Posts Tagged ‘document management’
The AS/400 has evolved into the modern and powerful IBM i
inFORM Decisions is dedicated to creating innovative solutions to help clients get more from their IBM i/Power systems
IBM i‘s AS/400 heritage and strategic innovation point to a bright future for this strategic server that continues to support organizations in almost every industry around the world.
- The market for the IBM i continues to be extremely stable with 1.3% annual attrition.
- 24% of IBM i shops are planning to expand their IBM i footprint in 2019, which outnumbers those who plan to migrate off the platform.
- 71% rely on IBM i to run more than half of their core business applications, a strong indication of the platform’s stability.
- 92% of the respondents from IBM i Marketplace Survey believe that IBM i with Power Systems provides better ROI than other server options.
The continued reliance on IBM Power Systems hardware and a dedication to keeping current with the latest technology is revealing long-term trends that give insight into the future of this trusted technology. The most popular version of the IBM i operating system is currently IBM i V7R3. The jump to 7.3 speaks to the longevity of platform as organizations continue to invest in keeping current.
Since its arrival, one of the strongest features of this platform has been its upward compatibility. For the most part, you can run a program created for the AS/400 in 1988 on a Power Systems server today with little or no changes. However, there are some IBM utilities such as the IBM Advanced Function Printing Utilities are not supported on IBM i 7.3 OS.
While AFP data stream and protocol might still function, the AFP Utilities and the InfoPrint tool for designing pages are not supported in 7.3 and beyond. This would indicate that you can continue to print existing applications, but that you can’t create a new form overlay or modify an existing one.
AFP is an outdated technology and was always painful to work with. IBM sold off its printing division which subsequently removed support for AFP utilities along with the Infoprint Designer and is recommending 3rd party alternatives such as the acclaimed iDocs Forms Suite from inFORM Decisions. iDocs provides easy-to-use forms design and spool file data mapper with menus to set up business rules for manual or automatic processing and intelligent distribution of merged, formatted reports, forms and security MICR checks. Print in color with graphics and bar codes.
Whereas most of the IBM Solution providers have evolved with the platform, some antiquated or obsolete laser forms solutions such as Jetform, Optio, Createform or Createprint, ACOM, and others, are forcing users OFF the powerful IBM i platform onto a Windows or Cloud based solution with higher costs, higher maintenance and totally new learning curves.
inFORM Decisions offers a seamless, painless, and no-cost migration. Migrate to a continually developed and enhanced Document Automation solution running natively on the IBM i. Our modules include laser forms printing, laser check printing, email with PDF and Excel formats for spool and database files, document scanning and archival and document workflow.
As the platform continues to evolve, becoming increasingly robust, embracing modern technologies, and giving many of the world’s top organizations a competitive edge, so do IBM i providers like inFORM Decisions. inFORM Decisions has been a Document Automation provider specializing in state of the art Document Automation solutions for the IBM i – iSeries – AS/400 arena since 1994. We believe that the IBM i/Power Systems will be relevant for a long time offering the stability and security that you’ve come to expect from IBM. inFORM Decisions is committed to the IBMi platform forever!
Call (800) 858-5544 / (949) 709-5838 or visit us at www.informdecisions.com for more information about our acclaimed iDocs suite of IBM i products.
Making Document Imports Work for You
Making Document Imports Work for You…
Leveraging the most out of your resources is a fundamental practice for successful managers and organizations. However when it comes to managing the flow of documents the actual practice can become distorted, failing to take advantage of many unexposed benefits.
Reasons for not maximizing and making the most out of document flow ranges from lack of initial training; short comings in initial planning; unfamiliarity with installed products and system usage; being unwilling to implement changes to improve processes; and ignoring or misunderstanding the real needs of end users.
Presented here is a snapshot of a few ways to consider in making your document flow manageable, beneficial to end users, and cost effective to your organization.
To figure out where to start look at the end point…
Typically either with the end users or established procedures is where managers can begin to address document management practices. This is a great opportunity and starting point to drill down on actual needs for an organization. The discovery phase could be considered one of the most important parts of the process if not the most important part of the process. However it’s surprising how many managers don’t make the time to dig deeper into the actual needs of their end users. This typically leads to configuring a document solution that only partially meets the needs of the end users.
In the scenario that we’ll be using, as shown on the above diagram, we will be working with three different departments.
Although we have three very different needs for each of the departments, they do have some commonality which we’ll use to leverage our solution and make managing the document process easier.
Reduce, Reuse, Repeat…
We are going to use two components to provide each of the departments there own unique setup.
The objective is to replace manual repetitive work done by people with machine driven processes. This will reduce the number of times that a worker will touch a document or have to key in data or have to shuffle paper around the office. From a technical managing point of view, we want to reduce and reuse the number of component being used to make it easier to manage the overall document management ecosystem. Once setup, we want the automation of repeated steps to process forward with as few human touch points as possible.
First consider a document management system like iView from inFORM Decisions. This will handle each of the applications separately. We’ll be able to store each of the document images in their own unique directory and write the captured metadata into separate tables. We’ll use the metadata as index fields to look up the documents at a later time and to push/pull data into the different operational systems for the company like the company’s ERP system and Accounting system. Additionally, we’ll use the front end portal; iView Document Center, to manage access to specific document types. This will make it easy to assign users from each of the departments to their own specific documents keeping the segregation of documents and data separate between departments.
Second is document capture system like iCapture that will monitor an entry point for your documents and automate the document capture process to your needs. In our case scenario we want to make it as easy as possible to manage the incoming documents for the technical manager administrating the complete document system and more importantly for the end users at each of the three departments.
In our setup, we are going to have different table top scanners like the Fujitsu Fi series scanners in each of the departments. As each of the departments scan in their originating documents in the different geographical locations, the documents will get funneled into a central collection point. The collection point can be either a single folder or a group of separate folders for each of the documents. The capture software will automatically monitor the collection point for new documents to begin the capture process.
Within the capture process we can apply Classification rules to identify each of the different types of documents. The classification step provides an important point in which we automate the separation of documents by identifying the documents at the entry point. This allows us to apply different handling rules for each of the different document types although all the documents arrive in a central collection spot. As each of the documents proceeds in the capture process, they each will follow their own unique configurations for indexing the metadata from the OCR process, validating the collected data, processing via Quality Assurance steps, and Migration steps. In our scenario, we are delivering the images of the captured documents into the iView Document Center and we are delivering the captured metadata into a database’s separate tables for each of the department’s unique systems.
Simple to complex…
By now you must be saying to yourself… This is a simplistic view to a bigger solution… and you are right.
My objective in this short article is to convey a few principles able to make your document import experience a successful journey.
Take the time to really understand your document management needs.
As managers of technology, operations, departments, and employee experiences it’s easy to become reactive as the pressures of demand push to get quick results. We’ve seen it over and over… those who engage deeper into the discovery of end user experiences and dive deeper into the overall needs of the organization tend to maximize their return in solution investments.
Manage your software tools.
From a technical managing point of view, keep your solution components to a few solutions that really provide you with what you really need and learn to use them. Learn to use your tools to take advantage of as many functions as they provide instead of adding another tool. Many times we run into folks that don’t realize that they have had the functionality in a current software tool they already own. If not sure, reach out to your contact for answers. This applies to putting together a document management system. Use tools that you can really use like iView from inFORM Decisions.
Keep the continuity of steps understandable.
When possible, use the same or similar steps in carrying your documents from the starting point to the end point. Have a central collection point to send documents into from all different locations in your organization; identify the documents using Classification configurations; process the documents with indexing and migration rules that are specific to a document type; and delivery useful data that is searchable to your end users. Keeping the flow of steps linear will make it easier for managing and troubleshooting your document management process.
Times are always a changing.
Always know that the best laid out plan will at some point change. In our modern world technology environments, regulations, and procedural shifts will at some point require your document management configurations to be altered. By having a sound laid out understanding of your document processing and of your tools like iCapture and iView, you will be able to better handle changes without having to reinvent your core document capture ecosystem.
Go beyond this article…
Contact us at inFORM Decisions to learn more about how we handle document management.
inFORM Decisions, Inc.
Call: (949) 709-5838 | Send email: firstname.lastname@example.org
IBMi + iView = Complete Enterprise Content Management (Part 2)
inFORM Decisions has been a leader in rapidly growing Enterprise Content Management (ECM) for storing and managing an organization’s process documentation and other content and creating tremendous buzz in the IBMi World, turning spooled file data into information you can access and use..
Having all of your files in paper form can be dangerous. Critical files stored electronically provide a valuable fail-safe should anything happen to your physical records. Having an accessible means of storage for your company files is extraordinarily valuable as it will enable you to enhance workflows/business processes, disaster recovery, document retention, and much more. Access to information is valuable – and both an ECM and a Document management Systems (DMS) can provide unfettered access to valuable information. With the ability to automate workflows and easily share files – both systems can be implemented to improve the efficiency of any paper-intensive business processes.
Enterprise Content Management is much more than just a means for storing and managing an organization’s documents. ECM also includes the tools, strategies, and processes used to capture, store, retain, and manage content. iView performs content management functions to enable the capture, storage, indexing and retrieval of spool files, merged documents and scanned forms so they are accessible via a web browser by anyone, anywhere, anytime. Here they can be annotated or signed by the authorized personnel. The iView archive engine automatically captures spool files with user defined bursting conditions, search indexes, and sorting sequences allowing user-defined sorting of the forms and reports. It eliminates the time and cost of storing, retrieving and sharing documents generated in an iSeries, System i or IBM i environment. ECM appeals to those looking to manage and configure large volumes of structured and unstructured data. Consider ECMS as an Office Assistant, able to automatically recognize the content within a document and know who, where, and when to send it.
Document management Systems are technically a sub-category of ECM – as ECM could not exist without its ability to manage documents (the core function of a DMS). Organizations use an array of scanning devices and document management applications to meet their needs, which are subject to change over time. iCapture is unique in its ability to integrate with any scanning device and route information to more than 60 ECM systems. iCapture will make document processes easy and efficient. It’s designed to meet all of your needs, including document scanning and import, forms processing, data capture, OCR/ICR data extraction and the ability to migrate the information into a document repository.
The benefits of using these systems is apparent – the only difficulty lies in choosing the right solution for your organization. Contact inFORM Decisions and learn the best solution for your needs, or watch the below video for more information.
iView Article 2 of 2.
How to get your company excited about Document Management
Even if your company has a pressing need for a document processing initiative, researching the varied options, understanding the mechanics of information management and attempting to get all of the organizations decision-makers on board can be a formidable task. Mid-management might strive to implement a Document Management solution, but their staff may respond with indifference, while upper-management struggles with cost and lacks insight into the technology.
So how to get your organization passionate about improving their document processes.
Here are 7 approaches that will enable everyone in your organization to recognize the benefits and help management hake an informed decision about whether Document Management is the right choice for your organization:
1. Focus on money savings.
Office space costs money and the average office has to allocate at least 10% to store paper documents. Although it might be difficult to determine exactly how much money your company will save by automating processes, you can look at average statistics to help you determine your cost savings and ROI. Below is some rationale:
- Manually processing one invoice costs an average of $22.75. Automating invoice processing drops that cost to $3.40 per invoice.
- It costs $25-$50 to create a file folder, each lost document costs $350 to $700 to find or replace. If you opt for capturing your documents and storing them digitally, these costs disappear.
- An average 4-drawer file cabinet costs around $25,000 to fill and $2,000 annually to maintain. With a document management system, you’ll no longer have the need to store thousands of paper files in physical filing cabinets.
- Consider employees time where 18 minutes is the average search time for a document while it just takes seconds to find a document with document capture software.
- Document Management forces forms to be properly filled out, reducing time consuming and costly mistakes.
2. Discuss the enhanced search capabilities.
Locating documents can often be synonymous with “finding a needle in a haystack”. Document Management allows searching capabilities to find documents quicker and without having to leave your desk. Just think, no more climbing over boxes or fighting with filing cabinets. There actually have been workers comp claims related to this task.
3. Explain how it will improve employee happiness and satisfaction.
A recent study by economists at the University of Warwick found that happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive. Review the manual processes relating to bulky paper documents that are reducing their productivity. Allow them to express their frustrations with the current system. This will help determine the major problems and delays. Then show them how the new system with a document management solution will help to improve these issues and make their jobs easier by eliminating unnecessary work.
4. Talk about the how it will enhance security.
There have been many posts regarding the threat of data breaches, hacks, and how document capture software can help you to protect sensitive data and information. A good document capture solution, along with a secure document management system, will not only protect your data, but also help you comply with industry regulations much more easily than if you keep all of your important data stored in physical files. User access can be configured in an infinite number of ways to give access to only the information necessary for employees to perform their respective tasks.
5. Discuss improved customer service.
With Document Management, customer questions can be answered quickly and reliably, and even better, customers may even be able to find the answers they seek themselves. In the age of the customer, anything that can help improve customer experience is significant.
6. Discuss Legal Compliance.
Document Management helps you meet legal requirements and also provides regulatory reporting.
7. Explain the convenience.
With Document Management, access can be done from any office, from home, from your remote office, from a hotel, and anywhere an Internet connection exists. Documents can also be accessed simultaneously with other users without comprising the integrity of the data.
After you examine the benefits of improving your document processes, the case for taking the plunge starts to become something to really get excited about.
Contact us to see if Document Management will provide the return on investment required by your organization or to receive more tips to successfully transform business processes within your organization.
Document management is the use of a device (computer, mobile, etc) to store, manage and track digital/electronic documents and images of paper based information captured through the use of a document scanner, document scanning software and document capture. Document management is also a set of processes and procedures on how your organization stores, manages and tracks its electronic/digital documents.
Document Management Software (DMS) as the software that controls and organizes documents throughout an organization. It incorporates document and content capture, workflow, document repositories, COLD/ERM, and output systems, and information retrieval systems. It also controls all the processes used to track, store and control documents.
Document management (DM) is one of the precursor technologies to enterprise content management (ECM). It provides some of the most basic functionality to content management, imposing controls and management capabilities into any document repository. It provide storage for long term archival, as well as overall management.
Document Management & ECM Terminology
Check in/Check out
Document Management Systems (DMS)
Enterprise Content Management (ECM)
Electronic Document Management System (EDMS)
ICR: (Intelligent character recognition) is the computer translation of manually handwritten text characters into machine readable characters.
OMR: (Optical Mark reading) is a method of entering data into a computer system. Optical Mark Readers reads pencil or pen marks made in pre-defined positions on paper forms as responses to questions or tick list prompts.
Revision Control (Version Control