Records Management Blog | Practical Records Management

Scanning Services for Microsoft Sharepoint - including Sharepoint 2010

Posted by Michael Thomas on Wed, May 12, 2010 @ 08:24 AM
With today marking the official release of Microsoft Sharepoint 2010, I thought it would be an appropriate time to discuss some of the services that we provide to support companies that are moving forward with Sharepoint at the center of their Document Management Strategy.

Sharepoint Scanning ServicesTo be sure, Microsoft has invested a lot of time and resources in improving upon previous iterations of Sharepoint, and the technology has come a long way since it's initial release. Today, I would not be alone in considering Sharepoint as one of the market leaders in the ECM (Enterprise Content Management) space, and we've been proponents of recommending it to clients when appropriate.

One of the challenges, however, is efficiently capturing paper content and delivering it to Sharepoint so that it can be searched and retrieved by users. There are many products available in the market to address this challenge, including Kofax Capture and KnowledgeLake - both of which are excellent solutions.

But what about Companies that want to leverage the benefits of Sharepoint without purchasing high-speed scanners and investing the time and resources in scanning the files themselves?

That's where our outsourced scanning services for Sharepoint come in. Our Production Document Scanning Bureau is capable of converting millions of pages on a monthly basis, and provides firms with a low price per page to convert paper to digital format. We handle the document preparation, scanning, quality control, and indexing, and return to clients a series of files that can be easily imported to Sharepoint.

Whether you're using an older version of the Sharepoint platform, or you plan to take advantage of the features that Sharepoint 2010 has to offer, consider outsourcing the scanning of your files. You'll be able to achieve a more rapid return on your document management investment, and save yourself a whole lot of hassle in the process.


Ready to take the first Step to getting your files scanned to Sharepoint?
Contact us today to discuss your Document Scanning Project and find out how our services can help lower your costs and accelerate your return on investment.

Tags: ECM, Scanning, Document Scanning, Sharepoint

Who Owns Document Management in Your Company?

Posted by Michael Thomas on Wed, Apr 28, 2010 @ 05:54 PM
Free Records Management bookI'm not the first person to say it won't be the last but there's too much jargon and too many buzzwords thrown around by vendors today. Regardless of the technology that you're looking at, these are just complicated acronyms used to describe the different ways you can go about doing simple tasks. In the document management space I find that people are frequently bewildered by terms like ECM (Enteprise Content Management), ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), WCM (Web Content Management), and RIM (Records and Information Management). If it's this hard just to identify what we're going to call document management, imaging how difficult it is to define who should take ownership of this function in an organization.

Let me try and make this simple. Document management is the practice of organizing and accessing information relating to the transactions and operation of an organization. If you don't like my definition that's fine, but we'd likely be arguing about semantics at that point. There's just not much more to it. Document management is simple, and in many instances it doesn't require dedicated or complicated software, or a department of people to manage it. Effective Document Management requires some planning and foresight to understand the challenges relating to two things - Organizing and Access.

For many organizations of a certain size, the person who's primarily responsible for document management has a title that actually makes sense, Records Manager. In these organizations the records manager is charged with defining detailed policies and procedures relating to the retention and retrieval of information. Oftentimes the records manager has specialized training and experience and really understands what's required to effectively manage the information of an organization. These organizations stand to benefit over time from the expertise only a true records manager can provide.

In the majority of organizations, however, this responsibility is left scattered across many departments and ultimately falls on senior management (within a regular corporate structure), an office manager (within medical and legal practices), or the business owner themselves (in many small businesses or Professional Firms). In addition to these roles many companies find ways to leave IT professionals, HR managers, and accounting staff each with a piece of the document management pie. In these instances the results are often less than stellar, as the lack of centralized focus creates fragmented processes and presents the organization with undue risk.

Think about your business. Do you have a detailed records management plan in place? Does your staff utilize a consistent methodology for organizing and accessing information? Are you adhering to retention schedules? If the answer is no, then now is the time to re-examine your document management plans. Remember to keep things in perspective - document management requires a little bit of strategy to deliver fantastic returns. If you don't have the expertise or the resources in-house, consider relying on a partner to fill the role of records manager and help with your document management needs. Whatever option you choose don't underestimate the value that an effective document management strategy can have, and don't let a lack of strategy be your excuse for inaction.


Tags: ECM, Document Management, Records Management, Business Strategy

Scanning Mortgage Files post-close. Does it make sense?

Posted by Michael Thomas on Wed, Apr 21, 2010 @ 05:32 PM
As someone who spent the better part of the decade working with lending companies on improving loan processing through Document-Driven Workflow, I've always thought that it doesn't make much sense to scan alone file after it's closed. Recently, however, I've realized that I was wrong. While the benefit of scanning loan files post-close may not be as strong as driving the process using workflow, there's a lot to be gained by scanning loan documents after the loan has been closed. Let's take a look at three main reasons why:

Loan Sale - Although the market in 2010 is not quite as hot as it once was, the loan sale industry is still alive and well. For Originators, increased competition and a wider pool of available options for buyers has forced competitive differentiation in any way possible. The ability to provide closed loan files in a convenient image format is one way to do this. Scanning mortgage loans post close and creating a series of PDFs or TIF images allows for faster transfer to the secondary market, meaning faster access to payment.

Mortgage File ScanningServicing - Loan Servicing is one piece of the business that never seems to change. In spite of all the advances in online technology, there are still a number of questions that require reference back to the original loan files. Being able to access these files directly through the origination system in an image format, while customers are on the phone, improves client satisfaction and reduces costs for the servicer.

Foreclosures - The dreaded "F" word has led many lenders to go back and image archived loans. When a Lender is able to quickly provide all the required paperwork relating to a loan, they stand a better chance of success during foreclosure proceedings. In fact one of the most common causes for judgments against mortgage companies is the inability to produce an original note. Even if the note is available, many lenders have found that the onerous task of rifling through countless papers to find that precious document has been a costly process.

I continue to be a proponent of using document management and workflow for mortgage lending, as the efficiency gains by capturing documents accurately during the loan origination process provide significant savings and increased compliance. However, for those organizations that either have cultural or process-related obstacles to implementing workflow, the concept of scanning loan documentation post-close still holds great appeal. In a more competitive marketplace, the improved customer service and reduced wait times that scanned files can provide leads to happier borrowers, and as market conditions improve, hopefully more repeat business.

Tags: ECM, Document Management, Document Scanning

Document management Software - Why we sell PaperVision AND OnBase

Posted by Michael Thomas on Tue, Apr 20, 2010 @ 02:48 PM
If you're looking for Document Management Software to help your business perform more efficiently and reduce operating costs, we offer two unique document management software programs to help  meet your needs. Why two products you might ask? Because in our 15 years of experience we've learned that no two companies have the same document management needs, and that no one product can solve everybody's problems.

If you are looking for a low-cost document management solution to allow you to search and retrieve files directly from the desktop or web browser PaperVision Enterprise is a fantastic solution. Featuring an easy-to-use, easy to customize interface, PaperVision Enterprise can meet the needs of most companies. PaperVision also has the tools to allow you to annotate documents, print your files, and e-mail documents directly from the user interface. PaperVision also has the ability to incorporate simple workflow and drive business process using automated rules, routing, and roles. PaperVision is also the software behind ImageSilo, the world's leading hosted document management solution, so scalability is never really a concern.

For companies with more advanced document management requirements, including workflow and deep integrations with line of business applications, we also offer OnBase. Developed by Hyland Software, OnBase is True Enterprise Content Management. Onbase Software provides a seamless solution to deliver documents to line of business applications in support for transactions that take place during normal operations. Two hallmarks of the OnBase solution are their sophisticated workflow capabilities, allowing dynamic routing of documents based on individual document characteristics, and their award-winning Application Enabler, which provides direct integration with virtually any other application without the need for custom programming.

Selecting the right document management software for your business is not an easy task, and that's why our team of professionals can help make recommendations as to the right solution to meet your business requirements. If you're in the market for a solution to help you reduce costs and improve efficiency and ensure regulatory compliance, contact one of our solutions consultants to talk about your specific requirements and help make the decision as to whether PaperVision Enterprise or OnBase is the right solution for you.

Tags: ECM, Paperless Office, Document Management, Document Scanning, Document Imaging

PaperVision Enterprise R70 Now Available

Posted by Michael Thomas on Tue, Apr 20, 2010 @ 10:55 AM

Today marks the Official Release of PaperVision Enterprise R70, which features over 25 enhancements including Document Associations (Cross Liking Documents) and folder capabilities. These new features will help deliver additional value for clients already using PaperVision Enterprise and had a new level of functionality for clients who are looking to use the system.

PaperVision Enterprise, made by Digitech Systems is an easy-to-use document management software solution that allows you to search and retrieve documents using either a desktop client or web browser, both of which are included with the software. With the release of R70, PaperVision now features folder-based views of documents to make users more comfortable with the familiar interface the folders provide. In addition, R70 of PaperVision enables users to create relationships between documents and link them together based on common index values.

Equally as important is the ability to now display duplicate documents in detail sets as a single line item in the search screen results and to allow users to expand the view to see duplicates on the same screen. This functionality is important when there are one to many or many to one relationships between documents. A good example of this is an accounting environment when a single check may be used to pay multiple invoices or when multiple checks may be used to pay a single invoice.

PaperVision R70 is available as a free upgrade to current PaperVision Enterprise users with current maintenance and it's included with each new license of PaperVision Enterprise. For more information about PaperVision Enterprise and to find out about implementing this solution for your organization contact Shoreline Records Management online or give us a call at 866-No-Paper (866-667-2737).

Tags: ECM, Paperless Office, Document Management

OnBase 9.2 Released by Hyland Software

Posted by Michael Thomas on Thu, Mar 11, 2010 @ 06:27 PM

OnBase 9.2 has been released by Hyland Software, and there are many new features that will continue to deliver value to clients looking for Enterprise Content Management solutions, as well as those who have already invested in the OnBase ECM Platform. 

Continuing to build on the customer focused approach that has provided Hyland Software and the OnBase product with such a loyal customer following, OnBase 9.2 offers clients significant capability enhancements including a new User Interface Experience (Unity), Workflow Integrations for Blackberry, and a new Offline Client that will expand the ability to use OnBase in remote locations without network or internet connections. 

OnBase Authorized Solution ProviderAs an OnBase Certified Solution Provider, Shoreline Records Management is proud to increase the value that we bring to our clients Enterprise Content Management initiatives with the release of OnBase 9.2. "I think some of the features in OnBase 9.2 will continue to truly differentiate OnBase from other ECM Vendors." Said Thomas J. Olivieri, Chief Technology Officer for Shoreline. "For Example, the Mobile Workflow for Blackberry shows a great commitment to delivering the solutions that customers are requesting. I'm glad that we've been able to work with such a customer-focused partner." 

Prospective Clients Interested in Learning more about OnBase should visit ShorelineRecordsManagement.com or Hyland.com, and existing clients should contact Account Manager. Also, be sure to check out Hyland Software's new Blog at Blog.Hyland.com.

Tags: ECM, Paperless Office, OnBase

Need Temporary Scanning Help? Why it's better to Outsource.

Posted by Michael Thomas on Thu, Mar 11, 2010 @ 03:56 PM

 

If you've started the process of scanning documents and files and you're feeling like it may be an impossible task, you're not alone. Countless companies have gone down the road of using their own, existing personnel to help scan paper documents to digital images, only to realize that the task is more cumbersome than initially anticipated. The first place to turn is often to think that you need to employ temporary scanning help, but often outsourced file scanning is an even better option.

Temporary Scanning Help -If you choose to employ temporary scanning help, you're subjected to paying an hourly rate that may or may not be tied to performance. It will be in the best interest of your scanning temp to take as long as possible to scan your files, which may be the complete opposite of what you need from a business perspective.

Outsourced Scanning Service - When you use an outsourced scanning service, you will be contracting for a price per image, not a price per hour. This put the responsibility on the outsourced scanning service provider to capture your documents more quickly. The result is improved turnaround and faster access, which means more value from your scanning investment.

Temporary Scanning Help -Temporary Scanning Help is not accountable for their work. If your scanning temp doesn't do a quality job and ensure that your content is captured accurately, you won't be able to find your files when you need them later on. Even worse, that scanning temp has already moved on, and is no longer available to correct their mistakes.

Outsourced Scanning Service - Outsourced Scanning Services will enable you to leverage  the benefit of experience and process control, ensuring quality right from the start. In addition, if there are issues with the quality of the scanning work, you'll be able to contact the outsourced scanning partner to help provide resolution because they will want to ensure positive customer relationships.

There are no magic wands when it comes to scanning paper documents to digital images. It takes focus and attention to detail to ensure that a user will retrieve a meaningful image when they make a request or query. In the end, it is usually best to trust this responsibility to a team of trained professionals than a group of temporary scanning resources.

 

Tags: ECM, Paperless Office, Scanning

Choosing the right DPI for Business Document Scanning

Posted by Michael Thomas on Mon, Mar 08, 2010 @ 01:43 PM

If you choose to Scan and Store Business Documents Electronically, be cautious about the DPI (Dots Per Inch) that you choose to scan the files. There are many reasons to be cautious in selecting the appropriate DPI, including the desired level of clarity, readability, file storage requirements, and the type of image you're capturing.

For most Standard Business Documents, 200 DPI Bitonal (Black and White) should be adequate.

If you choose to Store files at a higher resolution, keep in mind that there are significant impacts to the size of the file. For Example:

A Standard office Document Scanned at 200 DPI, Bitonal as a TIF will be around 41K. The File will be Readable, and should be able to be emailed and downloaded fairly easily. At 300 DPI,  Bitonal, that same file balloons to 62K, which is still relatively small, but may consume much more space as you scan more pages.  Now here is where this gets interesting, if you choose to scan the same file at 150 DPI in Color, the file size increases to 164KB. There are a few reasons for this, most of which require big words like "bilinear interpolation", but the point is that you need to be sure to use the appropriate settings when scanning files to ensure that you use the appropriate amount of storage, and don't create bloated, slow-moving files.

What are your best suggestions for DPI Settings? Be sure to add your input in the comments!

Tags: ECM, Paperless Office, Scanning, Scanners

Enterprise Search - To Search...or To Find?

Posted by Michael Thomas on Thu, Feb 25, 2010 @ 12:27 PM
For years, I've spoken with clients about making all of their companies' information available to users just like a "Google" search. Recently, I've begun hearing from clients and prospects, however, that they're beginning to see tools like Google Search Appliance (GSA) as an alternative solution to true Enterprise Content Management. This question is extremely valid, and to be honest, I couldn't put my finger on exactly what the right answer was.

In Early March 2009, I had an opportunity to pose this question to Miguel Zubizaretta, CTO of Hyland Software during their Team OnBase Conference. Miguel answered the question for me in a way that finally made it clear to me how ECM Technology and Enterprise Search Technology are different, and perhaps just as importantly, how they need to co-exist. "The Google, or Enterprise Search Paradigm is different from that of ECM." Said Zubizaretta. "When you do a search online, in Google, for example, the user is looking for content that relates to a specific search term. What is returned is a series of results which have a relationship with the query. If a user has their question answered or issue resolved, or if they find something relevant to that query, they're satisfied and the search was a success. The question, however, is does that query provide ALL applicable results, or does it even provide the correct result? That is the purpose of ECM."

ECM technology is built on the premise that documents and content are indexed with certain, specific pieces of metadata, or keywords. This allows for a very high degree of specificity when conducting a search - Dates, Amounts, and other Identification are specifically tagged to that object. When searching within an Enterprise Search Platform, however, the results are largely based on an algorithmic scoring and interpretation of the text within that content. This means that the search may locate the item that you're searching for, but it also may neglect certain documents that were relevant to the query, but which were not defined to have a direct relationship with that document via common metadata or keywords.

Therefore the real difference between the technologies is reflective of the two purposes for their use. If you want to find ANY answers to a given query, then Enterprise Search is likely an acceptable strategy. If, however, you want to be able to find ALL applicable answers to that query, then ECM technology is likely to be the better choice. This is especially important for CTO's and other Technology Decision makers to understand as they invest in systems, because without accurately capturing ALL of the possible results, there could be dire consequences for the business.

In addition to the difference in the search paradigm, other functionality, such as version control, audit trails, and workflow are often inherent to ECM systems. This makes ECM a critical component for a company's regulatory and audit compliance. This doesn't make these two technologies mutually exclusive, but rather quite complimentary to each other. The ability to provide full-text search capabilities within an ECM System is often very useful for eDiscovery Processes, or when someone remembers an obscure fact about a given document, but may not remember where they read it. Likewise the ability to conduct a broad Enterprise Search and view all of the ECM Results within the same window can provide a great method of federating the retrieval of content that may not be stored within the ECM System. So while neither ECM nor Enterprise Search alone are the panacea for all that ails enterprise information management, but together, both technologies can go a long way to improving the end-user experience and help users find the information that they need to make better, more informed business decisions.

Tags: ECM, Enterprise Search, OnBase, Google

The REAL cost of Lost Documents

Posted by Michael Thomas on Thu, Aug 13, 2009 @ 01:19 PM

Document management is one area of business that is often overlooked.  That is, of course, until the first time that an important document goes missing.  Lost documents can cause problems including poor customer service, inefficient operation, and legal penalties. The best way to avoid disorganization is by to ensure that you've taken some simple steps to ensure you can find your files when you need them.

Create a Document Policy

Start by putting together a document policy for your company.  This should include specifics about how employees are to handle filing, retrieving and keeping files.  Lost documents can cost your business in lost time, money and reputation.  When documents are needed for tax purposes or for litigation the outcome depends on the ability to produce accurate records.  If records are lost it can cost your company thousands of dollars.

Stay Organized

Keep your company organized by putting a document storage policy in place.  Typically, the safest and most affordable place to store older documents in at a records management facility.  There your files will be properly inventoried and organized.  If you need a document you can easily get it with a simple request.  Files are secure and easy to find - the two main requirements of any file system.

Consider all Storage Options

In addition to storing paper files you can also choose to turn your files into electronic documents by scanning.  The scanning of files can either be done internally or outsourced, depending on your preference and needs.  For many companies file scanning makes sense because it cuts down on storage costs and improves file organization.  Once files are no longer needed they can be disposed of by shredding.

Leverage Efficiency to Save Money

Lost documents can actually cost your company in the long run.  Choose a records management policy that you can work with and that properly does the task of organizing your documents properly.  Partnering with a reputable records management company will almost always save you money and provide you with ongoing support for all your records management needs.

Tags: ECM, Scanning, Enterprise Search, File Storage, Records Management