Engaging with Our Customer Group in Allendale, MI – And Prizes, Too

One of our major objectives, and frankly, one of the best parts of our workday, is to keep in touch with our customers – those who are using our products every day and who sometimes face unique challenges. Finding innovative solutions to those challenges keeps us on our toes. Any opportunity to bring customers together to share customer stories is a win in our books.

IMG_1364Our next customer event is on June 6th, in beautiful Allendale, MI, (close to Grand Rapids) where ImageSoft is hosting its OnBase Community Event. This event is designed to bring our court customers, as well as our customers from other industries, together to hear success stories and to learn from each other about how we can solve common challenges. We even have a few prospective customers coming as well.

Although the justice space is different from any other industry, the core technology challenges are the same when it comes to receiving paper, forms and data from the outside, routing them through review and approval processes, exchanging data with other systems, securing data and documents, and being able to share them securely to external parties.

Besides the common thread of challenges, all of our attendees also use OnBase® by Hyland as their core platform to solve these challenges. OnBase is a single enterprise information platform for managing content, processes and cases. It provides document management, electronic case files, records management, court-configurable business process management and tools to enable integration with virtually any case management or court application.

The advantage to using a platform such as OnBase is that you have more than 10,000 organizations using the solution (including thousands of government agencies) that are all requesting features and enhancements that your court may one day require. Hyland’s development team is also larger than that of any other court technology software vendor. This means that OnBase lowers your risk over using a document management system that is supported by only a few developers that can provide very basic, and if we’re honest, not always useful features. Many of these court technology vendors are so stretched that many of your enhancement requests are never addressed or the customization fees are too high.

For more information about using OnBase in government, click here.

Which brings us to the third reason why courts love OnBase: it’s highly configurable – by the court. With or without formal training, courts have updated and make changes to their workflow to adjust for changing conditions or responding to a smarter workforce that wants to leverage more automation features. They have expanded its use in other areas and in some cases, other government agencies in the county, municipality or state, which may introduce cost-sharing benefits. Some of our court customers are not staffed to tackle big projects so they still partner with us to take them to the next level, but it’s nice for a court to have that option.

So, on June 6th, our customers will hear from our host, Grand Valley State University, how they have used OnBase to solve accounting challenges with invoice approvals and to improve the student application process. Hyland Software is sending out their A-team to share with us what’s new in OnBase and features that our customers should put on their roadmap. We will have breakout sessions that cover the latest technology in document capture to minimize manual indexing and classification, how to share documents externally, and ways to secure OnBase beyond the traditional methods that the IT department relies on.

Afterwards, we will have experts available for one-on-one conversations for deeper discussions or to use as a sounding board for ideas that our customers would like some feedback on. We will have some cool prizes, too – that always makes for a fun day.

Will we see you at the next big OnBase event in Las Vegas?

What the Heck IS ECM?


In elementary school, my daughter had to write about our family. She had little trouble explaining what her mom did: “My Mom is a Legal Secretary.” I presented a bit more of a problem, to say the least. She wrote, “I’m not sure what my Dad does, but he works with computers. He used to be a lawyer.”

Ah, well. Over the years, I have found that I can do little to improve on that explanation.

Nowadays, when I am asked what I do, I tell people (including my daughter, who now works in courts herself) that I write, speak and consult regarding Electronic Content Management (ECM) for courts and justice agencies. People may nod politely, but I always suspect they are thinking, “What the heck IS ECM, for crying out loud?”

Attempts at more detailed explanations usually result in a response along the lines of, “Oh, I get it — you mean ‘imaging’.” Sigh. And, I used to be a lawyer, too.

I have tried countless ways to explain what ECM is. In June I attended the ImageSoft Government Summit, a conference designed to help court and other government professionals share experiences and tips for planning, financing, implementing, deploying and managing ECM systems . Unable to attend all the sessions, I recently listened to a recorded session presented by Colleen Alber, a Product Evangelist with Hyland Software , who spoke on “The Skinny on OnBase.” OnBase is Hyland’s industry-leading ECM suite of products. Not surprisingly, Colleen had no problem explaining what ECM is. Although Colleen’s talk focused on new developments, by way of context, she gave the most succinct yet comprehensive description of ECM that I can remember hearing.

She explained that Hyland divides ECM into six Building Blocks:

1. Capture:

  • The ability to capture any file type from any physical location and automatically classify the documents.

2. Process:

  • Automate structured processes (workflow);
  • Consolidate unstructured information; and
  • Facilitate case management;

3. Access:

  • Provide access to documents and data quickly and easily, to everyone who needs and is entitled to access, easily, from anywhere, any time.

4. Integrate:

  • Seamless integration of documents and data with critical business applications, such as case management, docketing, office productivity (e.g., word processing, spread sheets, etc.), court recording, etc., with limited or no additional data entry.

5. Measure:

  • The ability to monitor and report on the information and activity within the ECM system, without involving IT or database administrators.

6. Store:

  • • Manage the security of the documents and their timely destruction according to court retention policy.My guess is that many, if not most, people who have not researched or had hands-on experience with ECM assume it involves only capture (and probably only the scanning portion of that) and storage (and probably only the elimination of paper aspect of that).So the next time someone who you’d like to have support your ECM initiative asks, “What the heck is ECM?”, don’t just say, “It lets us image our documents.” Instead, try something like, “It allows us to:
    1. Receive
    2. Use
    3. And provide and control access to documents
    4. While reducing or eliminating duplicate data entry across our systems
    5. All of which we can monitor for quality and productivity
    6. While keeping the documents secure and automatically purging them in a timely manner
      1. Capture
      2. Process
      3. Access
      4. Integrate
      5. Measure
      6. Store

    If my daughter ever asks again, I’m ready, thanks to Colleen.