Category Archives for "BPM"

5 Components of Smart Electronic Forms (eForms)

The differences in eForms offerings on the market could be compared to phones. You have your basic hard-wired wall unit, your cordless (but hardwired) model and finally, your smartphone—a high powered hand-held computer. They provide the same basic functionality, but one saves you oodles of time, integrates your data and content, and seems to have unlimited applications.

Smart electronic forms, the kind that can provide serious process efficiencies, have 5 essential components.

  1. Integrates form (and the data) with any business system

    Some of the most substantial value you can achieve from electronic forms is gained through integrations with your existing business systems: line-of-business systems, ERPs, CRMs, Case Management systems (CMS), home-grown systems, and even databases.
    Data can be pulled from these systems to auto-fill, validate and correct data in form fields, real-time. Not only does this make the form filling process quicker and easier for the user, but it helps ensure complete and accurate data.
    Anytime in the process, the submitted data can be pushed to these systems to update records immediately.

  2. Robust, transparent workflow

    For a fully automated process, a powerful workflow engine is essential. Features that help expedite processing include automated alerts and reminders. Customizable views for individual users expose only the information necessary, providing a simple and secure approval process.
    In addition, both submitter and business, have visibility to the form as is progresses through the processing cycle.

  3. Feature-rich user interface for quick & complete submittal

    Many eForms applications limit your ability to automate they simply collect field data. and then require additional steps for a complete submittal of required information. Items such as signatures, supporting documents, images with annotations, etc. are often require additional keying and rekeying, handling and human interference. It’s important to find a platform that provides this full functionality.
    Additionally, look for features such as auto-calculation, action-based dynamic sections that expand or collapse, progress bars and pop-up calendars.

  4. Easy to build an expose

    Who wants to engage IT help every time they need a new form generated? An easy to master, drag-and-drop form builder will put control in the hands of your business unit. You’ll gain huge benefit by being able to edit current forms and create new ones to automate any process.
    Once created, whether serving customers, constituents or employees, your forms should be available anywhere: public websites, portals, intranet sites or line-of -business systems. They should be responsive, so they’ll display perfectly any device, desktop to smartphone. Really smart eForms allow you to fill offline and sync for universal access.

  5. Control over form and final document appearance

    Forms you expose on public and internal sites should reflect your brand, from logo to corporate colors and fonts. Look for a platform that provides that options for appearance.
    More importantly, the simplified form in the fillable state should be able to be converted to any format you require. For example, the simple, dynamic eForms we created for courtroom processes maps the data to a state mandated forms for the final archived document.

If you’re vetting electronic form solutions, you’re obviously ready to move past paper. But the capabilities of very few eForms platforms run deep and provide end-to-end automation that can be extended to many processes. Do your homework. You don’t want to invest in a touch-tone, wall-mounted model in this era of pocket-sized-super-computer phones.

Let us know if we can provide additional information about how smart eForms can maximize efficiencies in your business processes. Visit our website ILINX eForms, request specific information here, or give us a call at 360-943-9273.

How eForms in Courts are Pioneering End-to-End Paperless Processes

Case Management featured

Courts everywhere use specialized software to manage their core business functions, not unlike any standard business process in any organization. ImageSource has worked with many courts to promote their paperless initiatives and integrate with their case management systems (CMS), whether they have proprietary systems or they are using popular software like Tyler, JTI, Justice Systems, or Thomas Reuters.

The reasons to utilize electronic forms in the courtroom are obvious. Eforms can enable an end-to-end paperless process, eliminate inked signatures, manual approval stamping, scanning and filing. They can also require that complete and accurate data is submitted.
Some case management systems include electronic forms modules, but they have real limitations. Because they are commonly static PDF documents that lack many of the benefits listed above, progressive courts choose to integrate a more robust eForms software for several reasons:

  1. Flexiblity of form structure
  2. Extended capabilities
  3. Data from forms can be pushed to other systems or standardized forms
  4. Control over final product or image
  5. Ability to easily build out additional forms not found in CMS

With these advantages in mind, let’s take a look at a real-world application to show the difference specialized, robust eForms software can make.

In the case of some California Superior Courts, eForms are revolutionizing traditional processes. In the past, attorneys and their supporting staff would have to sift through inapplicable fields to fill a paper form. Some of the fields had to be hastily filled during a hearing and then handed to the judge for a signature. The paper would then be delivered to court clerks, who would review and time stamp the document, scan and manually enter pertinent data into the case management system. The document would then be uploaded to a repository or the CMS, sometimes requiring more keying of index fields.

Flexible Form Structure & Extended Capabilities Simplify Completion

When advanced electronic software is integrated with a CMS, an eForm can automatically pull information from that database to pre-fill pertinent fields, verifying data, saving time and ensuring accuracy. Responsive form technology automatically only shows applicable fields, revealing more of the form only when certain actions are taken, like checking a box. Additional functionality enables the process to be completely paperless to provide additional efficiencies to the process. They include:

  • Pop-up calendars
  • Customizable branding
  • Electronic signature
  • Date stamping
  • Progress bar
  • Attachments documents or images
  • Calculator
  • Responsive sections (certain actions expose more fields)

Properly Integrated eForms Software and Court Case Management Systems To Deliver a More Powerful Solution that Functions Like a Single System

This eForm functionality is not just impressive, but exponentially valuable when integrated with existing case management systems, like Tyler, JTI, Justice Systems, and Thomas Reuters. The good news is that integrating some products, like our ILINX eForms, doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated.

Using ILINX eForms as an example, let me outline an example of the synergistic relationship between the two platforms for both the push and pull of data. As mentioned above, the eForm is able to pull data from the CMS to pre-fill and validate data in the form fields.
Upon completion and of an electronic form during a hearing, the same workflow used for submittal and approval can begin a number of essential processes to push data. First, it can update the case management system with the data collected. Second, the data can be transformed into a digital document that looks like an official paper document that can be stored in the CMS, stored in a repository, shared or printed.

This image automatically retains relevant metadata so it can be easily searched for, making retrieval a breeze. Lastly, the data collected can be pushed to standardized forms, like the ones provided by the Judicial Council of California for Superior Courts to use, fully automating that process.

Data collected on eForm can be automatically pushed to a standardized PDF form, including signature

 

A Dedicated Form Software Allows Limitless Possibilities for Forms & New Efficiencies They Deliver

Imagine the possible applications across your organization for any process that needs to gather information and deliver it in a specifically structured document, or as raw data. Using the right form builder, your IT team can generate a wide variety of eForms internally, enabling granular control over function and the flow of information.

Using the courts as an example, a flexible eForms product like ILINX, can be extended to integrate with any number of business systems for better access and automation. Forms can be integrated with accounting systems for online invoice submission, status and resolution, procurement and expense reporting. Forms can be utilized by HR for onboarding, time-off requests and address/name changes. Public requests for court documents can be made through a web form. Payments for requested documents or fines can also be collected through a form. All this using one flexible platform.

These points highlight just how powerful the integration of a robust electronic forms platform can be, demonstrating the value that they add not just to a court system, but to virtually any organization.

For more information on ILINX eForms, visit our website, email us at info@imagesourceinc.com, or call (360)943-9273.
To learn more about ImageSource, and all of the content management services we provide, visit us here.

Compliant Public Requests Start with Smart Records Retention

One message we consistently hear from government customers is how they need better solutions around records requests. With content growing at exponential rates, and huge implications around potential litigation, many organizations don’t feel that they have a good handle on it.

The ability to comply with public records request laws in any jurisdiction starts with good record-keeping, including disposition. Keeping a record past it’s retention period can be as big a problem as not keeping it long enough.

Here are some steps you can take to move toward better records practices:

  1. Understand your organization’s unique requirements for retention and disposition
    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, department, even business process may have different requirements. 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. Know what content constitutes a record
    Records include more than paper and electronic documents. Email, photos, video, audio, text messages and form data that are generated or received as part of doing business can all be subject to records requests.
  3. Identify where your records reside
    They may be files on a network share or paper documents in a file cabinet. Regardless of where the documents are kept, regulations are rigid, regardless of the file format or how hard the collection process is.
  4. Perform an analysis and inventory
    A thorough inventory will help you manage duplicates and multiple versions of documents to mitigate litigation risk. This can be done internally, outsourced to a contractor, or 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 new content management technology. Migrating content that is not retention-worthy into a new system is not time or cost effective.
  5. Choose a solution that is flexible and easy
    Two of the highest priorities of 95% of the organizations we work with are that their content management system be easy-to-use and flexible enough to adapt to changing requirements. Specifically, they want easy-to-set-up retention and disposition schedules, that can be quickly updated—without extensive IT resources—if laws or regulations change.
    Automation can also ensure disposition on schedule. For examples, software can watch and take action on documents based on date-based metadata. Finding a system that can serve your entire enterprise with flexible disposition methods, like destruction, exporting to another system or leaving just metadata in its place is also important.
  6. Find a technology partner with depth and breadth of experience
    The success of your records initiative can depend greatly on where you go for help. With an astounding 68% failure rate for IT projects, its best to find a partner with time-tested methodology, from analysis to support. Experience in the following areas can make the difference between triumph and failure:
  • 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

If you’ve done the prep work correctly—analysis, inventory and technology partner and system selection—then what you’ve put in place will help you retain records exactly as long as required. If you’d like to learn more about ImageSource, our history, retention management and public records request solutions, please contact us today.

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

Two years ago, we helped one of the largest credit union in Alaska (17th in the nation at the time) automate their consumer loan processing operations. With a growing number of their 78 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.

For more information on ILINX eForms, visit our website, email us at info@imagesourceinc.com, or call (360)943-9273.
To learn more about ImageSource, and all of the content management services we provide, visit us here.

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