Category Archives for "Hardware"

Listening to the Machine

I was chatting with Sophia Marchi, the director of sales for the Americas for BÖWE BELL + HOWELL Scanners at our recent Nexus event. She had just delivered a great break-out on scanner selection criteria and we started talking about how the users need to have input on scanner selection – they really know what they like and what works for them. Often, these aren’t the people consulted when purchase decisions are made, and it’s a shame. She related how at FedEx, there were 13 identical scanners deployed, and the staff had names them all – Annabelle, Karina, Chloe, Hannah, and so forth. Workers bonded with their machines, and would line up for their favorite – even to the point of coming in early to get their machine. Or switching to it the second in came available. Well what’s the attraction — they are all the same machines, right? Then I recalled my brother and I had the same Schwinn 2 speed bikes as kids, then in college we bought the exact same motorcycles (I stuck to silver, he to purple). 3K miles down the road, I’d borrow his bike. Felt a bit funny, compared to mine with the same mileage. Fast forward to when we had put over 45K miles – what a difference. Rider habits with braking, acceleration, maintenance, even storage – added up to make these bikes ride with distinct differences. I do remember mine being faster – I guess my throttle was used to more demands. It’s the same story with scanners. Properly maintained scanners – the ones that are doted on and listened to carefully – are bound to last longer with fewer unexpected breakdowns. Sophia learned from the users that with their favorite scanners, the operators can hear roller wear, hear double feeds, even hear the need for a cleaning. Scanning shops that listen to their operators, allowing them to use a particular machine when possible, and reward regular maintenance and cleaning will outperform shops that neglect these steps.

Peter Lang
ImageSource, Inc.

Considerations Often Overlooked When Implementing a Content Management or Document Management System

You’re thinking about implementing a Content Management and/or a Document Management system.  What should I consider before proceeding?

  • You have lots of paper documents, micro fiche or other physical inventory that you want converted to electronic format.
  • You want to “Go Green” starting today.  You need the means to scan physical documents as well as import documents that are already electronic format (PDF, Tiff, Word, Excel, etc.).
  • You want to automate paper processes (Electronic Workflow) to eliminate the use of paper.
  • You’ll need software and hardware.
  • You’ll need some space in the server room.
  • You’ll need a project manager.

Hah!! (Light Bulb turning on in your brain) I have answered the essential questions, let’s go research and find a system that suits our needs. Better yet, let’s hire a Content Management and/or a Document Management consultant to help us.

Obligatory Disclaimer: I would not blog on this subject if I hadn’t witnessed, time and time again, a new process or environment installed that was left for personnel to administer without training and without a test environment (sandbox if you will) to learn and grow with.

DON’T overlook the added value of TRAINING and a Test Environment. They are essential pieces to consider when deploying any system.

Think about it for a moment- When you first learned to tie your shoes, someone showed you the method of tying an overhand knot and then tying two bunny ears together. TRAINING!!  Then you were shown a few more times. Secondary or follow-up training!  Finally, you were left alone with your shoes and strings (your test environment) until after about 200 attempts, SUCCESS!!  You became an expert in shoe tying, a major accomplishment that we have all achieved.

The same can be said for many other basic life skills, like riding a bike.  You started off with three wheels, a tricycle or a big wheel.  Then you got your first bike, TRAINING wheels included.  You rode all over town, to your hearts content.  Then the big day came when the TRAINING wheels came off.  Mom and Dad ran up and down the street, hunched over holding the back of your bike seat while you struggled to figure out how to balance on just two wheels.  Mom and Dad nursed their aching backs willingly because they knew that they were helping you learn a new skill.

Why do so many overlook the added value of providing these same indispensable tools, TRAINING and Test Environments, for a Content Management system or Document Management system (or any system for that matter) that is worth much more than an old pair of shoes or a kid’s bike?

I speak for System Engineers and Administrators all over this nation: Please provide the necessary tools to support the ones that support your systems, the company, the bottom line, the knowledgeable professionals working diligently in their offices and cubicles, etc.  Set them up for SUCCESS at the beginning and there will less likely be failure in the future.

Related blogs on Software Development Training:

http://softwaredevelopmentforecm.wordpress.com/2009/09/25/ecm-best-practices-training/

Robert Gartner
Sr. Systems Engineer
ImageSource, Inc.

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Scanning Software Configuration Best Practices

With scanning software it is tempting to get carried away and create many different batch class configurations designed to be optimized for specific types of documents. The most common is when you see a batch class created for single page documents and another which uses exactly the same indexes and feeds the same application for multiple page documents. Often times the extra time spent separating the documents out into these multiple piles for input to the different batch classes offsets the time saved by the batch class optimization. In organizations which enact this you often find that the single page batch class has been abandoned as the workers tasked with document preparation, scanning and indexing come to the same conclusion. This is not an absolute but in general unless there are a large number of single page documents the extra batch class is not worth the effort. The follow up to this is when you do have one of these abandoned batch classes it should be deleted. It makes for less confusion for new employees being trained for scanning operations, and does away with wasted time spent on the non used batch classes being upgraded and tested during system upgrades.

Jeff Doyle
Senior Systems Engineer
ImageSource, Inc.

When you are a hammer all of your problems look like nails.

The phrase “When you are a hammer all of your problems look like nails” is just one version of a group of statements that refers to the phenomenon that the French call déformation professionnelle which refers to looking at things from the point of view of one’s profession.  This behavior is more commonly know in the psychological field as the “Law of the Instrument” and was purposed first by Maslow.  A simplified version of his concept is thus: an individual that is incomplete in their knowledge or training, tends to propose the same type of solution to every problem they encounter.  They opt for the more familiar solution to one that may be more effective.

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Does Your Scanner Like to Pull Multiple Pages or None at All?

Is your scanner refusing to pull one page at a time like it should be?  Try cleaning the pick up, seperation, and feeding rollers.  Most scanners have cleaning kits available with the necessary items.  Also check to make sure your documents are being properly prepped.  Proper document prep includes: removing staples and post-its, making sure the staple holes are not hanging on to each other, line up the corners of all the documents, and fanning the documents prior to scanning.
If you have done all of the above and the documents are still feeding poorly you may need to replace your rollers with are considered a consumable item. I know you can purchase all scanner comsumables from ImageSource, Inc.