Category Archives for "Oracle"

The True Nature Of Beautiful Perfection

I’m always pleased when I can build a nice clean system for a customer.  I like to be able to look back and say, “That is beautiful.  I’m proud of that.”  Antoine de Saint-Exupery said, “A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”  I like that quote and try to build systems with that in mind.  I like to be able to simplify a customer’s business process so it makes more sense to them that it did before.

But there is a danger here that needs to be avoided.  We are not dealing with art or literature.  We are dealing with business systems, systems that receive input from untrusted sources.  This data needs to be checked.  Joel Splosky puts it best when describing things you should never do.  He talks about old code that “has grown little hairs and stuff on it and nobody knows why.”  He’s not describing something beautiful; he’s describing something that works.  Something that’s gone through the pain of having exceptions found and dealt with.

Exception Processing

We help customers automate their business.  The software products we sell all have a type of workflow build it.  Oracle IPM and Liquid Office have a true workflow component where you build your processes graphically.  ILINX Capture and Kofax Capture have the idea of queues and the ordering of queues.  Systems with combined software are generally designed to be used in stages such as scan, store and retrieve.  In each stage the data is moved from one queue to another or one piece of software to another and the data needs to arrive correctly.  These are the types of system interactions I’m focusing on.  Unfortunately, these systems aren’t always configured perfectly and something will happen.

Evacuation Route SignYour scanned document will be unreadable.  Your form won’t be filled out completely.  You’ll have a power outage.  The database you rely on will have bad or missing data.  You network connection will drop.  You’ll need a strategy for handling these.Continue reading

How To Perform Basic Web Troubleshooting for IPM Web

Web troubleshooting can be difficult and searching through Oracle Metalink to get information can be even worse.   I found this record in the Oracle Archives and thought it may help out other Acorde/Stellent/Oracle IPM/UCM users.  The following is a general guide for troubleshooting issues with the IPM Web service.  Hopefully reviewing the installation checklist and going through this troubleshooting guide will resolve most configuration issues with the web service.

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Tuning ECM Capture Systems – Is It Optional?

Recognizing forms and then performing successful OCR and ICR is a result of careful planning.   Then comes plenty of testing during development, exploiting every advantage you can discover.  Once rolling, are the results what you expect?  All of that testing should ensure the answer is YES.  But if they are falling short of expectation, it’s time to tune.  Are image enhancement/preprocessing settings set optimally (or are they in place at all?).  Are alphanumeric fields defined in such a way that the OCR engines aren’t trying to discern zeros from letter O’s?  For handwriting, do forms have text instructions coaching the users how to write ‘between the lines’?  Are you matching expected data with available dictionaries encompassing all possible entries?  These are just a few of the questions to ask while tuning a paper capture system.  At ImageSource, we’ll work to resolve recognition problems you are experiencing to maximize your ROI and data throughput.

Peter Lang

Document Capture Tools

Scanning your documents into a Document Management System is a great way to improve efficiency and reduce the amount of paper in your office.  And, depending on what kind of paper you are scanning, there are lot of document capture tools available.  Tools such as Full Text OCR, Zonal OCR, and ICR can greatly reduce time spent indexing and validating your documents once they are scanned.

Full Text OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is software that captures every character in the document being scanned and processing it into a fully searchable PDF.  One effective use of this technology is when government users needing to search hundreds of pages of agendas and meeting minutes for a certain topic.  The process of searching these documents is quite time-consuming and most OCR processing occurs overnight when there is less use on the company’s day-to-day activities.

Zonal OCR is similar in that it captures information, but in this case, the software is programmed to look in the same location or “zone” every time.  This is helpful when scanning in documents where the information is in the same location, such as an invoice number.  Most invoices are in a set format so zonal OCR is very effective in this scenario.  When the operator is validating this information, the Zonal OCR zooms in on the zone area that has been predetermined where the information is captured from so they can easily read if the information captured is correct or not.  Hence, one of the biggest advantages of Zonal OCR is that it improves the efficiency of searches which translates into a savings of both time and money.  Some software available that features Zonal OCR also allows the user to draw a box to establish a zone around required text rather than typing in keywords therefore allowing the document to be automatically indexed.

ICR (Intelligent Character Recognition) is the ability for the software to read hand-written information and process this into searchable information.  This is especially beneficial in the financial industry.  And although this tool can be very useful in some situations, the error rate is much higher because handwriting is so varied from person to person.

Andrea Latham, CDIA+
Inside Sales
ImageSource, Inc.
Phone 360.943.9273

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Learn to Maintain ECM Software the Easy Way

I recently returned from a system maintenance contract. The maintenance was done on behalf of a company that had been running Oracle I/PM for two years with no service packs or upgrades, and with plenty of issues as one might expect. It was the product issues that finally prompted the company to contact us at ImageSource to see what could be done.

First we performed a remote systems analysis that helped uncover some of the infrastructure shortcomings, lack of maintenance and patches, and other problems. In the end, the company did not have trained staff that could manage the amount of work that needed to be done, so they asked ImageSource to send someone to them.

After I arrived, I could see that the first order of business was to apply all service packs and patches to the I/PM product. Oracle I/PM is a complicated product that requires continuous maintenance, but that performs extremely well if configured correctly.

The company assigned one of their technical staff to shadow what I was doing but it would have been better to assign at least three technical staff. Unfortunately, not all companies have the staff depth to be able to do that. Watching how patches are applied, and how the system is tuned is like bonus training that is in addition to the work being performed. Classroom instruction does not usually provide the finer points of system tuning and patch management, and certainly does not provide those things against a customer’s own production system.

While ImageSource provides classroom instruction for many ECM products, if your company hires us to be on site for a service contract, be sure to maximize the service dollars you are spending by gathering as many staff as you can to watch how the system is being tuned and patched. An ECM system does not consist of just software; it also relies on knowledge workers who understand the nuances of the system. The best way to get that knowledge in-house is by watching someone who specializes in your ECM software work with it on site.

Clint Lewis
Senior Systems Engineer
ImageSource, Inc.