Peelle Technologies Document Scanning and Document Management Services Campbell, CA
197 East Hamilton Avenue
Campbell, CA 95008
Phone: 800.233.5006
Peelle Technologies Document Scanning and Document Management Services Campbell, CA

Section Two: Document Management Basics

 

Technical Considerations

The goal of digital document management is not solely to eliminate and organize paper, but to manage all organizational documents, both computer-generated and paper-based, and all files, including digital audio and video files. This is the most important reason to implement a digital document management system. Documents are organizational assets. Like your organizationís data, information and physical assets, your organization must recognize the strategic importance of managing your document assets. You must manage your document assets well or risk not only increased liability but also information loss, which can significantly affect your business. In the past, ďdigital document managementĒ was synonymous with managing documents after they were scanned into a computer. Today, the term encompasses a variety of technologies - paper documents that have been scanned to create a digital image, workflow technologies, multimedia technologies and formats, and computer-generated content. There are many technical components to a digital document management system and a wide variety of options.

 

System Compatability

Compatibility is the capacity of a digital document management system to work with existing hardware and software systems. To maximize compatibility with existing systems, a digital document management system should:

  • Work with standard operating systems and support standard database platforms.
  • Communicate using popular network protocols such as IPX/SPX or TCP/IP.
  • Have Web deployment capability.
  • Use n-tier architecture with client-side image compression/decompression and server-side searching and indexing to minimize network traffic.
  • Store text and image files in non-proprietary, industry-standard formats.

Networked Systems

In any office, documents are used to transmit information between people. For document management to be truly useful in an office environment, documents must be accessible to all authorized users. Storing documents on individual PCs impairs the flow of information between coworkers and wastes valuable time and resources, so it is important for document management systems to have a central repository of records accessible from any PC in the organization.

 

Scalability

The scalability of a system determines how easily it can grow with your organization. For full scalability, a system should:

  • Support the entire group of organizational users concurrently.
  • Store all documents for the entire organization.
  • Accommodate a large number of users and documents.
  • Store information across multiple drives or servers.
  • Support multiple databases.
  • Integrate with other applications.

Document management solutions, like any other network application, consume computer resources. Image files are large, and databases must track large numbers of records. Functions such as OCR, image display and search require extensive computing power. It is important to have n-tier architecture when more than a few people need access to imaged documents. Even when an installation begins with a single-user pilot project, it is important that the document management system be able to accommodate future growth.

 

An n-tier system delivers maximum scalability in departmental solutions and across the organization with distinct client, business logic, data and document layers. Any network-connected storage media, including Storage Area Networks (SANs), can be used for physical storage, while multiple SQL servers handle the distributed database layer. Tasks such as indexing, OCR and searching are distributed between the client (PC workstation) and the document management server for optimal performance. Some tasks are performed more efficiently on the client, while others are better handled by the central server. Where the specific tasks are performed may vary among different document management systems.

 

It is important to distinguish between this more robust design approach and simple file-sharing applications. In file-sharing applications, file integrity can be compromised when a workstation program is interrupted in the middle of a transaction. With computing functions distributed across multiple tiers, however, the client does not open data files directly. Therefore, client interruptions do not threaten data integrity.

 

An n-tier system can perform searches much faster, given that the server is typically more powerful than individual workstations. File-sharing systems send a copy of the entire database over the network to the workstation, which then performs the search. This method leads to increased network traffic and search response times that are dependent on the speed of the workstation. File-sharing systems may be easier to develop and therefore less expensive initially, but their design ultimately restricts flexibility and scalability, limiting their long-term usefulness.

 

A thin client is an infrastructure-friendly solution that minimizes the burden of application installation, maintenance and software upgrades. The benefits of thin clients extend beyond conserving IT resources to expediting the search and retrieval of information over the organizationís intranet or the Web. A Web browser-based thin client must effectively deliver essential features to end users without compromising system security.

 

Hardware Requirements

The digital document management solution your organization chooses should be as easy for users to operate as it is for IT staff to manage. A quality digital document management solution should adapt to your existing infrastructure and work well with existing resources while smoothly integrating into your organizationís changing environment. A digital document management system should fit the shape of your organization, supporting either Microsoft SQL or Oracle database platforms. It should also work well with existing hardware.

 

Server Requirements
It is important that your IT administrator has a working knowledge of how to maintain and administer your document management server setup. A database management system (DBMS) is a software program that runs on a database server and allows the management of the data stored in the database. It also responds to queries from users. The DBMS is responsible for maintaining a database that contains the locations of all the scanned and electronic documents stored in the document management repository in their respective volumes.

 

The document management server must access the DBMS on behalf of the user to get the location of the scanned image or electronic document, which is required to view images, text and the electronic file associated with a document. The database also contains many other types of information regarding the various types of metadata, annotations and other components that help control the document management repository.

 

Your DBMS can be either a Microsoft SQL Server or an Oracle server; often, the document management server does not have to reside on the computer hosting Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle. It is recommended that you install the document management server and the DBMS on separate machines. This allows the DBMS to make more efficient use of all available memory on the server. Microsoft SQL and Oracle also recommend this type of setup, in order to achieve an environment with the highest level of stability. For more information, please consult your Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle documentation.

 

Workstation Requirements

Installing a digital document management solution should not require that your organization purchase entirely new hardware. Your vendor should provide you with clear, understandable information on hardware requirements and configuration. Your vendor should also provide your IT personnel with information to help the technical side of your installation run smoothly, including installation guides, administration guides, Webinars and technical consulting. If your organization plans to enable employees to use your document management repository via secure Web connection, requirements will be different and should be discussed with your vendor.

 

Software Requirements
Besides the question of hardware, there is the additional question of what software your organization will require to make your digital document management solution fit the way you work. A quality digital document management solution should be scalable, meaning that it should easily grow as your organization does. If you begin with a single department roll-out, it should be simple to add additional users as you roll out the solution to other departments. You should not have to repurchase software or dramatically change the architecture of your solution.

 

Web Deployment

One way to deploy your document management software is by rolling it out to staff via the Web. Access via the Web is essentially a gateway between your repository and the Internet or an intranet. It serves as an intermediary between a HTTP (Web) server and your document management server. A quality Web solution should incorporate robust security measures and give your organization complete control over access permissions, distribution, and user logins. The success of a thin client is measured by how effectively it delivers features to end users while relieving IT of software maintenance burdens. Web deployment provides high-volume access to document archives from a centrally-administered server. IT can add new users without installing software on multiple workstations or adding to their support load, conserving resources for maintaining thick-client applications. Users manage documents through Web browsers already installed on their computers, allowing hundreds or even thousands of users to safely participate in business processes.

 

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Peelle Technologies is a leading provider of document scanning, document conversion, document imaging, document management, microfilm scanning, microfilm conversion, microfiche conversion services and software products. Our document scanning, microfilm scanning and other document management services are provided in the San Jose, San Francisco, Bay Area, Silicon Valley, Oakland, Napa, Monterey, Sonoma, Visalia, Stockton, Modesto areas of Northern California. Our other products and services are available across the United States.