Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Scanning and Capture Models

So, in examining a corporate strategy on how best to deploy a scanning and capture solution, there are typically 3 models:

·         Centralized
·         De-centralized
·         Distributed

Each model has its own pros/cons, and below I will examine each, and dive into some detail.

Ah, the centralized model.  Some call this old school scanning and capture, as for many years, this was the only way to get the job done, and convert your paper to digital form.  This model provides a centralized scanning center to provide mass conversion for the organization.  The operation can be run by in house personnel, be managed by a services provider in house, or be outsourced to a scanning service bureau.  It requires high volume/high speed hardware, and typically utilizes advanced capture software to allow for the utmost in automation and efficiency.  The software and hardware operators are typically highly trained, and there are usually only a few of them.  Paper and/or digital media is shipped to the centralized location and processed through a set, standardized capture workflow.

Centralized Pros

·         Easily standardized process due to a limited number of skilled/trained scan operators
·         High speed hardware/software results in minimal processing time once paper is received
·         Centralized reporting and control of overall process
·         No loading on WAN infrastructure
·         Centralized backup and restore

Centralized Cons

·         Usually a high time delay for availability of documents
·         High cost due to shipping of documents
·         High maintenance costs
·         High training costs to bring on new operators
·         Disaster recovery planning issues if centralized site is down
·         Operators are typically not knowledgeable in the documents they are indexing


Over time, as bandwidth and scanning hardware/software prices went down, the obvious move was to decentralize the whole scanning and capture process.  This move placed scanning in the branches, and allowed the whole document capture process to be performed by those who had working knowledge of the documents.  Smaller, desktop class hardware could be used, and most capture companies made batch scanning and upload to the centralized repository simple to accomplish.

Decentralized Pros

·         Scan operators are well versed in the documents they scan
·         Documents are available almost immediately  
·         No shipping or transfer costs for documents
·         Branch control of the whole scanning process

Decentralized Cons

·         Standardization can be an issue
·         No centralized control or reporting
·         WAN Bandwidth consumption can be high
·         Licensing costs can be high depending on software utilized


The advance of network-based scanning devices and the lowering of bandwidth pricing led to the newest model, the Distributed Model.  Distributed Scanning allows for just about anyone in the organization to walk up to a network scanning device/scanning copier/fax machine and send documents to a repository.  The devices are typically multi-faceted, and along with repository integration, can provide scan to network folder, FTP and email.  Collaborative back-end systems, like Microsoft SharePoint, lend themselves nicely to this model, as they allow anyone to participate in a Document Workspace.

Distributed Pros

·         Put scanning in the hands of everyone in the organization
·         Provides a great launching pad for collaborative solutions
·         Simple, easy to use interfaces allow for minimal training and quick adoption
·         Capture and indexing is now in the hands of the true document owner
·         One-to-many solution provides a single device to service many users

Distributed Cons

·         Lack of standardization without software addition
·         Security and document control can be major issues
·         Bandwidth from smaller branches can be a problem with larger scans
·         Lack of hardware integrations with back-end systems

So, most organizations today are combining the above models to create a Hybrid Scanning and Capture solution, and leveraging all the strengths together to minimize the weaknesses of any one model.   Another strategy is to tie scanning models to specific business processes, as most lend themselves nicely to specific scanning and capture workflows.
For more information, view a webinar on Distributed Scanning and Capture at the link below:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

SharePoint 2010 and Document Sets

SharePoint 2010 Document Sets and Organization

One of the really cool features of SharePoint 2010 is Document Sets.  Document sets are just another way to categorize and organize files without having to create a separate SharePoint Library.  The article below gives a great overview on how to utilize them:

SharePoint 2010 Document Sets

Saturday, March 6, 2010

SharePoint and the Document Management Industry

I has been a crazy few years in the Document Management and Enterprise Content Management space, and one of the key factors, in my opinion, is the emergence of SharePoint as a viable option for use as a repository for scanned images. All of the key players are touting their integration with SharePoint, but I am a bit confused? Why would I want to purchase a 6 figure DM/ECM system when I can just use SharePoint. I know, I know, let me see...as I recollect the comments I hear on a daily basis:

  • "SharePoint is not really a Document Management System"
  • "SharePoint doesn't allow searching by columns"
  • "SharePoint lacks the controls that my ECM system offers"
  • "SharePoint uses BLOB storage which is scary"
  • The list goes on....
The industry is in denial, and I hear more and more objections to using the system every day, which makes me think one thing:  Traditional ECM is being challenged constantly, and they are upping their game to try and compete.

Just this week I had two calls where the customers were trying to move off Documentum, and migrate to SharePoint.  Why?  The main reasons are cost and flexibility.   I believe there will soon be a total reset in the industry, both in price and features, as Big ECM struggles to survive in the current environment.  2010 will be an interesting year.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Does this scare anyone?

Google Goggles is a slick application, but has some serious privacy concerns.  Check out the video below...the Google device can take a picture and immediately present web findings on the subject.

Friday, February 12, 2010

ECM Facts by AIIM

Great stuff:

ECM Factoids