a browser-based capture software tool that automates the capture of information from both paper and electronic sources. Once the document is processed, it can be delivered to a variety of digital formats to systems that manage business processes. Images capture with ILINX Capture Mobile for the iPhone can be further indexed, grouped, converted and routed with the full version of ILINX Capture.

Check out ILINX Capture Mobile and make sure to download the app to your iPhone!

For more information on document capture, going paperless and to get information from experts in the ECM industry, then you don’t want to miss Nexus ’10. Nexus ’10 is ImageSource’s annual ECM Solutions Conference. Right now, Nexus ’10 is only $295 until June 15! However, for an additional $100 off, use discount code BLOG100. For more information about Nexus or to register for the event, visit http://NexusECM.com.

Kristina Parma
Communications Manager
ImageSource, Inc.
@KristinaParma

 

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.

 

Enterprise Content Through Mobile Devices

With an estimated 75 million Millennials entering the workforce in the near future, organizations need to adjust the way they make their critical business information available. The newest generation of workers will require access that is both immediate and mobile. Blackberrys, iPhones, Netbooks and other mobile devices are driving the need to make information digital and deliverable on demand.
Helping to make anyplace the office-place, mobile devices also drive efficiencies and the immediacy through which information is received and disseminated. Enterprise-wide content infrastructure manages information going to, and coming from, mobile devices securely through workflow, portals and networks. Additionally, it can bridge the gap between mobile devices and other line-of-business systems processes.

Carol Jellison
Creative Director
ImageSource, Inc.