Category Archives for "Oracle"

Nexus 2010

I recently attended the Technology conference put on by my company. Nexus®, as it is dubbed, is where we try to bring in all the local and national minds in our ECM space together. On the vendor side we had both hardware and software manufacturers represented. On the standards side we had credits offered for PMI, ARMA, AHIMA, and IAPP just by attending. There was pre-conference training on  Oracle I/PM11g, a risk management course, and an AIIM ECMp course. For the user community we had attendees from Fortune 50 companies  down to small government agencies and everything in between. Sounds great right? It was.

As with any conference, you have to make it to the break out session that relate to you, and make connections with people that you can relate to. The latter was easy of course, we are all living and breathing the ECM world. Even if your content is different, the pain points are nearly always the same. It’s great to connect with others and find out their resolutions to similar issues, their approach to common problems, and to hear their success stories. Besides giving a presentation on our product ILINX® Integrate (something I have blogged about in the past), I also attended sessions on advanced document capture, ILINX Content Store, Oracle I/PM, and sessions on project management.

The breakout sessions had real value for me. Continue reading

Oracle IPM Invoice Processing Accelerators

Oracle is rolling out best-practice ERP AP invoice processing solution accelerators as part of their 11g Fusion Middleware offering. Called “adapters”, these ERP software components are available for Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, and Siebel.

The accelerators are a mechanism to ensure scanned invoices reach a backend ERP system for final handling even when there are issues in the invoice data gathered using OCR forms recognition during scanning. This allows for minimal user exception handling or intervention prior to each invoice arriving in the ERP system. The idea is to simply load the scanner with invoices, press a button, and then handle the invoices once they arrive in the backend.

In order for this approach to work, Oracle’s solution accelerators use XML documents to contain header and line invoice data. The XML documents are combined with business rules in an Oracle BPEL Process Manager workflow that automatically massages the data into a format that will be accepted by the ERP import functionality such as the Oracle EBS open interface table import. The invoice image resides in the Oracle IPM system.

In the case where data can’t be massaged sufficiently for insert, the invoice is keyed from image from within the BPEL workflow. Invoices that directly insert into the ERP system arrive either ready for validation, matching, payment, coding, etc., or are placed on hold with a hold code and a hold reason code. Some sample hold and reason codes are:

FIELD VALIDATION HOLD HOLD REASON
Purchase Order PO must be valid and open.
PO vendor must match invoice vendor.
IPM_INVALID_PO_HOLD INVALID PO NUM
INACTIVE PO
INCONSISTENT PO SUPPLIER
Supplier Supplier is required.
Supplier must exist in vendor master.
Supplier ID and supplier site ID must match.
IPM_INVALID_
SUPPLIER_HOLD
NO SUPPLIER
INVALID SUPPLIER
INCONSISTENT SUPPLIER

There are many more business rules that operate on each invoice inside of workflow that meet the requirements of the ERP system.

Oracle has created a flash demo of a scan to EBS process at:

http://bit.ly/aHaNwl

Oracle has also created a PDF document that highlights the E-Business Suite Adapter:

http://bit.ly/b4pGFa

As an Oracle partner, ImageSource has begun to implement these solutions in the field.

Clint Lewis
Senior Systems Engineer
ImageSource, Inc.

Oracle I/PM and TIFF Requirements

However far we move away from the imaging side of ECM, it is still the largest part of the industry. More often than not, the solutions I deploy revolve around some sort of mechanism to scan, store, and retrieve documents. Imaging is the gateway into Business Process Management (BPM), Records Management (RM), Electronic Reports Management (ERM), and a whole string of Line of Business applications (LOB). I often work with Oracle Image and Process Management (I/PM) as the ECM component and we integrate it with many different applications. There are a few caveats with I/PM and I ran into one issue recently that has come up many times in the past.

Oracle I/PM version 10G (and earlier) has a list of requirements for TIFF images. That’s not to say that the system can’t handle any object, because it can. You can file anything into an I/PM system, but you might not be able to view it within the software. For example: you could file a .zip file into the system, it just wouldn’t render in the viewer. The TIFF requirement list has to do with the image viewer built into the system. So if you want to be able to view what you file into an I/PM system with the I/PM viewer, you better be sure your TIFF images meet the requirements. The main reasons to limit access solely to the I/PM viewer are:

  • Limit access to documents within the I/PM system only. This simply means you don’t want users to be able to view the object outside of I/PM.
  • To take advantage of the I/PM annotation capabilities.

The TIFF requirements as listed in the I/PM documentation are as follows:

  • Tagged Image File Format (TIFF)
  • Group IV Compression
  • Group VI Compression (Original Microsoft TIFF standards, not the Wang hybrid)
  • 200, 300 or 400 dpi
  • X resolution equal to Y resolution
  • Non-tiled
  • Non-stripped (i.e., Lines per strip equal to total lines. Stripped and LZW formats are not supported.)
  • Image widths which are a multiple of 8
  • Fill order of 1 or 2
  • Tags at the top or bottom of the file
  • Single-plane (monochrome) / Bi-tonal
  • Single page or multi-page TIFFs.
  • Intel Format (II) are supported. Other formats, such as Motorola format (MM) are not supported. Group 7 TIFF are not supported.

That might seem like a long list when you first glance at it. But it is pretty simple to modify an image and render it compatible with the I/PM viewer. There are plenty of tools out there to standardize TIFF images. ImageMagick or a couple of different tools by Informatick would do the trick. With ImageMagick there is a compress function that can standardize the image. Simply execute ImageMagick with the ‘-compress Group4 –density 200×200’ command and the image output will meet all the I/PM requirements.

From experience, most scanning applications meet the I/PM requirements so this isn’t an issue. Documents coming out of Kofax Capture, Oracle Document Capture, or ILINX Capture all meet the I/PM TIFF requirements. Where the I/PM TIFF requirements becomes an issue is when migrating documents from an old legacy ECM application that stored or captured images in a non-standard format. Just be aware that the requirements are there and that the images have to be modified before being archived into I/PM if they don’t meet the specifications.

John Linehan

Senior Systems Engineer

ImageSource Inc.

Using C#.NET with the Kofax KTM Validation Module

My current project has a requirement to do several Oracle EBS validations and lookups from the Kofax KTM validation window. For example, one requirement is to present the validator with a list of Suppliers. Another is to check for a duplicate invoice number in EBS. I can easily add additional methods as needed.

Kofax KTM provides Win Basic scripting language that can accomplish some of this, but it’s difficult to use compared to modern programming languages. After a little research I discovered it was feasible to create and call methods in a COM object from KTM Win Basic. This meant I could expose a C#.NET dll via COM Interop but have all the power of any version of the .NET framework and Microsoft Visual Studio available to do the heavy lifting.

My C# methods return either arrays or booleans back to KTM where I then use the Win Basic language to present results to the validation user. I can debug my C# code by attaching to the KTM Project Builder exe while running validation tests.

Setting up the C# Class

The first step is to create a project in Visual Studio and set up a class to contain the methods you will call in KTM. The prefered method is to use interfaces in case you need to change the methods without breaking the inferface. Here is an example. Continue reading

ILINX® Capture Administration

I had the opportunity this week to attend our new ILINX Capture Administration class which Ruth Sheehan is currently finalizing here at ImageSource. It was a great experience; Ruth’s teaching style is very interactive and she really engages with her audience. It is a testament to both Ruth and ILINX Capture that such an in-depth course is successfully completed over the span of a few days.

The course is roughly divided between lecture where core concepts are explained and labs where students have the opportunity to immediately get practical hands-on experience.  The course load is definitely tilted toward lab-work and covers a full spectrum of configuration and management topics.

We started with installation and configuration of ILINX Capture itself.  This phase covered everything from required system specifications for both the server and workstations to making sense of the myriad configuration options present in the system.   The admin utility provides an easy to use and intuitive way of accessing all of the serverside functionality.  One of the coolest things I learned of in this phase was the concept of a Server Group.  A server group is an abstraction that represents one or more actual ILINX Capture servers.  This allows us to set policy (ie, what batches should be processed by these servers, etc) on this abstracted group level and have the members of the group receive policy changes without further admin time needed.  These also make it extremely easy to scale up the system as resource needs increase since new servers can simply be added to the server group.

After ILINX Capture is up and running the course transitions to the core batch profile and document type functionality.  The pace of the material is slow enough to provide a strong foundation yet at the same time respects the student’s personal capabilities and does not try to repeatedly explain the same concepts.  I enjoyed how each new lab built upon and reinforced skills introduced in the previous lab.  Starting from what surely must be the ‘Hello, World’ of batch profiles the course presents increasingly complicated situations.  I particularly enjoyed the lab where I set up a batch profile and document type which automatically recognized and scanned barcodes from multi-page documents and then made decisions by querying values from a database using the barcode number as an index value.  More than any other lab this really showed me what a powerful tool ILINX Capture is in a production environment where volume is high.

Overall, I feel that the course provides the background needed to really jump into administrating ILINX Capture.  And what the course does not directly teach you it provides all the tools one needs in order to create their own solutions for their own environment.  I’ve asked Ruth if she could keep me up to date with the course as it evolves further and I’m really excited to see where it’s going to head.  It’s off to a fantastic start already.

Les Harris
Support Engineer
ImageSource Inc.

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