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Millennia Group Blog

Blockchain vs AI vs Bob

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Via Flickr - by Bovee and ThillRegardless of the industry, at every trade show, in every webinar and at every lunch and learn the use of artificial intelligence or blockchain has been a topic.  It’s been stated and debated about how these technologies are going to revolutionize industries and change our lives.  That can be a bit unnerving.

However, there is hope for us, AKA Bob.  Blockchain might give us smart contracts built from nothing but data points.  No need to also enter the data into another system, the contract is the system.  AI will take the document (Word, PDF, etc) and it will interpret the information and populate the system automatically.  Poor Bob, who previously found, interpreted and entered the data, gets left out of the process.  But wait….

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Where isn't that file?

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Via Flickr by Tim GreenFirst, please take note that we used the word “file” and not “document” in this blog title.  It’s true that less orders, correspondence, contracts, etc. are being memorialized on paper or a “document”.  However, there is still a “file” being created that looks just like the paper document only its PDF or JPG.  That PDF receipt is a document and is the buyer’s proof of the transaction so they want it.

The receipt gets emailed to you (system #1) but then you forward it to an accounts payable system for processing (system #2).  Later, that same file is sent to a co-worker who had a question about it.  Maybe that was sent as an attachment in an instant messenger system like Slack (system #3).  Or that file was pushed out to Box as part of a special project (system #4).  You get the point, that file is everywhere now.  Where isn’t that file is more appropriate today.  But why should that be a concern? 

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Optimism sends a good message

Thursday, June 27, 2019

via Flickr, by Sergio AquirreWe recently sponsored and exhibited at two technology focused trade shows.  As most companies participating in these shows know, it’s a good way to see existing clients and to meet new prospects.  But its also a good way to stay informed about industry advancements and news, however optimistic.  There can be lots of very optimistic talk and presentations in the tech community.

Here’s the thing, however optimistic some people or companies might be, some of those plans and ideas probably make good sense and will someday become the standard.  Of the current crop of hot technology topics, such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, bots and robots, we are optimistic about…

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Don't forget to lock the front door

Thursday, May 30, 2019

via Flickr - Paul FlintInformation security continues to be an important topic even if there haven’t been any newsworthy breaches recently.  That could be due to the nature of proper security, which involves continual effort and therefore top of mind.  Annual penetration tests, monthly vulnerability scans, scheduled password resets and authentication of new devices are a few recommended policies to stay secure.

Security was much easier when the ability to share was more difficult and the potential for inadvertent release was much lower.  Back when paper documents ruled the world, locked file cabinets or a managed file room with in/out tracking satisfied the requirements.  With digital documents, your systems need to be hardened and so do your users.  Data can leak through the back door or the front door.

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Tag and push is not a playground game

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

via Flickr - Mineola MinnesotaCompanies, large and small, have procedures or rules that employees are supposed to follow to complete certain tasks.  Each company determines the most efficient methods or methods that meet regulatory or compliance requirements.  These rules can be written in a manual, part of a checklist or built into software applications.

Rules incorporated into the code of software applications are relatively easy to build and highly effective.  One of the most difficult procedures to successfully implement, however, is document archiving.  When is a document the final final version and where should it be archived?  Making this decision and process easy should be every companies goal, but where to begin?

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Should power users drive the bus?

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

via Flickr - Ian DickWithout a doubt you have come across business or personal applications that are not easy to use.  Business applications in particular can be less intuitive because of the complexity of the tasks required.  But that complexity may be due to over-engineering.  We have all heard of the less is more concept.  But in software, less isn’t really less, its just essential. 

There are always situations where one user wants another function or feature.  The trick is to identify the essential functions and help power users understand approaches to solving unique tasks.  When the tasks are performed frequently but by a few users or less frequently but by many users, the solution should support those tasks very well.  Here are some things to think about to select a solution that nails the essential functions and supports the power user.

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I admit, machines are smarter than me

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Image via www.vpnsrus.comMachines are smarter than me, at least after some smart people have told it what to think and since it is continually trained to get smarter.  Maybe that computer really isn’t smarter than me, but it certainly has a better memory.  In the context of our current lives, that translates into not forgetting passwords and never forgetting where I saved that file on the network.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are all the rage in most industries, including the document management industry.  There is a convergence of systems offering auto-classification and indexing of your files.  Tagging the file with information that someone can use to find it later and dropping the file in some deep folder structure and forgetting where that was might go away.  That seems like a smart approach and deserves some investigation.

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Support your local decision maker

Monday, March 18, 2019

via Flickr, Andy FoggHard as we all try, we are human and we make mistakes.  When these mistakes take the form of data entry errors, it can range from being an annoyance all the way to a full-fledged disaster.  Products get shipped to the wrong address, billing errors occur, critical dates are missed and so on.

Data entry into a “system”; an accounting system, CRM, ERP or any type of database or spreadsheet, feeds information to many users.  Therefore, it is important to do whatever it takes to ensure accurate information is captured and the wrong information is not magnified across many decision makers.  Here are some simple methods to support those decision makers and help them avoid costly mistakes. 

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And the answer is...

Thursday, February 28, 2019

via Flickr Terry JohnstonHere’s a situation that is probably familiar to many.  The company you work for has a database or some type of online application that contains information on your customers; CRM, accounting system, ERP, etc.  The customer calls and has a question.  It appears that some information was entered into the “system” but from experience, you know to double check.

The double check usually involves pulling up the original documentation. This lack of trust is not entirely unfounded nor irrational.  There are many unintentional mistakes made when doing data input or possibly mis-interpretation of terms.  What is the best way to ensure your employees always find out what the real answer is?

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Does Sears have a good idea?

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Via Flickr - Mikeg44311According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2016 and 2026 about 90% of job growth will be in service producing industries.  Sears is embarking on what might be a crazy idea that they can revive their retail model by making the stores smaller and what looks like increasing the level of service or service offerings related to what they sell.  Is this where the new jobs will come from, purchasers getting more service?

The U.S. BOL stats indicate that the number two jobs creator will be in Professional and Business Services and number 12 will be Information, including data processing and hosting.  Business software providers must fit into one of those two categories.  However, software providers, like Retailers, can suffer from a purchase decision based primarily on cost and functionality.  Should software firms follow Sears formula and not only provide technology but provide service?

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