Monday, October 29, 2012

Document Capture: Beyond paper

When people talk about document capture, they always think about digitization too. But Document capturing is a more complex dimension in the ECM cycle. According with the AIIM, “Document and content capture is defined as the set of technologies and services required to capture documents and information from documents—paper, microfilm, fax, and electronic—in order to process the content of the documents in a form that meets the need of the repository or business application being served”. It isn't all about paper.

So, what kind of electronic documents are we talking about? Here a few examples.

  • Emails: Nowadays, information within emails is critical for most of companies. That's the reason because digital mail-room has became mandatory. ECM software is making possible to manage emails as records, but also as documents including its attachments.
  • Faxes: Integrating your ECM software with your fax machine, it's possible to skip an intermediate step in your capturing process. You don't have to print faxes and then, digitizing them again in order to store docs in your repository.
  • Social Media Stream: ECM providers must work harder in this kind of features because brands and its reputations are at stake. Companies require to treat post streams in their social profiles as documents and ECM software should allow them.

Athento has helped BBVA bank, discover how, download this story right now!
download this success case as PDF

Popular posts:
Comparing Document Capture Solutions (Athento, Kofax, Ephesoft etc.)
Document Management Success Case at BBVA, managing 7 million records.
Comparing ECM Systems (including Alfresco, OpenText, Documentum, Filenet, Sharepoint or Nuxeo).

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Friday, October 5, 2012

Document Management is about PEOPLE, not DOCUMENTS

We have been in the ECM/Document Management/Document Capture space for quite some time, so much time that the word "startup" will not apply to us very soon.
In all this time, our strong & devoted team of engineers have developed apps for ECM and document management using things like the CMIS standard, NoSQL, several sorts of Semantic Web technology, Syntax patterns for keyword extraction on documents, Neural Networks, OCR, Digital Signature, improvements on Lucene for indexing and search, Business Process Management (JBPM from JBoss and others) and for ECM suites like Alfresco or Nuxeo. All flavors of Databases like PostgreSQL, MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server or  IBM's DB2.
We have beaten proposals from OpenText, IBM FileNet and DataCap ECM products, huge technology consulting firms with offices in more than 20 countries. And scaled into half a million projects from under 1K at our first days.

So our team has done much, it has done plenty. Many late hours at our office. Many weekends of coding, that are now showing off in Athento.

And just the other day I was thinking about a comment of an engineer:
"The contracts need to be a higher resolution or the system won't be able to perform the OCR correctly and hence the capture of relevant keywords"

And of course, this was a correct statement.

So our document input needs documents that are higher quality right? Documents that are, let's say, 300 dpi (dots per inch).


Well, wrong.

It's never about the documents. 

It's never about the facts of our product, or our technology. It's never about the horsepower of the car, be it 100CV or 300CV. It's about if the customer likes the horsepower or not. If it's relevant to somebody, then you have a product. Not the other way around, you don't create a product and expect it to be relevant.

And you don't adapt users to your product. You adapt your product to users, or you create a vertical to better answer the needs of a smaller group of users.

Technology is never about technology itself. Technology is always about people, and intelligent document management is nowhere different.

It's about facilitating people's work. It's about going the extra mile, and making somebody's life a little easier.

 The fact that you are making software FOR THEM is actually an intimate way of communicating with some people (the users). The login window we designed will be the everyday door to their work. You have been there, creating that window, those fields. They go there every morning and log into the system.

Because software is never an end in itself, It's got to do something FOR SOMEBODY. And it is the "somebody" that rules our kingdom, the center of our Universe.

So instead of "Athento can manage over 7 million documents" we can say "Some happy customer of ours was able to use over 7 million documents with our system, and work faster".
Instead of "We need documents that are 300 dpi or more for our OCR to work" we need to think "It's easier for us to give you results if documents are 300 dpi or more, but if not, hey we'll take the challenge, and we are engineers, we'll find a way to solve your problem and make you happy".
Instead of "our system does not integrate with SAP right now" It's more about "how important would be for YOU to have our system integrated with SAP, and then, how much could you wait, pay, to have this delivered to solve your problem?".

Because if we loose this focus, we have no focus at all.

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Records Management or Document Management? Differences?

The ECM World is full of acronyms, concepts and terms which boundaries seem extremely confusing.
Every day we talk about Records Management, but few really know what you mean with this term and how it differs from Document Management.
We will try to resolve this confusion by explaining two fundamental aspects that differentiate them.

Records and Documents are not the same
A document may be a record, but not all documents are records. Records are about management and business activity, so they are usually subject to compliance with laws, either for storage or edition once created.

Not all document management software can help you with your records

Usually, the concern for document management software is allowing access and retrieval of documents in digital format by many users. This usually allows collaborative work with documents, but not all ECM or DM systems can ensure special treatment for tax documents, labor, contract or others that require it.

Some opinions were brought on a conversation on Linkedin that I thought worth sharing:

In my point of view, records management (RM) is really about process of managing records 
Ifecycle from the point of creation, classification, storing, securing and finally destruction. Records for an organisation can be tangible format (documents, folders, certificate, media, microfiche, etc) and non-tangible format (emails, database, electronic documents, etc). Records and document management (DM) often have overlapping areas. In my experience with the Asian market, records management are less emhasize unless the clients are the government agencies and related organization. Thus DM space is huge compare to the RM space. Differences? It is the way of handling the contents. RM is based on several industries and government standards and practices while DM is based on loose practises and more relying on the businesses SOP. Furthermore, in order for a system to be label as records management required strict adhere to industries standards while any tom, dick and harry can produce a DM. That's why you can see the market is flooded with DM software but not RM software. My two cents view
Kenny Hoh

The basic difference between records and document management is the meaning of the entity being handled i.e. document or a record 
A record is a piece of evidence about the past that cannot be edited e.g. emails, signed contracts, transcripts, salary slip etc which are usually disposed as per a set of governance rules. 
A document is "content in progress" which can be modified or deleted before baselining is done and it is converted into a record. 
The only difference between systems managing the two is that records need to have set disposition rules set into place and normally cannot be deleted in an adhoc manner while documents can. 
There are other differences but these would be main in my opinion.
Delia Dias

You can always refer to the ISO 15489-1: 2001 standard regarding record management. It defines records management as the "field of management responsible for the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use and disposition of records, including the processes for capturing and maintaining evidence of and information about business activities and transactions in the form of records". Delia's description is far more readable!!!! Remember there may (will) be National or State legislation on record management ie disposal times, stored in a form that cannot be altered etc. Documents, particularly policies, generally have a lifecycle and when archived due to new version being created they are stored as a record.
Bruce Tually

In simplest words possible
Document management means managing a document from the creation to versionning to routing and finally archiving

records management:
a record can be anything that matters and needs to be recorded.. for example you can have a 1 document in your dm system and 1000 records about this document in your RM system ... and those records would be who modified the document and what are the modifications and when... who created versions.. what are the differences...etc

DM applies for documents only whether electronic, paper based, audio, cad, video...etc
while RM applies for anything and mostly actions or things that you might even say... in movies they would say to the judge: just for the record your honor :-)
Tariq Khatib

The conversation is here, in the DMS Group at Linkedin:

If you need more information about Records Management Consulting, please contact Porter Roth Associates.

Add your comments!

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