Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The driverless ECM

Humans have been convinced for years that the car industry was really advanced. We have been proud of "smart" cars that were able to read traffic sings, alert in short distances and tell you to buckle up.

That was until the presentation of driverless car in 2011 by Google, when we all saw the real automation in car industry. This is a really smart car, this is a real milestone for an industry, giving humans the possibility to move without manual tasks that lead to many errors and dangerous situations. Since 1886 when the Motorwagen was invented, it has taken the industry more than 130 years to reach this magic.

The ECM industry is evolving really fast, but we are still anchored in "smart" features that are really far from the real "driverless ECM”.

Current ECM solutions need you to drive them during all their life to go anywhere you want to go:
  • They need you to create, and sometimes code your document types
  • The same goes for metadata, types of metadata, schemas, layouts, etc.
  • They require you to do the whole hierarchy and structure of your documents organization
  • And all of this, you have to agree with your company’s team to create an effective organization of the brand new ECM solution :-)

Many of you surely know what I mean. The process to set up an ECM system in any organization is like driving the old Route 66 in a Chevrolet bel air. Nice but zero automation.

Many experts would mark the ECM market a mature one, but until we get the real automation, we can compare it to the mature industry of manually driven cars.

ECMs current industry lacks a few gadgets for the driverless challenge:

A high definition map of the document type, metadata and features related to the ECM world map.

An important step for this milestone will drive us through a deep process of “feature engineering” and to have the result of it as a “knowledge base” from which any of the existing ECMs would be able to take information and allow users to reuse and even propose them their document types, metadatas and overall configuration.

A good light radar to measure the distance (and other things) of documents, metadatas and features.

In ECM operations we are commonly asking “are these documents the same?”, “are they similar?”, “do they have the same value for some metadata?”, many of this questions are typical searches for any ECM user. The ECM industry, still lacks a standard in comparison algorithms, solutions and standards.

A very precise range finder laser to model the real world around a document.

This is what today we call “Document Analysis Systems”. There is a really incredible work done right here, but the only solution that seems really industrialized is OCR. For layout recognition, language detection, decoding and some other features, there are solutions, but none of them really reaches this milestone yet.

Some computation pieces to decide where to go and what to do with the documents.

ECM and BPM worlds have a permanent affair with some ups and downs. There are really complex workflows in the nature of ECM, not because of the workflows but the elements that interact, security issues, external and internal users, metadata updates, tasks and many side-effects that take when a document goes from one state to another.
The ECM industry really needs to create a “driverless experience” in this affair. Users deserve to count with existing workflows, ECMs that suggest a workflow to use, a route to take. Imagine your ECM telling “This is an invoice, do you want to send it to the accounting department?”

A remote farm of computers to do the complex tasks

Driverless car has been possible thanks to many of the now existing technologies and one of them is the ability to do distributed computing for complex tasks. If the driverless car is doing it now, the ECM world must do it now. Some of the “smart” features that we expect from a driverless ECM really require a hugh amount of computing, lots of image processing, lots of text processing, lots of machine learning that needs to be done outside. The ECM world, needs a standard to get rid of heavy tasks and focus on the driverless experience of the user.

Real automation is still very far from ECMs, how much time will it take us to see the driverless ECM?

Author:
Jose Luis de la Rosa
CEO at Athento 


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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Press Release: Athento Becomes an HP Silver Partner

Today we want to share some awesome news!!!

Miami, August 26th, 2014: Athento, the smart document management software, has become part of Hewlett-Packard’s prestigious Solutions Business Partner (SPB) program, as a Silver Partner for Europe and the Middle East (EMEA). (Source: Yerbabuena Software Inc.)


By means of its Solutions Business Partner Program, Hewlett Packard is looking to expand the value it offers its customers through its LaserJet multifunction turnkey solutions that are integrated with its technology. HP Silver partners are selected according to their business potential, technology, their contributions to HP’s product line, their presence in the market and their development capabilities. 




After having gone through the selection process of the program during the last quarter, Athento joins this select list of software providers that work with HP in EMEA. The program also includes other companies, such as OpenText.

Thanks to this partnership, customers of the LaserJet Flow (MFP) range can count on an embedded document capture client that enables them to enjoy the intelligent functionality of Athento’s Smart Engine. That means that these customers can carry out operations from their scanners, such as automatically classifying documents, extracting semantic tags from a document’s content or extracting metadata.

Access to these features is available directly from HP touch screen devices, and is linked to user accounts in Athento’s cloud service.

According to José Luis de la Rosa, 

"For us, becoming a Silver partner means great support for the work we have done in the field of document capture. From now on, customers of HP’s Flow range will be able to enjoy Athento smart technology with the touch of a button."


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Monday, July 28, 2014

Athento Applies Intelligence to Correspondence Management in Public Entities

Athento, the smart document management software, helps provide public administrations with digital correspondence management that covers the entire life cycle of official correspondence

Thanks to the growing interest shown by government agencies of all levels, in various countries, in the digital management of official correspondence, the company that created Athento has issued a series of case studies and use cases to help such entities learn how they can solve their challenges in managing their mail.

Athento has helped several customers in Spain with receiving, sorting, opening, routing, controlling, and distributing incoming and outgoing mail. One of its clients in Spain is CEDER La Serena, a public agency dedicated to rural development. José Luis de la Rosa, the company’s CEO, says: 

"What these companies want is to improve the time it takes them to respond to the public and other organizations, and Athento can help them do that."

Most customers who are still managing paper-based correspondence report that the most serious problem they have with these processes is that paper correspondence is slow to reach the official who has to deal with it.  This also has another problem of its own: in many cases, public entities are required to meet strict response times. What’s more, routing all of this paper makes increases the potential risk that it could be lost.

What Athento is helping to make possible with its new version is complete management of the life cycle of this correspondence. Its functionality allows users to scan correspondence directly into the system and store the correspondence in a records management structure (under appropriate Classification Schemes and Business Retention Schedules). According to de la Rosa, Athento’s  contribution is that:

 "it not only offers traditional document management functionality, but it also enables the automation of the capture of correspondence and preserving information within the context of records management."

Among the pieces of information that Athento is making available to government agencies that need to improve correspondence management is a use case which explains the challenge in detail that also shows how Athento can help them. This case study can be downloaded for free from the product’s web site. 

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Monday, June 2, 2014

Press Release: Athento helps the Andalusia Technology Park with the management of more than 36,500 documents

Andalusia Technology Park, one of the most prominent business parks in Spain, has placed its trust in the management of its documents in Athento, the smart document management software.

Popularly known as “Malaga Valley”, as a tip of the hat to the legendary California valley that is the home of the world’s most important tech companies, Andalusia Technology Park (known by its Spanish initials, PTA) is one of the important economic engines in the south of Spain. This space, which measures 222 hectares in area, is home to 600 prominent businesses such as Oracle, Anovo, ADIF, Vodafone, or China’s Huawei. 

Athento helps the PTA with the organization and control of documents in its key areas. Having better control over documents is fundamental for the Park because it gives Park staff a more accurate idea about the life of their projects and the businesses they provide service to. Users of the system also point out that the system is easy to use when it comes time to search for and recover information. For the Park, working with Athento means having more than 36,500 documents that are accessible, safe and well-organized.

For its part, for Yerbabuena Software, the company that created Athento, “Having notable clients such as PTA, and the important work they do for the region, is a source of pride for us,” says Jose Luis de la Rosa, the CEO of Yerbabuena Software. The technology firm, with offices in Spain and the United States, has published a report containing all the details of the PTA success story. The report can be accessed from the Athento web page.


About Athento:
Athento incorporates cutting-edge technology like machine learning, semantics and image processing to automate processes that are related to document capture, management, preservation, and all of the operations necessary to cover the entire life cycle related to documents. Athento has over 100 customers in Europe, Africa and the Americas. It also has a wide network of authorized partners, and is the product of choice for institutions such as Grupo Día, Leroy Merlin or the General Traffic Directorate of Spain to manage their documents.


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Monday, May 5, 2014

Cloud document management in the day-to-day activity of professional managers

Document management isn’t anything new for professional managers. It actually forms part of their daily activity, since their work is based on documents and is tied to operational tasks such as creating documents, searching in them; signing, sharing and storing them, as well as preserving great quantities of documents.

Most documents, these days, are created in digital formats; or document imaging processes are carried out on documents on paper. Sometimes, though, only digitizing documents doesn't mean managing them efficiently; it just means moving the problem from one place to another

What’s more, these kinds of businesses have to deal with extensive legal requirements regarding storage, preservation and elimination of documentation, due to the sensitive information that documents contain. This means that document management is a mandatory requirement in their day-to-day work. 

The solution to establishing order and managing documentation in an efficient, safe and agile way is to work with a document management system that allows them to capture, manage, store and distribute all types of documents

New document management tools like Athento ECM Cloud bring advanced functionality to take on the challenge of managing documents, but… what value does a document management system bring to companies that help people manage processes, such as business managers, consultants and offices dedicated to providing professional services?

  • Efficiency for customer service: Solutions like Athento index all the information that the system is in charge of, so that the system can perform fast, efficient searches and locate documents in seconds just by using titles, tags, a description, the folder in which the document’s been stored, or even by words that appear in the document. Athento also permits mobility, helping people working in and out of the office, but with safe, controlled access to documents. Documents that are stored in one central location (a server in the Cloud) are available at any time, from any device. This results in improved speed for client service and better agility in distributing and interchanging documentation with the client and with third parties. It also avoids problems arising from documentation that gets lost, or devices that don’t work: our information is always safe and accessible.
  • Makes it easier to work flexibly and with teams: A document management system makes it possible to capture and manage documents in a collaborative fashion. Forget about carrying documents from one desk to another: the system creates, classifies, modifies, creates versions, shares or establishes work flows for documents, without you having to leave your seat. Having better agility with processes means being more efficient, and an increase in the quality of service that you can offer.
  • Improved safety, risk prevention and meeting legal requirements: There are document conservation norms that must be met, depending on the type of document: mercantile documents, tax documents or HR documentation, all of which have to be retained for a specific period of time. There are so many demands that meeting all of them is almost impossible if document management isn’t performed with document management software: measures related to protecting probative information, sensitive information (the history of the document, maintaining the file,  digital mechanisms that guarantee that the file has not been altered) and risk prevention tools (calendars for conservation and establishing policies for document destruction, as well as those related to storage and preservation, information backups, etc.). Having the security of knowing what’s happening with the document throughout its entire life cycle, and being protected against unforeseen problems like theft or loss of gadgets (computers, tablets, smartphones) moves daily decision-making about documents to the administrative manager, allowing workers to focus on serving clients.  
  • Saves time, space and costs: Keeping documentation costs money that gets spent on paper, filing cabinets, installations, etc., to keep it all. It also represents the time of the staff dedicated to looking for documents, possible losses of documents that could result in losing clients, etc. That said, Cloud-based document management doesn’t take up any space at all, allows for improvements to organizational efficiency and the productivity of professional managers, business managers and consultancies, and at a lower cost.
The way in which you manage your clients’ information affects the way they look at the work you do and the quality of the service that you offer, in such a way that, in the end, your clients will be indirectly benefited by the correct management of your documents.

Additionally, cloud-based document management is a great place to start for those professional managers who want to get started with document management:


  • You’ll be able to enjoy document management immediately. 
  • Doesn’t require a huge investment to begin working with the software.
  • Service includes support.
  • Great flexibility when it comes time to grow, to pay, etc.


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Friday, May 2, 2014

Document Management improves Quality Systems

Organizations worry that their products or services meet high standards of quality, in addition to legal requirements and what clients want. Processes that are used to reach these requirements generate specific documentation. If that documentation isn't managed properly, it’s impossible to reach the goal of quality being sought. In other words, the quality management system of organizations should be documented.

This need to document the quality system reaches across all quality standards and focuses on two fundamental aspects: the management of documents produced by the quality system itself, and the management of  records generated during the daily activities of organizations.

A Smart Document Management System, like Athento, helps companies that are conducting quality certification processes with digital processing of their documents and records, in order to guarantee the correct identification, storage, protection, retention, recovery and available documentation and records of its quality systems.

How does Athento manage quality records?

Records are documents that contain evidence of daily activities performed by organizations and their results (ISO 9000:2005). For many companies, having these records available immediately and reliably is an almost impossible task since  many companies still retain their records in paper format. Athento allows such records to be managed digitally.

How does Athento manage documents?

With Athento you can have control over document versions at all times. This doesn’t just allow you to manage files and obsolete versions; it also creates lists of valid documents and external documents. It also manages permissions for users, as well as groups and processes such as reviewing, approval, distribution or control of the documents.

To finish, I’ll list some of the key benefits obtained by businesses that manage their quality systems with Athento:

  • Documents and records that are 100% under control.
  • Better following for quality processes
  • Makes it easier to document quality processes.
  • Availability of information provides faster answers when there’s an incident related to quality or audits. 
  • Drastic reduction of paper use. 
  • Reduction of time for management, better productivity.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

How do Athento subscriptions work? [FAQs]

Athento has two types of products:
In both cases, the prices for Athento are on a subscription basis: payment is made for periods of time.

In-house subscriptions

In-house subscriptions are purchased on an annual basis.
How do I know which product is best-suited for my business when it comes to these subscriptions? That’s easy: You should go by the size of the workload that you’re going to manage with Athento and the support coverage that you’d like to have.

  • Workload that Athento will manage: The way to measure this is checking the number of CPUs that Athento will be loaded on, and that are directly related with the volume of work (number of queries, concurrent users, data volume, etc.) Remember that these variables will affect the performance of any computer program and (for sure!) the performance of any document management software.
  • Support coverage: Your Athento subscription gives you the chance to count on a support plan that gets renewed every year. Standard, Pro, Company and Enterprise support vary in the coverage they give clients. Just under the Enterprise pricing table you’ll find the various coverage solutions offered by different support plans (updates, ways of getting in touch, maximum response time, service availability, maximum number of service hours, backups, etc).

Within those in-house subscriptions, we have another type of subscriptions for those businesses that want to start with Athento. Those subscriptions, called Starter subscriptions, are designed for smaller workloads (you can see them at the end of the Athento In-House Pricing Page.)


Subscribing to the Athento Cloud service

Cloud subscriptions are our favorites, and the favorites of all the businesses who want:
  • Quick start with Athento (Buy it and start using it right away.)
  • No worrying about technical aspects (Forget about having to do maintenance work, updates, etc. …)
  • No huge IT investments (No worrying about servers, a tech team or paying for software licenses.)
 How do I know which product is the best for my business, with these subscriptions?
  • Number of users:  This means the number of users with access to the system. Each of them will have their own, unique credentials and any actions that they take with documents from our company will appear in each document’s history in Athento.
  • Capacity (GB): Depending on the volume of data being managed, the company will have certain storage needs.
And if I have twenty users, but I only need 250 GB? You’ve always got to act under the assumption that your needs will be bigger than that. In this case, you should consider the category of ten to thirty users, and that you’d need to count on a capacity of 500GB.

How are payments made, and how long do I have to stay for?

  • Payments are made monthly. That said, you can take advantage of discounts if you pay yearly.
  • Duration: Our contracts are typically signed for three-year periods, but don’t worry: YOU’RE FREE TO LEAVE WHEN YOU WANT. All we ask is that you give us two months’ notice, and, during that time, your documents will be available for you to take them where you want.

All of our Cloud clients count on 24/7 service, every day of the year. Support for our Cloud products is our Community support.

What happens if we need customizations for Athento, but we still want to enjoy all the benefits of the Cloud service?

If you need to do any of the following kinds of customizations…
  • Integrations
  • Changes to the functioning of the tool
  • Specific features for your business
  • Changes to the appearance of Athento
…we can also offer you Cloud-based service, but you’ll have to pay an annual extra fee for the hosting of your service on Athento (since it’ll be unique to your business), as well as hiring the professional services (development hours) needed to adapt Athento to your needs.

Remember that you’ve got more information in the Athento Documentation Center (FAQs), as well as the FAQs here on the Athento blog.


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