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Importance of a Well-documented Implementation Plan

December 4, 2012davidGeneral15

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 per library.  Specific field 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 EDMS 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:

o Improve efficiency through reduction of business processes and systems.
o Provide consistent data to customer queries through well formatted reports.
o Define business rules and automate them with business process workflow.
o Define ownership of data and regulate permissions.
o Improve document control and security.
o Provide architecture that is:
a. Scalable and extensible for growth and wider deployment.
b. Flexible to cater to diverse business needs and litigations.
o Rationalize different data repositories and, wherever needed integrate different databases.
o 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.

Document Management Retention Strategies and Liability Control

October 22, 2012davidTechnology Update4

Document management software limits liability with automated document control

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 minimizing their legal liability.

In a business environment characterized by the accelerating creation of business information, it is not just important to be able to store, find, and retrieve that information quickly, but also to be able to easily delete that information from your system when its usable legal self-life has expired.

The continuing increase in government regulation from Sarbanes Oxley to HIPAA, as well as the increase in frivolous litigation further punctuates the need for companies of all sizes to create and execute appropriate records retention, legal holds and document deletion policies.  Consider the following FREE webinars to learn more about records policy management and implementing a productive Document Management solution for your organization.

Sharing Documents – No more Copying, Courier costs and overnight fees

August 22, 2012davidTechnology UpdateComments Off

Sharing Documents and collaboration with others – No more Copying, Courier costs and overnight fees

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 DocuLex WebSearch’s WorkSpace and SharePortal document management solution will address all concerns and  save organization’s time, money and risk!

Discover the many different ways of Searching with DocuLex Archive Studio’s WebSearch and leverage this knowledge by adding more value to your organization

July 13, 2012davidGeneralComments Off

Discover the many different ways of Searching with DocuLex Archive Studio’s WebSearch and leverage this knowledge by adding more value to your organization.

Your document’s content typically contains 80% of an organization decision making data.  Tapping into this information with your document management solution is like accessing corporate memory on-demand.  Being able to find this data in a timely and predictable manner will minimize discovery costs and provide the much needed historic information to make accurate present day decisions.   Searching options for discovering your information is predetermined by the decisions made when filing the data.  When filing documents electronically, meta data values (searchable keywords) are important when it becomes time to search and retrieve the file or files that qualify with those values.  In addition, making all of the words on the document searchable is also an added benefit for executing a strategic search.

Documents may have been filed using custom meta data values that allow the user to execute a targeted search by one or many categories, such as “customer name”, “date” and “document type”.  The user can also peruse though electronic folders that are categorized by name and document type.  This is a common method of finding files, as you would with a paper filing system.  When searching for electronic document with Archive Studio’s WebSearch, a more tactical approach can get you to your requested documents, quicker and exactly to the page and section of the page where your decision making information is located.  In addition, strategic searching ensures that you have located “every” instance of information you are interested in.

Email archiving with WebSearch is another benefit to your organization if your corporate policy is to save every relevant message and attachment, within your retention period, for future discovery.  Every email message is archived into WebSearch, real-time, even prior to the recipient receiving the message. Staff members have the ability to search their messages even after they are removed from Microsoft Exchange.  The super-users, Admin or security officer “may” be permitted to search across all email messages.  Everything that is text is searchable; meta data such as From, To, Subject, Date as well as the Body of the message.  In addition, all text contained in the attachments is searchable.   WebSearch will instantly display all qualifying messages for your review.  Even the specific page of an attachment will display with the targeted content highlighted for easy discovery.

The cost of creating information assets on paper, MS-Word, Excel, MS-Exchange or other data containers is monumental.  Leverage that investment to your benefit, today and in the future with a solution for tapping into that valuable data.

Tactical Requirements for Document Management Implementations

July 9, 2012davidTechnology UpdateComments Off

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 of document management implementations.  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 the DocuLex 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.

 

A SOAP based API is a pratical method of integration between document management and line of business applications

April 25, 2012davidTechnology UpdateComments Off

A SOAP based API is the standard method of communicating with Archive Studio WebSearch document management software and other line of business applications.

SOAP initially addressed as Simple Object Access Protocol, was developed as a standard to exchange data over the Internet. In other words, SOAP takes the data and shares it via the internet. The data is encoded in an XML format, which has specific rules for encoding and processing. The actual transmission of the XML data is managed by the transport protocol, which is HTTP served by a web server. The combination of the open XML encoding style and the different protocol makes SOAP a better interoperable wired protocol. The original version of SOAP specification was very closely aligned with HTTP. With the release of the 1.1 and subsequent specification, other Internet protocols could be used as transport layers. The transportation protocol locates the remote system and initiates communications. The arrangement of information within the SOAP packet, textual data, should comply with XML specifications. The textual data allows for maximum system compatibility. Having the text in XML allows you to dictate what data content the text should encapsulate. Using XML schemas and namespaces, you can apply rigid data types to remote methods. The XML based protocol defines what is in the message and how to process it. The areas SOAP specification does not address are left to the individual SOAP implementation’s architect to design into a specific implementation. Some advantages of using SOAP are

• SOAP is built upon open technologies, rather than vendor-specific technologies, and facilitates true distributed interoperability.

• Different standards like SMTP, HTTP, JMS can be used in while sending data in SOAP giving the developers better flexibility.

• Changes to the SOAP infrastructure will likely not affect applications using the protocol, unless significant serialization changes are made to the SOAP specification.

Some SOAP features that can impact performance:

• SOAP was initially tied to the HTTP protocol mandating request/response architecture that is not appropriate for all situations. Though different protocols can be used, lot of SOAP implementations still use HTTP.

• The XML format being verbose can slower the SOAP messages if the messages are big

If you compare with other systems such as CORBA, DCOM, or Java RMI, proper runtime environments should be installed; the users system should be configured to accommodate non SOAP systems etc. In some cases it is also needed to reconfigure firewall(s) to allow the system-specific packets to enter and leave local network. In contrast the SOAP protocol is very easy to incorporate as well as very easy to administer.

Whether or not the advantages of using SOAP outweigh the disadvantages will likely depend to a great degree upon the requirements levied upon the architecture. How SOAP is used depends entirely on the problem you are trying to solve. To summarize the three major characteristics of SOAP: Extensibility (New extensions can be easily developed), Neutrality (Usage of different transport protocol such as HTTP, SMTP or even TCP helps the cause), and Independence (having open technologies means SOAP can be used any vendors) makes SOAP a great mechanism for transporting data over the internet

Feasibility Study for DMS

Many projects do not reach a desired outcome. Rather they are cancelled midway due to nonalignment with business objectives or lack of ownership or budget constraints etc. In order to reduce the chances of failures, a feasibility study can be used as a tool to conduct preliminary investigation of requirements.
The purpose of a feasibility study is to determine whether the implementation of a Document Management System tool supports the mission and objectives of the organization. It is an initial assessment of the usability of DMS tool and the practicability of achieving a successful implementation.
Time and other resources to conduct a feasibility study that covers all types of business processes where document management opportunities exist might be scarce. But documents being a core element in most business processes, there is a need to scope the feasibility study (i.e. the requirements gathered as part of the study need to have a defined scope before starting a more detailed requirements analysis investigation).
In many organizations, the number of projects exceeds the capacity of the organization to undertake them. It is necessary to rank projects and to ensure that initiated projects meet its likely outcome. Hence, the feasibility study of a DMS project with respect to below points is needed:
• If Managements is aware of such a change and ready to support anticipated outcomes
• If the changes incorporated as part of a DMS tool are within the organization’s policies
• If it is practical to deploy resources for the project given other initiatives that are in progress
• If the DMS tool project can impact any other project in progress or in pipeline
• If this is the right timing to start a DMS project.
When all the discussions are happening it is also important that DMS project initiators have some strong point to justify the reason for DMS projects. Some of the benefits, which can be used as points for justification are:
• Faster retrieval of documents thereby enhancing the capability of a system
• Proper and faster publishing of documents, by using automated workflow to route documents to appropriate owner. Hence, communication is faster.
• Automation helps in improving accuracy thereby improving quality and fewer chances of errors.
• Better customer service, since a DMS tool can help in easier location of documents and any other relevant archived material
• Cost savings, since amount of time spent on storing and searching is saved. Employee productive time can be used for other purpose.
Ultimately, the feasibility study will assist organizations to allocate resources and money for the specification, acquisition, development, and implementation of a DMS system. The organization should consider the feasibility study as an essential component of the project life cycle. If the organization can not get the preliminary planning and definition correct during the feasibility study, then it is unlikely to get it right at all.

The Benefits of Cloud Computing

February 9, 2012adminTechnology Update4

Improved technology and better affordability are making it possible for an increasing number of businesses and organizations to move to “cloud computing” and away from on-site, locally managed computer servers for application hosting and document management.

It is hoped that any enterprise that fully or even partially embraced and leapt to “the cloud” did so after some prudent investigation into the benefits and risks of such a move.

The chief reasons cited today for putting off cloud computing include issues related to data availability and control, service reliability, file security and information privacy. But on the flip side of those cloud-computing “cons” or risks are many “pros” — solid business reasons to take a seat on the cloud and ride it.

For review, cloud computing is the practice of using a network of remote servers — “virtual servers,” some call them — rather than local servers to store, manage and process data. Access to these servers and the pertinent information on them is gained by secure connection through the Internet, wherever and whenever the Internet is available.

Cloud computing is more than traditional data hosting in that its services are sold on demand like a water or electric utility service, it is elastic in that a customer can use as much or as little of the services as it needs, and it is fully managed by the service provider or vendor.

While not totally inclusive, here are some leading benefits of cloud computing:

• By moving to cloud computing, a company can reduce its costs in the areas of software applications, computer hardware and IT staffing.
• Cloud computing gives small and midsize organizations access to technology and technology expertise and support that only the “big boys” used to have.
• With the elastic and scalable nature of cloud computing, a company can get started with the features and services it can afford now and later access more services as the company and its bottom line grows. Think “pay as you go.”
• Cloud-computing services and applications can be — and usually are — tailor made to each client’s specific needs.
• Access to the cloud is convenient. All one needs is a desktop, laptop or tablet computer — or even just a smartphone — and a link to the Internet.
• Business owners can operate “virtual” companies, because their employees don’t have to be tied to a central office with an on-site data server. Working from home or on the go has never been easier or more convenient.
• Because of the convenient access to information on the cloud, collaboration with colleagues, even those at great distances, is easier.
• Cloud computing provides for continued business operations and data access in the event of a disaster, whether natural (“acts of God”) or accidental (a fire, for example).
• Data security on a cloud-based server can be much better than on a locally managed server.
• File backups on cloud computers and servers are done routinely. The chances than files or data will be lost are greatly reduced.
• Testing of and moving to upgraded software is much more streamlined. If the new software doesn’t work for a company, a rollback to the previous version usually is possible.

Windows 7 “Indexing” vs. DocuLex WebSearch Document Management System

December 2, 2011adminTechnology UpdateComments Off

The term indexing is ambiguous and is defined differently in Windows 7™ Vs how it is used in Doculex’s ‘Document Management’ System called ‘WebSearch’.
What Windows™ refers to as ‘Indexing’ a document is what is called ‘A Text Search’. That is, it searches every word in every document as well as words contained in the names of documents. When a user types in a particular word that they believe is in the document, then ALL the documents that contain that word will be presented. That could be a few, or thousands. Users can ‘fine-tune’ the search by looking for the word(s) contained specifically in a particular document type such as a *.Doc or a *.PDF, etc. But that still means the user has to look through numerous files to find the exact document for which they are searching. Also, they are left wondering whether the exact document for which they are searching has been found. Also, Windows 7™ will only index the documents on a particular PC. In business, there are usually several Desktops and servers.
This weakness is understood in the world of managing Business Documents. Indexing here refers to assigning key ‘search fields’ to a particular type of document and then assigning ‘search words’ to those fields. This way the user can search by more than one word or words and get exactly the document for which they are looking. This ability allows for a number of additional search methods to find documents, including:
1. Indexing documents using ‘index fields’ and ‘specific index words’ allows one to index document that are contained in a database on a server, Vs only being able to search the documents on a particular PC.
2. Ability to find by key ‘index fields’ to find a specific document. (E.g. All ‘Invoices’ might have been indexed by ‘Invoice Number’, ‘Date’, ‘Vendor Name’, etc. Searching for ‘Invoices/Invoice Number’ will find that document and only that document if the invoice number is unique.)
3. Ability to fine-tune a search by multiple index fields. (E.g. Searching by ‘Vendor Name’ would find all Invoices by that Vendor, which might be exactly what the user wants. Searching by ‘Vendor name’ and ‘date’ would find just that particular invoice, etc.)
4. Ability to search by ‘date range’, as well as multiple index fields.
5. Ability to search by ‘automated information’ (e.g. upload date, system date, time, etc.)
6. Ability to search by ‘Google Style’ search parameters such as:
a. Fuzzy Logic searching will find a word even if it is misspelled. For example, a fuzzy search for apple will find aple, or appl, etc.
i. Fuzzy searching can be useful when the user is searching text that may contain typographical errors.
ii. Fuzzy Searching is also good for finding text that has been scanned using optical character recognition where, for example, a O is mistaken for a 0.
iii. Fuzzy Searching is useful for finding text that has been ‘OCR’d’ by scanners for the same reason as shown in ‘ii’ above.
b. Stemming is a search capability that extends a search to cover grammatical variations on a word. For example, a search for ‘fish’ would also find ‘fishing’. A search for applied would also find applying, applies, and apply.
c. Phonic searching looks for a word that sounds like the word you are searching for and begins with the same letter. For example, a phonic search for Smith will also find Smith and Smythe.
d. Natural Language search uses “any words”, which is any sequence of text, like a sentence or a question.
e. Synonym search can find words that are synonymous with the search words. So when someone remembers that the document might have contained a word similar to another word, running a synonym search finds all similar words. Such as, “The article I am looking for is about cars” then it would search for documents that have the word, Automobile, Motor Vehicle, etc. After all, an article about cars may never use the word ‘car’ but that is how the user may remember it.

In Windows 7™, searching by all the words in all the documents on a PC requires that the user go through several, if not all, documents on the PC to find the particular document for which they are looking. Plus, they can only search for the documents on their PC. They cannot search for documents on other servers or those on other users PC’s.

Software Certification for Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR) Meaningful Use

November 10, 2011adminTechnology UpdateComments Off

DocuLex has achieved the ONC-ATCB Certification Seal for its Archive Studio WebSearch Document Management Software.  The Seal represents that Archive Studio has been tested and certified for use by healthcare providers seeking to adopt and successfully demonstrate “Meaningful Use of Certified EHR Technology”, to qualify for incentive funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  The Seal indicates that the DocuLex Software Suite has passed a series of tests to prove compliance with the EHR technical standard as required by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary.

Adoption of better document management systems by healthcare providers for patient records has been an increasing trend over the last few years based on goverment incentives and compliance issues.  The DocuLex software is now approved for use by healthcare providers for the secure management, storage and retrieval of valuable healthcare records.  Healthcare organizations can now easily integrate the DocuLex software module with their existing practice management software for a complete EHR system.

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