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Archive for June, 2012

“But I’m scanning to PDF now…” Network & Web Access

Mobile Access Document Management

Continuing on with our series of 7 reasons why scanning to PDF alone isn’t enough today (where we previously mentioned File Names Don’t Matter and Security), let’s continue on with reason #3.

#3. Network & Web Access

If we look at a PDF, generally the best way for us to share this with staff is through our network of Windows folders. Staff can navigate to a particular drive and then access the respective documents or records (for example, Jane will head to E:/Human Resources/Employee Files). While this is good in practice, it has limitations as there will be times when Jane may need to access something but it resides in a folder she hasn’t been given permission to access. Yes it could be that she’s not supposed to see that respective folder, but many times it’s simply that it hasn’t been done yet OR the documents reside in someone’s local folder. How is Jane able to access a related HR record if it’s on John’s desktop?

So with PDFs we really only have one way of sharing these documents amongst staff (Windows folders) and yes the occasional emailing of them which is more of a reactive approach as it involves too many steps. Compared to Jane going straight to the source and retrieving it herself, she has to contact John who then has to perform a search, and then create an email, attach the files, and send to Jane.

For people outside the organization, it’s even more cumbersome as the process of putting PDFs on your website is always a manual push. In other words, you may want to share board minutes or agendas or particular forms for people to download and access, but you always have to upload or point to a static file. If that file is ever revised, or a new document needs to be uploaded for consumption (say minutes), there’s no simple way to do this without updating that particular page of your website with a new link to that then uploaded PDF document. So for both the public and your own staff, PDFs have limitations on HOW you distribute them and more importantly the steps it takes to retrieve them.

With a dedicated document management solution though, you have a variety of ways to make that information available to both staff and those outside the organization. Number one is that you will be providing a centralized repository to all staff (and even the public if you wanted) where all your content will reside. These applications will serve as the foundation and provide a single source or location for staff to go to when they need to pull information up. Gone will be the information silos, the multiple applications each housing their own respective data (documents & records), and staff will then have a shared service they can all use simultaneously and to access their content.

If it becomes a policy that staff are not to store HR records or related documents locally on their computers, but rather in the document management solution than you will always have a single location to go to with the ability to still provide granular security as we mentioned earlier. So to confirm, Jane Doe could access the solution, login with her username and password, and possibly see just the HR records. John Doe on the other hand will login with his username and password, and also see the Engineering folder, the Accounting folder, etc. A big benefit here is that both didn’t have to ask themselves “What system did I save that record to?” or “Where did Jane/John store the X or Y records that were scanned?”

In addition to simple access through a desktop client, many solutions today offer both web accessibility and even mobile access. So leveraging the same back-end solution where all your content already resides, you can then also add on tools to web-enable the applications. Staff are then able to access documents and records wherever they are in the world really, so long as they have internet access. Most are browser-independent so whatever web browser staff are comfortable using will be just fine, but they are able to search and retrieve records, provide indexing, annotate documents, print, email, and even scan new documents in an ad-hoc fashion.

Mobile solutions allow them to be able to use their iOS devices (iPhone, iPad), as well as Android devices, and pull up any document. They can do almost anything they would in the web-based client on their smartphone, including the ability to use the devices camera as a capture tool while adjusting for the curvature of an image, possibly OCRing (optical character recognition) the document, and sending it directly to the centralized repository for others to access. So you could be out in the field, have a need to capture a specific page or form, capture it with your devices camera and it would then end up in your application for staff at your home office to access, all in real time.

You can see how there are far more benefits to having a dedicated document and/or records management solution compared to just scanning to PDF alone (relying on just storing the content in a network or local Windows folder). We will visit auditing and records management differences in the next post of this series.

Read other posts in this series
Reasons #1 and #2 – File Names Don’t Matter & Security
Reason #3 – Network & Web Access
Reason #4 and #5 – Auditing & Records Management
Reason #6 and #7 – Advanced Searching & Automated Capture

Fill out our “Request Information” form to learn more about how we can help your organization today. We work with organizations across the Central Valley of California with offices in Fresno, Sacramento, Santa Ana, and Bakersfield.

Fortis 2.5 Service Pack 4 Released

Westbrook Technologies recently released Fortis 2.5 Service Pack 4. We recommend that you apply it in order to stay current and take advantage of feature enhancements.

 

Service Pack 4 includes updates to Fortis for Kofax Capture to support Kofax Capture 10 as well as additional usability improvements.

 

Here is a brief summary of what Service Pack 4 includes:

 

  • Improved versioning features including minor versions, and the ability to check-in a version of a document as a new document.
  • Nested Pick Lists for improved standardization of data entry.
  • Support for Windows 2008 R2, a 64-bit only operating system release from Microsoft®

 

NOTE: It is not necessary to run a Fortis workstation setup after installing Fortis 2.5 Service Pack 4 as long as a workstation setup was run after the installation of Fortis 2.5.

 

If you have any questions or concerns regarding Service Pack 4, or would like to schedule an install do not hesitate to contact our support team.

“But I’m scanning to PDF now…” 7 reasons why this isn’t enough

Scanning to PDF is not enough today

Whether in Fresno or Sacramento, everyday we seem to come across organizations who say exactly the above, “But I’m scanning to PDF already John-Paul…” They wonder what would be different with the solutions we recommend, and are curious how other clients are benefiting compared to the simple approach they’ve been taking.

 

This article will explore 7 unique reasons why scanning to PDF should not be your end goal. Don’t get us wrong, it’s a great place to start but there are quite a few limitations with this approach compared to using a dedicated document or content management solution (like Laserfiche or Fortis). We will share each item below with a focus towards HR to provide context.

 

#1. File Names Don’t Matter

 

With a simple PDF, you are limited by the name of the file in terms of providing context (what it actually is). However, with most document management systems, you have the ability to provide a template or set of metadata for a document. Here you can provide other context like “First Name”, “Last Name”, “SSN”, “Date Hired”, etc. if it’s a personnel file as an example.

 

We recommend populating whatever fields in this template would make sense from a retrieval standpoint. In other words, you don’t want to get super detailed but it’d be helpful to have some of the most common information indexed. At this point, the documents name becomes irrelevant as we can see at a glance the Last Name, First Name, SSN, Doc Type, etc.

 

With a PDF you are limited to a combination of characters and this cannot exceed 255 in Windows. While this might be a good approach for a single set of documents within a single department (say employee files within HR), when you branch out from here the system can collapse and you end up with a lack of standardization. New employees will come in and ask “Why did the person before me set this up this way, it makes no sense” or “How can I replicate this across XYZ documents now?”.

 

#2. Security

 

Security with a PDF is based on basic user security whereby John Doe has access to the following set of folders on the network and he can access all documents within those folders. Generally each document is treated the same as the others (in terms of what you can do with it once inside these folders) and if a document is incorrectly placed in the wrong location, it’s now possibly able to be accessed. You could encrypt PDFs and sometimes require a password, but this is an unnecessary step that will become a nuisance after a while (both for those accessing the documents and those having to secure them).

 

Document management solutions on the other hand provide a very granular approach to security. First and foremost, staff are required to login to the application with a username and password or they can just pass their Windows login credentials to the application if this is more convenient. This is the first step of security, and this alone dictates what type of access to documents the system will display. John Doe may be in HR and only be allowed to see the HR documents while his manager Jane Smith may be able to also see the Fiscal and Legal documents.

 

So not only can security be at the folder level, but once inside the respective folders, staff may have limited access rights or actions they can perform. Some may only have read only access, while others may be able to scan or edit documents. Perhaps you don’t want some staff to be able to see SSNs, so you could annotate or redact this sensitive information but still have a user with the ability to “See through redactions” while a lower level user might not have this ability. In this case, they will just see white or black redactions in those locations. You can even go so far as to give people the ability to view but not print information and really maintain control over your content and how it’s accessed.

Read other posts in this series
Reasons #1 and #2 – File Names Don’t Matter & Security
Reason #3 – Network & Web Access
Reason #4 and #5 – Auditing & Records Management
Reason #6 and #7 – Advanced Searching & Automated Capture

Fill out our “Request Information” form to learn more about how we can help your organization today.

Quick Fields 8.3 Released

Quick Fields 8.3, the much anticipated successor to Quick Fields 8.0 was finally released and brings with it many new key features that can help your organization. Notable enhancements to the program would be:

  • Full PDF Support, including native field extraction. Perfect for processing pre-filled PDF forms.
  • Ability to set most zonal based enhancements to use zone percentages. Meaning, if you have documents that may vary in DPI it will be much easier to process.
  • Bates Numbering – Reset numbers after each document.
  • Versioning Support – Staying consistent with the 8.3.0 client, Laserfiche now handles document versioning much more seamlessly.
  • much much more…

 

To see a full list of changes, see the release notes for Quick Fields 8.3.

 

 

 

Laserfiche Shortcut Attributes

A common question from clients about Laserfiche is, “How do I make Laserfiche automatically open up my repository?”

 

The answer is very simple and can be done with the following shortcut attributes:

-L”Repository_Name” Specifies the Laserfiche repository that will be accessed when the client is started. This must match the exact name of your repository.

-W Specifies that you want to use Windows authentication.

-EEntryID Specifies Laserfiche to open to a specific file/folder that corresponds with “Entry ID”. This is useful if you have a folder you want the client to always open to, or to achieve some basic integration with another application.

-N”User_Name Specifies a user account you want to login as. This cannot be used with Windows authentication. This is extremely useful for kiosk type setups for public use.

-P”Password” Specifies a user password you want to login as when also using the -N attribute.

 

To use the above attributes, you will need to right click on your Laserfiche shortcut and go to properties. You will want to go into the “Target” field on the Shortcut tab. It should look something like the following on a 64bit machine.

“C:\Program Files (x86)\Laserfiche\Client 8\LF.exe”

You will want to add the needed attributes to the end of the Target field like follows.

“C:\Program Files (x86)\Laserfiche\Client 8\LF.exe” -W -L”Demo”

This will make it so every time the shorcut is clicked, it will automatically log in to my repository named “Demo” using windows authentication.