Data Conversion: The Do’s and Don’ts

Authored by Gabe Russo, Solution Architect at ImageSoft

Imagine that it is go-live Monday. Your company is scheduled to begin using OnBase, or another electronic document management system, for the first time. The level of combined excitement and nervousness is palpable. Documents and other content from the old system are scheduled to be available in the new system when team members arrive for work. Incomplete or missing content would cause serious disruption. It is in this moment you begin to ask: Did the conversion finish? Was any content missed? There are millions of documents to convert, how could I be sure? When and how will I know if anything is wrong?

I'm Fully Confident

I should have remembered – Trust but verify.

Data conversion projects are time consuming, risk-heavy, and essential. They are often conducted as an exploratory exercise wherein new challenges are born from the resolution of others. It is crucial that the outcome of processing is verified for each document. The customer should expect to know exactly what happened to his/her data during the conversion project and the responsible vendor provides it readily. Through transparency, the conversion effort is verifiable cultivating trust between customer and service provider.

Keep in mind the following points as you prepare for a data conversion. Be wary of the service provider who doesn’t.

Source of Truth

Whether using the database or the file system to dictate which content to convert, it is important to understand the differences in approach. When using the database, the service provider might miss files that aren’t represented in the database. When using the file system, the service provider may not be able to interpret important metadata contained in the database. It is better to take a hybrid approach. Use the database as the source but compare it against the file system. In favor of awareness, expose discrepancies while making a deliberate plan for content that doesn’t line up.

Determine What to Convert

Maybe the source system contains old, incomplete, or content with little value moving forward. The data conversion is great time to flush out those facts to determine what needs to be moved. Sometimes it makes the most sense to convert everything and to use retention rules to eliminate content later. At other times, it can make the conversion process more efficient to ignore unnecessary content. Regardless, be sure to define the rules for what must be converted. This will make the process of reconciliation easier to complete.

Snapshots

Ensure the conversion process is separated from the source system. Taking periodic snapshots of the source system during the life span of the conversion affords several key benefits. First, the source system is left unimpeded by the intense burden of conversion processing. Second, the conversion content is captured as a point in time representation of the source system making it easier to define exactly what content was converted and when. Third, conversion processing often requires iterative actions. Using snapshots allows iterations to occur rapidly in isolation from the source system.

Capture State

Each step of the conversion process must be ACID (atomicity, consistency, isolation and durability). Avoid implementing a solution that violates these core principles. Ensure the conversion process is designed to work on chunks of data. A conversion solution should operate as a pipeline of loosely connected events as opposed to single large unit of work.

Excluded or Errored

It must be easy to distinguish documents that were deliberately ignored from those that meet an error condition. To accomplish that means that all documents recorded in the source system must be indexed by the conversion solution. Otherwise, it will be difficult or impossible to reconcile the systems while being certain that documents aren’t missed.

Verify the import

ImageSoft includes the source system document ID as a keyword in target OnBase systems. It’s a small refinement to make reconciling the systems easy. Don’t assume every import batch is successful; Prove it.

After all, the reward of a thing well done is to have done it.

Digging Deeper into Data Conversion

Interested in understanding ImageSoft’s approach to data conversion? Want a glance at our non-traditional resume of successful conversions? Trying to anticipate what your organization should expect? Answer all these questions and more by visiting our conversions webpage.

We Want to Hear From You!

If you’re anticipating a data conversion, what is your strongest apprehension?

If you’ve undergone a data conversion, what was your experience?

Tell us in the “comments” section below or on our LinkedIn page. We read and respond – promise!

Don’t Build Your Highway Without an On-Ramp: Electronic Forms and Process Automation

Authored by Carolyn Kane, Product Evangelist at Hyland

Imagine designing a super-highway that moves vehicles at top speed through rough terrain, eliminates bottlenecks and traffic jams, and improves the day-to-day efficiency of residents and businesses.

187_freewayonrampNow imagine that you designed this super-speed highway, but you didn’t include a way for people to access it. Your highway might be fast and efficient, but many travelers have to go around it in order to get to their destination.

In my industry, we call this a workaround.

This frequently happens to processes that still rely on paper forms or an unintegrated electronic form (like a fillable PDF that has to be printed or emailed). It’s like having a highway without an access ramp. People have to try to kick off that process in some other way (like scanning the form, emailing the form, or processing manually), instead of just hitting “submit” and knowing that their form is saved and the process is moving forward.

Creating on-ramps

Because OnBase forms are processed by Workflow immediately upon submission, they are the ultimate on-ramp to an automated process. No scanning or manual import is required, and thebest part is that they index themselves!

Fortunately, designing forms can be the easy part of automating your process, with a point-and-click designer for Unity Forms and Image Forms to make form creation intuitive, simple, and fast.

Thinking about access

Not everyone on the highway started in the same place. This seems obvious when talking about roadways, but with process automation you have similar considerations. Where should your users access the form to kick off a process? Allowing them to access forms in a convenient manner means less delays overall.

Depending on your industry, you may need to have “external” users fill out forms in addition to your own internal users. If you’re in government, education, insurance, finance or healthcare – really, any industry that works with the public – extending form access to users outside your organization will be very important to streamlining your processes. Fortunately, OnBase Forms can be accessed from a browser on a desktop or mobile device, so that they can be easily filled out and submitted anytime, anywhere.

Accommodating different types

Think about the different vehicles you see on the highway—trucks, busses, private cars, ride-sharing vehicles—they all have different purposes and slightly different needs. If you want to move the contents of your house, you want to use a moving truck, but if you are just taking your family to see grandma your hatchback will do just fine.

In the same way, OnBase Forms offer different tools for different needs. Unity Forms are the configurable option, offering no-code electronic forms with endless flexibility and dynamic behavior. Image Forms are designed to replicate a paper form, with users filling it out by typing instead of writing—with many of the advantages of Unity Forms built-in to improve the experience over paper. And HTML-based E-Forms offer the endless possibilities of a fully custom form.

A process isn’t automated unless your forms are electronic and integrated

Even if your forms aren’t paper, you may not be automating your processes as much as you would like. Downloadable forms and forms received by e-mail still require manual steps and unnecessary workarounds. For a fully automated process, you want to be sure that forms are integrated with your workflow so that processing can begin the moment the user hits the submit button.

Your On-Ramp to Complete Process Automation

Ready to pave your on-ramp to a super highway of streamlined data collection, workflow and overall optimized efficiency? Check out this forms management webpage detailing all things eForms, courtesy of my friends at ImageSoft!

We Want to Hear From You!

Are you building your on-ramp alongside your super highway (i.e., in the process of implementing various automation tactics), or will eForms clear the path to optimized efficiency for your organization?

Answer in the comments section below or on our LinkedIn page. We read and respond – promise!

 

Staff Separations: Seeing You Through with OnBase for Offboarding

Not too long ago, we leaned in with Leanne to learn about OnBase for onboarding. We hope it left you feeling optimistic about the opportunity for growing your own organization, but it probably also left you asking the one question no one wants to voice: “what about offboarding?”

Whether your intern just landed their first job, a valued staff member has realized another career path or someone is no longer a good fit for your team, employee exit management is a necessary process of every organization. Not necessarily every HR person’s favorite topic, offboarding is one of their necessary undertakings that demands significant attention. Not just a reversed onboarding checklist, separating a staff member from the organization is sensitive for obvious reasons and, because the process carries safety risks, needs to happen as diligently as possible.

You know us – we love talk technicalities, and especially about OnBase. But first, we’re handing the mic over to Leanne, human resources manager at ImageSoft, to learn about OnBase’s role in helping her manage safe and swift staff separations.

Leaning in with Leanne: OnBase for OffBoarding

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Can you Summarize That?

Like a well-seasoned symphony conductor, OnBase keeps everyone in tune with their to-do’s and deadlines, holding each person accountable for playing their part in onboarding, offboarding, transfers, promotions, and other organizational activities.

In a nutshell, why play trumpet when you could really steal the show by playing your part “on base”?

Unlike our dry humor, here are some more notes you actually want to hear:

Reducing Risk

Every organization has standard steps for offboarding a staff member, but knowing who is responsible for what and keeping with a timeline is critical during instances of sudden termination. The offboarding checklist tasks ensures the separated staff member no longer has access to the organization’s systems, information, or infrastructure.

Immediacy and Accountability

Having the automated checklist in one, central location provides HR with immediate access to necessary documents, and notifies other parties, such as managers, marketing, and finance, of their responsibilities in offboarding a certain staff member by a certain date (or right away!). Automated notifications and real-time status updates hold everyone accountable for a seamless and low-stress separation.

Benefits and Payroll

Once HR initiates offboarding, the payroll department is immediately notified with instructions on when to process the separated staff member’s final paycheck. Benefits personnel are also given direction as to which benefits will continue for the separated person and for how long.

Immediately notifying the benefits and payroll department of these circumstances ensures the separated staff member has what they need and when they need it, and makes it easy to accommodate special circumstances, such as severance packages or when certain agreements are made between the individual and the organization.

Interested in Keeping Pace with OnBase?

Check out this webpage.

And if you get tired of reading, we’re always happy to chat over the phone or in person.

Becoming a Fan of Leanne?

Don’t miss an episode! Here is a list of her other productions to date, all speaking to her experiences with OnBase for human resource support.

OnBoarding

Employee File Management

And don’t forget about our coffee chat with Crystal and Christy about recruiting with OnBase!

We Want to Hear from You!

Think about your current offboarding process: are there any risky gaps that could be mitigated? How seamless is the transition?

Tell us in the comment section below. We actually do read and respond to your comments – promise!