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The changing face of ECM

This article appears in the issue June 2013 [Volume 22, Issue 6]
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A workflow has been integrated with several other applications to move the case through the process. Court case documents are imported into Laserfiche from the court management system using a screen scraping tool called Affinity, at which point a template is applied and the majority of fields are populated, except for several date fields.

When the case is presented in court, the judge logs onto the iPad and indicates the outcome in the appropriate field. The Laserfiche system then activates a workflow that sends the case to another action or to archiving, depending on the decision. When the case is closed, retention rules are applied so that the document is stored until the destruction date.

Fostering, not obstructing, work

The city of Wichita Falls has now deployed Laserfiche in 12 departments. "We have discovered content-centric processes that the IT department was not aware of," Gray says, "because people were simply walking the materials around." City workers have proved to be interested in the new system and responsive to the changes, because of the greater efficiency it provides.

Health inspection field workers, for example, previously spent about 45 minutes filing each report, because the process required multiple steps of printing and rescanning. Now the inspectors complete fields in a form, and the Laserfiche system fills in metadata, indexes the document and posts it on the Web. "It only takes about three minutes to fill in the electronic form and drop it in a folder," Gray says. "Soon these workers will also be using mobile devices to complete the work from the field."

Ease of use and mobility are core aspects of the Laserfiche suite, according to Kimberly Samuelson, director of ECM strategy at Laserfiche. "We have the expectation of agility and transparency," she says. "An ECM system should foster the work, not get in the way of it." User-friendly consumer applications have made enterprise customers unwilling to struggle with awkward interfaces or processes, and the whole industry has shifted in this direction.

The change agent for mobility also came from the consumer world, Gilbert says. "Expectations are high for both ease of use and capability," he says. "A large variety of apps are available and everyone knows how to use them, which provides a whole new set of use cases. Mobility is changing the way users relate to business information, putting a new ‘skin' on the core systems."

Greater flexibility in SharePoint content management

Content infrastructure software products from Metalogix help companies upgrade, migrate, organize and store their information. The recently released flagship product, Content Matrix 6.1, allows upgrading from SharePoint 2003 and 2007, a capability that SharePoint 2013 does not provide. In addition, it offers a wider range of administrative tools for upgrading from SharePoint 2010.

"SharePoint tends to be a top-down, IT-deployed platform that does not have a lot of flexibility at the business user level," says Trevor Hellebuyck, CTO of Metalogix. "Content Matrix lets administrators empower users, allowing them to reorganize and manage content, including bulk tagging of metadata and moving documents to other libraries."

Content Matrix brings additional functionality into the SharePoint Central Administration environment and increases the speed at which migration occurs. "Historically, organizations want to migrate during a small maintenance window over a weekend or a holiday," says Hellebuyck. "Data is being pushed into SharePoint by users and needs to be pushed out as fast as it comes in." Content Matrix speeds the process so that business data can be migrated to SharePoint 2013 in near-real time until the transition is complete.

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