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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.

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

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.

DocuLex Launches New Website For Best User Experience in Navigation and Information Gathering

August 4, 2011adminTechnology UpdateComments Off

DocuLex has launched an entirely new website!  The website is designed to provide information seekers, current customers and DocuLex resellers with ease of navigation and quick access to educational content.  For those requiring information regarding document management, workflow automation, email archiving or what the differences are between Software as a Service vs. local install, this site features hot buttons and explanations throughout expanding on these topics among others. Visitors from various industries can find pages around these topics specific to their industry on the new site as well.  Access product information, demonstrations, videos, case studies, white papers, conference schedules, company news, webinar schedules and many other informative tools with ease on the new DocuLex website.  Customers and DocuLex resellers can view immediately and link to DocuLex corporate partners, access compliance information, and view a full Support area for automatic support renewals, software update downloads, manuals and tech notes, and instant support services.  Also featured within the site is a login area for DocuLex resellers, to obtain an entire set of tools to support sales efforts.

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