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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Support: A day in the life of.

Recently Random and I were going over our daily activities, which can include internal support, Client support, and project work, and we were discussing how scattered and at times hectic our days can end up. We put together a list of events that could happen on any given day. This shows how techs covering several duties must be able to multitask and not pull your hair out in the process.

7:50 AM -Arrive at work, boot up laptop, and prepare for another work day.

7:55 AM – Check emails that came in over the night. It looks like we received a ticket regarding a client’s Oracle IPM that had crashed and they are not sure why. They attached the log information, but it will take some further investigation to fully vet the issue. Go to get coffee and found none ready so I needed to start a pot, I’ll come back later when the coffee is done.

8:00 AM – Begin work on an internal project that I was unable to work on much yesterday. Nothing scheduled for today so I should have time to work on it and I expect to finish it by the end of the day.

8:30 AM – Support Hours start.

8:35 AM – Reviewed Oracle IPM logs from the ticket that came in last night. I called the client and was only able to leave a voice mail.

8:55 AM – Returned to work on internal project.

9:02 AM – Internal Support: Employee calls asking for help with their second monitor. They cannot get it to come up even after several reboots. Continue reading

Is It Time to Take Your Workflow In For a Checkup?

Almost every business has documents that go through some kind of work process such as expense reports and application processing that uses some kind of Business Process Management [BPM].  BPM is generally defined as a systematic approach to improving and automating an organization’s business processes and workflows.  These workflows may be core to your business process and over the years as rules, regulation, and other external factors alter the original flow it is critical to to plan on performing regularly scheduled checkups of your BPM processes.

While supporting systems that have little or no changes to their BPM workflow maps in over a decade it is very common to run into issues and complications caused by knowledge workers who have devised workarounds for changes that have occurred over time.  One of the biggest problems I see with not revisiting and performing analysis and research to get a current picture on a regular basis is User Acceptance.

When we run into this type of a situation the knowledge workers are often frustrated and highly irritated with the software and how the system works.  The user feels that their performance is based on rules and regulations that no longer apply and will complain stating “I had nothing to do with how this was configured”, “this is how we do it because it has always been like this” and “I don’t understand why we have to do it this way.”  The user is often very negative about the inefficiencies and wants to tell everyone and anyone willing to listen.  This can have an immense impact on the work environment and acceptance of your ECM system and future applications.

Where to start:  The efficient flow of documents through your organization is critical to remaining competitive and document management and workflow solutions are proven to cut cost and improve efficiencies.  If you have been using a rules based electronic workflow for over 3-5 years it is a good practice to review the “as is” state of the workflows and update them on a regular basis.  BPM workflow updates should be visible to upper management and budgeted for the future along with software upgrades.  Most importantly involve the knowledge works in the discovery and development process. “Because we have always done it this way” does not need to be the number one comment about your ECM system.  The success of BPM is rooted in starting with the right process and continuing best practices for regular checkups and maintenance.

Leigh Woody
Program Manager
ImageSource, Inc.

eForms Technology Short Cuts That Really Work!

Often we are up against tight deadlines and we need to use all our tricks and tools to help increase efficiency and provide a better client experience.  When we have clients with large form libraries that need converting to eForms; one of my favorite tools to use is FormBridge for Liquid Office.  FormBridge does direct conversions of PDF, word, excel and other common form files to Liquid Office xfm files like magic!  The converted forms are fully editable and are amazingly accurate copies with minor tweaks for formatting once translated.  FormBridge automatically creates fillable fields, just as a forms designer would and this is a huge time saver.

Forms kick-off workflows and drive business.  Moving paper based and un-editable eforms to an intelligent digital format has many benefits such as cost savings based on efficiencies and increased accessibility.  Even a small business may have hundreds of forms.  As a system integrator of ECM technologies we know what tools and tips to help your eForms initiative become a huge success.

Leigh Woody
Program Manager
ImageSource, Inc.

Things to Consider When Looking to Move to a Paperless Workplace

The rise of instant communication technologies that is made possible through use of the internet (email, texting, IM) and new media (YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter) have brought new ways of handling everyday operations in the world of business. With every new generation, there comes an increased aptitude for technology and evolving work approach using new inventive ways to use that technology. The Net Generation is the first group of “digital natives” that seem to be changing the office workplace like no other age bracket in the past.

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Nexus 2009 Shows Promise for a Stronger Economy

I’ve heard many comments from individuals summing up their ‘NEXUS ECM Experience’ over the past week following the show’s November 2nd close.  From my perspective, the tweets and blogs captured the momentum and attendance at the show was greater than last year.  I think this is because the quality and value of the show in general was up.  Attendees this year definitely had an agenda, and most were actively seeking solutions, as compared to years passed.  The companies that will be on top when the economy turns will be those who have a strong ECM foundation for business processes.  It was encouraging to see the excitement and drive to get back to work and start retooling for a more efficient future.   If you missed out this year, make sure to register for Nexus 2010 and lock in the reduced rate of $195! Use code NEXUS10SPL

Leigh Woody
Program Manager
ImageSource, Inc.

Kofax moves to a pay-per-incident (PPI) system. What are your options?

As of August 3, 2009, worldwide technical support via telephone for all versions of Kofax’s VRS has been convert to a pay-per-incident (PPI) system.  Fujitsu offers a toll-free technical assistance support line for all Fujitsu scanners and software during the warranty period.  The scanner warranty includes phone support for Kofax VRS products provided with the purchase of Fujitsu Scanners.  Contact ImageSource for Fujitsu Scanners with VRS and post sales support.

Leigh Woody
Program Manager