All data welcome at infoRouter White Paper

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This whitepaper considers the many ways of publishing documents into infoRouter and looks at some of the more common applications. 

 

What is infoRouter? 

infoRouter provides a collaborative document portal which connects information to employees, wherever their location in the world. As infoRouter is web based, users simply employ a standard web browser to gain access to their information, whether they are working from home, on the move or office based.

infoRouter can manage any type of electronic document or file in its native format. Whether you work with words, scanned documents, records, pictures, audio, video, images, forms, emails or Microsoft Office documents, infoRouter is an ideal way to manage your information.

By using infoRouter, an employee can perform the following actions on their documents or data:

  • View

  • Publish

  • Apply security

  • Check-in and check-out

  • Apply version control

  • Add custom meta-data

  • Subscribe to

  • Kick off document workflows or tasks

  • Maintain audit trails for compliance

  • Set Document Retention, Archival & Disposition Rules

 
Interacting with infoRouter

When you consider the information and data you interact with every day, there are a myriad of sources ranging from post, paper, fax, email, and business system data (e.g. SAP or Sage).

During this whitepaper, we will look at the common ways to publish data and documents into infoRouter, and how we can handle certain document types such as post (mail), faxes and ERP data.

These will include:

  • Publishing any document type from a web browser

  • Uploading Office documents via the Microsoft Office plug-in

  • Using infoRouter to manage Post

  • Loading faxes into infoRouter libraries

  • Exploring the different scanning solutions available to an infoRouter user

  • Automatically publishing ERP documents and reports into infoRouter

infoRouter-image

Publishing any document type from a web browser

The most generic way to interact with infoRouter is via a web browser interface.

For example, if you have an image that you want to publish to your marketing library, you can simply browse to the library and upload the image.

This method of publishing a document can be used for any type of document or indeed any file type (e.g. MP3 or WAV files).

This method doesn’t require any plug-ins or additional resources, the user simply requires a web browser and access to the infoRouter server.

Uploading Office documents via the Microsoft Office plug-in

When working with MS Office documents, it makes sense to use the infoRouter MS Office plug-in. This allows a user to open, update or publish a document directly from any of the MS Office suite.

For example, if you’re working on a new customer proposal written in MS Word, you can click on the infoRouter tab within MS Word and publish the document directly into infoRouter.

First select the infoRouter tab in MS Word.

Then browse to the infoRouter library you want to publish the document to. Fill in the description field (if required) and finally hit the submit button to publish. There are other options but we won’t cover them here.

This method can also be used for opening or checking documents out of infoRouter.

Post – The Digital Mailroom

Many larger companies operate a post-room to manage the receipt and distribution of post throughout the organisation. In the traditional post-room, post is opened, classified, then filed, destroyed or delivered to the appropriate department or user.

Using infoRouter, it’s simple to distribute post electronically to the destination user.

Firstly, post must be scanned and classified using a product such as ABBYY FlexiCapture or Kodak Capture. These document capture products can be configured to recognise certain document types, automatically classify them and then extract useful data.

For example, if a company receives lots of standard order forms, the data can be extracted (using powerful OCR/ICR technology) and automatically passed to a back-end system or workflow process. The image of the order can then be stored seamlessly into an infoRouter library (e.g. New Orders) and the subscribed user(s) to this library will be notified by email that a new document has arrived.

As a subscribed user you’ll receive a message like this, telling you new post has arrived.

For unstructured documents that aren’t of a recognised or fixed format (e.g. Letters) documents can be scanned, manually classified and indexed. Again, an image of the document is saved to infoRouter and the relevant department or user notified.

Paper

To manage paper effectively, we need a number of levels of scanning solution. InfoRouter offers three levels of scanning solution:

Desktop or Personal Scanning

The infoRouter Scan Station program is a no-cost option available to any licensed infoRouter user. Using the scan station, users can navigate to images held on their PC, preview them, add custom meta-data (extra descriptive information) then publish to a relevant library. This is ideal for low volumes and is really only suitable for personal use.

The screenshot below shows how the Scan Station can be used to view a document then upload it to a specific infoRouter library, along with other useful information. Scanned documents can also be submitted to workflow processes (e.g. an approval workflow).

Departmental Scanning

Most companies now have digital photo copiers or multi function printers (MFPs). These versatile machines allow printing, copying, scanning and faxing from a single device. Most modern MFPs allow scanning profiles to be configured by means of buttons or menus related to a specific function (e.g. Scan New Orders, Scan Supplier Invoices, Fred’s Personal Archive). Interfaces have now been developed with a number of popular machines (e.g. HP and their DSS software) to allow a scanning profile to publish documents directly into an infoRouter library. Some MFPs (e.g. HP and the DSS software) allow the user to add extra indexing information at the time of scan; e.g. if you are scanning an invoice, you may add the “order number”, “supplier”, “purchase order ref”, “total”, “date” and “approver” – this information can then be passed to custom property sets in infoRouter and possibly start an infoRouter workflow process.

The screenshot below shows how, using HP DSS software, a HP MFP can be configured to scan three different document types:   delivery notes, post and supplier invoices.

The user view on the front panel of the HP MFP looks something like this – showing a button for each of the 3 document types.

When a document type is selected, in this case “Scan Post”, the user can enter extra descriptive information (or indexing data) about the document they have scanned.

As the user is subscribed to the document they will receive notification via email that a new document has arrived.

When the user clicks on the link in the notification email, if they are already logged into infoRouter, they are taken directly to the document – if they aren’t logged into infoRouter, they will be asked to login before they can view the document.

This is an ideal departmental scanning solution - MFPs are readily available to most employees, are simple to use and suitable for managing many types of departmental documents. Importantly, as we’re making use of existing MFPs, this type of scanning solution can be rolled out rapidly across an organisation at very little expense.

High Volume Scanning

Where scanning volumes are high, it makes sense to invest time in automatically collecting information wherever possible. A good example of this would be the scanning of supplier invoices. If we apply the Pareto rule (80/20 rule), most companies receive the vast majority of their invoices from a limited set of suppliers – with this in mind, it makes sense to build intelligent recognition profiles for these large volume suppliers.

Using products like ABBYY FlexiCapture or Kodak Capture, it’s possible to scan a batch of supplier invoices, automatically classify them, then extract the required invoice data (e.g. invoice number, date, supplier, purchase order, total etc).

The extracted data can then be verified (visually checked – see screenshot below), corrected if required, then released to a backend business system, database or even a workflow approval process – simultaneously, the invoice image, generally in a PDF format, can be published into infoRouter and the custom property set populated with the invoice data.

This type of solution can save considerable time and money, often reducing the number of accounts payable staff and reducing the cost to process an invoice by as much as 70%. However, this type of scanning application can represent a significant investment in software and resources (i.e. the development of the intelligent scanning profiles) and for this reason its best suited to high volume applications.

Faxing

Faxing is still a surprisingly popular method of sending and receiving documents. If we want to publish an incoming fax directly into infoRouter we can of course scan a paper fax using the methods described previously.

Is this the best way? The simple answer is no, but only if you have a network fax server which can deliver faxes via email. In this case, it’s simple to redirect a fax to a unique email address which infoRouter is polling. When an email arrives (with the forwarded fax attached), infoRouter picks up the email and automatically publishes any attached documents to a pre-defined library.

In the screenshot below, the infoRouter Email Scanner Service is watching two email addresses, one for accounts and one for tech support.

When an email fax arrives for accounts on (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) it is published to the infoRouter library:

http://SERVER1/InfoRouter/docs/Accounts/Faxes

Likewise, when an email fax arrives for tech support (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) it is published to the infoRouter library:

http://SERVER1/InfoRouter/docs/Support/Tech%20Support%20Faxes

This is a simple but effective way of routing faxes, or indeed emails into specific infoRouter libraries.

Automatically publishing ERP documents

Nearly all organisations have a main business or ERP system and produce a variety of reports and documents; these range from stock reports, debtor lists, and audit control reports through to invoices, statements and purchase orders. If we’re building a repository of information in infoRouter, it makes sense to store ERP documents alongside other types of unstructured documents such as emails, word processing documents, faxes or post.

To publish a business system document into infoRouter we use the Formate output management software.

This can work in two ways:

  1. Formate can take raw print data from the ERP system, create the desired document, then publish to infoRouter with relevant indexing data

Or

  1. Take completed PDF documents from a back-end system and publish to infoRouter with relevant indexing data.

We’ll now consider the first option. In this example we’re going to take some line printer data from a business system, build the required document, then archive a copy into infoRouter.

The raw data starts like this (see screen shot below) with no forms overlay or formatting – equally this could be a CSV or XML file.

Next we design the document we require using the Formate Configurator software. We can add forms, logos, signatures, barcodes or terms and conditions on the reverse side of a printed document - we also define the destinations of the documents (e.g. print, fax, email, archive to infoRouter etc).

When we’ve finished the design process, we load our application into Formate Server. This normally runs as a service, monitoring print queues for new data from the business system. When the Formate Server sees data it recognises, it applies the relevant design of document and creates the data outputs (e.g. print, fax, email or archive to infoRouter).

In this example, Formate Server is creating a PDF invoice and an associated XML file, which will allow us to archive a copy of the document into infoRouter.

This is a PDF invoice created by Formate.

This is the associated XML file that goes with the PDF invoice (again created by the Formate process).

This XML file will allow us to automatically load the document into infoRouter with indexing data (or in infoRouter language, a custom property set). In this case we are creating indexing data which contains the “Document Number”, “Account”, “Document Date”, “Document Type” and “Receiving Company”. By adding this indexing information we can search more accurately for the invoice at a future date.

To import the data into infoRouter, we run an infoRouter hot folders service. This monitors a folder for new PDF documents and their associated XML files containing the indexing data. In this example the hot folders service is looking for data every minute.

Once the PDF documents and XML files are detected by the hot folders service, infoRouter seamlessly imports them to the relevant library (in this case the Accounts library).

The final result – the invoice arrives in infoRouter.

As we’ve stored indexing data or custom property data for each invoice, we can search on any of these particular fields, e.g. we may want to search for the document number “652”. We can of course search on the text content of the PDF (as it’s a text searchable PDF) but this will more than likely bring back many more documents that contain the number “652” – so searching on index fields helps us produce fast and relevant search results.

The screen shot overleaf shows the advanced infoRouter search page with the custom properties (indexing data) shown at the bottom of the screen. In this case, we are searching for any invoices with the document number “652”. This will obviously bring back the invoice we’ve just published in our example. However, it may also bring back a customer order, pick-list and a delivery note because all of these documents have the same document number value of “652” – this is a useful technique for pulling together a set of documents related to a customer order, and can be invaluable for a customer support department trying to resolve a problem.

Conclusion

We hope this whitepaper has helped to position infoRouter and explained the various mechanisms for publishing documents into an infoRouter portal.

infoRouter is an excellent way to bring together all of the unstructured data in your organisation and make it securely available to all your employees, partners or suppliers, wherever they are.

If this has sparked your imagination and you have a possible application for infoRouter, please contact Document Genetics to arrange a detailed demonstration or for your own evaluation copy.

Contact Document Genetics

Document Genetics is an established UK based company providing a comprehensive range of business automation software. We focus on improving document automation, workflow and collaboration within our client organisations, and our range of innovative solutions and specialist services help to save time and money by processing documents and data more efficiently. If you’d like to discuss a document management application with Document Genetics, we’ll be delighted to help.

Author - © Joe Hyde, Sales & Marketing Director at Document Genetics, Hall Farm, Sywell Aerodrome, Sywell, Northampton, NN6 0BN

t: 01604 671177

e: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   w: www.document-genetics.co.uk