Category Archives for "Education"

5 mistaken beliefs about information management in Higher Ed

Your university may or may not have a strategy for managing content, the unstructured information streaming in and out of all areas of your campus on a daily basis. It’s likely you at least have a partial strategy where one or more of your departments is capturing and storing some type of unstructured information for later retrieval.

In a world where the use of digital channels is enabling organizations to synthesize large amounts of information in seconds, universities are making it a top priority to gain control of that rogue 80%, which is the approximate amount of unstructured information slipping through the cracks. This information is not easily accessible because it is scattered and isolated in departmental or personal file systems. This is the information employees need to do their jobs.

Information management 20% structured 80% unstructured information

University structured v. unstructured content

Content management services and software technologies have adapted to changing business environments so quickly over the past ten years, it is difficult to keep up with where the capabilities lie today. The following are five mistaken beliefs about content management and the facts that dispel those beliefs.

5. Content management is mostly beneficial for scanning and archiving documents.

Content management covers the lifecycle of information from creation and publication to archival and eventual disposal. One of the largest benefits of content management is enabling workflow automation. A perfect example is when someone in your organization wants to buy something. The individual begins to create documentation such as pricing research, correspondence, a requisition, purchase order, invoice and a contract to name a few. With workflow automation, these supporting documents are captured, routed and accessed interdepartmentally for approval, payment and auditing. Transactions are processed in hours or days instead of weeks.

Continue reading

Getting Rid of Legacy Systems

I recently watched a segment on King 5 News around how some government agencies are using legacy systems for their day-to-day work. The article was highlighting the software program used at the Washington Department of Licensing to process vehicle registrations, however, there are a number of additional agencies that are using legacy programs and platforms for their day-to-day processes. The segment went on to discuss how expensive it would be to update all of those systems. Continue reading

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.

Imaging hardware: How to get the best bang for your buck

Why price is not the most important factor when purchasing imaging hardware

When shopping for new imaging hardware, many customers look at their budget and let that dictate their purchase. Now I understand that budget is an important factor, however over the last 9 years working with imaging customers, many have purchased equipment based mainly on price – only to discover that it did not meet their long term growth needs.

So in light of these discussions, here are a few bits of wisdom that can be used as a checklist when considering new purchases:

What  scanner features are essential to you?

  • Color or Black & White (B & W) scanning?
    The majority of scanners automatically come with color option but can also provide B & W scanning for smaller document size files.
  • How fast do you need the scanner to scan?
    Scanners are classed by Pages per Minute (PPM).
  • How much volume are you expecting to scan per day, week or month?
    Volume and speed is determined by the manufacturer when they develop the scanner.
  • Manufacturers group their scanners into categories based on PPM and the Daily Duty Cycle (DDC).
    DDC is how many images the scanner can handle on a daily basis. So if you have a large volume of scanning to be completed on a daily basis, a small desktop workgroup scanner will not be sufficient for the volume – it would break down all the time. Here are the general groupings that manufacturers use:
  • Workgroup/ Low Volume
    Slower, smaller desktop scanners generally under 90PPM and DDC of approximately 500 to 20,000 documents per day, depending on model purchased.
  • Departmental/ Mid Volume
    Scanning speeds ranging 90-125PPM and DDC of approximately 30,000 to 125,000 documents per day, depending on model purchased.
  • High Volume
    Scanning speeds ranging 140-210PPM and DDC of approximately 150,000 to unlimited documents per day, depending on model purchased.
  • Network
    When scanning directly to a network, without the need of additional hardware or software. Scanning speeds tend to be slower for these scanners, generally under 60PPM and DDC of 6,000 per day, depending on model purchased.

What are the characteristics of your document?

  • How big are your batches of documents that you want to scan at one time? 
    Scanners come with different Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) sizes, ranging from 10 pages at a time to scan, up to 750 pages. If you have a large production scanning environment, the more the ADF holds the quicker the scan operator can scan documents. Generally scanners that have higher ADF also have higher PPM and DDC.
  • You need to determine the general sizes of your documents. 
    What is the maximum and minimum sizes, what length are the documents? Larger or longer documents (11 x 17” or 12 x 34”) do require a flatbed scanner or scanner that can handle longer documents.
  • Are they delicate documents that cannot be run through a scanner? This would also indicate you may need a flatbed scanner or a flatbed attachment to the scanner.
  • Do you require pre-scan or post-scan imprinting?
  • Is the scanner easy to clean every day by the user? 
    Are the consumables (rollers etc.) easy to replace by the end user? This can save money and time on the maintenance of the scanner and ensure optimum image clarity and scanning performance.

What value-add does the vendor/manufacturer offer?

  • Does the manufacturer offer evaluation or demo scanners for you to test before the purchase? 
    This is important when purchasing larger production scanners, it will help determine which scanner is the best fit for your scanning needs.
  • What type of scanner hardware maintenance contracts does the manufacturer offer? 
    Some include 1 year or multiple years in with the scanner purchase price and will save you money.
  • Will shipping be included in the initial purchase or is it an additional cost?

Many customers work with ImageSource to help them select the best fit, or to evaluate scanners side by side to determine what is the best bang for their buck. As you can see from the information above, sometimes price is not the only factor to consider with your new purchase.Let us help you!

To learn more about ImageSource, and all of the content management services we provide, visit us here.

Transactional Content Management – a catalyst for business process improvement

Despite the massive amounts of investments made in information technology there is still a need for businesses and organizations to continually ask the following questions on four main strategic business drivers:

  1. Reduce Costs: How can we complete “X” process in less time and with less cost and less labor?
  2. Increase Revenue: What can be done to improve the customer experience while shortening the sales cycle and improving our gross margins?
  3. Risk & Compliance: What must be in place in order to prevent unauthorized access and/or actions to our systems and data? What ability do we have to audit and report on the activities within the system?
  4. Competitive Advantage: What can be done to give our customers a “WOW” experience? What can be done to reduce the time from sales order-to-cash to improve self-funding our growth?

The strategic business drivers listed above when reduced down to their basic elements often translate into some type of process that is driven by documents and data. There are many systems that help affect this change like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM); however, they can often times fall short because they are great at processing data, they just aren’t equipped to deal with documents like an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system.

What is Enterprise Content Management or ECM? The Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) Continue reading