ECM (Enterprise Content Management) is a really interesting topic. And it means different things to different folks. After getting our feet wet, so far I have a few thoughts.
Go with a product that is flexible enough to allow for growth. We are always looking for products that integrate well with our existing systems. Maybe it is a call back to our Lego days, but we really enjoy products that are in reality just very flexible multi tools. Be careful about anything proprietary that is developed for you. Be very clear about who will own the source code. I consider this a crucial part in order to remain flexible and control your own destiny.
If you are going to be doing some form of image capture then a scanner is the gateway into your ECM system (duh). It is also quite possibly the most ‘visible’ part of the install. As such the scanner needs to be rock solid. So, grab yourself some real source documents and give them and the scanner to the person responsible for scanning and get their feedback quick! Start testing various scanners early in the process to help guarantee scanning success.
Some things to research,
How will you be separating ‘documents’, for example multipage invoices. A computer can’t tell where one invoice ends and another begins. The most simple method is to press a button for each single page or multipage document. With in volume this process will grow old, quickly. You can use separator pages. You can use barcode identification sheets. Or if you have a lot of money to burn I would suspect you could use OCR to separate the documents.
Another thing to research (for a month or two, collect some statistics) what types of documents will you be scanning. For example, single sided versus double (or simplex versus duplex in scanner lingo), different sized paper, color versus black and white, thin versus thick. And also, the ratio of single versus multipage docs.
ImageSource has an intriguing product called iLinx Capture which allows you to visually ‘program’ out your workflows. This meets our objectives of having a product that allows you to grow with it as well as the cool ‘Lego effect’ of being able to snap things together. They also allow you to program your own ‘QSX’ modules (they supply VB6 examples). Hopefully soon they will also provide .net example files as part of the iLinx Capture install! This is a really fun product to use and I will be writing a few posts on how we ended up implementing it!
Happy ECM trails…