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What You Should Expect During Your Digital Conversion Project

Unless you work in document management, we don’t blame you for not knowing what you should expect when you enter into a digital conversion project. Digital scanning and conversions aren’t exactly mainstream, like going to the mall and knowing what you should expect from the staff at a clothing store.

It’s a different world, document management is. And it can be tricky, but that’s why we want to give you a few pointers to help you in your journey. Below are some thoughts that we, as a document and information management company, believe you should see and understand as you choose your partner in conversion. We’ve broken them out into what you should and should not expect; not in any particular order, just some useful tidbits.

Enjoy!

What You Should Not Expect

It comes down to this: digital does not equal miracle. Once you accept that fact, you’ll be much more prepared for your project and ready to work with your partner to create a solid scope of work for digitizing and organizing your records.

They may! They absolutely may. But when you think about your own life, does it usually work that way? Do you wear the cheapest shoes? Drive the cheapest car? Eat the cheapest food day in and day out? (And c’mon, we don’t mean low priced. We mean the actual cheapest option you could find). Probably not. Instead, you got what brought you the most value at a reasonable price. And that’s the whole point, you’re reasonable! So be reasonable when you’re choosing your conversion partner.  

Sure, there are $10,000 martinis you could drink, but does that mean you’ll be happy after drinking that martini, which was unsettlingly like all the other martinis you’ve had? I doubt it. Just because something’s expensive doesn’t mean it’s valuable, so be aware of this side of the coin. The key is to understand the value you’ll receive and match that up with a reasonable price that makes sense for you.

Because it just ain’t real.

What You Should Expect

Yes, it is possible to completely remove yourself from the execution of a project, but we don’t suggest it. Lots of little things pop up during conversion projects that no one thought of, and it’s very useful to have you (you know, the one who owns the records?) be a part of the problem-solving team. If you’re not involved, and you don’t like the final product, then too bad! Just kidding (sort of). But by then you’ll wish you were more involved throughout the project to make sure that everyone was pointed in the right direction. So roll up your sleeves and get involved!

If you’re not being challenged, then you’re not working with an account executive; you’re working with an order taker. Which may be what you want! That’s fine, but it doesn’t take a genius to sit around and say “yes” to everything thrown their way. What you really want, and should expect, is an expert in document management that challenges your assumptions, your plans, your designs, and makes you really think about what you’re asking for. If they don’t, then you might end up with exactly what you asked for … and have no one but yourself to blame if it isn’t good.

If you already have the best plan, why do you need someone else? Answer: because you probably don’t have the best plan. And that’s OK. We all have massive egos; that’s what makes us human! But if a team of document management professionals suggests an idea or solution that isn’t exactly what you planned for, don’t immediately go negative. They may, just may, actually be trying to make your project more successful than you could have done on your own. Crazy, right?

It’s like the old saying about weddings: something will go wrong, just accept it. You’ll be furious at the time, but you’ll get through it and laugh later. Boiled down: don’t be a jerk when the project hits a bump. No one’s perfect. (see: “Don’t expect perfection” in the section above)

Because if you don’t, you’ll be sorely disappointed and probably frustrated throughout the entire project. There are things you don’t know, and things even the experts don’t know, but that’s the fun part about conversion projects. There’s always something new popping up, and being able to adapt and overcome these little obstacles makes your project unique, and forges a better solution.

Wrap Up

No one knows everything, and it takes a confident person to admit that they’re just not sure what they’re getting into. After reading this far, we hope you have a better idea of what you should (and should not) expect when you start your digital conversion project. If you’re interested in learning more about document management and scanning projects, take a look at our “Further Reading” section below; there are some links to other articles that’ll help you become more knowledgeable about document management.

Further Reading

If you have documents (paper, film, anything!) that are going into digital, you’ll need to get them organized. Take a peek into “The Wild and Wacky World of Indexing” and be amazed!

Got some microfilm sitting around and gathering dust, and you’re just waiting to figure out how to scan it into digital? Look no further, because our article
5 Ways to Ensure a Successful Microfilm Scanning Project” will give you just what you need to make your project a success. 

2018-12-10T15:19:04+00:00December 10th, 2018|Document Management|

The Wild And Wacky World Of Indexing

“Indexing? What indexing?”


You’ve decided to peek at the grim underbelly of the document management world, where brave souls venture forth … and occasionally don’t return. But where do these explorers go, and what are they looking for?


The elusive perfect indexing specification!


Indexing can be pretty confusing. It seems so easy at first, just naming files as they 
should be named. If you have folders, name (index) them by what’s on the folder. If you have stapled or paper-clipped files, name them by whatever’s on the first page of the file! If you have microfiche sheets, name them by the microfiche title strip!!


What’s so hard about 
that, BMI??


I’m glad you asked.

1. Native Knowledge

You have “native knowledge” of your files, and the content (actual data) of those files. What seems an obvious way to name a document to you could be extremely difficult for someone that doesn’t have a solid understanding of your records. Imagine that you have a bunch of patient charts, and you decided to name a file by Patient Name and Date of Birth (DOB). And those two index points (or “fields”) should be on the first page of every patient chart. Easy enough, right?


Ok, so we scan the patient chart into a digital format and are about to index the file. We’re looking at the first page within the chart.

Patient Name: check. (Easy peasy)

Date of Birth: check!

But wait!! Is that another date on the first page? Which one is Date of Birth?


Can you hear the sounds of something grinding to a halt?


What happens next is a string of emails and/or phone calls to ask what you want to do, and you don’t know because you can’t see the file, and so on and so forth. This back and forth to solve an indexing question may only take a couple of minutes, or a string of ten emails. Even when this one instance is resolved, it’s really only the first glimpse into the world of 
exceptions.  

2. Exceptions

Exceptions are relatively common. Pretty ironic, right? An exception is an instance of an index point that doesn’t match the criteria that’s been described by the owner of the files. Or in English:


What we see doesn’t match what you told us we’d see.


Scenario:

  • You have student transcripts on microfilm rolls and want the Student Name, Date of Birth, Social Security Number, and Student ID of each student captured.
  • You’ve told us that all four fields are on the first page of a student’s file.
  • A student file is identified by a big red “S” stamped on its first page.


As we go through the first roll of microfilm, we see the “S” stamped on images, and we start keying the fields you’ve requested. All’s well, but as we move through the roll, about 50 student files in, we stop. We’ve found the big “S” stamp, easy enough. There’s a Student Name, Date of Birth, and Social Security Number, but no Student ID. EXCEPTION!


Further along we find another file that has Date of Birth, Social Security Number, Student ID, but two Student Names!! It looks like the person changed their name senior year. Which name should we use? EXCEPTION!


At the end of the roll, we find the big “S” stamp, but the first page is some kind of cover letter. Should we move on? Should we consider these images as part of the previous file? EXCEPTION!


In each of the above three examples, an exception occurred that would cause us to pause and clarify with you about how you’d like the exceptions resolved. This is time-consuming, costly, and throws the project into stall mode.


But how’s this problem solved? Contingency plans, my friend. In the student transcript example, a contingency to alleviate the exceptions would be: “if one of the four fields is not found, replace that field with an ‘NA.’” You may not be able to plan a contingency for 
every exception, but as many as can be identified and resolved prior to the project starting saves loads of time later on.


Solved. Done. Success.

3. Do You Really Want That?

This is a bit more philosophical than the other two reasons that indexing can be difficult, but important anyway. What it comes down to is knowing what will be considered useful and complete once the project is done.


If you work at a building department with thousands of permits on microfiche, a microfiche title might have a Permit Number, Street Number, Street Name, Project Name, Notes, Year, and more. If you ask to just “index the Permit Number,” it 
could be useful, but all that other information wouldn’t be captured. Once all of your microfiche are in digital form, like a PDF file or in a content database, is the Permit Number all you need? Will it be the single field you’ll use to find these records later on? If not, you may need to dig a little deeper and identify other fields that need to be captured.


On the flip side, if you wanted to capture 
all the information on the microfiche title, you could be creating an overload of information. Sure, it’s on the title currently, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily useful. We’ve seen many a case where title fields were added over the years and the current staff doesn’t know what half of the information means. If you don’t slice off some fat from the title info, you could be creating a mess that doesn’t help anybody.


So, what will be useful? That’s what you have to answer.

Wrap-Up

Getting your indexing right can be tough, we won’t sugarcoat it. But you want to do as much as possible to nail it down right so that you have an effective way of finding your records once they’re digitized. There’s not much that’s more demoralizing than wrapping up a digital conversion project, only to realize that you can’t even find your records and you’d be better off having not done the project at all. This is the exact opposite of how we’d want you to feel.


So, before leaping off the digital conversion cliff, take some time to really figure out the most effective and efficient way to access your records once they’re digitized, utilizing the ideas we’ve presented in this article. And if you need some help along the way, give us a buzz.

Further Reading

Here is our take on getting your scanning project off on the right foot:
How Do I Start A Microfilm Conversion Project?

And here are some ideas for you that (we think) will make your project a success:
5 Ways To Ensure A Successful Microfilm Scanning Project

2018-12-10T15:05:44+00:00November 5th, 2018|Document Management|

Teal Run 5k To Support Ovarian Cancer Awareness

On Saturday, September 29th, a chilly fall morning, a group of BMI teammates met at Campbell Park in Campbell, CA to participate in the 4th Annual Teal Run. The Teal Run is a 5k run/walk event to support ovarian cancer research and awareness.

The morning started with some coffee and pastries, a cameo by Sharkie of the San Jose Sharks hockey team, and speeches by ovarian cancer survivors and the doctors that treat and support them. Once everyone was warmed up, the participants followed a path along the Los Gatos Creek trail until the path looped back to the finish line.

BMI is proud to have been able to participate in the Teal Run and support ovarian cancer research.

BMI Imaging Systems employees prepare for the 5k Teal Run

September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and teal is the color for ovarian cancer research.

Learn more about the Teal Run at the event website: http://www.thetealrun.org/.

2018-10-26T10:11:05+00:00October 26th, 2018|Community|

CJIS Compliance And Document Management

What is CJIS? Does it apply to my records? Who can I talk to about this kind of thing?

These are all great questions, and potentially they’re the ones that you’re asking yourself if you’ve landed on this article. What we’ll do here is give you an overview of CJIS, why CJIS compliance is important, and who should be concerned about it. We’ll also talk a bit about how CJIS applies to scanning your records (such as microfilm, microfiche, and hard copy files) and accessing your documents through a hosted database.

What is CJIS?

CJIS stands for Criminal Justice Information Services and is a division of the FBI. The mission is “to equip our law enforcement, national security, and intelligence community partners with the criminal justice information they need to protect the United States while preserving civil liberties.” Basically, CJIS provides a quick-access information database to local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, which can then use that information to help them catch the bad guys more efficiently.

The FBI heads the overarching CJIS division, but individual states usually have their own organizations for handling CJIS protocols, such as the California Justice Information Services (“CJIS”) and the Arizona Criminal Justice Information System (“ACJIS”). At a high level, the FBI CJIS policy is the standard for local agency policies, and must be adhered to. However, local agencies can also complement the CJIS policies with their own protocols, but the CJIS Security Policy must be maintained at a minimum and must not be detracted from or reduced.

Why is CJIS Compliance Important?

One, because the FBI says it’s important. Two, because if you have CJI (Criminal Justice Information) then you’re required to adhere to the policies provided by the FBI (and potentially local agency policies) related to this type of information. Three, because if you are responsible for CJI, the FBI can “pop in” and perform a security audit at any time.

Who Should be Concerned About CJIS?

CJIS compliance applies to records that contain criminal information, such as police department records or court documents with criminal data. If your organization (hint: police departments, sheriff’s offices, courts) handles records that contain criminal information, you are likely supposed to be following the rules and guidelines of the CJIS Security Policy to ensure that your content is handled by the proper individuals and in the proper way.

How Does CJIS Apply to Scanning?

Here’s where we come in.
It’s all well and good to know CJIS policies and requirements, and that you have records that fall under the CJIS umbrella, but if you’re interested in scanning physical records like microfilm, microfiche, and paper files into digital format, or transferring electronic data with that same type of information, how does that work? Who’s allowed to handle this type of material?

The first thing you should do is to go to the CJIS portal (https://www.cjisonline.com/index.cgi) and do a search for companies that provide scanning and document management services. If they’re not on the list, they’re probably not the best pick to provide CJIS-compliant records handling. If you didn’t find what you were looking for on the CJIS portal, another way to determine which organizations can work with CJIS data is to search the web for scanning companies and when you get in contact with them, just ask if they’re a CJIS-listed vendor. If the response to that question is “who’s CJIS?” then you know you’re not talking to the right company.

BMI is a CJIS-listed vendor, meaning we’ve been given the green light to work with criminal data records. Our folks have been vetted and cleared for this type of work, and our physical and network security policies and procedures comply with the rules and guidelines for the sensitive nature of the material we’d be handling. To get an idea of the type of security we employ at BMI, take a look at our Security page for a brief overview.

CJIS Secure Cloud Hosting Environment

Let’s say you have an archive of 1,000 microfilm rolls containing criminal records. And let’s also say that you decided to scan your microfilm into a digital format. Finally, let’s say that you found a company that is a CJIS-listed vendor and worked with them to scan your microfilm. Good job!

But now what?

As with most choices in life, you have many. You could have your microfilm scanned into a standard format, such as multi-page PDFs or single-page TIFFs, and returned to you on an encrypted USB drive; you may have an existing content management database and choose to have the images formatted for import to that system; or, you may want to have the digital images and data imported into a hosted database provided by a document management company.

If you’re interested in a CJIS Cloud Hosting solution, that’s fantastic. We provide CJIS hosting to many clients from the law enforcement arena, and our network is structured to accommodate CJI. Aspects of the BMI CJIS Cloud Hosting Environment include:

  • The system will present a Community Cloud hosting model as defined by NIST SP 800-145.
  • Unique login credentials (username and password) with two-factor authentication (2FA).
  • IP Address Lock implementation to only allow system access to requests that originate from your network.
  • Data within the system encrypted at rest using FIPS 140-2 certified encryption technology.
  • Data in transmission encrypted using TLS encryption to conform with FIPS 140-2.
  • Automatic session timeout after 20 minutes of user inactivity.
  • All BMI personnel with access to the CJIS Hosted System or client data during the conversion process will have CJIS Level 4 certification and will have undergone and passed a criminal background investigation.

Next Steps

If you think it’s time to get serious about CJIS, we agree. As we mentioned in the section “How Does CJIS Apply to Scanning?”, you could check out the CJIS portal to get an idea of who may be a good fit to work with you on your project.

Another option is to give us a call (800-359-3456) or fill out a form (right side of this web page) and we’ll get one of our teammates to follow up with you and answer your questions.

2018-10-17T11:14:55+00:00October 1st, 2018|Security|

5 Ways To Ensure A Successful Microfilm Scanning Project

You can have your microfilm archive in front of you and know that you want to scan it to digital, but what else should you be thinking about? In this article, we’ll give you some ideas that we believe will make your project successful. You can ask ten companies the same question and get ten different answers, and that’s fine. But here are five ideas we want you to know about that’ll guide your decision-making process and enable you to execute a successful microfilm scanning project. Onward!

1) Phases Are a Good Thing

Why phases? Because if you try to do too much at once, you can get lost in the sauce and not know how to get out. By using a phased approach, you can complete the most important task first, then move on to other items as needed. Here’s an example for microfilm scanning:

Phase 1: Replicate Your Current Methods

What this means – Do what you’re doing now, but in digital!

Why this works – You know how and where to find your records, so starting with an existing (working) method is a great place to begin. Not only will your people know how to find their data, but it will be even faster to find in once it’s in a digital format.

Phase 2: Get Granular With Indexing

What this means – Microfilm is normally organized simply because it contains many records on a single unit. There’s not really much you can do other than find the roll to find the record. Once your microfilm is digital, though, you can get fancy and index (name/organize) your records at the individual level.

Why this works – Once you’ve scanned your microfilm into a digital format, you can decide if you need to get even more detailed. If the answer is yes, you can identify which records need to be segmented into distinct files, and how they will be named during the indexing process. The nice thing here is that the records are already in a digital format (good work starting with Phase 1!) so it’s a simple process to look at various images and get a sense for the scope of the indexing.

(more on this in “2. Indexing” below)

Phase 3: Data Transfer

What this means – Once you have your digital images, you’re ready to import these to electronic databases for total document management.

Why this works – You may already have a database for your current and go-forward images and data, and you want to get your archive microfilm records into that database. By using the phased approach, you now have a complete set of digital images (Phase 1) indexed to your specifications (Phase 2) and ready to import into your system. Instead of trying to get the perfect solution up front, which can drag out projects for what seems like forever, you decided to go step by step and make the process smooth as butter.

2) Indexing

Indexing (identifying, naming, and organizing your records) can make or break a project: it can be simple and cost-effective, or extremely complex and pricey; it can help you find your records quickly, or it can cause confusion and consternation. Getting this part right is critical!  

How do you access your records now? Using this as a starting point, you can make your life easier. If you find microfilm by opening cabinet drawers and then locating a box of film that’s organized alphabetically, it could make sense to replicate this structure digitally. Once the records are scanned and digitally accessible, you can then see what may make more sense and do a reorganization of the files based on different criteria.

Maybe you want the full monty solution with image-level indexing up front. Aggressive, but doable. Identify the way files will be separated and named, and make sure that you have examples of each type of document that exists in your archive. This is a potential rabbit hole, so be ready for a flurry of questions from the company you’re working with, all with the intent of making the project successful.

3) Identify the Primary Points of Contact

A very important step, but one that’s often overlooked. Because scanning projects are dynamic and involve unique material like microfilm, surprises are a guarantee. By having a primary point of contact at your organization and your scanning partner’s organization, questions and answers will flow more smoothly and ensure an efficient and effective project.

Without clearly identified points of contact, you will run into delays, confusion, frustration, and finally resignation. That’s probably a bit more dark than reality, but you get the point. Have a point of contact identified and accountable!

4) Understand What You’re Willing to Pay For … and What You’ll Get For It

If you want the lowest price, don’t expect rainbows and sunshine at the end of the project. If you want best total value, consider your project an investment: it doesn’t feel good putting money in now (short-term pain), but when you finish the project and see a result that makes your and your staff’s life easier, you’ll be glad you did (long-term payoff).

We see many companies that opt to pay the “low” price up front, only to realize that scope changes, mistakes, and errors ensure much more total spend down the road. You can never be certain what will happen during a project, or what surprises will pop up and derail your plans, but having a solid understanding of the capabilities of your scanning partner and their willingness to work with you will go a long way. Beware the charlatan that promises perfection and asks for little in return!

Caveat – high price doesn’t guarantee high quality. Make sure your partner understands you and your objectives, not just what they want to sell.

5) Understand the Material

As a colleague of mine used to say, “ask for the world, but expect New Jersey” (sorry, he was from Boston).

What does this mean? Ask for what you want, but temper your expectations. With scanning projects, we see plenty of new customers with grand visions of perfection: that just because the images are now digital, the entire organizational structure of the files will be perfect, down to the image; errors will be non-existent; all documents will be optimum legibility; coffee will brew itself!! A pleasant dream. And this even though they may have only asked for roll-level indexing. Be aware that with digital content, there are many ways to peel the onion and organize your records, but you need to be specific at the beginning of the project so that your scanning partner can create an optimized process flow.

A way to think about this is “scanning” vs. “cataloging.” Scanning is the up front part, getting the images into a digital format. Cataloging is the back end indexing/organizing part, normally a bit more difficult depending on your requirements. If you decide on a simple roll-level indexing scheme, and have 500 rolls of film, you can expect 500 files named by roll container. You should not expect multiple document types to separate the varying kinds of content on the rolls, and then formatted into 10-page segments named by the employee ID#. That, my friends, is cataloging.

Now, if employee-level indexing is stated as a requirement up front, absolutely expect it to happen! But just be sure you’re clear on what you’re asking for, and what you receive.

There you have it, five ways to make your microfilm scanning project successful.

Further Reading

In a previous article we gave you some important first steps to prepare for and start a scanning project. If you haven’t read it yet, we encourage you to take a look by clicking this link: “How Do I Start A Microfilm Scanning Project?

2018-10-01T13:51:17+00:00September 12th, 2018|Microfilm|

How Do I Start A Microfilm Scanning Project?

A simple question, with simple answers. Simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy, of course, but we’ll do the best we can to make it that way. First, we’re glad you’re reading this article, because it means you’re curious about how to make your microfilm scanning project a success. Second, you’re reading our article, which always makes us happy. Our goal here is to give you some ideas before heading down the path of microfilm scanning, and we know you’ll find at least one nugget of useful information here. Let’s proceed, shall we?

4 Steps To Prepare For A Microfilm Scanning Project

If we wanted to, we could list dozens of steps to help you prepare for a microfilm scanning project. Dozens of steps could be a long read, though, so instead we boiled this article down to four larger steps to get your planning juices boiling as you embark upon the great crusade of digital conversion! Read on and open your mind to the wonders of microfilm scanning…

Step 1. Figure Out What You Have

One of the first questions we like to ask prospective clients is “what type of microfilm do you have (microfilm, microfiche, aperture cards, etc.), and how many?” You don’t need to have the exact number down to the roll of microfilm or sheet of microfiche, but a good estimate is a solid first step. Something as simple as “about 500 rolls” or “30,000-40,000 microfiche” is a great first step.

Not sure what type of microfilm you have? Click over to our “What Kind of Microfilm” page to get a better idea of the various formats you may have. And if you still can’t figure it out, a phone call with an expert (hint: BMI) will do the trick!

Here’s a bonus trick to count microfiche.

Microfiche are those small sheets that are close in size to an index card. You know, those cards  you used in grade school to learn how to spell words? Anyway, if you have even a small archive of microfiche, you’re not going to want to count out all the sheets to figure out a volume for your project. Luckily for anyone that’s ever had to deal with fiche, there’s a quick way to get an approximate number of fiche: when the sheets of fiche are stacked together, such as in a drawer, get a measure of the linear inches that the fiche take up and multiply that by 90. (90 is a rough number and will depend on if the fiche are stacked tight together, if they’re in sleeves, if there are numerous separators, etc.). This will get you a ballpark count of fiche!

Example: you have a 4-drawer cabinet of microfiche, and each drawer has two rows of fiche, front to back. The drawers are 15” deep. So, four drawers multiplied by two rows per drawer equals eight total rows. Eight rows multiplied by 15” per row equals 120”. 120” multiplied by 90 fiche per inch equals a total estimate of 10,800 fiche. Easy!

Step 2. Figure Out What You Want To Do

It’s nice to know what you have, but it’s even better to know what you want to do with it. Why is this step important? Good question! Let’s use an analogy:

Scenario A: you’re laying around on the couch, watching cartoons, and your stomach rumbles. Ok, time to get some food. You hop in the car and start driving around. And driving around. And around.

Let’s try a different approach.

Scenario B: you’re laying around on the couch, watching cartoons, and your stomach rumbles. Ok, time to get some food. You sit up and think for a minute or two and decide on a sandwich, and you remember a great place downtown. So you hop in the car and in ten minutes you’re at the shop ordering your hoagie.

Could you make Scenario A work? Sure, but it’s tedious and time-consuming, and seeing all the options on the drive may put you into analysis paralysis, which could mean hunger cramps and being hungry. Make your life easy and have a (general) idea of what you want to do before jumping into action.

What does this mean for a scanning project? Well, here are a few things you could have in mind … *DEEP BREATH* scanning resolution, file output format (e.g. PDF, TIF, black + white or grayscale images), index information (how to name your files once they’re digital), start date of project, desired completion schedule, budget, and so forth. Whew! Quite a few things to ponder, but well worth the effort.

Step 3. Decide How You Want To Do It

You know what you have and you know what you want to do with it. But how?! If you’re a DIY kind of person, we applaud you and wish you the best of luck. We can even give you some helpful advice to guide you on your way.

If you lean towards the “I can do it myself, but I have more important things to do” kind of person, we applaud you even more and would like to meet you. Specifically to scan your microfilm.

Step 4. Do It!

Time to roll up our sleeves, get in the trenches, put some back into it, and get your microfilm scanned! Really, though, digital scanning projects are (almost) never emergencies or urgent, so even if you’re not planning on starting scanning today, it’s a good idea to get the ball rolling so that it doesn’t surprise you when your boss says “hey, I want that film scanned. How are we doing it?”

Think ahead to get ahead. Planning early is the smart move, and we know you’re smart because you took the time to read this entire article, give you a leg up in your conversion project preparation.

Further Reading

If you’re curious how your project will run once we get the green light, take a look at our “How Does a Microfilm Conversion Project Work?” page to get an overview of our unique process.

2018-10-01T13:45:44+00:00August 7th, 2018|Microfilm|

JIIMA, Japan Document Management Association

JIIMA Spends Time at BMI

BMI Imaging was happy to have the Japan Image and Information Management Association (JIIMA) visit our California document scanning and document management service bureau as part of their Silicon Valley Tech Tour.

Document Scanning Solutions

Document Scanning Solutions

JIIMA spent six days in the San Francisco Bay Area, visiting various technology organizations (including ABBYY, Fujitsu and Adobe). We were honored to spend two hours with JIIMA.

Our meeting included a history of BMI and a facility tour that included security parameters in place to handle highly confidential client records. We demonstrated our document processing operations, microfilm conversion areas, indexing and quality assurance mechanisms and an on-site vault to store confidential client records. We also highlighted a uniquely developed process control system that we term Unify that offers a high-level dashboard of our entire service bureau workflow.

2018-11-26T13:37:46+00:00November 19th, 2015|Document Management|

Moving to Cloud-Based Document Management

A Focus on Security

A number of reasons (both financial and strategic) are driving companies to online document management services from trusted vendors such as BMI Imaging. This shift away from traditional in-house approaches is well underway with more than 70% of organizations actively Document Hosting and Document Managementplanning or implementing cloud technologies today (according to InformationWeek April 2015 survey).

In the first of our 3-part “Moving to the Cloud” blog series, we focus on document hosting solutions, the core of cloud-based document management, and its key underlying requirement – security.

Security: The Number One Concern when it comes to Cloud-Based Document Management

Whether you’re a new company or an established organization, your customers’ trust is your number one asset. That’s why your move to the cloud-based document management requires a secure foundation that protects customer data and your business reputation.

In the InformationWeek survey mentioned above, almost 90% of respondents are very or moderately concerned about cloud-based security. Specifically, 45% of IT organizations are concerned about general security and 41% of IT organizations are worried about data loss / leakage.

5 Steps to a Secure, Cloud-Based Document Management Foundation

There are five steps that you should consider to minimize your risk when moving to cloud-based document management systems.

Step 1: Partner with a Trusted Cloud-Based Document Management Provider

Moving to cloud-based document management is not only about technology, but also about updating and integrating with key business processes already in place. BMI Imaging provides over 50 years of know-how, with more than 2,000 customers (commercial and government). We have developed over 400 unique image and data management tools and process control routines. In addition, we offer dedicated project management staff for personalized attention to your needs.

Step 2: Review Critical Vendor Infrastructure

It is important to review the vendor infrastructure. Example questions include: Is there 24/7/365 monitoring of all IT operations? What about redundancy protection? Is it N+2 (or better) for all critical systems? Is 2N+2 electrical power redundancy in place? Where are the local and remote (Disaster Recovery / Continuity) locations?

Step 3: Investigate Industry Certifications and Compliance

Does the cloud-based document management vendor undertake regular and rigorous SSAE-16 Type II/SAS 70 audits, with zero exceptions? Is PCI DSS compliance in place Existing Federal FISMA compliance with NIST 800-53 moderate baseline controls?

Step 4: Ensure Offline Security

Don’t forget about security of the physical facilities. Is there any public access to the facilities? Do 100% of vetted personnel have to be securely signed in and escorted at all times? What about multi-factor identification, including biometric and multi-level security zones? Are there digital cameras installed to monitor secure areas 24/7? Is there a physically separate caged environment within the secure data center?

Step 5: Secure End-User and Administrative Access

Are there simple administration and user selection and access rights? Is SSL encryption and IP lock security in place? Can you access the full audit trail and report on any document accessed?

The five steps above are a good foundation for ensuring that you minimize any risks associated with your cloud-based document management project. Contact a BMI specialist if you’d like to walk through any specific requirements.

 

2018-11-29T08:35:14+00:00June 3rd, 2015|Document Management, Security|

Cloud-Based Document Hosting and Management

Cloud-Based Document Hosting: An Alternative to Traditional Approaches

Many companies and organizations are considering a move to the cloud for their document hosting and management requirements. They are driven by a variety of reasons including storage limits on existing equipment / storage facilities, lack of responsiveness when customers increasingly require immediate access to documents and the high cost and limited availability of specialized IT personnel to manage the end-to-end infrastructure.

Cloud Based Document Hosting

With the availability of cloud-based document management and document hosting services, companies are able to provide a much higher level of customer experience without the high-costs of legacy approaches. There are a number of advantages that cloud-based document management provides that enable companies to deliver better services and lower costs.

Data Security
If your data isn’t secure, your business isn’t secure. Cloud-based document hosting services employ specialized professionals who are focused on making sure data is secure both physically and against online threats. This includes on-the-ground security personnel and 24/7 network monitoring, as well as secure, non-descript facilities armed with the latest in biometric systems.

IT / Storage Costs
Online cloud-based document hosting enables you to pay for just what you need. No need to buy additional/spare storage or additional software licenses, set up new infrastructure, or invest in ongoing administration. This eliminates the burden on in-house IT staff and budgets, enabling you to focus on core IT and business initiatives.

Disaster Recovery
If you or your customers can’t access documents when you need them, then your investment in document management is wasted money that actually hurts your customer relationships and future revenue. Cloud-based document hosting provides protection against disasters with secure/automated failover between locations. It’s built into the solution so that you don’t have to worry about document accessibility in the event of an outage or disaster.

Universal Access
Today customers can instantly access general business documents via consumer grade products and they naturally expect the same or better access to their professional documents. Cloud-based document hosting enables customers to access any of their documents, from anywhere and from any device.

Before You Move to a Cloud-Based Document Hosting Solution
Moving to the cloud isn’t just about new technologies or new service providers. Before you make the move, it is important to keep a few things in mind to protect your Document Hosting with the Cloudcustomers, your business reputation and your future prospects:

Trusted Partner: a trusted partner has decades of experience in your industry, as well as dedicated staff who understand how to translate your requirements into the right technical solution.

Extensive Integration: unless you’re a brand new organization, chances are you’ve got years of investment in your current infrastructure and processes. You shouldn’t have to discard that investment or change the way you work to fit the needs of new cloud-based document hosting systems.

Ability to Scale: look for a provider who has the proven technology and processes to convert and manage millions of documents each month as well as automate tracking / logging of activities across systems and personnel.

For more information on how cloud-based document management can help you drive your business, check out our California-based document hosting services.

2018-11-29T08:30:09+00:00May 21st, 2015|Document Management|

Building Department Microfiche Conversion

Is Converting Your Microfiche Archive to Your Permitting System the Right Approach?

Building departments manage many different types of documents, including building plans, geologic survey information, permit copies and other residential or commercial title related records. A lot of building department staff time is spent searching through physical microfiche archives for specific records. Misfiled and lost fiche present further hassles. Although many building departments see the value of digitally converting their microfiche records, many have not.

Building Department Microfiche Conversion Solution

 Why haven’t building departments converted their microfiche archives to digital? Expense and staff time required are the two main reasons. Most building departments start with the position that they want all of their digital records migrated into an existing permitting system or document management system. This typically comes with a hefty price tag. To accomplish this, each individual image on the microfiche must be separately digitized and indexed. A content review needs to take place which requires your building department staff to dedicate a lot of time reviewing the documents after conversion. The review is to ensure that the microfiche indexes are properly mapped to the permitting or document management system index. This is time consuming and the amount of labor required quickly drives the price up.

There is a better way to affordably convert microfiche archives. A microfiche conversion solution is really a two-step process (1) scanning and (2) indexing. Many building departments want all of their digital records imported into their existing permitting or document management system. This requires (1) scanning and (2) indexing. Most of the expense of a microfiche conversion solution comes at the (2) indexing phase. What if there was a solution that could provide (1) scanning at an affordable price as an initial stepping stone? In that way, your building department could digitize your microfiche records quickly and affordably and then tackle the (2) indexing step later.

BMI’s Digital ReeL building department microfiche conversion solution delivers an affordable solution to accomplish the (1) scanning step and also offers you a stepping stone to (2) indexing and permitting system integration. In addition, any record converted into Digital ReeL is stored in a non-proprietary format (PDF, TIFF) and can easily be imported into any existing system.

How does the Digital ReeL building department microfiche scanning solution work?

Digital ReeL is designed to be affordable (as low as $.90 per microfiche). Your microfiche records are securely transported to our Northern California microfiche conversion facility. We are able to convert the entire microfiche and digitally preserve it as it looked in its original physical state. Very little building department staff oversight required. Because we create digital replicas of each microfiche, there is no requirement to examine individual images for indexing purposes.

If the building records do not go into my permitting or document management system, how do I access them using Digital ReeL?

Digital ReeL offers an easy to use web based retrieval application that resembles a reader printer. With Digital ReeL your physical microfiche are converted to digital replicas. Instead of using legacy, physical readers, you can turn as many computer workstations as you’d like into what looks like a reader printer. Staff and citizens use the same index method for your physical microfiche archive to find information (e.g. APN, address). We also include full text search options to quickly and accurately pull up a record that is needed (e.g. search using a name, date or other keyword).

All records are stored in nonproprietary formats, including PDF, TIFF, JPG and GIF. It is easy to email, print or save documents right from Digital ReeL. Any document can be imported into an existing permitting or document management system.

BMI has the expertise and resources to successfully handle governmental building department microfiche conversion projects. We have worked with city, state and federal government agencies all of the Country. Please call (800) FLY-FILM to discuss how we can achieve your building department microfiche conversion requirements today.

2018-11-26T13:50:12+00:00February 19th, 2015|Microfilm|