Category Archives for "General Support"

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.

Oracle IPM 10g and Imaging 11g Migration

One of the things we’ve done a lot of here at ImageSource are migrations. It’s definitely one our core competencies. For a little more information on our approach to migrations, you can review my earlier post here. Lately, migrations have been more focused because the majority of them involve moving content out of the Oracle IPM 10g or Oracle Imaging 11g products. Oracle IPM 10g has reached end-of-life, and Oracle Imaging 11g was the terminal release of the product, so essentially that product line is dead. The IPM 10g product was something we worked with for many years, so we have a wealth of knowledge on its “ins and outs.” IPM was a feature-rich, but older, product stack, and it was in need of a rewrite. However, when Oracle rewrote the product as Imaging 11g, there were a lot of key and important features that didn’t make the cut.

Because of everything I’ve mentioned, businesses running on these particular Oracle ECM platforms have had to make decisions for their long term ECM vision or roadmap. I have worked with a number of clients on technology evaluations and like to help determine their roadmap, but that’s a blog post for another time. One of the key pieces to any ECM roadmap for a company performing  these ECM solution changes is the migration of their content from the systems that they are replacing. Luckily we have ILINX Export and ILINX Import to make these migrations straightforward as possible.

There are a number of options with ILINX Export, but in short we use it to export all content and metadata out of a source system for migration into any destination system. By default, ILINX Export retrieves the content from the source system in exactly the same format it was in when it was added to the original system. By exporting the content out in its native format, a customer can keep a copy of the original data, and any data manipulation or file conversions can be done downstream. ILINX Export does have the ability to convert files to PDF, but we generally recommend image conversion when importing the content into the destination system. Utilizing our knowledge of Oracle ECM, there are plenty of options when extracting the content from these products. For example:

  • Only migrate certain applications.
  • Only migrate content created after, or before, a certain date.
  • Only migrate the content that falls within certain criteria: i.e., specific business unit, a set of document types, or virtually any criteria that can be identified with the content metadata.
  • Split the content up so content that meets certain criteria goes to one destination, and content meeting other criteria goes elsewhere.
  • Retain the IPM, or Imaging, annotations. These can be flattened into the documents, but I only recommended that in certain instances. If the client is migrating to ILINX Content Store, we can migrate the annotations as an overlay into the new ILINX system.
  • There are many options for formatting the data when it its exported from the source system. ILINX Export can output the metadata to text or XML files with complete control of the format, delimiter, field order, layout, and size of those files. That flexibility allows for the creation of input files in a format that can work for just about any destination system.
  • The metadata can also be written directly to SQL to support long term storage or manipulation if necessary.
  • Schedule the export to run during off-hours to keep the load off the servers while clients are using the old system.
  • Detailed auditing of the entire process to help with reporting, compliance and troubleshooting.
  • Many more.

Once you’ve defined all the rules surrounding the migration and started execution, the next step is importing that content and metadata to the destination ECM system. For that, we use our ILINX Import product which I’ll cover in a later post. If you have any questions about ILINX Export, reach out to us for a demo or discussion.

John Linehan
Sr. Systems Engineer
ImageSource, Inc.

Transferring ILINX Release Configurations When Upgrading

Starting with ILINX Capture v6, the Release configurations are stored within the ILINX database. In ILINX Capture v5x, the ILINX Release configurations were stored in XML files on a disk. ILINX Capture called ILINX Release using a SendAndReceivedReply IXM. The change to store the settings within the ILINX database is very useful for a number of reasons: Release settings are part of the batch profile allowing for simpler migrations between environments, Release is much easier to configure, all configurations are in the database, etc. However, this change can create some extra work when upgrading from ILINX Capture 5x to ILINX Capture 6x. Because of the different architecture, ILINX Release needs to be completely reconfigured for the existing batch profiles. In addition, the Release XML doesn’t change, but there is a shortcut that can be taken. After you have upgraded ILINX Capture to v6, you’ll notice a new IXM in the palette: ILINX Release IXM Icon

The existing ILINX workflow will likely have a SendAndReceiveReply IXM on the map that the 5x version of ILINX Capture used to call ILINX Release. Most likely, it would look like this:
SendAndReceiveReply_IXMTo configure ILINX Release for ILINX Capture 6x, the SendAndReceiveReply IXM will need to be removed from the map and a Release IXM must be dragged onto the workflow map in its place. Once the new Release IXM is on the map, it will need to be configured. This is where the shortcut can be taken. Instead of having to manually enter in the correct URLs, map the metadata values, and configure any other settings, do this:
Configure and save Release with some place holder settings: I normally leave the settings at default and enter in the bare minimum:

  • Job Name
  • User Name
  • Password
  • Batch Profile
  • Release Directory

Once ILINX Release configuration is saved and the workflow map is published, there will be a new entry in the ILINX Capture database Capture WorkflowAppSettings table. The CaptureWorkflowAppSettings.SettingsXML column is where the Release configuration is stored. Now it’s time to update the SettingsXML column with the XML from the ILINX Release 5x job settings file. The Release job should be on the ILINX Release 5.x server at c:ProgramDataImageSourceILINXReleaseSettingsJobs. The only caveat here is to be sure to place single quotes around the XML content. Here is what the SQL update statement would look like:

update [ILINX CAPTURE DATABASE].[dbo]. [CaptureWorkflowAppSettings] set SettingsXml = ‘COPY AND PASTE ALL TEXT FROM 5.4 OR PRIOR RELEASE JOB SETTINGS FILE HERE’
where settingsID = ‘APPROIATE ID HERE’

Following this procedure can save some time if upgrading an ILINX Capture 5x system that has a lot of batch profiles. A lot of the time spent on the upgrade could be in the ILINX Release configuration. If I was upgrading a system with only a few batch profiles, I would probably just reconfigure them. If I was upgrading a system with a lot of batch profiles, I would go through the above steps to save some time.

John Linehan
Sr. Systems Engineer
ImageSource, Inc.

1 2 3 5