Compliant Public Disclosure Starts with Smart Records Retention

If there’s one message I consistently hear from customers today, it’s how big of a deal public disclosure is for the government and how we need better solutions around it. That being said, you would not believe how many of these organizations don’t feel that they have a good handle on their content.

In Washington State, public disclosure refers to the release of all documents and content to the person making the request. These documents at minimum need to be available for the requestor to view. There are some exemptions to this, such as sealed case files.

Good public disclosure practices really start with one thing: good record-keeping (and destruction). We hear time and time again from customers that they’ve never thrown anything away for fear that the document may be needed at a later date. While they may be thinking that this is the best way to avoid throwing anything away that should be kept, it also means keeping records that should have been destroyed.

Some aren’t aware of the fact that when a public disclosure request comes in, organizations are required by law to turn over any documentation pertaining to the request (as long as it is subject to disclosure). That means that if documents haven’t been destroyed and fall under the specific request, those documents need to be turned over as well, even though they are past the retention period. This poses a huge risk in regards to potential litigations.

Getting your records in order may seem like an overwhelming task, but here are some steps you can take to move toward better practices related to retention and disposition of records.

  1. Understand YOUR Organization’s Requirements for Record Retention and Disposition
    Every organization is different. Certain records have to be kept longer than others, some records might need to be sealed, others may need redaction before they can be turned over, etc. Each organization, each department, even each business process may have different requirements around records. Determine and document what the requirements are so that when you start to do an inventory of content, you have a definitive plan regarding what needs to be kept and for how long. Click here for a link to the Washington State Records Retention Schedules.
  2. Where are my Records?
    Identify where records are kept. Are they stored on a network share? In a file cabinet? In a content management system? Somewhere else? Are they in paper form? Electronic? Are there video files? Regardless of where the documents are kept, the regulations are around how you get the content organized, not the file format or how hard the collection process is. This will help ensure that there are not duplicate documents, and if there are, that only the pertinent copies are kept so as not to be a factor in a potential litigation.
  3. Perform an Analysis and Inventory of Your Records
    Some organizations choose to do this internally, some hire a contractor, and some take a hybrid approach. Regardless of which path you choose, determine what content you have, what needs to be kept, and what can be disposed of before evaluating any technology. This will keep you from bringing content into a solution that will need to be immediately disposed of after the initial analysis.
  4. Choose a Solution that is Flexible and Easy
    95% of organizations I work with are looking for a solution that is easy-to-use yet flexible enough to change with requirements. They want something that can easily set up to work with current retention and disposition schedules, yet can be updated without too much effort if laws or regulations change.
  5. Trust the System
    If you’ve done the prep work correctly, then what you need to do is trust what you’ve put in place is going to work. Choose a good partner with a track record of success to help you.

These are just a few ideas to get you thinking about what can be accomplished around public disclosure, records retention and your content. ImageSource has been assisting customer partners with these types of solutions for the last 20 years. We have done everything from initial consulting through implementation and support. Below is a short list of some of offerings:

  • Expert consulting to determine your “as is” state and develop a plan to get you to your “desired” state using industry best practices
  • Assessment of your current technology and how it can be leveraged
  • Solution evaluation to perfectly match technology with your requirements
  • Solution deployment, configuration, training and rollout
  • Document collection, conversion, scanning, taxonomy definition and automated classification and metadata extraction
  • Data Migration
  • Ongoing partnership for system/process tuning, growth and support
  • Managed applications services

The ILINX platform can assist any organization with getting a handle on their content.

ILINX – the new ECM software kid on the block!

Since my entry into the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) industry in 2001, the biggest challenge that I see for any company is to turn their ECM investment into one that is utilized across the enterprise, and not just for the benefit of one department. After all, that is the whole point of an enterprise system solution. When the whole enterprise benefits, it reduces total cost of ownership and the promise of a return-on-investment (ROI) is realized.

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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.

Rock, Paper, Scissors

rock paper scissorsAs the Fourth of July approaches, we reflect on the formation of our government and the fact that the 3 branches of government are co-equal, as laid out in the first three Articles of the Constitution and several amendments.  If you think of Capture, Content Management Repository and Business Process Management (BPM) they are the three pillars of successful ECM in the enterprise.  Having one without the other does not give the enterprise the full benefit and ROI the technologies have to offer.

Sometimes explaining the value of utilizing all three of these to customers can be challenging.  So, here’s a fun and simple way to think about it:  The concept is best illustrated by the game, “Rock, Paper, Scissors“, which is a game everyone knows.  Depending on circumstances, each application has a chance to provide more ROI than another one, but without one the other cannot truly provide processes efficiencies.  Just like our government and if any one branch vetos or stops a bill.
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ImageSource customers are evaluating the Panasonic scanner: KV-S1065C

Panasonic scanner: KV-S1065C

Why my customers choose the Panasonic KV-S1065C:

1. One of my healthcare customers had a requirement for scanning medical cards.   This scanner is specifically designed to work with many different sized identification cards. They also love that the scanner software allows you to view both sides of the card on one image.  This is a great feature in the medical field. Another great feature is the long paper scanning option for scanning unusually long patient records.

2. Many customers in any industry enjoy utilizing the Kofax VRS software to autocorrect their scanned images. This cuts down time on the end-user manually correcting these images. Productivity is increased substantially.

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ROI of Document Imaging

Forrester Research analyzed and evaluated ECM technologies and came out with The ROI of Imaging. Forrester Research, Inc. is a global leader in business and technology. They define imaging as software for scanning, capturing, indexing, retrieving, processing and archiving digital images of documents and electronic forms. Many organizations rely on paper intensive business processes and because of that, imaging is a very important component of Enterprise Content Management’s value.

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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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ImageSource® Awards Customer Partners for Innovative ECM Solutions

theme imageImageSource recently announced the winners of the 2011 Nexus Customer Partner Awards. The winners all show exceptional and innovative ways of utilizing Enterprise Content Management (ECM) technologies and include San Jose State University, ESCO Corporation and Mira Costa College.

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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.

Less is MORE

I have a challenge for the readers of this blog.  Are you ready?   Take deep breath.   I want to challenge you to, DO MORE WITH LESS.   I think we are often taught to want more, that we “need more”.   I am challenging you to someone that can do MORE with Less.  I am sure you are wondering how this relates to content management, the topic I was asked to write about.   Well I think I can bring you to that reality, so continue reading.   Today we face an economic reality that is forcing us to do more with less.   It makes you think long and hard about what is important and what is needed.  This concept can be taken all the way to the documents that we deal with for our business processes.  Often we create business process around what we have “always” done.   I think it is time to stop and relook at your business.   How can capturing data as it is created and making it electronic increase productivity as well as reduce costs overall?   Many studies share the ROI of this fact.   Do more with Less.  Stop making more paper, and make Less.  Stop doing more work and do less.   If this is something you are ready to talk about, I know that our team of consultants are the right people to help you conquer that task.  It is a daunting one, but it must be done and you want the right people to lead you through the challenge.   We have done this for many years and have proven to be true professionals and experts at the task.

Please take a minute to read a Case Study done for the City of Kennewick .

“We’ve comfortably taken the leap to a paperless environment. Departments are much more self-sufficient in finding content. I no longer spend countless hours making copies & distributing them.”

– Valerie Loffler, City Clerk, City of Kennewick

Geetha French
Inside Sales
ImageSource Inc.  

Is Curiosity Enough to Attend a Conference?

On Nov 3rd & 4th there is an industry educational conference coming up called “NEXUS’11  – Where ideas emerge” being held locally in Bellevue WA.  I am often asked by customers what is the value and benefits of attending a conference.  So instead of me listing what I think the benefits and values are I decided to check out what other people said on the web and see others justifying ROI for attending – this is a summary of what was listed on the first few pages:

  • An abundance of new information to be revealed
  • Networking value amongst peers –learn from others in your profession. Share with others your experience and thoughts. Meeting folks who do what you do. Gain insight. Ask questions, get free consultations.
  • Where else can you find so many industry contacts facing the same issues as your organization?
  • Direct conversations with vendors and manufacturers – are there solutions and products that you are not aware of?
  • Conferences demonstrate new ideas, how products work and how other organizations have implemented them into their environments to solve challenges that your organization is experiencing.
  • When else do you have the opportunity to remove yourself from the daily grind and take a more strategic planning viewpoint? Step back and reflect on your job and the bigger picture.
  • Focus on what you will specifically bring back to the organization as payback for the investment – Session Content, tools, technologies, processes, vendor contacts, best practices, training, have a benefits worksheet for the conference. Source: Writing Assistance
  • Justify your Return on Investment – make sure you have session worksheets to summarize what you have learned, what major takeaways you gained from it, action items identified and the estimated impact the idea could make.  What business goals do you have before attending the conference and were they answered by the sessions you attended etc. Source: Gartner Justification Toolkit
  •  Attending a conference provides an opportunity to learn from experts, share ideas with others, and identify new knowledge and techniques. It is a productive experience given the knowledge explosion in the current information-rich era.
  • The information is already “digested’ and given to you in an easy to understand way. Practical examples/ case studies are given and questions clarified.

So hopefully this has increased your curiosity about this conference – take a look and see if you can justify an ROI on attending NEXUS’11. One thing I know for sure – as an attendee and also someone working at this conference every year, the ROI I gain is a HUGE payback for the company and my customers.

Megan Lane
Inside Sales
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.

Unsure Economy Holding Your Business Back from ECM?

There’s no question that the US economy is still troubled.  Whispers of a double-dip recession have been heard from Wall Street to Main Street, and it has some business leaders hiding their wallets under their mattresses.  The market nosedive of 2008 is still fresh in our minds, and every business is hoping for the best while preparing for the worst.

A common management response to a potential downturn is short-term cost cutting.  Though it’s important to watch cash flows carefully, being financially prepared does not necessarily mean a spending freeze.  This mindset ignores long-term financial prospects, and does little to safeguard a business from future economic slumps.

Some of the best defensive measures a business can take are forward-looking investments.  A carefully executed Enterprise Content Management System is a perfect example of this.  On face value, ECM seems like an expensive route to financial prosperity, meant only for large corporations with almost limitless cash.  But the long-term (and even short-term) benefits of an ECM system far outweigh these initial costs, and there are systems available that fit almost any size company and business need.

Stripping a company of its valuable employees or other key assets should always be a last resort for cost savings.  A savvy manager will look to business processes first, and ECM streamlines this practice.  ECM allows business leaders to take a close look at their information management, and pinpoint inefficiencies.  Sometimes these inefficiencies present themselves as nickels and dimes on a micro-level.  But, in the larger scheme of things, the removal of these small costs across an entire organization could mean the difference between net profit and net loss.

Getting started with Enterprise Content Management is all about having the right information.  Attending an ECM conference such as Nexus is often the best way of finding the solution that fits your business’ needs.  Whether you’re an ECM pro, or even if this is the first time you’ve encountered the acronym, Nexus ’11 has sessions that will deliver any of the information you want or need.

So go to www.NexusECM.com and find out how to save your business money while keeping your focus on the long-term.

Kyle Miller
Corporate Communications Manager
ImageSource, Inc.

Do You Know Where Your Records Are? Are They Safe?

Just recently I attended a thought provoking round table discussion involving records management. I, being directly immersed in enterprise content management, have bypassed the times when people stored physical records in an outside storage facility or in cabinets upon filing cabinets solely for records. Oh wait, that still exists!

One topic of discussion was what to do during a disaster. What do you do to save all the paper records when there is a flood or a fire? The various answers ranged from putting them in a trash bag if it involved flooding or putting your records in a freezer if there is a fire. These do seem like practical solutions but I’m not sure how efficient this would be when you are racing against a fire or flood and there are thousands upon thousands of papers that need to be saved for a million dollar corporation.

I do understand the physical storage of paper and it is a practice that has been around forever, but now there are alternative solutions that will not only bring a great return on investment but also you do not have to stress about these “what if” situations. The solution is going paperless with Enterprise Content Management.

Did you know:

  • The cost to manage a 4 drawer filing cabinet costs $25,000 on average. (futurelawoffice.com)
  • It costs $20 to file a document
  • It costs $120 to search for a misfiled document
  • 7.5% of all documents get lost and 3% of the remainder get misfiled (Inc. Magazine)
  • Companies misfile up to 20% of their records (ARMA International)

If you implement an Enterprise Content Management system, these systems are designed to capture, manage, store, deliver and preserve structured and unstructured content.
If you are worried about who will have access to these records and documents, ECM is the answer. You can create restrictions so only certain people are allowed to access certain content.
If you are worried about the retention schedule of your records, ECM is the answer. ECM enables automation of records management so after the 5 year retention period comes up you will get a notification to dispose those records.
If you are worried about your files getting ruined from water or fire, ECM is the answer because you no longer  have to worry about maintaining physical copies.
And an ECM system can allow you to access your information from remote locations with multiple people accessing that info at the same time.

The possibilities are endless!

If you think Enterprise Content Management and going paperless sounds like the ideal solution then you are right. So come and explore the possibilities and capabilities of the various ECM technologies at our Nexus ’11 ECM Solutions Conference in Bellevue, Washington and we will help you get on the right track.

Tracy Lim
Communications Manager
ImageSource, Inc.

The Power of Partnerships

Working with other companies and their staff to deliver a product and service to a customer can be an enlightening experience.  I have recently been working with 4 of the top leading scanner manufacturer partners to assist a healthcare customer with their distributed capture initiative-with the evaluation and the purchase of 160 desktop scanners for capturing patient intake information.

The customer evaluated the 4 manufacturers’ desktop scanners. A number of factors influenced the healthcare customer on their decision to work with ImageSource and to purchase the following scanner evaluated:

  • The ease of use of the scanner equipment and software
  • Availability of the manufacturer’s sales person and sales engineer to be on-site to install the scanner, the numerous conference calls to answer questions that unfolded due to the testing of the scanner and every question was treated with utmost importance.
  • The attention to detail by both ImageSource and manufacturer to modify the demonstration of  the scanner and that the scanner software solved a number of their various documentation challenges (for example – the patient intake documentation varies is size, thickness and also includes plastic cards)
  • The high level of thorough communication between ImageSource and manufacturer (In the customer’s eyes it seemed they were working with one company, not two!)

The greatest learning experience and also the most important factor that made this a stress-free process was the level of trust that was initiated, grown and experienced by all parties involved;

  • From the customer perspective: Working with two teams from different companies- it did not matter who they called (whether it be ImageSource or the manufacturer), they received the same high level of service from both companies. Both companies kept each other informed of the conversations etc. they had with the healthcare customer, therefore alleviating any miscommunications or misunderstandings.
  • From the Reseller vendor (ImageSource) perspective: The high level of communication and interaction with the manufacturer’s sales team created a streamlined cohesive focus to ensure the customer received what they REALLY required from a scanner.
  • From the Manufacturer perspective: Being able to rely on a vendor partner that has the knowledge, expertise in Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and initiative to go the extra step – to focus on how to solve the customer’s challenges, not just sell a scanner. It gave us the manufacturer room to really excel in presenting how the scanner and software was the solution to the customer’s challenges.

It is refreshing to experience this unique partnership among the customer, vendor and manufacturer. And I know from all involved, that it set the stage for a high level of expectation in the future opportunities to do business together. This experience reminds me of this quote I saw recently:

“If we are together nothing is impossible. If we are divided all will fail.” Winston Churchill

Megan Lane
Inside Sales
ImageSource, Inc.

Oracle ECM 11g and Accounts Payable – Integrating Technologies

Accounts Payable is a document intense department with complicated workflows and approval processes. Although our world today is going digital, AP departments are still bogged down by a majority of documents (purchase orders, invoices and supporting documentation) coming in paper form followed by manual routing and approval processes,  keyed data entry to the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, and the physical filing and storage of documents.

While ERP systems handle the information they are designed to process very well, they do not have the capacity to manage data and images simultaneously or perform complicated workflows.  By automating the entire AP process organizations can reduce labor requirements, lessen storage costs, decrease late fees, increase early pay discounts and improve vendor satisfaction.  And because Accounts Payable touches almost every department it is a great launch pad for ECM technology providing a large impact on the organizational business processes and substantial ROI.

ImageSource is an ECM integrator with vast experience implementing Accounts Payable Solutions and an industry leader in implementing the Oracle 11g technology.  Most recently we completed a project for a large manufacturing company integrating Oracle 11g ECM technology with the Accounts Payable system, Oracle Enterprise Business Suite.  As a manufacturer poised for growth due to multiple acquisitions, they were looking for a solution that could handle the increase in invoices without increasing staff.

With Oracle EBS already in place, Oracle 11g was the perfect ECM solution. Oracle’s Solution Accelerator enables such a tightly coupled integration that it makes the two technologies ideal for integration. The result is an Accounts Payable system that has provided an efficient system for imaging, processing and viewing documents related to AP with a reduction in overall labor.

The manufacturer receives over 8,000 invoices a month, 80% in paper form and the other 20% through email and fax.  All are now processed by Oracle Document Capture and Oracle Forms Recognition (OFR) when received.  Oracle Document Capture scans the document and Oracle Forms Recognition automatically extracts relevant data and does some basic validation. The document is then automatically sent to Oracle ECM for more validation and storing of the image. Due to the sophisticated logic with code and BPEL workflows, the system performs all kinds of checks, and is able to move information  from Oracle ECM to Oracle EBS without human assistance. Knowledge workers can stay in their familiar EBS system and reference any invoice they need by clicking on the recognizable paper-clip.  EBS pushes the parameters to the ECM repository and brings back the search results in a web link.

The ease of processing invoices has been improved dramatically. What used to be a manual process of keying in information is now completely automated. The only time an invoice needs any type of processing, barring exceptions, is the physical act of scanning it in. After it’s scanned the Oracle OCR technology adds the appropriate index fields and the Solution Accelerator automatically moves it through the system for validation and storage until it is available to view through Oracle EBS.

Debbie Horton
ImageSource
Communications Director

Taking PeopleSoft to New Heights in Higher Ed

The PeopleSoft ERP system you use for Student Information Services (SIS) has been built to support nationwide and world wide applications. As such, it cannot provide unique challenges for each business need.Typically, we see IT shops and business directors working around the deficiencies in the product in an attempt to meet specific business objectives.  We also see universities purchasing complimentary products to try to meet specific needs and requirements.

From an IT perspective, the cost to write custom code to modify PeopleSoft is prohibitive, or the software simply cannot meet the business objectives. With this in mind, ImageSource, a systems integrator for Oracle, has built several modules for higher education that will have a dramatic effect on how universities conduct business. The integration is codeless, so although we “talk back and forward” to PeopleSoft, there is little requirement to have PeopleSoft technical staff supporting the project.

This new module provides true business workflow that can be designed and built by the business unit, allowing work to be pushed out to the specified knowledge workers. The pilot project recently completed at major California University has been deemed a complete success. This solution now allows them to provide critical real time service to students, parents and faculty.  With the initial implementation in Finance and Student Services, this university is ready to implement the program campus-wide and gain substantial ROI.

If you’d like to know more about how this solution works please email Lynne Butler, ImageSource Higher Ed Business Consultant, at lynneb@imagesourceinc.com

Invoke Change

Recently, I had an opportunity to visit a former colleague that I hadn’t seen in almost 15 years. This individual works for a company that happens to be one of the top 5 hospitality organizations in the US. I can remember, like it was yesterday, having just graduated from school and being granted the opportunity to work as an operations analyst for this company. At this capacity, I was responsible for reviewing a multitude of business units, tasked with seeking areas for operational efficiencies and cost containment (an assignment that is not too different from my role today). Recalling how convoluted some of their paper processes had been at the time of my employment is what prompted the recent consultation with my friend. Today, I work as a sales consultant for ImageSource (www.imagesourceinc.com), a major ECM solution integrator and software manufacturer. I felt that, with my current knowledge, I might be of use to them. After all, I have helped numerous organizations with similar problems.

I could not believe my eyes. I walked into the Shipping & Receiving Department to meet my friend, the Director of Procurement. To my surprise, they are still manually receiving goods from paper content, and then walking down the hall, down the stairs, and submitting this paper to the Finance Department. Upon receipt, the Finance Department manually enters the invoice data and cross references the content with the paper sent to them by Receiving. In darn near every major business unit I walked through, there were paper and files overflowing off of desks. I couldn’t stand it anymore and felt compelled to ask my old friend a question… ”Why are you doing it this way? With all of the technical innovations within the enterprise content management space available to you today, why not leverage one to streamline the processes here?” My buddy replied… ”I’ve been here for 30 years and that’s how we’ve always done it.”  Sadly, my dear friend was layed off just a few weeks ago.

This reminded me of an interesting story:

A very old traditional brewery decided to install a new canning line, so as to enable its beer products to be marketed through the supermarket sector. This represented a major change for the little company, and local dignitaries and past employees were invited to witness the first running of the new canning line, which was followed by a dinner banquet at the plant.

After the new line had been switched on successfully, and the formalities completed, the guests relaxed in small groups to chat and enjoy their dinner. In a quiet corner stood three men discussing trucks and transport and distribution, since one was the present distribution manager, and the other two were past holders of the post, having retired many years ago. The three men represented three generations of company distribution management, spanning over sixty years.

The present distribution manager confessed that his job was becoming more stressful because company policy required long deliveries to be made on Monday and Tuesday, short deliveries on Fridays, and all other deliveries mid-week.

“It’s so difficult to schedule things efficiently – heaven knows what we’ll do with these new cans and the tight demands of the supermarkets…”

The other two men nodded in agreement.

“It was the same in my day,” sympathized the present manager’s predecessor. “It always seemed strange to me that trucks returning early on Mondays and Tuesdays couldn’t be used for little local runs because the local deliveries had to be left until Friday…”

The third man nodded, and was thinking hard, struggling to recall the policy’s roots many years ago when he’d have been a junior in the dispatch department. After a pause, the third man smiled and then ventured a suggestion.

“I think I remember now,” he said. “It was the horses… During the Second World War fuel rationing was introduced. So, we mothballed the trucks and went back to using the horses. On Mondays, the horses were well-rested after the weekend – hence the long deliveries. By Friday, the horses were so tired that they could only handle the short local drops…”

Soon after the opening of the new canning line, the company changed its delivery policy.

There is a valuable lesson in this story for all of us.

I believe that it’s easy to fall into routine. Let’s challenge ourselves to question what we might do as individuals to better our companies. How can we invoke necessary change? Perhaps your company is trapped in a state of inefficiency (like many others), utilizing an archaic process. Given present economic conditions, it’s imperative that we remain competitive and relevant, or it could cost us our own jobs. 

The method that we may have used 30 years ago may not be the best one today. When was the last time you checked for movie times in the newspaper? Today, I use my IPhone. When was the last time you called your travel agent to book a flight? I just booked mine online this morning. Do you still keep Thomas Guide in your car? I use Google Maps.

Invoke change. Change keeps us relevant.

Ed Figueroa
Sr. ILINX Account Manager
ImageSource, Inc.
http://www.imagesourceinc.com

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.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goin’ Green with a Scannin’ Machine

Goin’ Green with a Scannin’ Machine

We all know that document imaging demonstrates the capacity of “going green” just by definition.  It is inherent in concept.  Technology expands so quickly and in the world of document imaging hardware, there lies no exception.  The most respected manufacturers like Fujitsu, Kodak, and Canon make the entire scanning process, from pre-scanning to post scanning, more automated and efficient for the end user, while also providing the latest in document imaging features and functionalities.

A couple examples of some of these particular technological advancements take are new LED’s replacing traditional lamps in scanners as well as production scanners with smaller footprints.  For instance, LED technology is featured in the Kodak/Bell &Howell Ngenuity as well as the new Fujitsu fi-6800 production scanner.  LED technology helps significantly reduce the scanner’s power consumption during operation and as well as in “sleep mode.”  Also, LED’s are designed to last the life of the scanner thereby eliminating the cost of replacement bulbs and the production costs and waste of replacement bulbs as well.  Since there are no replacement bulbs needed for these scanners, there’s nothing new to throw away.  Speaking of consumables, like scanner bulbs, companies making document imaging scanners are also manufacturing other consumables (pad assemblies, pick rollers, roller assemblies) with longer life spans.  Fewer consumables are needed and the ones that are needed, last longer.  The manufacturer’s that are seemingly taking the lead on this front include Fujitsu, Canon, and Kodak/Bell & Howell.

Better materials used in the manufacturing of document imaging scanners is not the only advancement that is happening that exemplifies this industry embracing green initiatives.  The design of the hardware is changing as well.  Manufacturers like Fujitsu are designing and building scanners that have significantly smaller footprints – the space they take up on the desk or the tabletop in the working environment.  Take for example the Fujitsu fi-6800.  This is a full–fledged mid-volume production scanner that is the smallest document scanner in its class.  The trend is moving toward fewer materials being produced to make these machines and therefore less energy is being consumed.   This translates into less waste and fewer emissions into the environment, as is obvious.

Since these new scanners are more intuitive as a result of new technology and better design, they can recognize in advance multi-feed issues, so the user can adjust settings as necessary.  Bottom line – the user can become more efficient at document scanning and do more, in less time.

With new technology and better design comes new efficiency and related side benefits including using fewer materials and generating less waste and fewer emissions.  It’s encouraging to know that the ECM Industry continues to do its part.

Ian Hundtofte

ImageSource

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

Using ILINX to Integrate with ERP Systems

Enterprise Resource Planning Systems (ERPs) integrate all data and processes of an organization into a unified system. A typical ERP system will use multiple components of computer software and hardware to achieve the integration. A key ingredient of most ERP Systems is the use of a unified database to store data for the various system modules. Most ERP Systems implementation require the standardization of business processes to match the system modules. Although this standardization is difficult during the first implementation, upgrades are quick and relatively inexpensive because of the standardized processes and modules. The process improvements this type of standardization enables are substantial. An imaging system allows you to bring this standardization of processes to your document handling.

ILINX Integrate is designed to complement a wide variety of enterprise systems. One of the biggest uses of ILINX is to provide imaging or document management functionality as a ‘bolt-on’ to existing ERP platforms. When the system integration is done right, most users do not even know they are using ILINX Integrate.  It simply appears as if every needed document is stored right in the ERP system.

In addition to the ROI provided by the imaging itself, it also allows the most basic business processes to be enhanced through workflow applications. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) provides financial software that facilitates sharing information within the company whereby all departments or divisions can see what is transpiring elsewhere in the company. ERP provides transparent information management so that every division is apprised of events as they happen.

Integrating ERP with document imaging technologies using ILINX power and transform a business into a dynamic enterprise.  To learn more about how ILINX products can enhance your current solution, please register for Nexus.

Andrea Latham, CDIA+

Inside Sales

ImageSource, Inc.

Phone 360.943.9273

www.imagesourceinc.com

 

Going Green with Document Imaging

Green business isn’t just talk anymore!  Many companies today are working on Green Initiatives to make them more environmentally friendly.  One popular initiative is to go “paperless” and implement a document imaging system.  What could be more environmentally friendly than saving some paper, hence saving trees?  Document management reduces paper creation, storage requirements, and travel costs.  Online forms and signature eliminate paper at the source.  There are many resources on Green Initiatives in the document imaging world provided by participating in groups such as AIIM, ARMA, and attending conferences that discuss these initiatives such as the ImageSource conference, “Nexus.”

When it comes to deciding what kind of scanners you need for your document imaging system, many companies are taking a harder look at which manufactures are producing environmentally friendly equipment.  Some concerns include what type of chemicals used in the products, energy-saving modes, duplexing options, and if the manufacture recycles.  Compared to other office equipment, (According to the EPA)  a scanner consumes significantly less energy than a photocopier, resulting in lower green house gases.

American office workers use four million tons of copy paper annually, equivalent to 10,000 sheets of copy paper per worker.  If the United States were to reduce office paper by 10%, 1.6 million tons of greenhouse gases could be eliminated, the same as removing 280,000 cars from the road.  As more companies implement document management systems, their paper creation and use goes down and therefore create less greenhouse gases.  Although our world is far from being completely paperless, we are surely making great strides in that direction and lessening our footprint on the environment in the process.

Andrea Latham, CDIA+

Inside Sales

ImageSource, Inc.

Phone 360.943.9273

www.imagesourceinc.com

ECM Best Practices: Document Capture

We are going to start a series of blogs called the “ECM Best Practices” series. This series will cover a range of topics for the next six weeks, including ECM Training, Hot Trends in ECM, Document Scanning, Document Capture, Green Solutions and Integration with ERP.

This week, I am going to focus on Document Capture. Document capture makes life easier and allows us to get more done with less time and fewer resources. Manual processes are both labor intensive and time consuming. Document capture allows employees to perform tasks with speed and accuracy.

Companies today need to look at utilizing Distributed Capture in addition to Centralized Capture. Distributed capture gives organizations the freedom to scan and capture information at remote locations, instead of mailing documents to one central location. Having a central hub is important in scanning, but having distributed capture in addition is necessary to reduce costs, improve accuracy and save time.

One of the hottest capture products on the market today is ILINX Capture. ILINX Capture is a web-based capture product that allows you to capture information anywhere, anytime, any place. Compared to traditional capture products, ILINX Capture costs significantly less and takes less time to deploy and train users. This thin-client application is perfect for small to medium-sized businesses who are looking to improve efficiencies, or for large businesses who are in need of a capture product that can handle large volumes of documents.ILINX Capture

On November 2nd and 3rd, ILINX Capture will be showcased at ImageSource’ s annual ECM Solutions Conference, Nexus, in Bellevue, Wash. This conference is a great opportunity for anyone who is looking for educational content and industry-specific training. The conference will have speakers from Microsoft, Oracle, Cardiff, Bowe Bell & Howell, as well as from ImageSource. There will be a breakout session on Distributed Capture, a two-part session on the new ILINX products, including ILINX Capture, as well as a keynote on the importance of capture.

To register for Nexus, or to learn more about the conference, visit www.NexusECM.com.

To learn more about ILINX Capture, visit www.ilinxcapture.com. For additional information, read this blog post about ILINX Capture.

Kristina Parma
Corporate Communications Manager
ImageSource, Inc.

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Network Scanners, Living in a Connected World

Fujitsu fi-6010N

Network attached scanners have been available for quite a while. But the early version were extremely limited and didn’t always work as expected. The current version of network scanners come with a good sized user interface, touch screen or Keyboard and usual have a version of windows imbedded allowing for an easier setup and a familiar feel. These new units allow for quick deployment in a low volume setting and they are easy-to-use and they manage, secure, and operate as stand-alone solutions.

Many different manufacturers offer a network version of their scanner line.  Canon offers a great Network Scanner, the ScanFront 220.  With Fujitsu’s networthis scanner, you can simplify and standardize document management across your local branches or across the globe. Simply load your documents, log into the network, select the destination, and press the scan button.  It allows many users to access the network via one scanner using their person authentication logons.  Specific user settings can restrict the types of documents the user has access to scan, index, and view.

 

k scanner, the fi-6010N, includes many enhancements for greater ease of use, simplified device management and additional security feature for compliance or to assist with adherence to regulations.  This network scanner provides functionality including scan to e-mail, network fax, folder, printer, FTP website, and searchable PDF in a small footprint which enables document sharing amount departments or the entire enterprise.

The Kodak Scan Station 500 is designed as a walk-up capture station that requires minimal user training and is easy to use. The Scan Station 500 is a standalone solution that works with an existing network and makes use of existing network shared services to communicate with other network devices or destinations. The color touch screen is easy to use and allows you to

 

No matter which network scanner you think might work best for you or your organization, having the ability to scan directly to your network without the requirement of a PC is a great innovation in the document imaging environment.  You can purchase all these types of network scanner at ImageSource, Inc.quickly send your documents via email, fax, to networked drives, networked printers or USB flash drives.

Andrea Latham, CDIA+

Inside Sales

ImageSource, Inc.

 

 

 

Information Interchange-Content Management at San Jose State

Register now for this Special CSU Lunch and Learn!

Join Bill Maguire, SJSU, VP of Technology and CIO, and Michael Peth, SJSU, Procurement & Support Services, as they speak about the Enterprise Document Management System implemented at San Jose State University that can benefit the entire CSU system.

Whether your challenge is ingestion of transcripts, safety documents, housing reports, student records, accounting documents or integrating information with your host system, an enterprise platform is the solution that will provide ongoing ROI and will yeild a host of benefits including:

Dramatic reductions in polled resources (budget, IT staff)

Improved compliance

Immediate access to shared information

Please join us for this half day technology event that includes a demonstration and discussion of the applicaton that was built for the CSU campuses. Our speakers will also discuss why Oracle technology and Integrator ImageSource were selected over the other technology provider.

This event will be held in 2 convenient locations: September 22, 2009 in Redwood Shores, CA and September 25, 2009, in Costa Mesa, CA.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Kim Torres
Marketing Coordinator
ImageSource, Inc.

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Distributed Capture Allows In-Process Workflow Enablement

In traditional capture environments, organizations are submitting their documents, whether in fax or scanned form, in batches.The ability to submit ad-hoc documents using existing hardware like MFPs/MFDs or scanners is the current momentum in enterprises. Reaching beyond this takes forward, out of the ordinary thinking.

How would it be in an enterprise organization to actually place a single document into their local MFP/MFD and submit that work directly in to the workflow allowing the documents to be processed that same day? Inserting lab orders from physician’s offices directly to ancillary services? Placing a new account opening document directly in the workflow queue to get approval and an account number? Scanning bills of lading at the shipping and receiving dock and having them go straight to accounts payable and automatically matched with the P.O.?

We’ve seen many large financial services organizations start to leverage in-process distributed capture in an ad-hoc collection and capture form. Having a simple user interface, minimal clicks at the front panel of an MFP/MFD, as well as very little learning curve has been essential. What could your organization do if everyone could easily scan/import documents so they could get placed in the repository, data base, legacy system or workflow right away? How many millions of dollars would be saved? How many redundant workers would be allocated to jobs needing more workers?

Michelle Semple
Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.

 

Distributed Capture – Good for the Environment and Your Bottom Line

Capturing information in one location is so “old school.”

Traditional means of capturing paper documents and converting them to digital images has been the norm for way too long. It has for the most part been a centralized process. Companies and organizations send their documents to one location to be scanned and have the information captured. This way of doing business is costly and not the most environmentally friendly option.

Distributed capture is a way for companies to capture information in a variety of locations instead of sending those documents to a central location to be scanned. This is a much more eco-friendly approach, as well as better for your bottom line. Businesses don’t have to spend money sending documents to the central location or on wasted time. They can be much more productive.

The Internet has truly made distributed capture the easiest way to capture information and index efficiently. With products out there like ILINX Capture, users can “SCAN in Seoul, INDEX in Istanbul, APPROVE in Amsterdam, STORE in Seattle!” Because it’s web-based, ILINX Capture gives users the ability to capture information anywhere in the world.

Products like ILINX Capture are both reasonably priced (good for the wallet), and because it’s browser-based, good for the environment.

For more information about ILINX Capture, visit the web site at www.ilinxcapture.com.

ILINX Capturewill also be shown at ImageSource’s ECM Solutions Conference, Nexus 09. To register for Nexus 09 or to learn more about the conference, visit www.NexusECM.com.

Kristina Parma
Corporate Communications Manager
ImageSource, Inc.

Relationships – The Ultimate “Value-Add”

One objection we hear almost every day as a Sales representative from a Value Added Reseller (VAR) is “I can get that scanner cheaper online!”  While that may be true in some cases, it may not always be in the customer’s best interest.  That’s when we discuss the benefits of purchasing from a VAR.

VAR’s focus on front end capture solutions as well as the hardware. When choosing what type of scanner to purchase, it is very important to take into consideration what front end capture and back end software you will be utilizing.  You want to ensure the scanner will compliment everything you currently have in place for your document imaging solution.

When purchasing from a VAR (such as ImageSource ), you also receive depth and breadth of experience and knowledge,   not just the product itself, but the many applications and usage.  We strive to provide assistance in picking on the best piece of equipment for you and provide the buyer the opportunity to consider and compare all the options, taking into consideration future imaging growth and software applications.  And, if we don’t know the answer to the customer’s question, we know where to get it.

If you choose to buy the scanner from an on-line retailer with little or no human contact or experience, you are gambling that there will be no challenges.  Often during installation and troubleshooting – many on-line resellers may not take the time to assist you with resources and information that is needed for a successful installation. More than likely, a value-added reseller has come across this challenge before with other customers and can easily offer a solution or point you in the right direction. This is their expertise!

It is true you get what you pay for – online resellers do have a customer service telephone number but the question to ask is, “Do they have the real life experience of working with that scanner?”  ImageSource (a VAR and an Integrator) offers more than just good pricing at point of sale of the scanner…we offer information,  education and experience

Experience comes with a price, albeit small.

“The difficult we do immediately….the impossible just takes a little longer.”

Andrea Latham, CDIA+

Inside Sales

ImageSource, Inc.

Phone 360.943.9273

www.imagesourceinc.com

The Importance of ECM Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kathleen Fish
Senior Account Executive
ImageSource, Inc.

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Is ECM for Me?

Is ECM for me? This is the question each organization needs to ask themselves before implementing a Enterprise Content Management solution. I came across an interesting post by Ian Llado of Optical Image Technology titled “Six Considerations in Choosing an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Solution for your Legal Practice” that addressed this. His descriptions were more specific to legal offices and legal documents, but they can really be applied to any organization. Below are a few ideas he presented, as well as a few of my own.

1. Ease of the System
The easier, the better. Customers are going to want something that is easy to use. If employees have to learn a whole new process and new technology, it better be as simple as possible. Change in an organization can be very stressful and difficult for some employees, especially if the new technology is complicated. It’s good to provide customers with a solutions that is simple, as well as offer training and instruction about the system they are receiving.

2. Leveraging Existing Software
In today’s economy, everyone is looking for ways to cut back where they can. Many companies already have some technology in place, they just don’t know how to use it. Or, if they have multiple technologies, they don’t know how to use them together. This is where hiring an ECM integrator can be very valuable. It’s good to hire an integrator who is knowledgeable in many different technologies so that if you have Microsoft, Oracle and Kofaxproducts, the integrator will be able to help you decide how best to utilize each of those, as well as how to use them together. In many cases, there is no need for a complete ECM makeover. Many companies already have the necessary technology in place.

3. Functionality
The amount of functionality customers need will vary depending on their needs and situation. Some of the examples Llado presented were indexing and retrieval, workflow, Web-based systems, scalability, and retention and destruction schedules. All of these are important and can be applied. It really just depends what companies are looking for in an ECM solution.

5. Training
ECM training is one of the most crucial components of implementing an Enterprise Content Management solution. Choosing a vendor that offers extensive training of your new system is always valuable. Some vendors will even train customers at their own sites.

6. Customer Needs
You as a customer need to evaluate what your company’s needs are. The more precise you can be, the better. If you can tell the vendor exactly what your company is looking for, they will be able to give you a more specific solution that can satisfy your needs. Llado discusses security as one of the things to consider, but again, it’s all based on customer needs.

7. The Bottom Line
The whole idea behind implementing an ECM system is to streamline your business processes and make everything much easier and compliant. Other benefits could be saved staff time, reduction in employees, etc. However, may companies measure success through their return on investment (ROI). The faster you can see a return, the better.

If you’re still having trouble deciding if Enterprise Content Management is for you, attending an ECM conference can sometimes be very valuable. NEXUS ’09 will be offering a breakout session titled “What You Need to Evaluate Before Installing an ECM System.” To register for this event or to get more information about NEXUS ’09, visit www.NexusECM.com.

Kristina Parma
Corporate Communications Manager
ImageSource, Inc.

 

 

To Renew Or Not To Renew…There Is No Question!

The current business model for enterprise level capture software suites is not simply to sell you a product and walk away, but rather it is to become a partner. The initial purchase is the beginning of that relationship. When you invest in a software suite such as Kofax Capture or ILINX Capture, you are modifying your business processes to accommodate the features and capabilities of the product to hopefully improve you productivity.  Once these capture products become part of your work life you will want to keep up your maintenance/software Assurance/upgrade assurance, so as new versions are released, you take advantage of a new feature or simply to stay compatible with your current operating system. If it was worth investing in originally it is worth maintaining.

Some customers choose not to adopt the partner model and never buy maintenance beyond the first year. Then the day comes when the system goes down and they don’t even know where to start to fix the problem.  And in order to get the current version, the manufacture requires them to pay for all the back maintenance plus a reinstatement fee. Sure the first reaction might be to start over fresh with another product, but once you look at changing your processes to accommodate a different product, you can quickly eliminate the savings you thought you were getting in the first place.

In terms of license volume reduction, it has been my experience that the customer is only saving hundreds of dollars today with the potential of spending thousands in the future.  I think that it is a bold move by some manufacturers  to enforce the “all or nothing” approach to license renewal but it is really in the best interest of the customer to keep current with all of their licenses.  I think this was a driving force when this policy was constructed.  I think it causes a lot of work for more than one person to keep track of licenses that customers may or may not be using when they are considering just a partial renewal.  That is one of many reasons why end users are becoming more and more interested in ILINX Capture, to avoid the hassles of volume-based licensing.  The pro’s to renewing software assurance are obvious and the expenditure is nominal; the cons are sometimes surprising and the expenditure is often alarming.

Whether using Kofax or ILINX Capture, staying current gives you the comfort of knowing that you are entitled to the necessary software to upgrade when the time comes.  And partnering with ImageSource, Inc. lends the right expertise to get the job done right the first time!

Andrea Latham, CDIA+

Inside Sales

ImageSource, Inc.

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Multi-Function Peripherals: “How do you support large scale deployments?”

Large organizations will deploy thousands of multi-function peripheral (MFP) devices throughout the enterprise. These devices may be from one manufacturer or several, depending on budget, purchasing processes and authority:

In large organizations purchasing copiers and MFPs can happen in stages.  If well coordinated, one manufacturer/model will be standardized on through a competitive bidding process.  This is not always the case and often several purchases can be made over a budgetary cycle and from different groups or departments.  This can lead to multiple manufacturers/models being supported in different departments by the IT organization.  Each manufacturer and model will have its own software, APIs and configuration procedures required to deploy the devices.  Training programs will have to be created to support the many models and features that users will want to use.

Over a 2 – 5 year period the devices could be replaced with newer models that come bundled with new software, APIs and configuration procedures.  This creates a real challenge for enterprises looking to deploy MFPs on a large scale.  How do we best take advantage of the new features and configuration options?  How does IT manage the content that is being generated by these devices?

Many times MFPs are purchased as part of a generic copier or printer replacement initiative.  Consequently there is no unified, consistent mechanism for integrating them into the enterprise content capture infrastructure. If done well it could enable the enterprise to use of the MFP devices, faxes, and existing desktop scanners with a consistent, common interface for the user and allow for integration into backend content repository architecture.

Most of these organizations have standardized on ECM software platforms that enable the capture, indexing, storage, retrieval and retention of content both electronic and physical.  Production and Desktop scanning capabilities are being used in a controlled way to support capture of both structured and unstructured content.  But few have managed to merge the MFP technologies and capabilities with the current ECM platforms.

MFPs are simply not considered a platform due to the technology changing or being updated by manufactures each year.  One approach is to do it at the operator panel, but when the current device is retired the new model will likely require a new setup or custom software development using the new manufacturer’s API to achieve the same operator control.  A more long term and standardized approach would be to integrate a software platform that can standardize the collection of content from any MFP anytime anywhere.  Take the customized panel, APIs and software add-ons from the manufacturer out of the equation and provide a documented configuration to the new manufacturer/model when new devices are purchased and rolled out.  Create a specification in the bidding or RFP process that states here is how we need you to configure your MFP’s functions to integrate with our Enterprise MFP Capture platform.