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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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Athento helps Public Transit Companies to Automate Ticket Refunds

Cash register losses that come from the unjustified refunding of tickets is a frequent problem for companies that transport passengers. This problem is associated with ticket refund processes that are carried out manually, which is not easily solved since it means using a system that is powerful enough to give coverage to carry out requests from various geographic locations, carried out by various users at the same time. The system should also provide responses in real time to those workers who are in charge of processing the refund.

Athento’s intelligence can help companies with this problem. By using an automatic ticket validation process, Athento can tell the user whether or not the money should be returned to the customer. To make this decision, Athento captures tickets from scanners located at the various points of sale of tickets. Then, Athento extracts specific information from the tickets, which is then checked using the application that the company uses to manage tickets. Finally, Athento uses information contained in PDF 147 codes to verify the validity of the tickets to be refunded.



With this automatic processing of ticket returns, transportation companies are able to reduce the time spent on processing refunds, giving customers a faster and more accurate refund process. The systems also prevents refunds for any tickets previously returned, are false or have any other characteristic which would prevent a refund process from taking place.

The best thing about automating this process with Athento, however, is not only that it offers the above-described intelligent functionality; it also provides us with all the advantages of a document management software package: accessible, organized documentation, over which we have full traceability. Thanks to its integration with Alfresco, users can rest assured that once tickets are processed, they are stored safely in a document repository, and can be recovered at any time, from any place.

Athento has provided all the details of this user case to the public; to date, it has also implemented this solution with other clients; it can help those companies that want to perform automatic document validation.




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Monday, April 14, 2014

Some issues with storage in Sharepoint

Storage is one of the most prickly topics related to document management systems. Not all of them have been designed in the most optimal way to handle large quantities of documentation.

Below, we’ll go over the difficulties that SharePoint has in that regard.

The way in which SQL Server stores its content:
As you’ll know, Microsoft uses SQL Server as its database manager (SGBD). Most content and documents that we store in SharePoint are saved in this SGBD as a “BLOB”, a type that saves large-size binary data, and which can be accessed using indices. Since it’s not used as references for content (content itself is stored in the database), access to the data is fairly taxing for the system. BLOB-type SQL databases make up 95% of the size of Sharepoint and those, for sure, do tend to have a fairly large size.

The increase in use of large-size media formats
It hasn’t been that long since document management systems stopped being just for document. Truth is, the term “document manager system” is a term which is used indiscriminately, mostly in Spain and in some Spanish-speaking countries. Companies don’t just store documents. They have other digital assets, like videos, audio files and presentation. As such, it’s more accurate to talk about Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Systems.

SharePoint hasn’t been found to be optimized for the management of this type of files, which stand out for their large sizes in most cases. One easy way of detecting this problem is to see how, in the middle of a request, the search engine will send back a screenshot that tells us that the server is taking a long time to respond.

Problems of scalability in terms of hardware
As we’ve explained in previous sections, the growth of data in SharePoint has been fairly fast, and with it has been the hardware requirements for storing and processing this volume of data. We should add to that the restrictive technical specifications for SharePoint which are not known for their high level of compatibility.



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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Press Release: Smart Document Management Makes the Employee Hiring Process Paper-Free

Managing the hiring of new employees is a process that, today, offers many challenges for companies. Some of these challenges include examples such as the sensitivity of managed documentation; the slowness that happens when workers and companies are not in the same geographic location; and the need to exchange documents among the worker, the company and external players in the process.

All of these difficulties are related to the fact that managing the hiring new employees is done in most companies today by using paper documents. The nature of paper makes it difficult (or even impossible) to have goals like not having duplicate documents, sharing documents instantly, having traceability of all actions taken with documents, etc.

Given these limitations, many companies are now looking for options in the digital world for recruitment processes that are more efficient, safe and fast-working. Athento has helped some companies (and their HR departments) to make the process of hiring a 100% digital process. This is the reason why we have published a case study which explains how these paperless processes can be carried out, and what the benefits are for businesses.

According to José Luis de la Rosa:

"There are a number of business processes that can be done more efficiently with intelligent document management. Athento is making a significant effort to document cases of customers who are already seeing these improvements, and can be helpful for companies that want to improve their processes but don’t know how to do it.” 

To publicize these cases, the company uses its Resource Center, where these documents can be downloaded for free. The case study of digital management of staffing is now available from this section of the Athento website.






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