July 27, 2012
I have implemented numerous Advanced Capture solutions over the years and have identified a number of sticking points that are easily overcome, but can also be a real pain. I would classify an Advanced Capture solution as any document capture implementation that is more than a standard heads-up indexing or very basic zonal OCR of fixed forms based on X and Y coordinates. That definition leaves a lot of room for what could be designated as an ‘advanced capture solution’, but I think it fits. Once you move out of the realm of basic capture, you start to encounter a lot of the same problems. There is one problem I seem to encounter every time we implement a solution.
Not enough sample pages when configuring the solution
I can’t tell you how many times I have been engaged to implement a project and only given one or two sample pages. It seems crazy to me that someone could think that there might be a positive result from this approach, but believe me, it still happens all the time. If you trudge along and configure the solution with your minimal sample set, you will enjoy a very long and drawn out beta testing and implementation. There is always variation when talking about documents, even fixed form documents. Whether it is different printers, different content creators, or just different versions of the same form, there is always variation. Variation has to be accounted for, or else the solution won’t work, that is why configuring a solution with only one or two sample pages will cause a long implementation. Every time you encounter a variation, you will inevitably have to go back and reconfigure the solution. Some of this can be mitigated with how you configure the solution, but having sufficient samples is still a must. Even if using a software package with ‘learning’ capability, it is best to get a lot of samples up front.
How many samples you ask? The answer is seems pretty simple, to configure an advanced capture solution you need as many samples as possible to cover every possible variation of a form. If you get that many samples and configure the solution to work with and account for all variations, you end up with a much more bullet proof configuration come beta testing and implementation time. A good rule of thumb would be to have a minimum of 10 samples for every document type, but ask for 50 and reserve the right to ask for more. 50 might seem like a lot but in the scheme of things it is nothing. A company wouldn’t implement an advanced capture solution unless they could justify the steep price of it, the only way to justify that price it implement these solutions for processes that process thousands (if not tens of thousands) of documents a day. 50 sample documents for a solution that is expected to handle thousands of documents a day is not much and you’ll hit the ground running when beta testing starts rather than grinding to a screeching halt.
July 17, 2012
At some point there is going to be a need to convert an Imaging Systems image files from one format to another format when moving to a new Imaging system. ILINX® Import can be used to handle the conversion.
ILINX® Import can be used to convert TIFF files from one format to Group 4 formats as I had to do recently for a large customer. The TIFF files were exported from an older imaging system and were to be imported into Oracle I/PM. However, the TIFF format was not compatible with Oracle I/PM and so therefore had to be converted.
The following screen shot shows that ILINX® Import can convert a TIFF file into a Group 4 format and also convert the image resolution to a fixed value. In this case it is 400dpi since the original images were done poor quality.
Once the setup was done it was just a matter of copying the Tiff files into the target folder and allowing ILINX® import to process them automatically and output the converted Tiff files to an output folder. Now that the Tiff files were converted it was a simple matter to setup and have Oracle I/PM import them.
Christopher J. Hillenburg
Senior Systems Engineer
March 29, 2012
In a previous blog post I wrote a step by step guide on how to install Oracle BPM 11g. That was all good and well, but now what? The first thing I would suggest you do is go and by the book Getting Started with Oracle BPM Suite 11gR1 – A Hands-On Tutorial. Read that book cover to cover and go through the labs. It provides very good information and a great sample application that you build from scratch throughout the book. If you’re like me and you want to first play with the software a little bit before you go reading a 500 and some-odd page book, Oracle allows you download the same application that you create in the book.
To download the sample application, go to:
Browse down to the Samples and Demos section for the link. The sample application is called the Sales Quote Demo and is a BPM process where sales people enter in a quote into the process system, have the quote go through approvals and reviews, perform some automated routing, and finalize the quote.
Once you download the sample application and unzip it there are two documents to help you set up and run it. The first doc is the ‘Setup Instructions’, it takes you step by step through prepping your environment for the application. It walks you through the steps of creating your schema, setting up the WebLogic server, seeding the LDAP, connecting JDeveloper (or BPM studio if you prefer) to the MDS, deploying the project, setting up the groups, and mapping the LDAP users to the process roles. The guide is very good and I didn’t have any problems following through it step by step and deploying the application.
The second document is the ‘Understand and Run’ guide. This document has two sections. The first section goes through the process design and describes the logic behind it. The second section walks you through actually running the application and the end-user experience. Just like the Setup document, this guide is pretty straightforward and easy to follow. Unlike the Setup document, when you go through this guide you actually learn a little bit about Oracle BPM 11g and how it works.
Downloading the Sales Quote Demo and deploying it isn’t a replacement for reading the book I mentioned above or going to a training course, but it is a very good jumping off point. If you like dry reads you can download the various guides that Oracle has for BPM. The guides are all located at:
The guides are actually invaluable and for Oracle BPM 11g I would recommend downloading the following and putting them into your library:
- Quick Installation Guide for Oracle SOA Suite and Oracle Business Process Management Suite
- Installation Guide for Oracle SOA Suite and Oracle Business Process Management Suite
- Modeling and Implementation Guide for Oracle Business Process Management
- Administrator’s Guide for Oracle SOA Suite and Oracle Business Process Management Suite
- User’s Guide for Oracle Business Rules
- Business Process Composer User’s Guide for Oracle Business Process Management
- User’s Guide for Oracle Business Process Management
Going through these steps, setting up the Sales Quote Demo application, and reviewing it is a great way to start off learning BPM and I highly suggest it. Good luck!
February 27, 2012
Oracle slipped out the fifth patchset release for the Fusion Middleware products during the middle of the night on the 22nd of February. For the most part things will be very familiar to longtime users. One of the most visible changes is that the branding has caught up with the software. Oracle Content Server is now Webcenter Content, Imaging and Process Management is now Webcenter Imaging. It feels like an end of an era!
ImageSource has a customer that was entering an upgrade project for their Fusion Middleware based solution. After two surprisingly easy days I got their development and test environments up and running with this new release. Oracle has stated this released isn’t focused on adding lots of new features but they have rolled up a lot of bug fixes and patches that previously had to be installed separately into this release. This is by far the best release of this platform ever.
That’s not to say Oracle didn’t sneak in some great new features. Folks who haven’t got to try out the Oracle Business Process Management feature back in PR4 will find huge improvements in this release. One of the Webcenter Imaging additions I appreciate is a built-in configuration editor for any Oracle solution accelerators installed in the environment. Most folks probably haven’t had to work with those much but as one of the few who have let me tell you it’s a breath of fresh air to start seeing official Oracle tooling support and documentation for those things.
The folks at AMIS have a good write up with lots of reference links and general impressions of the release. All in all, I’m really excited to see what the future brings. Oracle has come a long way since the initial release of the 11g platform as a whole. Even from PS2 this seems like lightyears ahead.
January 17, 2012
You have spent a lot of time and effort to Design and Implement a system for the capture and processing of paper and electronic documents. You have performed testing to insure the implementation works as designed. Now comes the intricate part of BETA testing by selected End Users to verify the system works as designed and more importantly, performs the tasks the End Users need.
BETA testing is often a long and arduous process especially with a large complex system. There can be thousands of test points that need to be checked and approved. Items like document types that can be used for routing and/or different index structures all need to be selected and tested individually to make sure they are routed or indexed properly. Other items can be things like updates to the Host ERP system where multiple status/process steps must be again tested and approved individually. Preparation, performance, and review of the results can take a significant amount of time for each section that is tested.
Many companies underestimate the BETA acceptance testing process, especially if they have had little experience in the acceptance of large complex systems. It is extremely important to emphasize to project teams the importance of the BETA acceptance testing and the time it will take to verify all the little features/functions that need to be tested.
The company should also recognize that the BETA testers must be given the time to perform the testing. Some companies only allow an hour a day for a person to perform BETA testing. This means that the BETA testing period will be extended in terms of when the BETA testing will be completed. Also, BETA testing provides end users the opportunity to learn the new system interface and what it can and cannot do. This is a very valuable part of the process as it builds knowledge for the company on the new system and is transferred directly to production. These are just a few of the reasons not to skimp on the time given to BETA testers.
In the future, when deciding on how much time to give, error on the conservative side and give them all that is necessary. Three to four hours a day is not too much to ask when it comes to an assignment. This will improve not only the time it takes to complete the project but provide a very large hand up on how the system works and what it can do.
Senior Systems Engineer
December 13, 2011
Looking for some useful links to information in regards to the installation and configuration of IBM FileNet? We have been deploying successful IBM FileNet implementations and will be providing useful information, as well as, tips and tricks on this blog.
Here are the main links that have been leveraging for some valuable information:
|IBM FileNet Description||URL|
|P8 v5.1 Information Center||http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/p8docs/v5r1m0/index.jsp?topic=%2Fcom.ibm.p8.relnotes.doc%2Fwn_cm.htm|
Ryan Keller ImageSource, Inc.