How about an attitude of gratitude all year long?

It is that time of year again when we reflect on reasons to be thankful. It’s times like these when I wonder, why can’t we have an attitude of gratitude all year long? When you focus on all the “good” in your life, more “good” comes to you, while the inverse of that is also true. It’s good to ask, not just during the month of November, but often — what are you grateful for? Here are a few of mine in no particular order:

Family, Friends, Food, Shelter, Employment, Life, Love, Health, Pets, Environment, Sunshine, Rain, Transportation, Abundance, Technology, Enlightenment, Peace, Customers, Co-workers, Culture, History, Clothes, Shoes, Forgiveness, Encouragement, Teachers, and of course, our Vendors: Fujitsu, Kodak, IBM, Contex, Oracle, ILINX, Kofax, Altosoft, Canon, and Panasonic.

If you are reading this and times are tough, start by being grateful for eyesight, knowledge and the ability to read.

Let’s resolve to say thank you more often. Stop complaining and focusing on what is perceived as wrong and say thank you for things that are “good”. Thank you to the day-to-day heroes in our lives. Focusing on the things we can affect in our everyday lives and saying thank you to those who are making things better fosters gratitude and makes life all around more enjoyable.

It is my goal and my hope to help you make your imaging and Enterprise Content Management solutions better!

Here to serve!

Thank you for reading,

Richard McDermott
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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I Love Paper!!!!

Untitled-2I love Paper. Yes, I sell Document Imaging Hardware and software that converts paper documents into their digital representations, but I love paper. I love the tangible reminders to go online and pay my bills. What’s that? Exactly, I pay my bills online, so why do I need paper? I grew up with paper. Apparently it makes me feel good to throw out a mountain of tangible junk mail, and it makes me feel important.  Paper is what I know, and it’s what we all know.

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10 Ways to Improve Capture OCR and Indexing

The recognition phase of capture may seem to be the most important step relevant to automated indexing – since it is, after all, the phase where OCR is performed. But at least half of the factors relevant to successful indexing occur during the pre-recognition steps, particularly in obtaining appropriate image quality for OCR and indexing.

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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.

ProStor InfiniVault – Storage AND Savings

ProStor InfiniVault – storage AND savings.

I blogged about the ProStor InfiniVault about one month ago.  As a reminder, the InfiniVault is a data preservation and protection system which allows you to optimize how you manage/handle your data.  It combines sophisticated software with industry endorsed removable hard drive technology.  You may ask: How does this technology move from our existing storage system to ProStor translate to the bottom line?  How can it save us money?  Here are some sound examples for cost reduction both tangible and intangible:

Economic Savings**

  • Lowest cost storage – tape costs up to 2x more, optical costs up to 4x more, and fixed disk costs up to 40x more
  • Infinite capacity – the RDX removable disks are virtualized behind the online disk allowing inactive data to be removed from the system while still appearing online to applications and users. This reduces operating cost and power consumption, while enabling incremental
    expansion of storage when it’s needed and at the best price in the market
  • Self-protecting – the system can automatically make 1 to 4 copies of data on RDX removable disks and/or replicate to another ProStor InfiniVault, automating disaster protection. The meta-data is maintained online for easy search and retrieval, even when the data is removed from the system and sent offsite
  • Multiple vaults – users can partition the online disk file area for multiple departments or projects rather than purchasing separate systems, thereby reducing capital expense
  • Backward/Forward compatible – unlike tape or optical storage solutions, you will never need to swap-out a drive to read the data from an RDX disk
  • Reduced backup costs by 50% – shorter backup windows, faster time to recovery, lower cost of protecting data, and fewer resources to manage backups are consumed
  • Lower power and cooling costs up to 75% – data on spinning disks is a major power user, and within a ProStor InfiniVault the RDX disks spin-down when not being accessed
  • Faster response to eDiscovery requests – saves time and money in responding and helps avoid potential penalties
  • Improved operational efficiencies – fewer IT resources (people and equipment) are needed because you don’t need to manage multiple tiers; no data to disk, tape or VTL anymore
  • Ease of use – because it is addressed as simple NAS storage, installation can be done in 30 minutes or less. Once online, the information management software implements your policies automatically
  • Set and forget GUI – once vaults are defined and retention policies are set, the ProStor InfiniVault does the rest
  • Data compression – data is compressed where possible 2:1 (on average) to reduce the amount of storage that needs to be purchased
  • File level data de-duplication – digital fingerprint is used to identify duplicate files and only store one instance, reducing the total amount of storage that needs to be purchased
  • Reclaim capacity on primary storage – less primary storage has to be purchased now and in the future**

As you can see, the economic reasons to migrate over to ProStor are numerous.  Contact our Sales Department for more information or a quote.

Ian Hundtofte

Inside Sales/ImageSource

**Source: ProStor Systems

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.

 

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

  

Centralized, de-centralized or outsourced capture – some surprising results!

In-Process Capture… Centralized Production Scanning… De-Centralized Distributed Capture… the discussions on which strategy is best for a company when addressing their document capture needs can have interesting outcomes.

There seems to be no “right” answer, the technology choices for capture are continuously growing and changing and a company’s Enterprise Content Management (ECM) needs can be very specific.   A recent research study by AIIM produced some surprising results when they reviewed the issues and potential benefits of different approaches to document capture.  Document capture encompasses document scanning, image correction, recognition of text, barcodes, form fields etc. and output to an appropriate format for subsequent processing or archive storage. One surprising and interesting outcome that AIIM states in their introduction of the report;

“The report concludes that there is a move back to centralized scanning operations, along with a greater investment in capture and recognition software to automate date capture and indexing processes.”

At ImageSource, we have also seen an increase in companies utilizing the newer model of “distributed scanning” – at the local level to office staff processing the capture documents. The value of capturing something at point of origination and placed into an imaging business process earlier does save time and money.

Allow your business needs to dictate they type of capture solution that makes business sense for your organization.  This may include multiple avenues. Many of our customers utilize both centralized and de-centralized capture – depending on their specific business needs.   We have also seen companies move towards an increase in distributed/ de-centralized capture for their 3 – 5 year strategic ECM plan.

So how do you work out what is the best approach for your needs? And it can vary from department to department within the company!  This is one of the greatest challenges the C-Level and IT staff come across when developing an ECM strategic technology plan. As an independent ECM  Integrator, ImageSource is uniquely qualified to help discover the ideal mix of Capture technology to conquer business challenges.  We help chart a strategic course, whether the business requires in-process capture, production scanning, distributed capture or mailroom solutions.

One other surprising result of the AIIM study was the statistics that shows a very strong return on investment (ROI) and compelling case for scanning and capture investments.  Capture is an enabling process that is a combination of improved user access to information and reduced costs.  The study showed that ROI for capture was reported within 12 months to 18 months! That is a significant and impressive return!  Yet the study shows that justifying ROI is still a huge impediment to adoption -one that many of our customers face when presenting the case to change “how things have been done”.

The greatest benefit of research is that it stimulates all the interested parties into discussion and planning mode.  So what ECM strategies will your company implement – centralized, de-centralized/distributed capture or outsource it!

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

Who Needs a Scanner? I Think I Need a Scanner…

The answer is almost everyone!  From scanning bills and statements in your home office to full Imaging Departments in the largest of companies, digital images are the way of the future.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t have room in my house for filing cabinets full of old mortgage, power, auto, insurance and all the other bills and statements that I get every day!  Many State, County, and City government agencies have also run into the same problem as they are keeping 100+ years of all different types of paper documents.

A lot of people today want to start digitizing their documents, but don’t really know where to start.   If you need some help trying to find out what type of scanner is right for you, there are a few simple questions you can ask yourself.  How many documents per day/week do I need to scan?  Do any of them need them to be in color?  Are any of my documents double-sided?  Are any of my documents of unusually large or small size?  What paper types and of what quality will I be scanning?  All of these questions are important and can help narrow down the size and type of scanner that will work best for you.   There are many manufacturers that produce scanners that range from home office/portable to the highest production scanners available.  Companies like Fujitsu, Bell & Howell, Canon, Panasonic, and Kodak all provide full lines of scanners to fit most every need.  Don’t let this unfamiliar territory intimidate you, there are companies like ImageSource, Inc. that know about and sell scanners to help you out along the way!

If you’re interesting in viewing muliple scanners at one time and location, sign up to attend Nexus ’09.  Some of the major manufacturers will be demoing their scanners there and answering the types of questions we talked about above.  Good luck and start scanning!