Your university may or may not have a strategy for managing content, the unstructured information streaming in and out of all areas of your campus on a daily basis. It’s likely you at least have a partial strategy where one or more of your departments is capturing and storing some type of unstructured information for later retrieval.
In a world where the use of digital channels is enabling organizations to synthesize large amounts of information in seconds, universities are making it a top priority to gain control of that rogue 80%, which is the approximate amount of unstructured information slipping through the cracks. This information is not easily accessible because it is scattered and isolated in departmental or personal file systems. This is the information employees need to do their jobs.
University structured v. unstructured content
Content management services and software technologies have adapted to changing business environments so quickly over the past ten years, it is difficult to keep up with where the capabilities lie today. The following are five mistaken beliefs about content management and the facts that dispel those beliefs.
5. Content management is mostly beneficial for scanning and archiving documents.
Content management covers the lifecycle of information from creation and publication to archival and eventual disposal. One of the largest benefits of content management is enabling workflow automation. A perfect example is when someone in your organization wants to buy something. The individual begins to create documentation such as pricing research, correspondence, a requisition, purchase order, invoice and a contract to name a few. With workflow automation, these supporting documents are captured, routed and accessed interdepartmentally for approval, payment and auditing. Transactions are processed in hours or days instead of weeks.
ILINX has yet another tool to enable capture anywhere your work takes you. ILINX eForms is a flexible, user-friendly electronic forms software for the capture, processing and delivery of data, images, even signatures. It can do so in a variety of ways, by using a keyboard, a finger or stylus on a touchscreen (using Intelligent Character Recognition or ICR) and even a database lookup. It allows you to add an attachment, or take a picture and embed it in the form. And ILINX eForms can be accessed on a variety of devices, from desktop to tablet to smartphone. Did I mention it is flexible?
I love being able to not just fill out, but also submit forms electronically either from my PC or my tablet. It’s easy to change information if I mistype something or need to change information. With paper forms, you typically have to reprint the page and enter in all the information again. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve screwed up filling out a paper form and had to redo it. There’s also something nice about being able to click the “Submit” button at the end and not have to print and mail a document in and double-check to make sure it was received on the other end a few days later.
I’ve noticed that more companies and organizations are turning to electronic forms for both consumers and constituents. Users can fill out forms and attach relevant documents or information to the form and in some cases, even sign the form right then and there, no printing necessary! Continue reading →
As a Project Manager at ImageSource, it is my job to educate and guide stakeholders to the best solution based on budget, timelines and requirements. Having previously worked as a consultant at ImageSource, I’ve worked with the stakeholders of an organization to outline the scope of an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution for their business. During this process, our project management team conducts interviews of the users as well as workshops. The workshops help to demonstrate what is necessary for the organization to become more efficient rather than having unnecessary features, which, at times, can cause more work. As ECM technology continues to advance, more and more features become available and included in products. During the workshops, stakeholders must make tough decisions on what features are needed verses those that would just be nice to have.
Once these requirements are identified, our next objective is to review the products available, such as ILINX, IBM and Oracle, that will cover all the features the business needs to become more efficient. Currently on the market are several out-of-the-box software options that may fulfill some of the requirements needed. However, most organizations, small or large, have business processes that are unique and require configurable workflow options, database links and/or specific security requirements. Software that has this functionality ranges in licensing costs, software costs and implementation costs. It is important to have the requirements clearly identified from the beginning so that when the organization begins to review the software demos and proof of concepts, the best and most cost efficient solution is selected.
If there’s one message I consistently hear from customers today, it’s how big of a deal public disclosure is for the government and how we need better solutions around it. That being said, you would not believe how many of these organizations don’t feel that they have a good handle on their content.
In Washington State, public disclosure refers to the release of all documents and content to the person making the request. These documents at minimum need to be available for the requestor to view. There are some exemptions to this, such as sealed case files.
Good public disclosure practices really start with one thing: good record-keeping (and destruction). We hear time and time again from customers that they’ve never thrown anything away for fear that the document may be needed at a later date. While they may be thinking that this is the best way to avoid throwing anything away that should be kept, it also means keeping records that should have been destroyed.
Some aren’t aware of the fact that when a public disclosure request comes in, organizations are required by law to turn over any documentation pertaining to the request (as long as it is subject to disclosure). That means that if documents haven’t been destroyed and fall under the specific request, those documents need to be turned over as well, even though they are past the retention period. This poses a huge risk in regards to potential litigations.
Getting your records in order may seem like an overwhelming task, but here are some steps you can take to move toward better practices related to retention and disposition of records.
Understand YOUR Organization’s Requirements for Record Retention and Disposition Every organization is different. Certain records have to be kept longer than others, some records might need to be sealed, others may need redaction before they can be turned over, etc. Each organization, each department, even each business process may have different requirements around records. Determine and document what the requirements are so that when you start to do an inventory of content, you have a definitive plan regarding what needs to be kept and for how long. Click here for a link to the Washington State Records Retention Schedules.
Where are my Records?
Identify where records are kept. Are they stored on a network share? In a file cabinet? In a content management system? Somewhere else? Are they in paper form? Electronic? Are there video files? Regardless of where the documents are kept, the regulations are around how you get the content organized, not the file format or how hard the collection process is. This will help ensure that there are not duplicate documents, and if there are, that only the pertinent copies are kept so as not to be a factor in a potential litigation.
Perform an Analysis and Inventory of Your Records Some organizations choose to do this internally, some hire a contractor, and some take a hybrid approach. Regardless of which path you choose, determine what content you have, what needs to be kept, and what can be disposed of before evaluating any technology. This will keep you from bringing content into a solution that will need to be immediately disposed of after the initial analysis.
Choose a Solution that is Flexible and Easy
95% of organizations I work with are looking for a solution that is easy-to-use yet flexible enough to change with requirements. They want something that can easily set up to work with current retention and disposition schedules, yet can be updated without too much effort if laws or regulations change.
Trust the System If you’ve done the prep work correctly, then what you need to do is trust what you’ve put in place is going to work. Choose a good partner with a track record of success to help you.
These are just a few ideas to get you thinking about what can be accomplished around public disclosure, records retention and your content. ImageSource has been assisting customer partners with these types of solutions for the last 20 years. We have done everything from initial consulting through implementation and support. Below is a short list of some of offerings:
Expert consulting to determine your “as is” state and develop a plan to get you to your “desired” state using industry best practices
Assessment of your current technology and how it can be leveraged
Solution evaluation to perfectly match technology with your requirements
Solution deployment, configuration, training and rollout
Document collection, conversion, scanning, taxonomy definition and automated classification and metadata extraction
Ongoing partnership for system/process tuning, growth and support
Managed applications services
The ILINX platform can assist any organization with getting a handle on their content.
In ILINX Capture, the most basic unit is a batch profile. A batch profile is a container that includes batch fields, one or more document types and a workflow. It is unique, self-contained and completely independent from each other. In general, you would want to create a batch profile for each unique workflow process in the system.
If you have multiple doc types that mostly follow the same process, you should think about creating a single batch profile to hold all the doc types. With this setup, you can then use permissions to give users access to their specific doc types. Furthermore, within the workflow designer you want to break your workflow logic into common processes, shared by all doc types and specific doc type sub-flows. If you find that you need to create too many sub-flows, re-evaluate the relationship between a batch and doc types and see if you can fix the problem.
The goal is to create unique workflow processes so that system maintenance is easy; and one way to deal with that is to avoid duplicating batch profiles that are performing the same tasks.