Document Management Software - DocuLex
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Plan and Create Specification Before Implimentation

November 18, 2013Alan VollmarGeneralComments Off

Circuit board

Every business process in an organization creates some form of document. Such documents are prone to mismanagement due to volumes, type and format of the document.  The mismanagement can in turn impact the organization’s capability for administration. Not only document but also web content needs some kind of management strategies or else the business is vulnerable to threats that can impact the functioning of business.

Realizing a problem, some organizations might purchase available products in software. But with so many freeware or licensed products available it is important to realize that DMS is not an easy off the shelf and ready to use product. For instance it is not easy to implement integrity controls over documents as can be done easily with data in database. An adequate specification list needs to be developed before shopping so that DMS tools can be aligned to meet the specifications.

Some of the points to be noted before implementing a Document and Content management are

  • Product should be aligned to meet the business and technology solutions of an organization.
  • Policies should be developed to provide a framework for implementing the product in day to day operations of business.
  • Policies should be reviewed and deployed effectively.
  • Communication strategies should be developed to assist the changes and the impacted team.
  • Retention and Version control rules should be developed for all documents. This helps in finalizing the principles on which the content can be archived.
  • application of relevant information management principles, standards, and best practice;

A product implemented without proper planning can expose the organization to additional headaches.  Ultimately the organization capability to implement and sustain document management processes can be impacted. In order to be effective, a DMS should be able to,

  • Store and Retrieve Digital office documents.
  • Store and Retrieve Email.
  • Store and Retrieve Physical office documents.
  • Store and Retrieve Drawings and technical documents.
  • Store and Retrieve Document images.
  • Store and Retrieve Web content (Internet and intranet), including multimedia objects;
  • Store and Retrieve Reports output from business operational and support systems.

Apart from Archiving above contents, a DMS system should also be able to integrate other business systems, such as:

  • Resource Management Systems;
  • Supply Chain Management Systems;
  • Asset Management Systems;
  • Contract Management Systems;
  • Horizontal business applications;
  • Vertical applications relevant to the specific line of business.
  • Knowledge Portals if any etc

Suppliers of product may not have the features needed for you. But most of the products available in market have an open architecture. Hence different suppliers can integrate the other product to meet any organization goals. In the end customer is superior. A proper documented specification can provide an ideal Document and content management system providing rewarding benefits to organization.

System Performance Requirements

November 15, 2013Alan VollmarGeneralComments Off

Modern touch screen mobile phone

In a globalized business environment, users are unaware of physical location of servers. A user sitting in an offshore location might have a file server location in USA or vice versa. But irrespective of location, the users should be able to search and retrieve documents at the same speed.

Given that users can search data from any location, the DMS tool should provide a high level of system performance, .i.e. it should support satisfactorily the entire user base of an organization. But the performance of a system depends on a lot of factors, some of which are external to the DMS tool. Hence, the enterprises should recognize such constraints and state any assumptions made when defining performance criteria.

It is important to state these assumptions in the Nonfunctional Requirements Specification. Some of these requirements are:

-        Configuration of the machine such as RAM, Processor speed from which the DMS tool retrieval will be optimum should be defined

-        Organizations network bandwidth is also important. It is essential to evaluate the performance over the LAN versus access from Internet (while accessing form home). LAN Usage Patterns reports can be monitored.

-        Performance should also be explicitly stated in reference to the Operating System and Browser.

-        It is important to test the performance of the tool when multiple users access it. So if performance of the tool goes down when a number of users cross a threshold limit, then it is important to mention it.

-        Document retrieval should be defined in terms of number of bytes. For instance a bigger size document might take more time to be fetched and displayed to the user.

-        Retrieve and view functionality should be tested using the tool provided by the DMS vendor and any other external tool that the organization plans to deploy.

-        Response times should be measured, from the time user presses the enter key until the full document is displayed on the workstation screen.

Apart from the above specifications, it is also important that the organization specifically define the Performance Requirements of the DMS tool. These requirements can be updated based on multiple testing. Such a document provides a baseline for customers of the organization on what to expect from the tool. Some of the parameters that can be defined for performance are:

  • Time needed for DMS client tool to launch
  • Time needed for a document to be archived based on size. Ex: 10kb, 2MB etc
  • Time needed for a document to be viewed based on size. Ex: 10kb, 2MB etc
  • Time needed to retrieve multiple documents based on a search key
  • Time needed to retrieve single documents based on a search key

Any performance requirement can depend on a variety of conditions, such as size of document (letter, legal, or A4), storage medium (magnetic or optical) etc. Tests should be done when multiple users are simultaneously accessing the system in an actual operating scenario. It is not possible for an organization to depend solely on the vendor provided data because each environment differs.

Storage Consideration for Document Management Solutions

November 13, 2013Alan VollmarGeneralComments Off

Man at the Wall choose Direction

Mass Storage for Digital Documents

Once you have selected your document management software and specified hardware, the next important consideration is mass storage. Organizations should provide a secure system and environment for operating the document management software, the database server and the mass storage server. Security and continuity are top of mind when making your selection for hardware and the environment in which it lives.

Building a mass storage hardware solution for documents need to be done after defining the requirements of storage capacity. In order to do so, the following points should be noted:

-        Type of digital documents to be stored:  This will help in getting an approximate size of file. For instance, scanned in PDF documents take up more space compared to Microsoft .docx documents.  Color JPG documents generally take more space than color TIF documents.
Each scanned image of a document might take up 50k of space per page vs. one multipage .docx file using the same amount of space.

-        File compression can play an important role when considering the storage requirement.  Group IV compression is the industry’s most common and effective use of valuable storage.  JPG compression is commonly used for color, but for black & white business documents JPG loses archive quality pixels, rendering the file lossy and not a legal representation of the original.

-        If scanned documents are OCR’d for purposes of searching full text content, storage requirements for each page will increase by approximately 10%.

-        When a document is archived, all the parts of the document should be stored. For instance, email messages that are archived may contain attachments of text based documents and images.  The proper storage protocol is referred to as “enveloping”, thus petrifying all original dates, hidden meta data and enclosing all attachments.

-        Documents stored in repository should be stored in an ideal format: For instance all documents can be converted to a format that saves more space in storage. But legally, and to maintain archival quality, should the document be stored in the native format.

It is important for the organization to understand that capacity planning is a must; otherwise the electronic document management experience will not work appropriately, users will voice their disappointment and the system will not demonstration peak performance and productivity. Proper planning of storage helps in determining the right hardware configuration for the solution. It is also best to make an approximation for the next 3 -5 years of storage needs before procuring the hardware.

A final consideration is whether your organization might be better served by assigning your document management and mass storage hardware to a managed service provider.  Managed service providers, such as DocuLex, host and manage your hardware and software in a SAS 70 / SSAE 16 standard certified environment.  The entire solution is professionally managed in a turn-key secure server hosting facility which is transparent to users of the software.

DocuLex WorkSpace, SharePortal – No More Copying, Courier Cost and Overnight Fees

November 11, 2013Alan VollmarGeneralComments Off

ベクター、フォルダーから写真をインターネッã

Sharing documents with others in your organization or with those parties on the outside, generally comes with a price and a certain degree of risk.  Hard costs include the expenses associated with copying or printing materials, plus the labor for reproduction and re-filing the original documents.  Depending on the routing method for in-organization delivery, the documents could pass through several hands before arriving to its destination.

Creating multiple copies of documents generates risk of content integrity.  Content can be changed or edited, misrepresenting the meaning of the original document.  In addition, multiple reproductions of the original document increase the chances that the content might slip into the wrong hands.

Sharing documents with outside parties adds another dimension to corporate risk.  Mailing a document has obvious delays and uncertainty whether the target recipient has actually received the document.  Email delivery has limits to file size and FTP delivery is often not secure.  Once delivery is successful, “your” document and content is now out of your organizations control.

Learn how WebSearch’s WorkSpace SharePortal will address all concerns and  save organization’s time, money and risk!

A Tactical Approach to Document Management

November 4, 2013Alan VollmarGeneralComments Off

Darts

The requirements of a Document Management system (DMS) are related to functions and processes used by different business application of an organization. When documenting tactical requirements it is important to ascertain various factors. Some of them are:

Training Requirements

It is important to train the document management end users so that the deployed product can be used. Well planned, adequate training is a must for DMS users so that the DMS product, such as Archive Studio, does not add an additional headache to the users, but it rather helps for effective performance of the organization functions and business process workflow.

Defining the training requirements depends upon business requirements and the nature of the solution. Training should cover the following type of user

  • General user — Adequate training is needed to ensure that the user is able to complete his work using the document management tool;
  • Key Admin user — These users are the people who can further be used for more training to new users and have rights to give permissions to any general user.
  • System administrator — Training the technical team so that they can manage the operation of the DMS solution with less support from the DMS reseller or manufacturer.

Some of the additional details that might incur cost while training are accommodation, travel expenses, computers for training, training room, professional trainer, etc. It is important to plan these details before planning any training strategy.  Most, if not all of the training can occur online, saving travel expenses, facility business interruption and multi-location training sessions.

System Changeover / Migration

System changeover may include the business requirements for migrating from an existing document management system to the new document management system. It is important that an enterprise, where the requirement exists, defines its system changeover and data migration requirements. This may be relevant where an existing document is to be decommissioned as part of the implementation of the DMS solution.

There are a number of scenarios that might apply:

  • There is no system changeover or data migration, which is the simplest scenario.
  • An existing document system is to be decommissioned concurrent with or subsequent to the implementation of a DMS solution.
  • Old Document system needs to be maintained as part of a system that provides a wider range of functionality, or integrates with a new system. Hence, it is not to be decommissioned.

Prior to data migration, confirm that there is a database association between the meta data and the document file, including the path.   You might be surprise how many proprietary systems are out there.

If an existing document system is to be decommissioned, then it is important to consider its system changeover strategies and requirements. There are a number of strategy options:

  • Direct cutover;
  • Parallel operations; and
  • Phased changeover.

Planning for Managing Change

The implementation of document management system will bring about changes in the way the organization handles internal documents. It is best to realize some of these Changes, so that the organizations can plan. Some of these changes are:

-       For DMS solution to work effectively each documents need to be uniquely identified. So while creating new documents or updating new documents, the users might have to add additional information in the DMS system such as version number etc. This information will act as a metadata that can be used to store, retrieve and fetch data.

-       The users might be using an existing filing system, network storage or some local database to locate documents. All such users should be educated and their documents migrated to new DMS software

-       With the implementation of the DMS system, the way organizations use and store document will be different. Such changes should be communicated clearly to all the new users and help provided till they become comfortable with new system.

-       The organization will be storing files in the DMS repository.  It is important to get access to all users and restrict the access based on user’s profile or community. Ultimately the DMS should not impact the day to day operations.

-       Depending upon roles/needs remote access of DMS should be enabled for users from any location in a secured way.  SSL certificates along with community permissions are the most appropriate security measure utilized with Archive Studio.

These are but a few aspects of issues that need to be analyzed and requirements defined. The requirements may be varied, and much depends on the nature of the enterprise, its philosophy toward information management, and the extent to which it gives (or plans to give) effect to managing information as an asset. If there is no demonstrated commitment from management at the strategic and tactical levels of the organization, then those issues also need to be addressed.

 

Importance of a Well-Documented Implementation Plan

November 1, 2013Alan VollmarGeneralComments Off

filein and folders

Implementation plan for your Document Management or Email Archiving / Discovery Solution

For successfully executing and implementing a Document Management System (EDMS) project, a lot of important documents need to be created. These multiple documents state the scope, constraints and the vision of the project to be achieved by implementing a document management or email archiving and discovery system. Below are some of the documents that can be useful for planning the project execution:

 

  • Project Execution Plan – This is a project management plan for the implementation of the document management / email archiving solution.   How many libraries are to be created.  User permissions.  Specific information on the various document types.  Methods of capturing searchable meta data, such as, key from image, barcode and zonal OCR.
  • Scope of Execution Plan – The functionality that is to be included should be identified, for example, the extent to which the document management system is to be interfaced with the line-of-business solution.
  • Project Schedule – Supporting the Project Execution Plan, this document provides a list of activities, tasks, milestones, target dates, resource utilization and costing details of the project.
  • Risk Management Plan – In case the Project Execution has any issues then there should be a contingency plan for it. This document manages the issues that arise during project execution.
  • System Changeover Plan – If there is any existing DMS system, then this document has the plan for migrating the legacy systems.  Details such as whether the legacy system will be decommissioned are included as part of this document.  Some legacy document management systems have archaic storage methodology and are quite often designed for keeping the data hostage.  There may be a loss of some legacy data after the changeover is complete.
  • Data Migration Plan – The document will define the scope, methodology, and deliverables for addressing the requirements of migrating data from existing system. Migrating data from one system to another may compromise some of the data and could also take months to complete the migration.
  • Training Plan – This document will define the scope, methodology, and deliverables necessary to meet the requirements of the Training Needs Analysis/Specification.  Train the trainer is the preferred practice when DocuLex performs the training sessions.
  • System Integration Test Plan – This document defines the testing requirements for different systems, backup and recovery, and any associated technical infrastructure.  ODBC connectivity testing between the line of business database and Archive Studio is common prior to going live.  DocuLex add-on’s and plug-in’s for Microsoft Office.
  • System Acceptance Test Plan – This document defines the scope, methodology, and deliverables to meet the requirements.  A complete rollout into production can take from two weeks to six months, depending on the complexity requirements, multiple training locations and amount of users.  This may not include the complete migration of legacy data.
  • Post implementation Review Document – Once the document management / email archiving system is implemented this document has the parameters based on which it can be ascertained if the document management / email archiving solution met the objectives identified for the implementation.

Apart from the various documents, it is also important to identify the objectives of the system and document them. The follow apply:

    • Improve efficiency through reduction of business processes and systems
    • Provide consistent data to customer queries through well formatted reports
    • Define business rules and automate them with business process workflow
    • Define ownership of data and regulate permissions
    • Improve document control and security
    • Provide architecture that is:
      1. Scalable and extensible for growth and wider deployment
      2. Flexible to cater to diverse business needs and litigations
    • Rationalize different data repositories and, wherever needed integrate different databases
    • Decommission systems that are redundant and those not important to business

Though documenting can be a tedious process, the benefits of documentation are important. These documents can act as a design and implementation roadmap that is easily understood by all parties involved in the implementation of the document management / email archiving solution.  This documentation depicts the boundaries of interoperability by all parties and products.

Planning a Successful Quality Management Process

October 30, 2013Alan VollmarGeneralComments Off

strategy

 Any document management system should go through a quality management process. But before defining the process, it’s important to clearly identify the requirements as part of the implementation strategy.

Some of the quality checks may include:

  • Data dictionary evaluation to see how different attributes are related and captured in the document management system process.
  • Documentation versioning.
  • Data integrity check.
  • Checking the indexing process to evaluate the consistency of search results based on given search criteria. Proper indexing and classification of metadata is important for an effective document management system.

A quality assurance check needs clearly defined roles and expectations. Quality assurance plan documents may include:

  • Stating the person who will do the assessment and review the project.
  • When it will be done.
  • Standards and procedures to follow.
  • Actions to take should if a data or functionality issue arises.
  • Any internal or external quality analysis to be done.
  • How assessment of project progress will take place

A person or a team can take ownership of quality assurance activities. In either case, it’s important to identify the skills needed for testing the document management system.

Software quality assurance activities can include checking:

  • Functionality.
  • Reliability.
  • Usability.
  • Processing and response time.
  • Operating environments and system compatibility

Many evaluation techniques are available for assessing software. They may be grouped according to software evaluation, information evaluation, and interface evaluation. It’s important to make the quality assurance specific to the document management system.

Keys to Successful Document Storage

October 28, 2013Alan VollmarGeneralComments Off

3d file cabinet on white background

Once you have a document management system that meets your requirements, you should consider a secure way to manage stored documents. To start, ask yourself these questions:

-       What type of digital documents will you store? For example, .doc format documents take up more space than .docx documents

-       How many different versions of a document will you store?  Determine the type of documents whose multiple versions will be stored online or in backup. Storing only two versions of documents in cache and the remainder in storage media might impact the retrieval time for documents.

-       Will you store all parts of an archived document? For instance, will archived email messages contain attachments and images?

-       Will you convert documents to a format that saves storage space? If so, when the document is retrieved it should display in its original format

Proper planning helps you determine the right hardware configuration. You should also anticipate your storage needs for the next three to five years before getting the hardware.

System performance

Regardless of location, users should search and retrieve documents at the same speed. But performance depends on many factors, some of which fall outside the document management system. So enterprises should recognize such constraints when defining performance criteria, which include:

-       The operating system and browser.

-       Configuration of the machine. Define the optimum processor speed for document management system retrieval.

-       Network bandwidth. Evaluate performance over the LAN versus accessing the Internet from a remote location.

-       Performance. Does it go down when a number of users cross a threshold limit?

-       Bytes. Fetching and displaying a larger document might take more time.

-       Retrieve and view functionality. Test it using the tool from the document management system vendor and any other external tool that the organization plans to use.

-       Response time. Measure it from the time a user presses the enter key until the full document displays on the workstation screen.

Apart from these specifications, an organization should specifically define the performance requirements of the document management system. These requirements can be updated based on multiple testing. Such a document lets users know what to expect. Some performance parameters include the time needed to:

  • Launch a document management system client tool.
  • Archive a document based on size.
  • View a document based on size.
  • Retrieve single and multiple documents based on a search key.

Any performance requirement can depend on a variety of conditions, such as size of document or storage medium. Tests should be done when multiple users access the system in an actual operating scenario. An organization can’t depend solely on data from the vendor because each environment differs.

The Challenges of Managing Social Media Information

October 25, 2013Alan VollmarGeneralComments Off

network community technologies

Social media seems to have expanded to everything we do. More and more, people have become engaged and active through social media applications. This activity has also created a massive volume of data, which makes managing information created through social media more relevant. But the marriage of social media and document management systems has its challenges. For example:

  • In social media, information is shared and visible all. Staying open is the main driving force of social media websites
  • Censoring social media is difficult.
  • Each company has its own social media policies. Many companies ban social media Websites on company networks.
  • Social media has a lot of personal content. Software must include the ability to differentiate business information.
  • Document management has more static information, whereas social media information gets updated frequently.

To blend with social media, document management companies should consider these key points:

 

  • Be location independent. Executives or clients anywhere in the world should be able to see and update documents.
  • Because social media is usually a place for networking, information will have to be managed in a networked way.
  • Immediate availability of published documents is important.
  • It should be easy to share and access all types and sizes of documents from anywhere at any time. Content posted by people in the network or group can be duplicated or copied from some other source. So an intelligent copyscape tool is needed so no violations occur.
  • Business intelligence (other than just grabbing, storing, and distributing) will have to be built into the new document management system.

 

It is high time for document management system providers to innovate and provide a valid solution for social media users.

Nonfunctional Requirements

October 23, 2013Alan VollmarGeneralComments Off

Female office worker carrying a stack of files

Storage

Once a required DMS tool is built as per functional requirements, the next important consideration is about storage. Organizations should provide a secure system for DMS tool in order to manage documents in primary or secondary storage. Consequently this means short listing a vendor product to install mass storage capacities during each stage of development and probably across the organization.

Building a storage facility for documents need to be done after defining the requirements of storage capacity. In order to do so, the following points should be noted:

-        Type of digital documents to be stored:  This will help in getting an approximate size of file. For instance, .doc format documents take up more space compared to .docx documents

-        How many different versions of a document will be stored?  It is important to determine the type of documents whose multiple versions will be stored online or in backup. If all versions of documents are stored online then this might take more space on cache. Rather, if only 2 versions of documents are stored in cache and the remainder in storage media, this might impact the retrieval time for documents.

-        When a document is archived should all the parts of the document be stored? For instance, email messages that are archived may contain attachments and some images.

-        Documents stored in repository should be stored in an ideal format: For instance all documents can be converted to a format that saves more space in storage. But when this document is retrieved it should display back in original format

It is important for the organization to understand that capacity planning is a must, otherwise the whole tool cannot work appropriately. Proper planning of storage helps in determining the right hardware configuration for the DMS tool. It is also best to make an approximation for the next 3 -5 years of storage needs before procuring the hardware.

System Performance

In a globalized business environment, users are unaware of physical location of servers. A user sitting in an offshore location might have a file server location in USA or vice versa. But irrespective of location, the users should be able to search and retrieve documents at the same speed.

Given that users can search data from any location, the DMS tool should provide a high level of system performance, .i.e. it should support satisfactorily the entire user base of an organization. But the performance of a system depends on a lot of factors, some of which are external to the DMS tool. Hence, the enterprises should recognize such constraints and state any assumptions made when defining performance criteria.

It is important to state these assumptions in the Nonfunctional Requirements Specification. Some of these requirements are:

-        Configuration of the machine such as RAM, Processor speed from which the DMS tool retrieval will be optimum should be defined

-        Organizations network bandwidth is also important. It is essential to evaluate the performance over the LAN versus access from Internet (while accessing form home). LAN Usage Patterns reports can be monitored.

-        Performance should also be explicitly stated in reference to the Operating System and Browser.

-        It is important to test the performance of the tool when multiple users access it. So if performance of the tool goes down when a number of users cross a threshold limit, then it is important to mention it.

-        Document retrieval should be defined in terms of number of bytes. For instance a bigger size document might take more time to be fetched and displayed to the user.

-        Retrieve and view functionality should be tested using the tool provided by the DMS vendor and any other external tool that the organization plans to deploy.

-        Response times should be measured, from the time user presses the enter key until the full document is displayed on the workstation screen.

Apart from the above specifications, it is also important that the organization specifically define the Performance Requirements of the DMS tool. These requirements can be updated based on multiple testing. Such a document provides a baseline for customers of the organization on what to expect from the tool. Some of the parameters that can be defined for performance are:

  • Time needed for DMS client tool to launch
  • Time needed for a document to be archived based on size. Ex: 10kb, 2MB etc
  • Time needed for a document to be viewed based on size. Ex: 10kb, 2MB etc
  • Time needed to retrieve multiple documents based on a search key
  • Time needed to retrieve single documents based on a search key

Any performance requirement can depend on a variety of conditions, such as size of document (letter, legal, or A4), storage medium (magnetic or optical) etc. Tests should be done when multiple users are simultaneously accessing the system in an actual operating scenario. It is not possible for an organization to depend solely on the vendor provided data because each environment differs.

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