Distributed scanning and capture provides employees the ability to scan or capture information from individual stations and file the documents in a shared folder or into a central location. The documents are captured and indexed at the source, generally by the department or workgroup that created them and where the workflow is initiated. Distributed capture is becoming more prevalent as companies are increasingly deploying teams in offices spread across geographic locations.
Does your organization waste valuable time and resources to manually prep documents? Are you tired of manually typing in data which oftentimes isn’t inputted accurately and error-free? If you want to venture away from these tedious slow processes, there are solutions out there! Advanced capture technologies will streamline and automate the transformation of documents into structured electronic information for your business processes.
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.
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.
ImageSource is approved for their third Oracle PartnerNetwork Specialization achieving the Enterprise Manager Knowledge Zone. This distinction focuses on the use of Enterprise Manager to manage and monitor the Oracle technology stack. Oracle Enterprise Manager’s unique top-down approach to application management enables organizations to reduce complexity and increase efficiencies in their IT environments and optimally run their enterprise applications.
Oracle Specializations are designed to recognize distinguished Partners that have experience and knowledge in one or more product pillars. ImageSource achieved the Enterprise Manager specialization by showing proficiency with the product though testing in sales, support and implementation. Validated solutions and customer references required, demonstrate ImageSource’s expertise in Oracle WebCenter Content and as a leading integrator for Enterprise Content Management technologies. The two previous specializations ImageSource earned were for Enterprise Content Management and Service Oriented Architecture.
We are proud to add another specialization to our achievements in the Oracle PartnerNetwork Knowledge Zones and are currently working on two additional designations. We look forward to announcing their completion in near future.
Doctors, for a long time, assumed our brains (like so many other complex machines) had a “top down” structure for how we process and store data. Historically, medical scholars thought that there must have been an overpowering component within the brain (hippocampus) that would call on certain brain neurons for information. If you needed to recall when your wedding anniversary was, the hippocampus would call on neuron 56352.2, for example. If it needed to recall how to jump start your car battery, it would call neuron 7362.3. To prove this theory, doctors in the 60’s hooked up test subjects to various sensory equipment and would ask them a series of questions. They thought, if you asked the test subjects certain things, very specific neurons would fire. So, they began monitoring these specific neurons in the brain… And they wound up waiting and waiting and waiting. Unfortunately for the doctors, instead of a neat, logical correlation between particular memories and particular neurons, they found a hodgepodge of neurons being called. With each question, many different neurons lit up… What was going on?? Surely, memories resided in a specific location in the brain. As much as doctors wanted to find a hierarchy in the brain, it just didn’t exist.
Eventually, doctors began to realize that various memories were actually stored across numerous parts of the brain. At first, scientists thought this theory to be somewhat primitive and disorganized. As counterintuitive as they thought this might be, this brain model theory would make one’s memories far more resilient. In the old model, if the specific brain neuron was damaged, we’d have lost that memory forever. With the more modern understanding, however, the loss of a single brain neuron doesn’t amount to a sudden vanishing of data.
Within the business world (very much like our brains), we constantly try to find hierarchal structure when building companies and organizing business processes. In my review of how companies around the world are adapting within this highly competitive landscape, more and more operations are decentralizing various processes and procedures. They are accommodating new consumer expectations, as opposed to forcing the centralized “brick and mortar” approach to work. The older centralized approach ultimately has become too slow, too costly, and too inconvenient for this modern fast pace demanding and competitive economy. This model creates a single point of failure, which can be detrimental in the grand scope of a business. In the world of imaging (or information capture), more organizations are placing their ingestion gateways out on the web, or simply closer to the consumers themselves. Take a look at the Wikipedia, Ebay or Craigslist business models. Why burden the consumer with complex ordering processes and procedures? Why not empower them with a “24/7” means of ordering services, on their whim or demand? For banks, more new and existing customers are opening accounts online, and more loans are being executed right away as a result of branches being able to capture critical consumer information in “real time”. An insurance adjuster with a hand held capture device like an iPhone can snap a picture in the field and deliver that content directly to a claim file instantaneously. The demands placed on business in this technology age are unmerciful. Business practices should strive to meet the consumer’s needs at new levels and understanding “how” to do this via technology is a step in the right direction. It is possible to utilize all of our business “neurons”. We can branch out and capture more data and accomplish more of our goals.
Just like neuroscience, we need to evolve our thinking in the world of business operations. Distributed Capture, or providing consumers a simple means to interact and request services or products, is the not the wave of the future… It is the demand of the present.
Enterprise. Content. Management (ECM)— “Enterprise content what… Enterprise rental cars?”
People who are not in the ECM/ technology industry are most likely unfamiliar with this three- word term. Just watch our hilarious Street Smarts Video to hear the various answers. This is a phrase that can sound a little intimidating and jarring. I, myself am new to this industry, and I’m not going to lie—right before working at ImageSource I was intimidated. Prior to my start date, I had repetitive thoughts running through my head, “How am I going to learn and master the Enterprise Content Management industry?” But luckily when I began working at ImageSource these thoughts soon disappeared.
Don’t be fooled by the ECM term, a broad description will make understanding this industry possible. ImageSource is a full service Enterprise Content Management solutions provider and integrator. This means we offer services and infrastructure using paperless technology. Everyone has tons of papers, documents and files. This can range from a small doctor’s office that needs to keep track and organize their patient’s health charts, medical history, insurance, etc. to a larger scale such as an entire city in California: organizing, processing and recording thousands of papers a day. ECM comes in by capturing (such as scanning), organizing and storing all these papers which can be easily retrieved even from a remote location.
Real Life Snippet:
Just yesterday I went to the car dealership to pick up our company car after getting it serviced. Like any other business, you receive services, pay for the services, and then get a receipt. Upon receiving the receipt my first thought was, “I need to make a copy so I have one for my expense report and so that our accountants have a copy as well.” BUT this is where ImageSource comes in. ImageSource offers a product called ILINX®. And keeping up with the times, we have a smart phone app called ILINX® Capture Mobile. All I had to do was grab my iPhone, open up the app, and capture the receipt by taking a picture. I then typed in some data to index the receipt such as the date, location, and name of the company. The image then converted to a pdf and was immediately e-mailed to my own address. Now when I send in my expense report, I have the receipt ready to go.
My brief personal experience shows that we can even hone down to the individual such as you or me to explore the benefits of ECM and its services– all of which makes our daily lives a bit easier.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
As with any new job there is a learning curve- learning about the industry, specific products and just how things are run. Having come from outside the ECM industry, I expected my first few months at ImageSource to be a huge learning curve. No one could have prepared me for how big that learning curve, or rather mountain, was going to be.
I thought that the biggest challenge for me was going to be understanding the variety of products available and technical aspects of them. I could not have been more wrong. While the products and technical foundation are complex, there was a whole other mountain that I needed to conquer before I could even begin to understand what it is we do.
Those of you in the ECM know what I’m talking about. ECM, BPM, OCR, EMR…I could go on for days!
I remember on my second day of work someone tried to explain to me what was going on with one of our cutomers, “client XYZ is upgrading from IBPM 10g to IPM 11g and their AP department needs an ECM solution implemented.”
I nodded in agreement, like I knew what I was talking about. In my head I really was thinking…WOAH! Who needs a what now?? Are 10g and 11g a type of car? Since when do we deal with cars? I thought we were a tech company…
A few more conversations like this and I quickly realized that I had a new challenge in front of me- learning all of the acronyms.
I used to think that the military had a lot of acronyms, but I think that the ECM industry could give them a run for their money. There are so many industry specific acronyms. The tricky part is that they are constantly changing, new acronyms are being created and that there are a number of acronyms that can mean the same thing.
To keep on top of all the acronyms I heard people using all day long I started a list. It started on a Post-it and has now grown into three pages front and back of a legal pad. I am constantly adding to the list and looking up new ones too.
I still don’t always know what people are talking about. If you look at the top of my notes from meetings, I have all kinds of three-letter acronyms written across it.
How do you handle all of the acronyms? What is your secret? How do you keep up with the ever-changing and growing list of ECM acronyms?
Apparently I’m not the only one clueless about them either…
Check out our own Ruben Kerson at Nexus ’10 asking people what ECM is!
I know I’m not the only person this has happened to. You have a friend, loved one or even a stranger ask you what you do for a living or what industry you work in. What I’ve found is that being in the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) space sometimes makes it difficult to describe what ECM is exactly (in plain English).
My grandma has asked me at least five times what exactly I do and more specifically, what the industry is about, and the dialogue goes something like this:
Grandma: “So Kristina, what exactly does your company do? I know you’ve told me before, but I can’t really remember.”
Kristina: “We are an enterprise content management solutions provider, an integrator and we have our own line of products called ILINX®. We also have this really cool conference every year called Nexus® with presenters, networking time, a vendor expo, etc.”
At this point, my grandma is just staring at me, blankly.
Grandma: “Um, so what does that mean?”
Kristina: “It basically just means we help people try to automate their business processes by scanning in documents, implementing automated workflows, utilizing capture software, storing information in electronic databases, things like that.”
My grandma’s eyes are beginning to glaze over…
Kristina: “In a nutshell, grandma, we help businesses become more efficient and more paper-conscious.”
After being in this industry for a few years, living and breathing it every day, I can sometimes easily forget that others don’t understand what capture is, how workflows come together, or why you’d ever need to get rid of fax machines and paper. They don’t throw acronyms around like OCR, BPM and ERM, which have become part of my everyday language.
I am glad my grandma isn’t the only person who doesn’t know or understand what ECM is. Check out this awesome video played at Nexus ’10 this year where people were asked to answer the question, What is ECM?
My grandparents just mastered text messaging. I’ll continue to work on a good description of my industry that doesn’t make my grandma ask me the question every time she sees me, “Kristina, what does your company do again?”
What was your “ah-ha” moment in communicating ECM?
Working in Enterprise Content Management for over 12 years often times I have found it somewhat difficult to explain what we do and/or sell. Have you?
I have found that who your audience is often dictates how you explain it. To an IT group I have described ECM in terms of storage and retrieval of images in to database/repository with searching capability, ability to apply rules for authentication and accessibility, removing silos of information, ability to do workflow and BPM, and other things like Meta-Data, networks, through-put and HA/DR. Sometimes their eyes gloss over and other times they “understand.”
To some business folks when I’ m talking ECM I most usually reference things like accessibility of their documentation, being able to search on key fields and automatically route work/documents/content without the use of email or paper files (at its simplest form) and its all stored in a database otherwise known as a “repository.” Or, when describing workflow, using the old analogy of a restaurant. When you go in to the establishment a hostess seats you, then you get a menu, a waiter comes up and then you order, that order goes back to the kitchen and you get your meal prepared, then after you have dessert, you get a bill, pay and get a receipt then the bus boy comes and cleans everything up – that’s a workflow.
But what do you say to your mother or father, sister or brother and even children (aka the layman)? I’ve tried things like, “I sell software that lifts information off paper or documents and puts that data in a data base that allows people to find it. Then the people can see the documents on their computer necessary to do their job.” But I still get a ‘blank stare.’
Then one day, maybe three or four months ago, my dad was asking me for his usual P.C. help and he said, “my printer/scanner isn’t reading the words as well as it used to.” Of course, that got my attention! Could my dad know what O.C.R. is? After 12 years of me talking about IBM, FileNet, EMC/Documentum, Microsoft , Captiva, Kofax, ImageSource and ILINX(r) and him saying, “I still don’t get what you do.” NO WAY! How could my dad possibly know about O.C.R?
So I asked him, “Dad, you know what OCR is?” Guess what, he replied YES! “Its that software that I use when I want to take words off my documents that are PDF or Tiffs”. BAM! He knew! Finally after 12 years he “figured it out” partially what I did for a living. Putting this in context, my dad is an automotive guy, first sales and then executive, who had never a need to do any “computing” most of his professional career.
We have a lot of acronyms in our ECM vocabulary: OCR, ICR, OMR, BPM, OSR, ODAR, HIPI, TIFF, etc etc etc. (I can go on for a lifetime of our acronyms). But what do you say so that IT people get what ECM is? What do YOU say to a business user, who never ever ever thought of this stuff day to day? What do you tell your mom, dad, brother, sister, what you do every day? What have you said that brings blank stares? But, most importantly, what have you said to a customer and then you saw the “light bulb” go off? It appears O.C.R. is making it in to the mainstream vocabulary, if my dad is any example, because he knows his, “HP MFP does OCR.”
There are many different excuses for not considering a document management system. Some of the more common ones all revolve around change:
- “change is expensive”
- “we have to prioritize our expenditures and that document management isn’t near the top”
- “we don’t want to change the way we do things – if we need to find something, we can.”
As we all know, humans are generally afraid of change. We also know that the only thing constant is change itself – so the successful adapt and change. Leaders in any industry have all adopted some sort of document management system. It seems like no matter how simple or complicated your business process is, all have greatly benefited from a document management system. The hard truth becomes that in order for one to plan for the future, one needs to be proactive. When document management has been integrated with content management and workflow, the result is Enterprise Content Management. In a nutshell, this encompasses all of the issues related to use and preservation of data within an organization in all of it’s forms. The Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) International defines Enterprise Content Management (ECM) as;
“Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is 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.”
While one uses the above ‘reasons’ in resisting implementing a document management system or putting it on hold, one should also consider the numerous benefits of such a system. It is essential to identify the major points of pain in a company. Benefits of ECM include: cost reduction, security, disaster recovery, compliance and risk mitigation, and efficiency improvement. When choosing the best specific system for one’s company, the following criteria should be considered: ease of use; ease of integration with other enterprise systems; and ease of implementation.
Once the numerous aforementioned benefits are considered and analyzed, the decision should be clear to move towards the implementation of an ECM system and in doing so, filing the excuses away forever.
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.
If I have learned anything from my 38 years in the computer industry is that there is no shortage of acronyms. This sometimes raises an interesting dilemma when Solution Selling. Terms like ECM, EDMS, & CMS many times mean different things to different people. Even simple things like Document Imaging can have a different meaning depending on the audience or even the vendor, just talk with someone in the copier business. A survey conducted a couple of years ago among Executives clearly identified that one’s understanding of ECM, Workflow, Records Management, etc were all over the map. To make matters even more confusing, vendors pick up on clichés and phrases that are representative of their own products and don’t necessarily reflect the terminology of a competitive product or the industry. Recently I was asked to do a demo on eDiscovery only to find out what I was really being asked was to do a demo of a Records Management Product. Bottom-line is you can’t ask enough questions when qualifying a new prospect and don’t assume because a certain terminology means something to you it means the same to the prospect.
Senior Account Executive