Category Archives for "Solutions"

RPA Solution at Call Center Improves Service and Pays for Itself in a Year

Technology leaders are jumping on the Robotics Process Automation (RPA) technology bandwagon for good reason. It yields tremendous value in a myriad of business and industry sectors. RPA automates repetitive manual tasks performed by human workers, so their time can be used in higher value responsibilities. Because manual actions occur in so many different business processes, RPA is one of the most rapidly expanding technologies today.

Common business processes that can benefit from the use of RPA technology include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Customer or employee onboarding
  • Regulatory compliance reporting
  • Order scheduling & tracking of shipments
  • Loan application opening
  • Credit collections
  • Shipment load research

High Adoption Rate Driven Is by the Bottom Line and Top-Notch Service

Two primary factors are driving the demand and embrace of RPA: tremendous ROI and improved quality of service. Typically, investment costs can be recouped in a very short amount of time—often just a few months—while ongoing savings can be substantial. RPA allows you to process disputes faster and more accurately, 24x7x365.

One global IT company estimates that 62% of customers will consider switching to a competitor after only one or two unpleasant experiences. Besides saving taxpayer money, even government agencies need to supply great customer service through speed and accessibility. Think about USPS, who now competes head to head with UPS and FedEx for shipping services.

The Call Center—An Ideal Setting to Leverage RPA

For the purpose of this blog, let’s take the case of a large multi-national financial institution (we’ll call them $-Corp) with a customer service call center operation. They employ hundreds of Customer Service Representatives (CSRs), spanning multiple countries. As with many large corporate environments, call centers typically utilize several systems in their day to day business. These generally include a CRM system. Often, the CRM will interface with to pass data to and/or require data be passed back by ERP systems and/or other Line of Business (LOB) systems. Any of these systems may be commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) applications or custom applications developed in house. Further, these systems may or may not have Application Programming Interfaces (API’s) that allow for easy back end integration.

In this case, customers call into the $-Corp Call Center to dispute items on their financial records. Typically, customers will send in supporting documentation for their disputes. As with all high-volume transaction environments, CSR’s work to process as many transactions per day as possible. Every keystroke and mouse click is measured. These actions relate to Average Call Handling time, which directly translates to cost of operations. Thus, $-Corp Call Center is a prime process candidate for reducing costs and improving the Average Call Handling time.

Repetitive Tasks Peppered Throughout Workflow

$-Corp Call Center utilizes a fully automated business process workflow to address the core functional requirements of their operations. Processing disputes involves repetitive tasks that must happen on every single transaction. Prior to harnessing the power of RPA, CSRs manually keyed dispute information into two systems: the CRM system (in this case Salesforce) and on multiple screens of a LOB application that is the system of record (Customer Dispute Information System, or CDIS). Although this aging technology and will be replaced with a proper CRM system at some point in the future, for now, the Call Center must utilize this custom developed front end user interface with an AIX database backend. This is where RPA has provided huge value.

RPA Leverages Existing ECM System

The initial Call Center solution utilizes the Enterprise Content Management system (ECM) infrastructure already in place to automate the processing of supporting documents submitted by the customer. An import utility is used to capture incoming electronic documents from an upload portal on $-Corp’s website and convert them to TIFF files using a format conversion tool. Advanced Capture is used to OCR these documents, as well as scanned paper letters, forms, etc. that are mailed in. Extracted information is then infused as metadata into the workflow process that CSRs use to work through disputes with customers. When the CSR completes a dispute transaction and submits the record into the CDIS system, ILINX automatically passes the data to Salesforce.

Let’s circle back to the repetitive tasks requiring CSRs to manually key information. Since this data has been electronically captured and extracted, RPA agents (or bots) are utilized to update the CRM and LOB systems and monitor the updates for failures. RPA technology takes a push of XML data from a Salesforce dispute record and inserts that data into the various screens in the CDIS interface. It then submits the record and returns transaction information back to Salesforce.

Keystrokes Cost Millions

The manual keying of that information into other systems, like $-Corp CSRs did before the bots took that task, can involve hundreds of keystrokes per case. It can also require specific formatting of the data. RPA addresses data formatting taking existing data from one source and apply it to another source, thus eliminating the possibility of human error when keying. By using RPA to execute the redundant and manual tasks, every single transaction, performed by hundreds of CSRs every day, shaves time off of the Average Call Handling time. In this environment, quickly completed transactions are king. The ROI, estimated by the Call Center staff for this solution, is significant. They expect to recoup the initial investment within year one.

Building Value on Top of Value

The RPA solution alone was a significant benefit to the Call Center operations. Yet, RPA provides exponential value when coupled seamlessly with existing workflows, and associated backend processes: onboarding of electronic and paper content, OCR technology, integrations, etc. These ECM technologies further enhance a comprehensive and PCI compliant solution that is easily scalable as $-Corp continues to grow. Scaling the RPA solution can be as simple as adding additional VDIs or adding additional server resources to the solution to address additional volume.

Because of the successful deployment in the Call Center, $-Corp is currently investigating additional business processes in multiple departments that will benefit from RPA. With such sizable reductions in operational expenses and rapid ROI, they are anxious to find other areas to leverage the RPA capabilities in the ILINX ECM stack to achieve significant information technology wins.

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.

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

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.

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