Tuesday, December 30, 2014

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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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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Monday, April 7, 2014

Digital Asset Management: What is it?

Assets

A digital asset is, for a business, as important as property, money in the bank, a brand, etc. That is to say that it’s an asset because it represents economic value that can be converted into money. Really, what I’ve just described is closer to the definition of an “asset”, as opposed to a “digital asset”, which means that we’ve only got half the definition. Regarding “digital”, well, the only thing we need to understand is that they are electronic files, folders which usually contain videos, images, dossiers and other materials which are usually of great value to the brand or to the company in general terms.

From Document Management to Enterprise Content Management, via Digital Asset Management

Long ago, businesses discovered that documents and their management equaled money, and that’s why document management was created. Documents, however, tend to be files with different characteristics from those of digital assets. These types of files need to be shared, distributed, published, reproduced (as in the case of video or audio). Most document management systems are not prepared to reproduce video or sound. What’s more, they tend to be larger in size, which puts the base structure of the document management system to the test. For example, Sharepoint has serious problems with this because of the way that Server SQL works.

Currently, there are people in businesses who are in charge of managing collections of these types of assets, who invest time in organizing them, searching for them and sharing them: for them, and because document management systems (DMS) right now aren’t optimized to management, that’s given rise to digital asset management systems (DAMS). 

As a concept, document management has come up short, which is why the term enterprise content management, which talks about “content” for grouping documents and the remaining digital assets that businesses have, and which also need to be managed.

So what’s the deal: Is a DAMS better than a DMS?

It depends on the product. Some DMS aren’t optimized, as in the case of Sharepoint (2010 and before); or, indeed, they have specialized modules for every line of business, which is the case with Nuxeo DM and Nuxeo DAM; or  to be ready to manage documents and other digital assets, which is the case with Alfresco (as of version 4).

In the case of Athento, we’re aware that it’s time that businesses changed; and, with them, those digital assets that create value for them. That’s why we’re trying to get closer to the idea of ECM allowing plug-ins for the management of sound and video, among other digital assets.




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Friday, April 4, 2014

Athento and Everis in Chile, in the 5th Justice and Technology Fair

As part of the Seventeenth Ibero-American Conference on Constitutional Justice, the Justice Technology Fair was also held. The fifth edition of the Justice and Technology Fair, held in Santiago, Chile ended on the 31st and brought together judicial authorities from the twenty-three members of the Ibero-American Justice Summit, as well as the judicial authorities from Chilean government agencies, with businesses in the information technology sector.

This is the first time that Athento has participated in this event, and we did it with the help of Everis Chile, a consulting firm that doesn’t need any introduction, since it does business in twelve countries and has almost 11,000 collaborators.

The idea behind us taking part in the event was to introduce Athento to the various government bodies and agencies in Chile and let them know that they can count on a smart document management product that’s capable of covering their needs, just as the product has done with government bodies and private businesses in other countries.

Athento’s presence in Chile is undergoing a period of growth. This year, we have added two new Chilean clients and we are working with various partners in the zone to provide up-close coverage to this Latin American market. We’ll leave you with some photos from the event: 




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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Is Athento open-source? [FAQs]

This is a question that we’ve been asked by several of our readers and by several businesses that are interested in Athento. First off, it would be a good idea to clarify certain terms. In accordance with the Open Source initiative, and in order for each software application to be considered as Open Source, it specifically needs to meet certain requirements:
  • Free Redistribution: The software can be sold or distributed as part of other software. What’s more, the sale or distribution of that software does not create the obligation for anyone to pay the software’s creator.
  • Source code that is available and redistributable: The program must include the source code and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form. If it doesn’t include it, it should at least provide the capability to download it, without charging more than a “reasonable reproduction cost”.
  • Redistributable derived works: Users should be able to carry out development derived from this software, and the results have to be able to be distributed with the same license as the original.
  • Author’s Source Code only has integrity if patch files are used: The license can ONLY restrict distribution of the modified source code when the software permits distribution of patch files, with the aim of modifying the program in build time. In other cases, it should be explicitly permitted to distribute software that has been developed starting from the original software. The license can also require that the modified software uses another name, or a different version, from the original software.
  • The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.
  • There cannot be any restrictions against fields of endeavor: The license must permit the software to be used in any field (business, research, etc.)
  • The rights associated with the license apply to any person or organization to which the software has been redistributed.
  • The rights of the license cannot be specifically applied to one particular distribution of the software. Everyone who uses the redistributed software will have the same rights as the users of the original software.
  • The license cannot impose restrictions on other software:The operating system of the software cannot, for example, oblige someone to only use open-source software in conjunction with the program being distributed.
To sum up, we consider a software to be an open-source software when any person or entity can redistribute, copy or modify the program for any final use (commercial or not) and without having to request permission(s) or pay money to do so. Let’s get to Athento’s license. Athento is found under the “Athento Shared Source License”. The terms of Athento’s license do not match the same as would be considered for open-source software, but the license gives us enormous benefits compared to licensed software working under the “proprietary software” model. These benefits include access to the code and the capacity to modify the code (to provide a couple of examples.) Specifically, what Athento’s license allows us to do is:

Software redistribution
Copying or redistribution of the software, including its source code or its compiled form, are not permitted.

Source Code

Accessible. Can be downloaded, studied and compiled.

Derived Works

Including part or all of Athento’s software in other software requires the express authorization of YERBABUENA SOFTWARE. Users can perform modifications to the code, compile it, and use the compiled versions.

Discrimination

The terms of the license apply to every person, group, organization or field of application.

Integrity of the Author’s Source Code

The license permits modification of the original code, but does not accept responsibility for damage arising from the use or modification of the product.

You can see more details about Athento’s license by visiting Athento’s web page.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Brand Asset Management with Athento

Although we always relate document management with “traditional” documents, we can’t forget that this document management only forms part of something bigger and more complex: Enterprise Content Management.

This makes more sense today than ever, as businesses work with a large number of digital assets, and not just with PDFs or Word documents. They also work with images, videos, audio recordings, plans, etc. Within the management of digital assets, there’s a small field which is beginning to gain force in the business world: Brand Asset Management.

Brand Asset Management is a very focused view for ECM, since it means the management of business content that belongs to the brand (logos, images, videos, visual material, etc.), throughout its life cycle. One of the factors that has contributed the most to the rapid growth of this small field within Digital Asset Management is that, these days, activities related to marketing, advertising, graphic design and the like are more and more externalized. Few businesses work internally on their brand assets, while the majority source out this production, so that many outside people end up taking part in the process.

I’ll give you an example. A business wants to re-make its brand image. It assigns the re-design of its logo, its web and a corporate video to an advertising agency. The agency has to share different versions with the client while it’s working on the logo, the design of the new web page, the video, etc. How do you carry out version control?

Another example: A franchise has to share all of the graphic material that they can use in different geographic areas with other franchisees. How do they share these assets and be sure that they’re using the most up-to-date version?

Think, as well, of an environmental business of a university that has offices in China, Switzerland and Spain, and, in each one of these, the local institution has to guarantee unanimous use with the Swiss head office. How do they guarantee that all of the offices are using the same logo in all of their corporate material?

I promise you: it’s not easy. Even if we didn’t have to share assets, for the team itself that’s creating these things, it’s complicated to maintain the traceability of the asset and control of it, from the time it’s created to the time when it’s archived or shelved.

I’ll leave you with a presentation that shows how Athento can help us with this. 




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Monday, March 17, 2014

Document Management and Human Resources Management

There are a number of problems associated with documents used in managing people, in such functions as recruiting, selection, training or other administrative processes associated with staff.

Some examples of document-related difficulties that can come up with these processes include:
  • Some of the processes are very paper-intensive.
  • Administrative tasks take up a lot of time.
  • Accessing and recovering all the documents related to an employee is complex.
  • When a company is hiring for a position, a large number of resumes are received, and it’s complex to get information on the candidates who have the right set of skills.
  • Companies need to meet regulations and guarantee the privacy of the information of the candidates.  
  • It’s complex to properly maintain and centralize all of the material related to employee training.
  • Employees should submit documentation during the hiring process; and, similarly, receive information (which might be generated internally or externally).
All of these problems can be tackled by using a document management system. For example:
  • Paper-intense processes:  An ECM system helps us manage the documentation digitally.
  • Administrative tasks that take up too much time: Simply eliminating paper from processes can create reductions in the time needed to carry out processes; in addition, however, by implementing simple revision work flows, we can cut the amount of dead time when a document moves from one person to another. 
  • Accessing all of employee’s documentation: We can organize our documents within the system so that we can access all of the documentation related with an employee during his or her entire career with the organization from one specific source. In other words, we can have the employee’s entire HR file in digital format.  
  • Security and privacy: An ECM or document management system allows us to get traceability with all the things that happen to a document and to use permissions to control access to documents.
  • Keep training materials up-to-date and in a central location: Systems like Athento can be integrated with e-learning platforms such as Moodle. What’s more, version control helps us avoid having multiple versions of material and keep just one up-to-date copy. An ECM systm can also help us understand which documents are valid and which ones have expired.
  • Help with the hiring process: Smart document management tools allow us to automate processes like the automatic identification of resume, navigation using tags that are automatically extracted that make it easier to access information; the capacity to use metadata and searches to get to CVs that fit just what we’re looking for when we’re hiring for a job, etc.
In the success case of our client, Volotea, you can read about how the company controls the validity of the documentation it uses in their training courses.




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Friday, March 14, 2014

Migrating gadgets in Nuxeo 5.4.2 to Nuxeo 5.6 or later: How to do it

Gadgets are small blocks that can be added to the Nuxeo control panel, and which makes it easier for users to get certain information, such as the list of tasks pending, documents that have been opened recently, etc. so that the user can get this information quickly, and have it at his fingertips.

Sometimes, the needs of a business aren’t covered by the gadgets that are included by default in Nuxeo; because of that, new gadgets can be developed so that users or workers in the business can count on the information that they need. These gadgets will be part of a larger plug-in which could contain other gadgets.

The problem comes up when we try to migrate a gadget developed for Nuxeo 5.4.2, or a version that predates version 5.6 or an even earlier version of Nuxeo, given that the platform has changed the way in which it interprets gadgets.

As such, if we want our old gadget to keep functioning when we update the platform to a newer version, we need to follow a few simple steps that we’re going to describe below:

STEP 1

First, open the .xml file of the gadget that you want to migrate. You’ll generally find a list of scripts and various methods in this file.

Cut all the methods that you’ve got inside the .xml of the gadget so that you can paste them into another file.

STEP 2
Create a file with a .js extension (such as GADGET_SCRIPT.js) in /nuxeo.war/scripts/<PLUGIN>/gadgets/ and paste the section of code that you cut in Step 1.

STEP 3
Create a contribution in an .xml file, and after the dot in the "resources" extension of the "org.nuxeo.theme.services.ThemeService" component that indicates the route of the new .js file created in Step 2, and don’t forget to refer to this contribution from the “Nuxeo-Component” section of MANIFEST.MF  of the plug-in that the gadget belongs to.
que indique la ruta del nuevo fichero .js creado en el paso anterior y además referencia esta contribución desde la sección "Nuxeo-Component" del MANIFEST.MF del plugin al que pertenece el gadget.

STEP 4
In the gadget’s .xml file (the same one as in Step 1), you substitute the following in all of the lines of the scripts:

<script src="{...}NOMBRE_SCRIPT_1.js"></script>

<script src="{...}NOMBRE_SCRIPT_2.js"></script>
...


and exchange them with the one line of the code below:

<script src="{clientSideBarUrl}nxthemes-lib/gadget-NOMBRE_SCRIPT_1.js,gadget-NOMBRE_SCRIPT_2.js,..."></script>

STEP 5
Finally, add the last script you created to the previous list with the methods you extracted from the .xml file of the gadget. (In the example below, we’ve called the script "GADGET_SCRIPT.js"):

<script src="{clientSideBarUrl}nxthemes-lib/gadget-NOMBRE_SCRIPT_1.js,gadget-NOMBRE_SCRIPT_2.js,...,gadget-GADGET_SCRIPT.js"></script>

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Success Case: Volotea, one of the European airlines with the greatest growth, is already managing its documents with Athento

We would like to share with you the case of a customer: Volotea, an European airline. Volotea has been created by the same people that founded Vueling, another popular European airline:

Volotea is one of the most promising European airlines. With 114 routes throughout the continent, in 2012, only one year after its creation, it was touted by Airline Network News and Analysis as being the airline with the greatest growth in Europe.

As an air operator, Voltea has to guarantee adequate training and training surveillance for its flight staff. To do this, the company has the practice of conducting frequent audits of courses that have been held. These audits don’t just control the courses that are held; audits also guarantee that the courses are valid. Manual control of course documents is a labour-intensive task that takes up too much time and too many resources.

These were the reasons why the company decided to look for a document management application which would allow them to automate control over course documentation for flight staff. They chose Athento’s Smart Document Management because, in addition to the traditional function of document management, it offered them:

  • Processing of reports generated by the Airline Information Management System (AIMS), to monitor the validity of the courses.
  • A system of alerts which advises staff if documentation is missing or out of date.
  • A Google-type contextual search engine which allows users to combine search parameters, in order to access documents quickly.
  • Visualization of documents through profiles. In this case, it’s possible to quickly consult what documentation is in the system for each member of the cabin staff.




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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Multi-Page Data Extraction

During the past few days, we’ve been working on new features and improvements to data extraction in Athento’s capture module. Last week, we introduced you to the feature that allows users to bring data in from a database, starting from a piece of metadata extracted from the content of the document.  This time, the function that we want to present is that, now, with Athento, we can define metadata to be extracted from documents that are more than a page long.

This feature is applicable to metadata which are extracted using zonal OCR; in other words, for data that we know are always going to appear in the same position.

Let’s take a look at a couple of screen shots of multi-page extraction. In the first image, you can see how the “Application Date” metadata has been defined on the first page of a two-page document:




Next, we can see how, in the same model, we’re already on the second page and we can define the “Immunity from Prosecution” metadata.




We hope that you’ll find this useful! :-) Share

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Yerbabuena Software releases a translation plug-in for Nuxeo

Our company has announced that it’s making a Nuxeo plug-in for the management of translations on this Enterprise Content Management platform available.  Nuxeo is one of the most prominent Open Source code software solutions currently on the Enterprise Content Management market, thanks to its clients in more than 145 countries.

The people who are most helped by the release of this plug-in will be Spanish-speaking users, since the plug-in improves the Spanish translations available for the interface that Nuxeo currently uses. Although Nuxeo has had the help of a Crowdin project, where users can collaborate on translating the platform, the Spanish translation available through Crowdin is only 66% developed.

The plug-in is available for Nuxeo versions 5.4.3 and after, and provides benefits such as:
•    Improvements to the available translations, especially Spanish translations.
•    The Events tags (which, by default, did not already come translated to Spanish on the platform)  have been translated.
•    New languages have been included.

Another of the advantages of the translation plug-in is that it’s very easy to install. It’s located in a specific path in Nuxeo, and the only action needed is to re-start the server.

The code for the translation plug-in is available from the company’s repository on GitHub and can be accessed freely and for free. This plug-in has been developed following the OSGi model.





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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Press Release: Smart Document Management Software and Alfresco help retailers to automate the tax-free shopping process

Athento has presented a new case study: this time, the subject is the use of Smart Document Management to automate the validation of sales refund checks that have been provided by some retailers.

Many stores, wholesalers and businesses offer foreign citizens a “Tax-Free” shopping service: the option to buy and to be refunded sales taxes such as IVA, VAT, TBW or GST (the different value-added taxes collected by different countries). The method used to refund these taxes to foreign citizens before they return to their countries of origin is the use of checks which can be cashed or processed in airports.

These checks have to be validated before the refund is carried out. Athento can make it possible for those checks to be validated automatically. Once the checks have been processed using document imaging, this validation is carried out using recognition and reading of bar codes or QR codes included in the checks. In addition to validating the tax refund checks, Athento extracts the data contained in the codes and sends this information to other systems.

In the case presented by Athento, once they’re processed, the checks are stored in Alfresco, and the data from the checks are sent to Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

This document validation technique can be applied in many other cases, in which users aim to confirm the veracity of documents and obtain information from them. The advantage of using this mechanism is that it avoids needing manual validation of documents, manual data entry in other business applications; and, additionally (thanks to storage in Alfresco), documents can be kept safely and be accessed 24/7.

According to José Luis de la Rosa, CEO at Athento: “Implementing automatic document validation processes means that clients can reduce the amount of time needed for processes, optimize the resources used with them and, for sure, increase the amount of money they save.”

Bar codes and other codes such as QR codes constitute a simple way that businesses can use in projects for automating processes where documents need to be validated or data need to be extracted. Currently, Athento is able to recognize the majority of standards, including QR codes, Code 39, Code 93, Code 128, EAN 8, EAN 13, UPC_A, UPC_E and PDF417, among others. In addition to extracting metadata by using codes, Athento offers other possibilities like extracting data using textual parameters and zonal OCR.


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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Extracting metadata from a database in Athento

There are times when you might be interested in connecting to a database in order to obtain data. For example, with clinical documents, Athento could extract the number of a clinical history in the way in which it’s always done (looking in the document content), but obtain more metadata – the patient’s name, date  of birth, gender, date of last consultation, etc. – by using the connection with a database.

Now it’s possible to do these kinds of operations and configure them from the interface. The way in which it has been implemented is:

  • Defining metadata types “ID SQL” and “SQL Field”. 

ID SQL
What Athento basically does is to conduct a consultation with a database starting from a piece of metadata extracted from a document. The metadata extracted from the document corresponds to the primary key (PK) of a table in a database. For example, in the case of the screen grab below, you can see how we’ve defined the “ID SQL”, which is called “SocialSecurity” and which corresponds to Social Security number, which is the PK in the “Employees” table:






 What we’re basically telling Athento is: You’re going to look in the Employees table for the data in which the row corresponds to a determined value of the column called “SocialSecurityNumber”.


If Athento finds the 344-08-7456 Social Security number in a document, it’s going to go to the database, then it will look for the table being used and position the row in which the “SocialSecurityNumber” column contains a value of 344-08-7456.


SQL Field
What Athento does now is bring the values from other cells in the row that it has found using the ID SQL field. Each SQL field is a piece of metadata that we want to bring from the database (such as First Name, Family Name). In other words, if we define an SQL Field by calling it First Name, Athento will bring the name of the employee whose Social Security Number is 344-08-7456.

This new possibility in Athento offers better speed and precision in extracting metadata when you’re counting on the data stored in a database.



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Friday, February 21, 2014

What kind of scanner drivers support Athento? [FAQs]

In our previous post, we saw some of the most popular drivers for scanners. This time, we’re going to explain which types of drivers support Athento.

Athento uses the Morena 6 library, which brings a framework which takes care of communication between a device and Java applications. This framework allows the use of an API to achieve that communication. What Morena 6 provides Athento is the capability to work with:

Operating SystemType of Drivers (Specification)
WindowsTWAIN
Mac OSTWAIN
Linux/UnixSANE

In the future, Morena 6 will also support the following standard interfaces:
•    WIA
•    ISIS Share

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Drivers for Scanners

Today we’re going to talk about drivers for scanners. A driver is a computer program that is in charge of controlling a hardware device. These programs are specific to a specific device, just like an operating system. The objective of drivers is that they can develop applications for users, independent of the hardware device.
Scanners need drivers to function; and for applications such as Athento, which have to communicate with them, these drivers need to be taken into account. Some of the most common drivers include:

TWAIN
The latest version is version 2.0, and offers support for various Unix platforms and various 64-bit platforms. Additionally, TWAIN supports document types like PDF/A, DjVu and JPEG2000. TWAIN is fairly popular because it goes beyond just being a simple driver and is more like a communication protocol (TWAIN uses a driver called Data Source.) TWAIN contains an API that allows developers to construct applications and drivers. It’s also popular among developers because its creators don’t charge for the use of the development API (which is LGPL).
TWAIN will surely continue to dominate the market for drivers for scanners, given that this project is being backed by large businesses like Kofax, Fujitsu, Epson or Hewlett-Packard.
twain.org
 
SANE
SANE stands for Scanner Access Now Easy. It was originally developed for Linux/Unix operating systems, although its creators say that, in accordance with the standards they have followed for its development, it should work on any operating system. It’s available under a GNU license and is an API that permits the development of drivers according to devices, instead of having to develop a driver for each pair of device and software. SANE has been created to answer one of TWAIN’s weaknesses: TWAIN doesn’t separate the user interface from the device driver. When we have several scanners linked over a SANE network, you can get access through each console. 
 www.sane-project.org

ISIS
ISIS stands for Image and Scanner Interface Specification. This specification belongs to EMS, who you’ll already know for its Documentum product. Many production environments that carry out massive document imaging use ISIS drivers. Although EMC talks about ISIS as an open standard for the control of scanners, the use of the framework for the development of drivers and other computer programs implies having to pay costs which allows them to be catalogued as ISIS drivers. Currently, more than 400 models of scanners function with these drivers, although for drivers for household use, ISIS doesn’t tend to be very popular. According to its owners, ISIS supports advanced functionality at the scanner level (in terms of compression, formats, etc.) and has the advantage of offering functions at the module level. 
Isis Drivers

WIA
Windows Imaging Architecture o Windows Imaging Acquisition. This is the platform used to develop drivers for scanners that are going to work in Windows environments. Microsoft’s web site contains an excellent definition of the work of drivers and the development platforms used to build them: “The WIA platform allows applications that work with images or graphics to interact with document imaging hardware and to standardize the interaction among different applications and scanners. This permits all these applications to communicate and interact with scanners without software developers or manufacturers of scanners needing to customize the application or the drivers for each combination of software and device.”
WIA allows us to connect devices to machines which run on Windows and which are recognized automatically; that way, we can have several scanners connected to the same computer. In contrast with ISIS, programmers don’t have to pay to say that the drivers that they develop are WIA.
WIA



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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The gaps in document management software (Part 4)

Today, we’re going to finish this series of posts that we’ve been writing about since the start of 2014. Before beginning with the final installment of this series, I’d like to review the previous points:

  1. To date, software is incapable of helping businesses win the war on paper, because it still hasn’t completely provided a real solution to problems such as collaborative work, control over shared documents, difficulties when people need to work quickly on documents, the lack of connectedness between capture software and document management software, etc.
  2. Current document management software is very complex: This has helped the rise of other applications that allow users to work on documents (Dropbox, for example) which are simpler and which provide greater flexibility and speed when it comes time to work on documents. 
  3. Document management software providers push clients to acquire different applications to resolve the problem of managing the entire document life cycle of content: This creates problems of compatibility, integration and, for sure, burdensome licensing costs for clients.

Finally, today, we’re going to look at the topic of code NOT being available.

A member of our sales force once asked a client about the things that he liked the best about Athento. This answer was among the answers that the client gave:
“I really like the fact that it’s not a black box like the majority of document management software.”
With the majority of ECM products, when clients acquire them, what they’re getting is a bunch of binary figures that they can pull out and put into action. Neither the technical staff nor the day-to-day users ever see one single line of code. Users of this software don’t know how it does what it does, and they don’t care, because it’s easy enough. That said, for organizations and businesses, not being able to have the code available creates various problems:

  1. They can’t adapt the application to the particular needs of their company or organization.
  2. When they are able to adapt it, there’s a problem with locking in with the software provider: in other words, they’re chained to it. Any services which might be required for the software can only be provided by the provider, or by an exclusive group of businesses that have been authorized by the provider. 
  3. They have to tackle problems of compatibility, given that software providers who sell proprietary software tend to adapt or create their own standards in order to limit competition and to push clients towards a series of complimentary applications. 
  4. This system, in turn, creates “support dependency”, since only the provider has the know-how and the access to the code to fix problems.
  5. The dependency on support is aggravated by the problems of testing that comes with proprietary code. With applications that have proprietary code, the numbers of testers is always smaller than the number of people who try a software package whose code is available, where mistakes in code can be detected in a much faster way. In a binary product, code inspection does not go beyond what the creators do; when code is available, inspection is a routine. Additionally, bugs can only be found by the provider, which makes the dependency even more redundant. 
  6. Results produced by software can be incorrect or anomalous and, on certain occasions, if you can’t see the code, it’s impossible to know whether the result is incorrect or because, on certain occasions, incorrect results are produced. To give you an example, problems with slowness in searches can happen frequently in ECM systems when a large amount of information is being processed. Without being able to aspect the code and see the processes that the software is carrying out, the consultations that it’s processing, it can be complicated to discover the mistake. 

These are some of the reasons why not having access to an application’s code can be harmful to companies that acquire ECM software. Personally, I think that the worst of all of these reasons is the limitation that businesses have when it comes time to adapt software to their needs, because the reality is that business is its own world; and, for better or for worse, without being able to get at the software that comes by default, it isn’t possible to make it so that it resolves each and every one of the problems that millions of clients all over the world have.

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