The Datamax Thinking Blog

Educating, collaborating, and sparking ideas for maximizing the technology that matters.


Key Factors for ECM Project Success

from ScanGuru

Many of the Document Management and ECM System Implementations fail right out of the gate due to several factors. Most of them revolve around planning, and project definition and focus. Below are some key areas that are imperative to a project’s success:

Infrastructure
A huge part of the planning for a DMS/ECM System is examining your organization’s network infrastructure and ensuring it is ready. Implementing a system with inadequate resources can provide wrong end user perceptions. Focus should be placed on the below items:

PC Clients – the client PC’s should have appropriate horsepower to handle their specific tasks. Obviously, basic search clients will not require extensive resources such as memory or hard drive space, but a scanning or OCR station may. Network – It is time to get rid of those hubs your brother in-law gave you, and upgrade to 100MB, or in some cases (at the server), Gigabit technology. Server – adequate memory, processor and storage is a necessity. Backup- often an overlooked area, planning for system backup, now and in the years beyond is very important.



Simplicity
There are so many technologies out there that are incredible, powerful, and just way too complex for any normal human. If it is too difficult to use, end users will not accept the technology, and inefficiency will result. The goal is to make the user interface as simple as possible, but have the necessary complexity behind the scenes to achieve your goals.

Acceptance
So many times I hear prospects say, “My people will never use this”. The move to ECM is not only a move in technology, but a change in process and attitude. The benefits and power of the system need to be explained and accepted by management and the end users. There needs to be a commitment to the technology and the change, as well as a setting of expectations. I see so many projects fail because they are not given the chance to succeed, and are doomed right out of the gate due to a lack of support from management. Never accept “We will try it and see how it goes”.

Pilot Program
Always, always start small and grow. Phased implementations work the best, by starting with a certain department or document, and then expanding. This gives the end users the ability to move slowly in the right direction, and it gives IT the ability to identify any problems or areas that were missed in planning. It also allows slow cultural change, which is so important to overall success of the projects. Users can take their time, and slowly adapt to the technology in a certain facet of their daily duties, rather than being “thrown into the fire” with a full move into a paperless environment.

The keys to success for an ECM or DMS are numerous, but the items listed above are key focus areas for the success of any system.

This post originally appeared at ScanGuru.com.

ScanGuru retains the copyright.

The End of the Paper Trail as We Know It

by Corey Smith

How much paper do you use? Do you foresee getting rid of it in the near future?Industry analysts suggest that this will be the year that we’ll start to see the turn from paper to paperless. We have been talking about the paperless office for better than 30 years now. Can this really be the year that we will do away with paper?

Well, that is a lofty goal for this year. But, the analysts do think that the turn toward the reduction in paper will start this year. I think that no one is going to totally eliminate the use of paper, but more and more companies are realizing the benefits of converting an increasing amount of paper into digital files.

So, what is it going to take? I tend to think that document imaging is really about fundamentally changing the way you do business. Fundamentally changing the way you think about your business.

It is all about change. We have to be willing to change the way we do things. If we are not willing to change our strategies and approaches, it will never happen.

And, the only way that we will ever be willing to change our strategies and approaches is if we see a possibility of improvement.


Corey Smith is the Editor in Chief for Office Product News and maintains a business and technology blog.

MFPs in Distributive Scanning

By Jon Reardon

Because of the proliferation of MFP devices in the office, the accessibility to scanning has increased. Awareness and use of the MFP scanner have risen because of the ease of integrated solutions and openness to share the device. At InfoTrends, we believe that the acceptance of scanning due to this proliferation of MFP devices has exponentially increased scanning activity (the overall pie has grown). More workers in the office are becoming accustomed to scanning Ad Hoc documents; therefore, this is no longer a specialized application in the office environment. As workflow solutions begin to play a greater role in the office environment, scanning and scanner technology are becoming vital elements for knowledge workers. The following interesting statistics are from a recently published study (conducted at the end of 2007 and published in early 2008) from our Image Scanning Trends practice area entitled US Document Image Scanning Report 2007:


70% of companies using document scanners report that MFPs are used for scanning in their organization. Respondents using MFP scanners estimate their weekly average scan volume is greater than the weekly average scan volume reported for Workgroup scanners - The mean volume per scanner per week is estimated at 2,672 pages for MFP scanners and 1,892 pages for Workgroup scanners. Many respondents (56%) estimate that their MFP scanning volume will increase - 31% estimate that their MFP scanning volume will stay the same, while only 13% estimate that volume will decrease. The highest percentage of documents scanned on MFPs is for ad-hoc purposes (40% of documents). However, increasing numbers of users are scanning for more advanced applications such as records management (62% of users) and for business process applications (54% of users) - The percentages of documents scanned for records management and business process applications are not as high as for ad-hoc scanning, but the percentage of respondents who are broadening their usage of MFP scanning is significant. Many respondents expect they will be scanning more documents to use as part of business processes - 40% of those that use MFPs for business-process applications report that their use of scanning to enable business processes will increase. 24% believe that they will increase the number of documents scanned so that data may be extracted from the documents and used as part of a business process. 33% believe that the volume of documents scanned for archiving, document management, and records management will increase. Higher percentages of users who use single-function document scanners in addition to their MFPs scan for business-process applications than those who use only MFPs - Users with only MFPs tend to do a higher percentage of ad-hoc scanning (52% of documents) than those who also have distributed single-function scanners (34% of documents). More respondents who have both MFPs and single-function document scanners use the MFPs for records management (70% of users) than those who use only MFPs (44% of users). We therefore speculate that users who employ distributed single-function scanners may be more inclined to extend the applications they perform on distributed single-function scanners to their distributed MFP scanners as well.

For the near term, InfoTrends believes that MFP scanning will largely continue to be used for low-volume applications rather than high-volume applications, primarily because sharing a device with those who are copying and printing is not practical in a high-volume situation. It is likely that numerous small companies that wish to scan and have very little equipment will turn to MFPs in these situations, rather than buying a low-volume, single-function scanner. At the same time, many companies will still appreciate the capabilities that a single-function scanners bring to the office in terms of image quality, usability, and paper handling, and will opt for these devices. Single-function scanners are also beginning to be equipped with some of the same features as MFP scanning devices, such as large screen displays, networked (shared) capabilities, and application integration support. At any rate, we believe that scanning, whether it is from an MFP or scanning device, has acquired a significant role in the office environment.

This post originally appeared on the Document Imaging Blog. The Document Imaging Blog maintains the copyright for this article.

10 Steps to Building an ECM Systems

John Mancini, at AIIM, recently posted the 10 Steps to Building an Enterprise Content Management System.

He posted a document that provides detail on the 10 steps you should take in building an ECM or EDMS (Electronic Document Management System) in your organization.

Here is a summary of those steps.
Proposing an ECM
Project Charter
System Scope
System Requirements
ROI analysis
Statement of Work
Project plan
RFP
RFP evaluation
Execution and control


If you are interested, you should download the 10 Steps PDF here.


Greening the Office/Workgroup Environment

By Jon Reardon

The “green” wave is finally working its way into the daily conversation and consciousness of American business. Although this topic is complex, multi-faceted, and far too sophisticated to be covered adequately in a one time blog entry, I thought I might take this opportunity to focus on one tiny element of business sustainability: document capture and scanning.

Reducing the negative impact of a business on the environment has become an imperative strategic initiative for an ever increasing number of SMB and enterprise class organizations. The methods being used to achieve this goal range from reducing resource usage and implementing carbon offsets to recycling and engaging in many other green activities: this list goes on and on.


Many organizations are finding that document management solutions and imaging products are integral to their environmental agenda, assuming they have one. Among other benefits, businesses that implement document management strategies often experience a dramatic reduction in their company-wide paper consumption and CO2 emissions through the reduced printing, postage, and storage of everyday business documents. An obvious way to reduce paper usage in the office is to use scanners to convert paper-based documents to digital format. Although there is still a paper component in the scanning process, the purpose of the process of the workflow (i.e.: scan to repository) is to reduce paper and increase efficiency. This results in other positive residual effects on the environment such as reducing the storage or physical mailing/transporting of paper-based documents, which can impact fuel costs related to the transportation of those documents.

In the case of the office/workgroup, reducing the consumption of environmental resources, , can be accomplished by addressing the endless sea of paper that is used by implementing an electronic document management system. The digital age has already transformed the office environment as it relates to paper. Just 20 years ago, the office did not have tools like the Internet or e-mail. The Internet has changed the dynamics of communications and had some positive effect on our environment, as it has led to less copying of documents and a lower volume of memos being sent around the office or to other locations. One would think that the shift to electronic storage and transport of documents electronically would benefit the planet and reduce the consumption of paper-based documents, but the question remains whether our generation is still printing pages at its destination and/or reprinting electronically stored documents.

As with any tool or technology, it is how these mechanisms are deployed, managed, and policed that can really make the difference when attempting to bring about change. Taking the initiative to set these policies, put these practices (to store more and print less) into place, and make a conscious effort to help future generations is really the only way we will be able to make a difference.

This article was originally posted on the Document Imaging Blog.