Corium's Blog

Manage Big Data With Extraction, Conversion And Validation Tools

Posted by Marc-Andre Chartrand on Fri, Jan 30, 2015 10:57 AM


With the strong growth of data that we have to manage, we often talk about Big Data, which we can also extend to the concept of Big Document.

 

BigData

 

To handle this volume of data, you'll need tools like :

- Extraction automatisms: Extract data from a document using a barcode reader, reading the date or name of a file, recognizing an image, calculating the percentage of black in an image or zone, using optical character recognition (OCR) or by executing an advanced data lookup script.

- Conversion functions: They enable you to modify the result of an automatism, for example by removing, adding or replacing characters, by removing accents, by converting to upper or lower case, by separating the data per line, by adjusting values based on a predefined list or by converting a date format.

- Validation functions: They analyze the result of the extraction and conversion to validate against a criteria, for example to recognize a document type by searching for a word or substring of characters, by comparing the value to a minimum and maximum, by validating against a regular expression or by enforcing specific characters at specific positions.

- Capture tools for any type of content (paper, email, fax, prints, electronic documents, raw data...).

- Smart connectors to redistribute the content and data where it's required.

- Workflow tools to include this data into your business processes.

With those tools, you'll be able to target the important data and documents, and to get them in the format that's most convenient for you.

Extraction-Conversion-Validation


At Corium, we've developed Librex, a tool that will help you meet all those requirements.

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Top 10 Reasons To Scan & Capture With Librex

Posted by Marc-Andre Chartrand on Tue, Nov 25, 2014 03:50 PM


The best records or document management system will always feel left alone without a good scanning and capture tool.

Your capture tool is the puzzle piece that helps you keep a clean and well organized RM / DMS / ECM system, giving you efficiency, structure and control.



HERE'S HOW LIBREX WILL HELP YOU:

 

1. Unified Capture     unified-capture

Wether you want to scan paper documents (supports all TWAIN scanners) or import a fax (LibrexFax), an email (Outlook Plug-In), a printed document (virtual printer on your network) or any other electronic document (drag&drop or automatic importation folder), Librex is a unique and centralized tool to capture all your content types.

 

2. Intelligent Capture     intelligent-capture

Librex includes free optical character recognition (OCR) and barcode extraction tools. It also offers multiple converters (convert a date format, replace characters, search a substring, use a data lookup script...) allowing you to simply extract and validate the required metadata.

 

3. Integrated Capture     integrated-capture

Librex offers multiple smart connectors (Alfresco, Clara, COBA, Conversense, Docutheque, IntelliGID, Network Folders, SharePoint, SyGED, Ultima...). Those smart connectors can identify where your documents should go and create the folders and sub-folders automatically, tranfer metadata, define your naming policies and your versionning rules. It's the end of duplicates and lost documents!

 

4. Audit Trail     document-legal-value

You can always validate a document lifecycle and history from a simple click. Also, the Librex operation console enables you to see who scanned or imported which and how many documents on which workstation and at what time. Librex helps you respect your legal requirements.

 

5. Secured     secured-content

You may define a permission schema for your groups and users, both at the operation level (who can scan? who can consult?...), at the document type level (who can access the HR files? who can import invoices?...) and at the metadata level (up to which dollar amount can this director approve and sign this document?...). Also, Librex uses the SSL protocol to secure your data on your network and in the cloud.

 

6. Powerful     workflow-process

Librex isn't just a simple scanning tool. It also captures any type of digital content and can also give life to your documents. You could build a workflow to approve and sign your documents, to do electronic invoicing, to automatically prepare your deliveries using a purchase order, to distribute documents based on metadata and many more. Just let us know what's your process and we'll find a way to support it with Librex.

 

 

7. Supported     corium-support

Corium's development team is very proud of Librex and will go the extra mile to make sure the system is working smoothly for you. We always try to find the best way to leverage Librex in your organization. We also have a very frequent release cycle, and we insure transparency by publishing every correction and improvement in our release notes.

 

8. Proven     proven-customers

Librex has a large installed base, within state departments, associations, non-profit organizations, small, medium and large companies, and for multiple industries (service, distribution, manufacturing, government, retail, insurance, health, education...). We have the experience to optimize your specific document processes.

 

9. Affordable     affordable

Librex offers a free 30-days trial. Also, we have an entry-level version that is free with a 30$ donation to our "Capture to Read" campaign to support education and literacy through the "Room to Read" foundation. When you're ready to scan higher volumes of documents, our Enterprise version starts at only 3,995$.

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10. Simple     simple

Librex was built to give a simple and user friendly experience. 99% of the configuration can be done through an intuitive user interface, which gives you independence and flexibility to manage your system. Our online documentation portal also helps you understand our most powerful configuration options. Finally, our download portal and "Quick Start Guide" enable you to install and start using Librex by yourself if you wish to do so.

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Interested in the next 10 reasons why you should use Librex? Register to our newsletter or request a live demo to see Librex in action!

take-back-control-of-your-alfresco-content       take-back-control-of-your-alfresco-content  


 

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Inbound Marketing Strategy

Posted by Marc-Andre Chartrand on Tue, Sep 3, 2013 03:27 PM

Your customers have evolved. They’re more educated and empowered by the different technologies and networks that allow them to simply and quickly find complete information on the products that can answer their needs.

inbound marketing resized 600 In this context, your sales strategy should also evolve. Its evolution will depend on the industry where you do business, but in most cases, you can’t rely anymore on a unique “push” strategy where you build your pipeline doing prospection and then follow up on those prospects.

You now have to put in place a good “pull” strategy if you want to evolve at the same pace as your customers. Google has recently sent me an offer for Google AdWords with the following headline: “Do you know who needs a haircut? People searching for a haircut” In the pre-Google world, customers would know only about the few hairdressing salons close to their home, and would ask to their contacts which one is the best one to visit. But the customer has now evolved, and it searches a lot. It will now search on Google, watch the pictures of each salon, read the online customers comments and recommendations, and explore their different options. In this context, your online image and presence is central to your success or failure.

At Corium, we’re deploying our Inbound Marketing strategy, using for example the great tool Hubspot (www.hubspot.com) that I highly recommend to you. Our goal is to deliver the right information to the right prospect, and not only to throw out information at large to any potential unqualified customer. In this context, I’d like to invite you to register to one of our Newsletters depending on your different interests. Register through one of our Call-To-Action buttons right here. The Librex Newsletter is available in French or English, and the Network Management Newsletter is available in French:

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Take Back Control of Your Content

Posted by Marc-Andre Chartrand on Wed, May 1, 2013 09:55 AM

 Have you recently searched for a document on a network drive? How much time did you lose doing so? Did you ask yourself if the content you ended up finding was the original or a copy?

Facing those types of questions and problems, people often find the motivation they needed to start using enterprise content management (ECM) systems like SharePoint or Alfresco to manage their content.

But installing such collaboration tools or ECM systems is not sufficient to solve those problems. They will give you the infrastructure that opens the door to solve them, but if you don'’t follow some rules, you won’'t succeed. You must have a plan to keep control over your content. If not, you'’re at risk to see your ECM system become a “Content Trash Can”, just like some of your network folders.

This plan should answer the following questions:

  • Classification Schema: How will your content be classified? Using multiple collaboration sites? Using a multi-level folders hierarchy

  • Naming Policies: How should your documents be named? How can you define their names to make sure you don'’t have any duplicated documents?

  • Metadata: What is the important metadata that you want to make available to search your content? How can you enforce business rules to make sure you have high quality metadata?

  • Capture Technique: Will you let users classify your content manually or integrate a capture tool that will classify your content using its metadata? Can you automate metadata extraction?

  • Content Sources: Is your infrastructure allowing you to capture every type of content that's produced by your organization and customers (scanned paper documents, emails, forms, electronic and Office documents…)? Is it easy to integrate a new type of content?

  • Legal Value: Could your content be used as a proof in court? Can you trace back the lifecycle of all of your content?

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If your plan gives answers to all of those questions, you will have taken back the control of your organization content.

Interested in learning more about how to have a clean and structured ECM system? Download one of our Corium whitepapers.

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Topics: document, folder, content, sharepoint, alfresco, capture, scan, metadata, classification

Expanding the Pie with Strategic Partnerships

Posted by Marc-Andre Chartrand on Fri, Oct 5, 2012 04:49 PM

No organization can be the master of all activities so when you want to become really good at something, you must have a certain level of focus and specialization. Of course, bigger organizations can become masters of many things, but the best strategy will still involve allocating your limited resources to the most strategic projects.

In this complex and quickly evolving business world, how can we stay in line with the market needs without becoming the jack of all trades and master of none?

To follow this quick pace, I suggest putting a special attention at building partnerships. And not only aiming at building many partnerships with companies that you see as your distributors, but really identifying strategic partnerships that will create high value for both organizations.

     partnership

Why? Simply because creating something from scratch is tougher than reusing something that already has gained its share of this new market. If you look at your current product or service offering and you want to expand to new markets, you have two options: You can extend your product to compete in this market. Or you can build a partnership with an organization that already reaches this market.

At Corium, we chose to build strategic partnerships, especially with our current “Librex Certified Partners” program. Our capture tool Librex didn’t have all of the content management features that some organizations required. We had two options: Build all those features or find partners that already have them. We decided to go with the second option and build intelligent connectors to the content management applications of our partners.

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With this strategy, we ended up expanding the pie. Our partners now have an integrated capture tool that makes their customers say “Wow, this is great!” At the same time, they make a commission on each Librex sale without having to do the large capital investments that would have been required to develop their own capture tool. And on our side, we have gained an access to a large network of customers that already trust our partners.

So go ahead, think of your current competitors and try to see how you could upgrade them to partners. And don’t always try to redo everything by yourself. You may be a smart and talented organization, but sometimes, the smart move is to use your talent at developing your core product, and then to build strategic partnerships to expand the pie.

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Topics: partnership, focus, network, growth

From Scan to Capture to Paperless

Posted by Marc-Andre Chartrand on Wed, Aug 8, 2012 04:48 PM

“We’re a paperless office!” If you can make this statement about your organization, it’s a great accomplishment and it’s generally the proof that you’ve optimized your processes and that you’ve taken a huge step forward in being a more sustainable entity.

But how can you become a paperless organization? How can you achieve this in a simple way? I think that being a full paperless office is very difficult to reach, but this article presents an approach that can allow you to get close to it simply and without affecting too much your ongoing operations.

As we have developed Librex, a paper scanning AND electronic documents capture system, we have often witnessed this type of transition in organizations, and we hence recommend you to implement it one step at the time.

Step 1) The boring step – SCAN your paper documents

For most organizations, paper documents are still very present in their day-to-day activities. This first step aims at stopping to build mountains of paper. Once your documents are scanned, they will be easily accessible for your users. I call it the boring step because scanning paper is pretty boring (adding barcodes or a good OCR tool will make it less difficult), but from this step, you already give your users an instant access to their documents. After a few weeks, they will never want to go back.

Step 2) The transformation step – Change your INTERNAL paper documents to electronic ones

Parts of the documents you have to manage are the ones you produce yourselves. Your purchase orders, your work orders, your invoices are all documents that could be produced electronically from scratch. You’ll be able to continue to manage your customer paper documents by scanning them (see step 1), but at least, you’ll stop producing them yourselves. To replace your paper documents, you could for example build an electronic form on your intranet, or of course implement this in your ERP system. If you want to continue having official electronic PDF documents instead of just data, you can feed the data to a good capture tool that will recreate those documents for you so that you can send them to your customers.

paperless capture resized 600

Step 3) The external step – Change your CUSTOMERS paper documents to forms

Provide a simple way to your customers to communicate with you electronically. For example, instead of having them send paper invoices, ask them to send electronic ones by email, or even better, provide them with an interface on your website to submit them directly. Again, link this interface to a good capture tool so that they can be captured, recognized and treated automatically.

Step 4) The automation step – AUTOMATE your processes

Now that all your internal and external documents are electronic, you have to possibility to optimize your processes and to build electronic workflow on them. Make sure that whatever the source is, the document is managed in the same way. For example, after your proof of delivery was signed electronically, connect it to your ERP system, generate automatically the corresponding invoice, send it to your customer automatically, receive their payment online, and connect the payment to your accounting system.

Step 5) The vacation step – Sit Back and ENJOY

With all your business documents being automatically processed, you may now sit back, enjoy it for a moment and then put back all your attention to growing your business.

 

 

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Topics: paperless, sharepoint, alfresco, capture, scan

United Against Entrepreneurship

Posted by Marc-Andre Chartrand on Fri, Jul 6, 2012 04:45 PM

In the last two weeks, I was in Russia with other MBA students to visit Russian companies. We had the chance to meet with many bright and talented people in different Russian organizations. These people gave me confidence in the future of Russia, as this large pool of talent is the human fuel that supports the current and ongoing growth of the country. Also, these people were all very confident themselves in the future of Russia, recognizing that the country is too dependent on oil prices, but also saying that many opportunities were there in almost every industry. This level of self-confidence is a very good indicator to judge the future of a country.

russia resized 600   At the same time, I see a cloud in the sky of Russia’s future. This cloud is the attitude they have towards entrepreneurship. We asked some of those talented people if they could be interested in starting their own company at some point of their career. In every case, we had a similar answer… “No, that’s not something I would do”. And in every case, they seemed very sure of their answer and had that smile of someone who has a clear mind.

When asking why, we again had similar explanations… “If I start my business and have some level of success, corrupted politicians and people from the organized crime will come to see me to ask for their piece of the cake and will threaten me or my family. Is it worth it? No.” Also, as this is well known by everyone, business people are seen as corrupted and there is not a true respect for them in the population. Russians don’t want to see their kids become businessmen.

Of course, the people we met were very educated and currently had very good careers, which is not necessarily the typical profile of an entrepreneur. But still, when most of your bright and talented people don’t even imagine the possibility of becoming an entrepreneur, this leaves a lot of eventual good ideas unexplored and a lot of unrealized potential.

There is still a lot of growth that will happen in Russia, but playing the world’s game of growth without the very important card of “clean organic growth” through entrepreneurship is probably not the best strategy for the country.

In the context of the different corruption stories that are currently discovered in Quebec, with stories heard of construction entrepreneurs being threatened for proposing in a “reserved market” and stories of collusion between the industry players, I think we should see the Russian situation as a warning sign. Our economy is very dependent on our small and medium size companies, and our entrepreneurs are still respected by the population. But we can feel that those current stories are affecting this level of confidence. So we should act with force and energy in those alleged stories, and try to stop the vicious cycle of cynicism that can lead to the diminution of the interest for entrepreneurship. Closing the eyes and thinking this is normal is not an option. united against entrepreneurship resized 600

For a different and more cultural point of view on my Russian adventure, I also invite you to read this other blog article that describes the story of a proud Russian father (in French): http://experience.hec.ca/campus_abroad_internationaux/russie_russia/la-fierte-dun-pere/

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Topics: corruption, russia, growth, entrepreneurship

Think Outside the Box

Posted by Marc-Andre Chartrand on Fri, Jun 15, 2012 04:44 PM

Innovation seems to be one of the buzzwords of the year. And I agree that it should be.

Our business world is becoming more and more competitive, with new technology coming out at a rapid pace to eventually make your business model irrelevant.

In this context, is it possible to have success only by trying to do almost the same thing as the rest of the pack? Probably, but this is also the path that will require the most hard work. If your business model hasn’t a clear differentiator, everything will be more difficult.

So how can we innovate to get in front of the pack and provide a solution that will add long-term value?

Main ingredients of innovation are intelligence, analysis skills and design capacities. But is it enough? I suggest it isn’t. If you look at a problem always from the same angle, only trying to optimize the solution, real innovation could be a long process.

So my proposal is that innovation is generally the result of a process that involves a lot of thinking outside the box.

You should always have your problem in mind, but then, you should get out to the world and watch how the environment around this problem evolves.

  • Meet and discuss with your competitors
  • Ask what went wrong in projects that failed
  • Ask your customers what’s annoying them
  • Visit another country and see how they handle this problem
  • Look at a similar problem in a different industry
  • Stay up-to-date on new technologies
  • Brainstorm on the underutilized capacities of your current product
Outside The Box resized 600

Those types of activities will help develop the creative parts of your brain. And then, don’t put any barriers. Be ready to refocus your product towards a new application. Be ready to create alliances with your competitors. Be ready to reinvent your organization.

I’m soon leaving for two weeks in Russia to do some thinking outside the box. I’ll let you know if the proposed process works for me.

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Topics: focus, growth, entrepreneurship, innovation

Letter to RFP Writers

Posted by Marc-Andre Chartrand on Fri, May 18, 2012 04:42 PM

Dear "Request for Proposals" (RFP) writers,

As a supplier of business software, I often have the chance to read your RFP documents to understand your requirements and analyze if our solutions would be a good fit for you.

First of all, I want to thank you for contributing to the noble objective of having an open and accessible supplying process, which is a very important operation to maintain a healthy democracy. I truly believe in the key role that such a process can play in strengthening the credibility of our public organizations by fighting against corruption and favoritism.

Second, I want to warn you against a tendency that I often notice reading your RFPs. This tendency is the one to overprotect yourselves and search for a complete and "everything-proof" solution by adding too many requirements in your RFP criteria.

For example, if what you search for is a document scanning system, do you really need to add the criteria that the system should provide a tool to draw on the scanned images? OK for annotations and comments, but drawing? Do you really need to add the criteria that the system should integrate to a dictionary for words validation?

And if those are really required, can't it be pushed to a second phase of the project?

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I think that the question that you should ask yourselves is: "How much am I willing to pay to get this feature? And how much more risk am I ready to assume?" By experience, we often end up with a pricing two to three times higher just to provide this extra 5% of functionalities that wouldn't be required in this first phase. But if we don't include it, we normally are defined as not conforming to the RFP.

And even if we win the RFP with this doubled pricing, then the project is twice as risky as it could have been to cover 95% of the requirements.

IT projects have a tendency to be risky and go over budget. A large part of those risk and cost problems come from the fact that we try to implement too much at the same time. Aiming for a quick and focused project that will still cover most of your requirements will be a success in almost every case, and everyone will benefit from it.

Also, you will have an even better understanding of your complete requirements when launching the next phases of your projects.

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Topics: focus, RFP, requirements

Integration as the Backbone of the New IT World Order

Posted by Marc-Andre Chartrand on Fri, May 11, 2012 04:40 PM

Open standards are gaining more and more popularity and the word interaction is heard more often in the IT industry.
Microsoft used to be a closed platform and got a lot of critics for it. It’s now opening its platform, being involved in standards like the Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS). cmis resized 600

We could argue that the giant Apple is still a closed platform, but if we count the number of applications available for the iPhone, we definitely have to conclude that they’re “Open for Apps”.

So yes, maybe the platform giants still try to control their low level platforms, but if you’re a software company, getting your apps to different platforms and working with other applications is becoming easier every day.

The key to doing this simply is to put “integration architecture” at the center of your software development. You don’t have the luxury to think of your software as a standalone solution. You must always think of where data could come from, where data could go to, and how data could be influenced by other systems. You must add the exit points that will allow this external integration at different places in your system.

If you include those exit points, you will be ready to integrate to other applications using web services or any other type of API. This will give you the possibility to adapt to any newly identified business opportunity.

At Corium, we were able to experience this at a few occasions. For example, for our content capture tool Librex, we must integrate to different ECM and ERP solutions. Instead of building a synchronisation connector for each solution, we have built generic connecting objects with standard interfaces. From those objects, we can quickly build a new connector once we identified a new business opportunity with a new ECM or ERP system. And this is even easier if the other applications agree on speaking the same language, as for example with Alfresco and SharePoint that both speak the CMIS language.

Don't think you can do everything by yourself. Instead, make sure that your product is ready to leverage the force of your partners... and competitors.

 

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Don't think you can do everything by yourself. Instead, make sure that your product is ready to leverage the force of your partners... and competitors.

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Topics: partnership, cmis, integration, sharepoint, alfresco, capture, ecm

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