Category Archives for "BPM"

Compliant Public Disclosure Starts with Smart Records Retention

If there’s one message I consistently hear from customers today, it’s how big of a deal public disclosure is for the government and how we need better solutions around it. That being said, you would not believe how many of these organizations don’t feel that they have a good handle on their content.

In Washington State, public disclosure refers to the release of all documents and content to the person making the request. These documents at minimum need to be available for the requestor to view. There are some exemptions to this, such as sealed case files.

Good public disclosure practices really start with one thing: good record-keeping (and destruction). We hear time and time again from customers that they’ve never thrown anything away for fear that the document may be needed at a later date. While they may be thinking that this is the best way to avoid throwing anything away that should be kept, it also means keeping records that should have been destroyed.

Some aren’t aware of the fact that when a public disclosure request comes in, organizations are required by law to turn over any documentation pertaining to the request (as long as it is subject to disclosure). That means that if documents haven’t been destroyed and fall under the specific request, those documents need to be turned over as well, even though they are past the retention period. This poses a huge risk in regards to potential litigations.

Getting your records in order may seem like an overwhelming task, but here are some steps you can take to move toward better practices related to retention and disposition of records.

  1. Understand YOUR Organization’s Requirements for Record Retention and Disposition
    Every organization is different. Certain records have to be kept longer than others, some records might need to be sealed, others may need redaction before they can be turned over, etc. Each organization, each department, even each business process may have different requirements around records. Determine and document what the requirements are so that when you start to do an inventory of content, you have a definitive plan regarding what needs to be kept and for how long. Click here for a link to the Washington State Records Retention Schedules.
  2. Where are my Records?
    Identify where records are kept. Are they stored on a network share? In a file cabinet? In a content management system? Somewhere else? Are they in paper form? Electronic? Are there video files? Regardless of where the documents are kept, the regulations are around how you get the content organized, not the file format or how hard the collection process is. This will help ensure that there are not duplicate documents, and if there are, that only the pertinent copies are kept so as not to be a factor in a potential litigation.
  3. Perform an Analysis and Inventory of Your Records
    Some organizations choose to do this internally, some hire a contractor, and some take a hybrid approach. Regardless of which path you choose, determine what content you have, what needs to be kept, and what can be disposed of before evaluating any technology. This will keep you from bringing content into a solution that will need to be immediately disposed of after the initial analysis.
  4. Choose a Solution that is Flexible and Easy
    95% of organizations I work with are looking for a solution that is easy-to-use yet flexible enough to change with requirements. They want something that can easily set up to work with current retention and disposition schedules, yet can be updated without too much effort if laws or regulations change.
  5. Trust the System
    If you’ve done the prep work correctly, then what you need to do is trust what you’ve put in place is going to work. Choose a good partner with a track record of success to help you.

These are just a few ideas to get you thinking about what can be accomplished around public disclosure, records retention and your content. ImageSource has been assisting customer partners with these types of solutions for the last 20 years. We have done everything from initial consulting through implementation and support. Below is a short list of some of offerings:

  • Expert consulting to determine your “as is” state and develop a plan to get you to your “desired” state using industry best practices
  • Assessment of your current technology and how it can be leveraged
  • Solution evaluation to perfectly match technology with your requirements
  • Solution deployment, configuration, training and rollout
  • Document collection, conversion, scanning, taxonomy definition and automated classification and metadata extraction
  • Data Migration
  • Ongoing partnership for system/process tuning, growth and support
  • Managed applications services

The ILINX platform can assist any organization with getting a handle on their content.

Migrating 85 million documents from Oracle 10g with no data loss—a process, not an anomaly

ImageSource has been successfully executing migrations, large and small, to and from content repositories since 1994. Recently, we completed a mammoth project for a global financial information services company in which we migrated 85 million documents from a deprecated Oracle 10g IPM system to ILINX Content Store in 9 months with 99.99995% accuracy. That’s zero loss of data, except a few hundred docs that were already corrupt in the source system!
The speed and accuracy of this project can be attributed to 3 important factors that made the content migration successful:

  1. We assembled a strong technical team.
    The team for this project consisted of an Oracle 10g technical subject matter expert, a seasoned PMP Project Manager with years of experience managing Oracle 10g migrations and a SQL database expert. This team provided all the expertise required to plan, execute and audit this size of migration.
  2. We used time-tested methodology from years of experience performing similar data migrations.
    Given the mission critical and high transaction volume nature of the legacy Oracle 10g system, maintaining business continuity was critical. A detailed Migration Plan was developed addressing all content to be migrated, associated requirements (e.g. retention of annotations, excluding content that had or would meet document retention\destruction requirements during the duration of the migration, etc.), and auditing requirements. A detailed audit and migration report was performed and delivered to provide an accounting for every single document in the source system.
  3. We utilized powerful, configurable technology.
    We leveraged multiple tools and techniques in the execution model (e.g. temporary migration environment that included replicated data, multiple instances of ILINX Export, etc.) to be able to complete the migration. By creating a temporary migration environment, we were able to leverage the power of ILINX Export, ILINX Import and a multi-instance model to perform the migration in record time. The numbers speak for themselves: 85M docs, 9 months, zero data loss.

We’ve used a similar services formula for migration execution large and small—your migration doesn’t have to be massive like the one mentioned above to give you great ROI. That, and the right software mix, will eliminate headaches from the equation the next time you have to migrate content.
If schedules or other factors outside your control don’t allow time for a full migration prior to going live with your new system, we have a feature in ILINX Content Store that will allow customers to turn off their normal end user access to your legacy system on day one of using the new system and still pull content from the legacy system through the ILINX interface, read more about that here. This enables significant benefits that include smarter resource allocation within your operating constraints and migration flexibility. Contact us for more information.

Gene Eckhart, PMP
Project Manager
ImageSource, Inc

6 Automation Improvements to Help You Grow Consumer Lending Without Increasing Supporting Staff

We recently helped the largest credit union in Alaska (17th in the nation) automate their consumer loan processing operations. With a growing number of their 77 locations looking to processing auto dealership loan requests, Alaska USA Federal Credit Union needed to replace their manual, paper-based process to meet current and future demands.

As is the case with many lenders who haven’t yet gone electronic, paper loan requests packets were being submitted via multiple avenues from dealerships. These packets consisted of anywhere from 20 to 25 pages per packet with a variety of page sizes, file sizes and quality. Some documents were even printed from DOT Matrix printers at some of the dealerships. Packets came in primarily through fax and email, and local dealers in Anchorage would even hand deliver loan packets. Once received, faxes and emails were printed out and paper documents were used to process the loan request. The documents had to go through various people for review and approval creating a lot of manual movement of paper. Having these documents in paper format also created a need for document storage in file cabinets consuming significant floor space in the building.

In order to rise above the limitations that paper processing placed on loan approval volume, Alaska USA went digital, with 6 major automation improvements to shave valuable time off the process:

  1. Fax Ingestion – When faxes come in they are dumped into a folder, which is monitored by a product called ILINX® Import. As soon as a fax lands in the folder, it is immediately injected into a robust capture product—ILINX Capture
  2. Email Ingestion – Similar to faxes, ILINX Import monitors email folders and pushes the documents (attachments) into ILINX Capture
  3. Scanning Paper – Paper is scanned using prebuilt batch profiles in ILINX Capture for quick indexing in. This component is very flexible, in that scanning can be done with a variety of devices, from small desktop scanners to MFPs to dedicated, high-volume scanners
  4. Image Clean-up – Documents are automatically improved and made more readable through image repair: de-speckle, deskew, auto-rotate, advanced binarization and more
  5. Auto-Indexing – Once in ILINX Capture, database lookups from supporting systems are performed to auto populate many of the index values to alleviate manual entry of data already available
  6. Workflow – The documents, along with pre-populated metadata are then released into Alaska USA’s existing backend software, EMC ApplicationXtender, to travel through workflow to various queues for further processing

Having automated their Consumer Loan process, Alaska USA has greatly improved their service to auto dealers and can be more competitive on winning new business. On the cost savings side, they can process more loans without increasing headcount and have eliminated hard copy document storage.

Al Senzamici

Account Executive

ImageSource, Inc.

Migrating from Stellent UCM & IBPM – A little foresight can alleviate a lot of trouble

Migrations from systems like IBPM to ILINX can be fraught with issues that can bite the unwary in very bad places. However, if you are aware of such problems, you can plan ways to mitigate them and have a successful migration in the end.

One issue we run into is documents that have a page or two with corrupt images. Perhaps when the page was first contributed to IBPM, a system or other type of issue caused the image to be corrupt or cease to exist. Either physical hardware or a software bug can be the culprit. The product we use for migration, ILINX Export, will flag this document as an error, skip it and move on to the next document in RECID order. Once the export is completed, these flagged documents have to be re-visited. Once a determination is made that an image is indeed corrupt, and the chance to recover it from backups is extremely remote, the document can be deleted or manually exported from IBPM without the corrupt image.

Another matter we’ve dealt with is related to non-tiff images. This category is “universal” type images, and includes PDF, DOC, XLS, MSG and a host of other file types that IBPM supports. There are options within the ILINX Export tool that will allow the export of these files types in their native format through the IBPM SDK. Or the export can be done through database manipulation that can directly access the image file and then “unzip” the universal file into its native format.

The issue that can be encountered here is twofold, and manifests itself when migrating to another repository. One, IBPM stores the native file zipped up with another file that contains metadata and has no file extension. When the document is unzipped there are two files, one with a valid file type and one without. Typically, backend repositories require file extensions, which are useful for performance, like displaying file type icon on the user interface, and a variety of other reasons. During the migration, importing to the backend may be impeded due to a lack of extensions on the metadata files. Secondly, if the extension of the universal file has been altered or damaged in storage, the file type may not be a standard that the new repository will accept. In any case, having your migration come to a screeching halt is something to avoid.

Awareness is the key. By proactively incorporating a response into your migration plan, you can eliminate much heartburn and anxiety. That is where the expertise and knowledge of a seasoned Optika / Stellent / Oracle integrator, like ImageSource, comes into play. We have helped many customers build migration plans that take these and other items into account, so the migrations are as smooth and worry-free as possible.

Chris Hillenburg
Sr. Systems Engineer
ImageSource, Inc.

Oracle IPM 10g and Imaging 11g Migration: Part 2 Blog

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about ECM migrations, with a focus specifically on moving content from Oracle IPM/Imaging to other destination systems—projects we’ve been performing a lot of lately. Our tools of choice for migrations are ILINX Export and ILINX Import, but if the destination ECM system isn’t supported by ILINX Import, there are other options. Almost every ECM system has mechanisms to do bulk or mass imports. ILINX Export provides many options to format the data so sometimes it is a matter of configuring the output to be in a format supported by the third party import application. Other times, utilizing these third party import applications may require a little development. Regardless of what’s necessary, we’ve never run into a destination system that we couldn’t work with.

There are multiple reasons we split the migration operations into two parts—export and import—flexibility being the biggest one. There are a lot more options when splitting the migration into two separate operations. Since we don’t modify the data on export from the source system, a snapshot can be taken for long term archival. Then on import, or pre-import, we can massage the data, perform file conversions, or augment the data by pulling additional data from an external source. Even though we split the migration up into two operations, they can be run in tandem so there is little effect on the overall duration of the migration.

One of the biggest concerns surrounding these migrations is the amount of time it will take. Performing tests in the actual environment is required because of how many variables go into the throughput of a migration. If the migration is estimated to take too long after initial testing, there are options to address that scenario, including:

  • Create a migration environment with instances of the source ECM system software on newer, more powerful servers, and restore the production data to these new servers in order to execute the migration from there. This has the additional benefit of removing any potential performance impact to the legacy production system for the duration of the migration.
  • Spin up additional instances of ILINX Export and/or ILNX Import to increase throughput. There will be a point when additional instances of the export or import process will not increase throughput—generally when when a bottleneck restricts the maximum throughput that the source or destination system can achieve.

Recently, I had a customer that had set a hard go-live date that was just 60 days after project initiation for their new system. We had no problem meeting this requirement from a technology deployment standpoint, but our migration testing indicated that we wouldn’t be able to move all of their 25+ million documents in that time frame. In order to make the new system go-live date, we migrated the three previous years’ content first, then resumed with the older, remaining content. Since the vast majority of content to be retrieved would be from the previous year, the fact that the migration wasn’t 100% complete at go-live was a non-issue. This is an approach we’ve followed numerous times.

Once a migration is in full swing, auditing can be the most time consuming part of the process. ILINX Export and ILINX Import have very complete auditing capabilities, so while the migration is occurring, issues are immediately identified and can be addressed. We generally audit a couple different ways to confirm success. If only using ILINX Export, what is exported can be compared with what is in the source system to ensure all content was pulled out. When performing a complete migration, what is imported into the destination system is compared with the source system. Any migration can only be considered a success when it is proven that all the content was migrated, which is why we practice multi-step auditing during the migration.

By following our standard methodology for migrations and utilizing the technology we’ve developed over the years, we consistently perform reliably successful migrations. To read more about migrations, review my previous blog posts Oracle IPM 10g and Imaging 11g Migration and Steps for a successful ECM migration using ILINX Export.

If you have any questions about my blogs, or would like to discuss the possibilities for migration within your organization, please reach out to me or your contact at ImageSource to start the conversation.

John Linehan
Sr. Systems Engineer
ImageSource, Inc.

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