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I have a client who desperately needs to get their excessive paper use under control.

 

It's a small office - probably about 10 Windows PCs on a MS backed network.

 

Budget is kind of up in the air (there is none at the moment). They spend a fair bit of money (and losing a massive amount of space) printing and filing paperwork.

 

Does anyone here work/ support a Enterprise/ Electronic Document Management system?

 

I have had a bit of a google today but it appears that I am either sucking terribly at google on this, or any system that claims to do it is either online (there are medical records involved here so I can't pursue that route) or is based overseas (would prefer to deal with an Australian vendor if possible).

 

Any help/ pointers - much appreciated.

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Can we say Sharepoint :p Though if they don't have any money, that rules out Sharepoint even if they got the licenses for free.

 

Maybe Office 365 - Sharepoint. Could be a decent solution. I used it at my previous empoyer, last year. Saved paper. Company size of ~50ppl. All tech nerds tho.

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Sorry - they have money as such, just not a specific amount allocated. I guess I need to work out how much a solution is going to be.

 

I think Sharepoint is kind of excessive and probably not quite what I am looking for. Think more "electronic filing cabinet" with the ability to store, search and retrieve. Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and scanned documents.

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Many years ago when I used to live in the Nation's Capital I worked for a company called TOWER Software, who created product called TRIM. TRIM was at the time the premier electronic documents and records management system (EDRMS). TOWER was eventually bought out by HP, and it's now known by the inventive name of HP TRIM.

 

I haven't worked for them for a long time so I've no idea what the licencing model is today, but back then it was actually affordable for even small-ish users. It would need someone with real DBMS skills as everything is stored in the database backend. One of its real strengths was the ability to search for documents, due to the amount of metadata you could attach to records. IIRC it could also index text of electronic documents, but that tended to be quite a hit on resources so may not have carried through.

 

They still have local vendor partners so it may be worth giving one of them a ring and asking some questions. They more than likely have some sort of implementation package that includes installation and setup, too.

 

On a completely different tack, why not invest in a scanner and some decent PDF software? Nitro PDF is actually a local company in Melbourne, although they try awfully hard to look like they're based in San Francisco. The only trouble here is once the documents are turned into electronic versions you still need to store and manage them, which is where a dedicated EDRMS solution will really be helpful.

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The scanning and pdf software to go with it will be part of the solution no doubt. I also plan to give Xerox, Toshiba etc ... a chance to pitch for a big multifunction with network scan support to replace the several entry level printers and MFPs that are scattered around the place. Each vendor has their own implementation of network scan to pdf which I guess will conduct that part of the process unless they prove to totally suck.

 

Thanks for the heads up on Trim - will definitely be speaking to someone about that. Document retrieval is obviously of paramount importance. My client currently has about 60 retail sites around the country who currently send in a pile of physical paperwork once a month. Part of this project will be working on a way that the stores can also file their stuff electronically and have that, as part of a backup process (that doesn't exist yet) have it replicated to Head Office for "filing". So yeah, Head Office records as well as about 60 sites digitally filed and accessible.

 

Seriously, if you have ever seen Archer and know the reference to "fort kickass", you can appreciate that with the amount of paper records being stored, fort kickass could be fucking castle kickass by the time I stacked all the shit they have lying around. God help the person who needs to actually find something.

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Sorry - they have money as such, just not a specific amount allocated. I guess I need to work out how much a solution is going to be.

 

I think Sharepoint is kind of excessive and probably not quite what I am looking for. Think more "electronic filing cabinet" with the ability to store, search and retrieve. Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and scanned documents.

That's exactly what Sharepoint is. a DMS - document management system. I've been using it for years to store FRS's SRD, Software design docs, quotes, various spreadsheets. as well as Office templates etc. But I guess you know the intended usage...

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Sorry - they have money as such, just not a specific amount allocated. I guess I need to work out how much a solution is going to be.

 

I think Sharepoint is kind of excessive and probably not quite what I am looking for. Think more "electronic filing cabinet" with the ability to store, search and retrieve. Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and scanned documents.

That's exactly what Sharepoint is. a DMS - document management system. I've been using it for years to store FRS's SRD, Software design docs, quotes, various spreadsheets. as well as Office templates etc. But I guess you know the intended usage...

 

Yep so many people dont use share point to its potential to many times it gets stuck doing an intranet page.

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That's exactly what Sharepoint is. a DMS - document management system. I've been using it for years to store FRS's SRD, Software design docs, quotes, various spreadsheets. as well as Office templates etc. But I guess you know the intended usage...

I'll confess I've done pretty much nothing with Sharepoint before. As far as my understanding goes it was more for collaboration purposes which is far more than this would need.

 

I'll take another look at it.

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I would have suggested SharePoint, too... but as an ex-SharePoint admin, I could quite well be biased given I am used to working with it.

Also, the legal industry lives and dies by its document management, there might be some solutions in that sphere. My mind has gone completely blank at the moment, though, I'm sorry.

 

I love designing doc man solutions :-) I don't get to do it anymore, though. Have fun :-)

 

Yep so many people dont use share point to its potential to many times it gets stuck doing an intranet page.

Lol so true :-)

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Thanks for the heads up on Trim - will definitely be speaking to someone about that. Document retrieval is obviously of paramount importance. My client currently has about 60 retail sites around the country who currently send in a pile of physical paperwork once a month. Part of this project will be working on a way that the stores can also file their stuff electronically and have that, as part of a backup process (that doesn't exist yet) have it replicated to Head Office for "filing". So yeah, Head Office records as well as about 60 sites digitally filed and accessible.

You're welcome. I didn't realise how big the job was, so I can confidently say now that TRIM (or a similar enterprise EDRMS solution) should be a good fit for you. As I recall, it had good access-level restrictions to control who could see and/or edit documents, a sophisticated workflow so you could theoretically create a paperless document trail with defined steps along the way (and, if desired, copious emails being sent hither & yon to nag remind people they hadn't completed their step), an excellent check-in/check-out facility for version control, and because the company used to work closely with a lot of Records Managers it had a very good document retention cycle built right in.

 

Anyway, talk to one of their resellers for all the juicy details. Feel free to compare it with other solutions, too, as you may find something else is a better fit for your needs. At least you know now there's something out there for you.

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As someone who has to support a shared hosting environment that includes sharepoint, I hate it....

 

 

 

Passionately.

 

 

It will do what you're asking for very nicely though.

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Trim is kinda ancient, but still around because it works, several government departments that I do work for have it and have for decades.

 

Sharepoint can be a good solution but it depends on the development costs, they can get high very quickly if outsourced.

 

Really, leaving document sovereignty aside for a sec, you are talking about a cloud solution, online storage accessible from anywhere.

 

At its simplest that could be Dropbox or similar so long as the file management and rights are correctly designed but with medical records there can be both sovereignty and security concerns.

 

An alternative is a private cloud, storage in Australian DCs, preferably replicated across sites for data persistence and with backup of course.

 

The key remains the ability to easily save in the right location and retrieve quickly, which is where good design comes in and why products like TRIM or Sharepoint may feature.

 

Good luck though, the persistence of paper, even in IT savvy companies never ceases to amaze me. :)

 

Cheers

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At its simplest that could be Dropbox or similar so long as the file management and rights are correctly designed but with medical records there can be both sovereignty and security concerns.

For situations where the requirements are simple enough to be managed with something like Dropbox, then I implement Edocx in place of DB, mainly because it is developed locally (in Brisbane, in fact) and storage can be managed entirely within Australia, as well.

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Hmm,

 

Looks interesting elven, I know a couple of places that would probably suit.

 

Thanks.

 

Cheers

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replacing a paper creation nightmare with an electronic paper creation nightmare doesn't really solve the problem, it moves it :)

 

This is where solutions like TRIM are vastly different to Sharepoint. From a compliance & governance as well as storage point of view it's important to take a lifecycle approach to information and records management. That is, as soon as information is created in an organisation, tag it correctly and solutions like TRIM will manage the information from creation to archiving to deletion automatically, even protecting it from accidental or deliberate deletion. It also has integration to other apps like Sharepoint & Exchange to manage the data stored within those apps.

 

Many organisations these days have to be able to provide documentation to authorities in a set period of time by law. This can be difficult without an information/records management solution.

 

As for TRIM being ancient, not sure how relevant that is. There are many software solutions that have been around a while, what matters is can they do the job and are they being actively upgraded to provide new functionality.

 

Solutions like Dropbox aren't information/records management systems, they are storage solutions and there is a big difference. Make sure your client is looking for the right one and understands the difference.

Edited by Mac Dude

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Sharepoint is looking to be used by several large companies as a replacement for the good old shared network drives.

if you have anyone who works in more than one location, this sort of solution can be of great use.

Documents can be given access rights and restrictions to limit access, even within an organisation.

Documentum can also be used like this, with tie in to email and other sourses of documents/evidence.

 

TRIM is still used today and is a staple of the RM/DRM job requirement.

 

As Mac Dude said, the lifecycle is an important part. if you do not set the correct retention you will needsless retain or accidently destry something that you may later rely on in court. This stuff costs money if you miss youre windows of opportunity.

 

As with any Paper Less office (not paperless) soft and hard copy must be managed under the same policy and the records manager and IT must be tried togther (figuratively). I have seen hard copy tied to facilities because it's take up space, when it's integral to risk management and runs parallel to the IT soft copy.

 

SUpporting cultural change is what will make or break the investment. if no one chanes to use Office chane tracker, emails updates (or notification of new verson saved) and move all that desk clutter into their computer screen, it will be a flop. the ones that donto follew need to be of such small numbers that the rest do nto drift back to hard copy.

I have seen cost cutting and lack of take up kill these expensive projects dead.

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Yeah, I understand the risks in implementing a solution like this. I have already started the preliminary foundation work of mentally preparing staff for the change - 20 odd years in IT consulting has taught me a thing or two about managing the human beings in project implementation.

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Yeah, I understand the risks in implementing a solution like this. I have already started the preliminary foundation work of mentally preparing staff for the change - 20 odd years in IT consulting has taught me a thing or two about managing the human beings in project implementation.

sorry, our IT defer to the project team who are restricted by budget desisions and you get the idea. project leader of 1 in an office of a couple thousand.

I also get excited about Records Management and doing it well.

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Yeah, I understand the risks in implementing a solution like this. I have already started the preliminary foundation work of mentally preparing staff for the change - 20 odd years in IT consulting has taught me a thing or two about managing the human beings in project implementation.

sorry, our IT defer to the project team who are restricted by budget desisions and you get the idea. project leader of 1 in an office of a couple thousand.

I also get excited about Records Management and doing it well.

 

lol - no I understand completely. Walking into this place actually set off an acute case of OCD I never realised I had. Seeing the tubs (yes tubs) of paper stacked up just makes my skin crawl :)

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;)

 

I'm moving my new employer's office over the next few weeks, literally a truckload of paper has to go to head office to keep them compliant.

 

What makes it worse is everything that people have obsessively printed out is actually in SAP - changing the status quo is an uphill battle.

 

In the new much nicer office we wont have room so it will force people to think.

 

I totally agree systems like Dropbox are just cloud storage but in a small organisation if the folder structure is organised it can suffice.

 

TRIM was non-trivial for one government department here some years back when they moved off a mainframe to client/server, took them ages but I believe it has had a good facelift since. Well it should, no need to re-invent the wheel and it always worked fine.

 

Cheers

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Yeah, I understand the risks in implementing a solution like this. I have already started the preliminary foundation work of mentally preparing staff for the change - 20 odd years in IT consulting has taught me a thing or two about managing the human beings in project implementation.

sorry, our IT defer to the project team who are restricted by budget desisions and you get the idea. project leader of 1 in an office of a couple thousand.

I also get excited about Records Management and doing it well.

 

lol - no I understand completely. Walking into this place actually set off an acute case of OCD I never realised I had. Seeing the tubs (yes tubs) of paper stacked up just makes my skin crawl :)

 

you should see the photos I took at christmas.

files files every where...

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;)

 

TRIM was non-trivial for one government department here some years back when they moved off a mainframe to client/server, took them ages but I believe it has had a good facelift since. Well it should, no need to re-invent the wheel and it always worked fine.

 

Cheers

When moving from a mainframe to a client server architecture I'd think records management would be one of the smaller problems :)

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