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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We Love Our Customer Partners!

Here at ImageSource, we are ecstatic about our Customer Partners! We call them Customer Partners because we believe that they are all truly partners of ImageSource. Together, we’ve been able to accomplish some pretty awesome things.

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Are you “Powered by ILINX?”

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?”

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Rule Your Data with IBM Datacap Taskmaster

AIIM’s (Association for Information and Image Management) research reveals that 40% of organizations that implement a Capture Solution will achieve a ROI within 12 months.  AIIM separates capture software into 3 categories: Ad-hoc image, batch image and batch transaction. There are many capture products available but one in particular I would like to discuss is IBM Datacap Taskmaster Capture software which is classified as batch transaction.

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300 Million Pounds of Frozen Vegetables

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

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What Helps Make IBM’s Watson So Smart? Content Analytics

If you got to see IBM’s Watson compete on Jeopardy a few months ago, you probably thought that it was interesting that a computer could compete (and win) against humans in a game show. What was not as apparent was the technology behind Watson, or how it could be applied to solve business challenges and provide insight into the massive amounts of unstructured information in your organization.

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The Top 5 Mistaken Beliefs About Content Management

Gain control of unstructured content

Your company may or may not have a strategy for managing content, the unstructured information streaming in and out of all areas of your organization on a daily basis. It’s likely you at least have a partial strategy where one or more of your departments is capturing and storing some type of unstructured information for later retrieval.

In a world where the use of digital channels is enabling companies to synthesize large amounts of information in seconds, organizations are making it a top priority to gain control of that rogue 80%, which is the approximate amount of unstructured information slipping through the cracks. This information is not easily accessible because it is scattered and isolated in departmental or personal file systems. This is the information you should be arming your employees with so they can do their jobs.

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If You Don’t Have Time to do it Right the First Time, When Will You Have Time to do it Over?

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.

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Are You Realizing the “E” in Your ECM Projects

I’ve  worked in the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) industry and sold software solutions in this space for over 12 years now. Since then I’ve been involved in hundreds of transactions and sales cycles with many Fortune 1000 companies. One thing that stands out very clearly  in my time in this industry is the fact that I’ve never worked with a single organization that had a plan to realize the “Enterprise” part of Enterprise Content Management software.

One story that vividly sticks out in my mind is an engagement we were called into back in 2002 with a Global 1000 company that was evaluating ECM software to solve their invoice processing challenge. After an evaluation period that lasted about two months, we were selected as the vendor of choice and went into the contracts phase of this engagement. One of the things we wrote into the contract was a clause that stated this company retained the right to execute on an enterprise license for everything in our ECM product suite for a specified dollar amount within 365 days of the signed contract.

Exactly 364 days from the date we put that clause in the contract and the CIO of this particular company executed the option for our ECM software suite, and paid a significant sum to do it. When I met with this CIO a couple of weeks later to discuss his roll out plan he informed me that he didn’t have a plan to roll out the software and what he purchased was a “tool” for his “tool kit”. As I left the meeting I thought that was a rather odd statement for him to make and I filed the information away in my memory bank. As the days turned to weeks, then months and finally years, the “tool” that this particular CIO bought never left his tool kit. The sad conclusion to this story is that 5 years later this same CIO went through another ECM vendor evaluation and spent millions of dollars more on another enterprise license with another company. The challenge here wasn’t the software because the software (FileNet) at the time was a leader in the ECM space, the challenge was that this CIO didn’t have a deployment plan or a method to help him create one. Because of a lack of planning this CIO wasted millions of shareholders dollars in direct, indirect and opportunity costs because of his lack of foresight in planning.

The ImageSource ECMEcosystem™ consulting methodology was created with this dilemma in mind, the dilemma that companies don’t have the resources, expertise and time to strategically plan for successful project rollouts. Our ECMEcosystem can help organizations:

  • Create an appropriate strategy to help them rationalize their current ECM infrastructure
  • Assess the organizational maturity level and responsiveness to change
  • Monetize ECM in a way that is meaningful to C-Level executives
  • Accurately capture requirements and use cases to develop an accurate road map
  • Put together cost / benefits analysis to justify the payback and ROI of an ECM investment

One of the key questions every project team should ask themselves before engaging in ECM initiatives should be, “Wouldn’t it make more business sense for us to invest in some ECM planning before engaging in the complexity of ECM acquisition and project roll-outs?”

As someone once said, “If we never take the time to do something right, when are we ever going to find the time to do it over?” Those are words that ECM project teams should live by!!

Cass Holloway
VP, Oracle Solution 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.

Content Collection and eDiscovery

If your organization is like many others, a call from legal or human resources to produce evidence for an electronic discovery (eDiscovery) request can turn into a time consuming and expensive endeavor.  Searching through and analyzing emails, electronic files, SharePoint, and other content is an arduous task, especially if all of that information is contained in silos, with no common repository.

We have helped customers, at the very least, from a cost savings perspective; realize savings from de-duplication of content.  In many cases, customers can see a return on investment in less than one year!

ImageSource can implement enterprise content management solutions that can collect all of the data in you environment, according to your policies, and make it available for legal search and discovery.

We can advise you on best practice for implementing a “content collection, archiving and eDiscovery” infrastructure that will utilize your file plans, and make sure you address these legal concerns:

  • “We don’t want to keep too much content”
  • “We want to keep the right content”
  • “We want to meet the government’s requirement that consistent, repeatable processes are in place”

We’d love to discuss your specific situation, and leverage our expertise to help solve your challenge.  There’s no reason why, with the technology available, that organizations should still be struggling with the same problems from the ‘90s.

Archie Horton
Regional Sales Manager
ImageSource, Inc.

Why a good ECM Integrator is important?

I am a big fan of HGTV, especially one particular show “Holmes on Homes.”  For those of you who are unfamiliar, it is about a general contractor who is on a crusade to weed out bad contractors who take short cuts when performing the job they were hired to do. Because the “bad contractors” took short cuts and didn’t do the job right in the first place, they created more problems over and above those which they were originally hired to fix in the first place. “Doing it Right the First Time” has become the mantra of the show.

By now, you may be asking yourself what one of my favorite TV shows has to do with ECM…well, frankly, everything. After 43 years in the computer industry and having worked in many aspects both in the technical and sales side of the business, it will still continue to amaze me that I see as many failed implementations as I do.

The sad part is that it does not have to be if customers would take more care in the evaluation process and place more focus on the integrator who understands solutions and less on the software vendor who provides a tool.

First let’s define an expert. An “expert” is someone who does 12 things, 12 thousand times, not 12 thousand things 12 times.  A good integrator is just that, they are” good” and can be an asset to the customer looking to implement any ECM solution.  Many times a customer will focus on the software vendor to provide this expertise. Software vendors sell software. The problem with this is the software vendor is interested in selling their software or selling you additional software and possibly ignoring the fact you already have what you need or supplying you with the incorrect software for the solution you need.

I have witnessed this many times and to say it can create a messy situation is quite an understatement.  In one such case, the customer purchased well over a million dollars in software, but the software vendor and his reseller never understood the requirements of the implementation and certain costly components were left out of the solution. Worse yet, false expectations were set for the customer regarding professional services and implementation costs.

How does this happen? First and foremost, neither the software vendor or reseller had any actual experience with ECM nor the costs associated with implementation. Neither understood the solutions requirements and they purposely deflated the services costs fearing they would jeopardize the software sale. Using an “expert” integrator would have provided the necessary solution, protected the customers’ interests and a positive experience would have been the outcome for the customer.

Another unfortunate circumstance we all share is the state of our economy. Economic times like the one we find ourselves in have a way of bringing out all kinds of new so called “experts.”  In this environment the customer must make sure they are able to separate “the contenders from the pretenders”.

I am a firm believer you get what you pay for. It continually irritates me to see a customer pay for the same real estate multiple times because they hired someone unqualified to implement their solution.  Following a few simple steps can prevent this from happening.

  • Remember the definition of an expert
  • Check  multiple references
  • Ask for a list of customers with similar solutions and have honest and open conversations with these customers about their experiences
  • Beware of the integrator who tells you they can have someone on site in just a couple of days to begin work. Any integrator worth working with will be worth the wait.  An expert integrator will typically have a 30 – 90 day interval before project start date.
  • You get what you pay for

Bob Garrido
Senior Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.

A Higher Ed Solution You Don’t Want to Miss…

In the 90s, a lot of Higher Ed institutions acquired document imaging systems to get rid of the volumes of paper from student files, accounting records, human resource documents, etc.

Times are changing now, and there are demands for student portals, integrations with Student Information Systems, the ability to capture electronic transmissions, the need for extensive workflows, and quite frankly, the ability to work more efficiently. More work has to be completed by less people. In most cases, staffing levels have been reduced.

The problem is, most systems currently installed in these institutions were built by Hershey, ImageNow, Nolij and other client server technology software manufacturers, and were built for specific purposes, primarily to eliminate space.

However, In order to meet the demands for campus-wide ECM solutions, there is a need to move from client server platforms into true n-tier architecture products, where standard document imaging has been integrated with Web Content Management, where records management and digital asset management is all part of a suite of products. Content needs to be ingested at the beginning of the process and pushed to knowledge workers.

In today’s world, content is not about scanned pieces of paper, it is not about bar code indexing, or OCR technology.  Universities are demanding products that are versatile and can be supported by a light IT staff.  The cost to repeatedly introduce an RFP for every IT need has been realized.  The requirements now set forth in an RFP for content management solutions far surpasses the ability of the traditional scan, store retrieve systems of old.

The new technologies available in Enterprise Content Management platforms will be demonstrated at the ACCRAO conference in Seattle, the 14th through 16th of March.  At booth 106, you will see how a student portal will work.  At the ImageSource presentation Tuesday evening at 5pm,  you will see the inner working of the system designed for San Jose State University, due to go live early spring.

Terry Butler
Chief Solutions Officer
ImageSource, Inc.

Why Training is Important

I recently had a conversation with an individual about ECM training.  This person needs to learn how to build a new application for both capture and her ECM system.  When I described the training and associated cost to her, she could not understand why the training is a comprehensive as it is or why the cost is what it is.  Her feeling was that the system must not be “user-friendly”.

What we tend to forget is that a successful implementation of a new application includes much more that creating fields and assigning properties.  It is essential that the entire business process be taken into account.  ECM systems are designed to replace your paper manual paper and other  processes.  Throwing together some fields that hopefully allow you to find your information is not enough.  It is necessary to know your processes inside and out and to  look at other processes that might touch your application as well.

As with everything else, it is the up front planning and effort that make the end result “user-friendly” .

One place to learn more about the subtleties of ECM is at the 2010 Nexus ECM Conference in Bellevue, WA on November 4 and 5.  Please consider attending this event.  It will be well worth your investment.

Selecting an Enterprise Content Management Solution

DEFINE THE BUSINESS GOALS

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

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

APPLY AN ECM MATURITY MODEL

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

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

BUILD A ROAD MAP TO PROMOTE LONG-TERM SUCCESS

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

Use a road map‐based approach to:

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

IDENTIFY AND FOLLOW THE RELEVANT INDUSTRY BEST PRACTICES

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

SELECTING A SYSTEMS INTEGRATOR

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

PITFALLS TO AVOID IN ECM PROJECTS

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

Shon D. Mueller
Senior Account Manager

City of Kennewick Launches ECM Solution by Streamlining City Clerk & Payroll Processes

The City of Kennewick, Washington, looked to an ECM solution to help streamline processes. Because of changing economic conditions and a shrinking tax base, Kennewick needed their business processes to enable them to do more with their current resources. As one of Washington’s most progressive cities, Kennewick recognized that implementing a core Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system would help them meet this goal.

To read the entire case study, visit http://imagesourceinc.com.

Organization:
City of Kennewick
www.ci.kennewick.wa.us

Industry:
City Government

Solution:

  • Workflows for Agenda & Payroll
  • eForms

Challenge

  • Required to do more with current resources
  • Paper-intensive processes
  • Manual routing for approvals laborious & expensive
  • Documents difficult to locate
  • Duplication of documents
  • Payroll process labor intensive & error-prone
  • Excessive storage space required

Key Benefits

  • Flexible workflow allowing various approvers depending on need
  • Documents easy to locate and always available
  • Changes are easily accommodated
  • Agenda ePackets are easy to build, distribute to Council & public
  • Most current version of documents accessible across all departments
  • Reduction in storage
  • Infrastructure for storage & electronic workflow can be leveraged city-wide
  • Integration with existing Payroll system improves accuracy
  • Intuitive indexing & validation
  • Automated data entry
  • Payroll processing reduced 90%, or more

Products

Kristina Parma
Communications Manager
ImageSource, Inc.

Client Vendor Partnership

I’m on my soap box again, looking for anyone to lend a sympathetic ear.  Whether it is RFP season or just engaging in the content management sales cycles, I’d like to provide some suggestions in the requirements gathering / evaluation process.

Before I begin, please take into consideration the following definitions:

Me or I = Not specifically me, but any consultant, colleague, or professional that provides knowledge in a specific area of business functions.
You or Your = Not specifically you, but any organization looking for assistance in improving business functions.

It is shocking to me how organizations invite subject matter experts to learn more about their business process that needs some TLC, and then respond by not giving full information, acting on ulterior motives, being condescending, and trying to position themselves internally as an expert by asking ultra specific offbeat questions.   It is a similar process of going to the doctor and withholding information that might lead to a more accurate diagnosis.  I don’t want to compare what I provide to life saving efforts of the medical community, but want to simplify this by stating “How can I help you if you can’t tell me what is wrong?”

My Top 4 Peeves in the Vendor Client Relationship:

  1. Get past the stigma of “This guy is trying to sell me something”.  We bring best practices, and over 400 examples of similar projects into consideration while looking at your business process.    If you are communicating in an open manner, you might be surprised at how much easier the process is and how much more value you will obtain.
  2. Don’t ask for free services / consulting / advice.  Please respect my profession, experience, and subject matter expertise.  I wouldn’t dare walk into your business and ask you to give me something that has taken you 20 years to develop and perfect.
  3. Respect my time and expertise.  If you are in an active initiative and respect my knowledge and involvement, please do not abuse it by calling me into every meeting to provide educational information when your process dictates that you have to go through a stringent evaluation process for multiple vendors and it is your policy to purchase from the lowest bidder anyway.
  4. You are correct in the assumption that I am in it to make money.  At the end of the day, aren’t we all trying to make profit for our organizations and selves?  I am not asking you to pay a King’s ransom, just an amount that is commensurate with the time spent, value brought, services rendered, AND the perceived value to your organization.

For a few laughs, but a startling dose of reality, please take a few moments to view this video that puts things in a bit of perspective.  Vendor Client Releationship Video.

Here is another related post by Tony Byrne of CMS Watch that expands on this diatribe.  Tony Byrne blog post.

As a systems integrator, we aren’t looking for any special treatment, only fair, upfront collaboration that will allow us to determine if there is value in our service offering, meeting your business needs.

P.S.  I am happy to take you to lunch but I do expect respect and a clear understanding of your fair process.

Jeff Blissett
Senior Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.

Three Essential Components of ECM – Capture, Connect and Share

At our recent ECM Solutions Conference, Nexus, ImageSource announced the new brand strategy for our ILINX product line – Capture | Connect | Share.

The three word tagline was chosen because it so accurately describes the critical comments of an effective Enterprise Content Management system.

Capture:
The more effectively an organization can get information into their system the better they are able to manage that information. Critical content comes into organizations every day. How are you capturing your information? How effectively are you managing all types of content (paper, electronic content, video, pictures, etc)? What technology are you embracing to enable electronic information? Fax machines? MFPs? Desktop scanners? Production scanners? Because Capture is the “on-ramp” to any ECM system, having the right tools (ILINX Capture Products) will enable the success of your ECM system.

Connect:
Seamless integration with line-of-business systems is essential for user adoption, simple end-user training and overall Change Management. With the use of ILINX Connect products, organizations can access all critical documents from one central ECM repository without ever leaving the LOB system they are familiar with. ILINX successfully integrates ECM systems with SAP, JD Edwards, PeopleSoft and others.

Connectivity between different ECM systems is also essential in order to maximize the benefits of all the various technologies. ILINX integrates technologies such as SharePoint, Oracle, LiquidOffice, Kofax, and more.

Share:
Business operations depend on getting the right information to the right people at the right time. Having the right tools to access that information easily is the functionality built into the ILINX Share products. Organizations must be able to export targeted information effectively for public disclosure requests, specific agenda items, invoices, and much, much more. Having that information easy to retrieve in a well organized, usable format is essential.

ILINX products are the cornerstone of many successful ECM solutions. Visit the customer success stories page on our website and see how organizations, both public and private, are creating effective ECM solutions utilizing ILINX technologies.

Debbie Horton
Corporate Communications Director
ImageSource, Inc.

 

Tackling ECM in Higher Education – Part Two

In Part One we talked about the problems encountered in Higher Education with departmental solutions, now let’s talk about how to fix it or more importantly how to prevent it from happening. The answer actually is pretty simple, if your thinking about implementing an Enterprise Content Management Solution then narrow your search to those companies that provide these products.  The term Enterprise Content Management is used very loosely today but by true definition is defined as:

the strategies, methods and tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents related to organizational processes. ECM tools and strategies allow the management of an organization’s unstructured information, wherever that information exists”.

This new term is intended to completely encompass the legacy problem domains (i.e. “Islands of Information”) that have traditionally been addressed by records management and document management. It also includes all of the additional problems involved in converting to and from digital content, as well as to and from the traditional media of those problem domains (such as physical and computerized filing and retrieval systems, often involving paper and microforms).

Finally ECM has employed the technologies and strategies of (digital) content management to address business process issues, such as records and auditing, knowledge sharing, personalization and standardization of content. These products are also built on n Tier Architecture which is very scalable and provides easy integration into ERP products and supporting products mixes such as Enterprise Fax Solutions, Electronic Form Products and so on. Here at ImageSource we have built a plethora of tools under the ILINX Products Family that ties all the pieces together both effectively and transparently to provide a seamless solution.

Finally let’s talk about the cost, one of the questions I always hear regarding ECM is how much will this cost? There is no question a true ECM Solution will be more costly than a Departmental Solution, how much more really depends on the customer and how widely across the Enterprise they choose to deploy it. The good news is, you don’t have to do it all at once, and here lies the real attraction of a true ECM Solution, you can start small and eventually grow it to the Enterprise and not worry if this will meet my needs in two years. So ask yourself a simple question when evaluating Content Management Solutions, should I pay a little more upfront or pay less only to find out it will not meet ones needs in a couple of years and finally, think about the costs associated with migration of all that content you already have stored that will need to be moved over when your current solution can no longer support your organization.

Benefits of System Integration

Enterprise Content Managment solutions can be expensive.  I have talked with many organizations who see just the cost of implementing solutions and see the benefits as just faster retrieval of information stored in the system.

Integration of your ECM solution with your line of business systems can greatly improve the return on the invstment that you have made in ECM.  Think about how often you are researching employee data in your Human Resources System and suddenly realize that you need actual documents that relate to that data.  You have and ECM system, the problem is that it is not connected to your HR system.  At best you toggle back and forth between screens to get everything you need (maybe clicking on the wrong application and taking extra time. Wouldn’t it be easier if you could access the documents directly from your HR system?

Integration of systems contributes to business intelligence.  How often are you collecting information from multiple systems, often wondering if you have it all.  Sometimes this is just an annoyance.  Sometimes it can be a very expensive annoyance.  Integration used to be a complicated time consuming endeavor.  Now, with integration solutions such as ILINX Connect http://www.imagesourceinc.com/Products/ILINXProducts/ApplicationIntegration/index.htm a single solution can be used to integrate multiple systems using the same procedures for each integration.  How easy can it get?  Want to learn more?  Nexus 2009 http://nexusecm.com/index.htm is coming to Bellevue, Washington on November 2-3.  Come to Nexus and learn more about how integration of your systems can help your bottom line!

Kathleen Fish
ImageSource, Inc.

Infonomics Article ECM

Dan Hooper of Integrated Services Inc. recently contributed and article to the July.August issue of Infonomics Magazine.

July.August 2009 Cover

July.August 2009 Cover

The article focuses on the importance of developing a strategy for managing information and content.  So often organizations focus on the technological features of an ECM platform or software solution and not the business processes and people that will need to adopt change in order to successfuly implement a new ECM system.  Whether your looking to implement a Document Management, Content Management, Document Capture, eForms, Web Content Management, Business Process Automation or Document Imaging solution it is important to understand that a key difference between success and failure is user adoption through effective change management and executive leadership.  You can dot all your I’s and cross all your T’s on the technical front evaluating a software solution but if you don’t understand how it will affect the user community, what policies and procedures you will need to revise and how you will market the solution internally you could end up winning the battle and loosing the war.

Another key element to a successful ECM strategy is a committment to future upgrades, enhancements, technical support and ongoing training.  A well managed ECM strategy should constantly evolve over time.  Many organizations who invest in an ECM solution from an initial purchase and implementation standpoint do manage to meet many of the goals and objectives of the original project.  The challenge comes when the project is complete, users are working with the new solution and the implementation partner has fulfilled its obligations.  At this point many ECM solutions are not upgraded consistently, new employees don’t recieve the same level of training and new technologies are not incorporated to enhance the functionality of the solution.

I look forward to reading the next column’s on this topic.  Thanks to Dan Hooper and AIIM for publishing this article.  Many of these topics will be explored and discussed during Nexus 2009 held in Bellevue, WA. November 2,3

Shadrach White
Chief Technology Officer
ImageSource, Inc.
ILINX Capture