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Millennia Group Blog

Blockchain vs Digital Signatures

Monday, May 15, 2017

via Flickr, Jon PhillipsBitcoin continues to make news and inroads into the world of finance.  Two of the basic technologies that drive Bitcoin include blockchain and peer to peer computing.  These two concepts are relatively understandable.  Blockchain uses a distributed ledger, which is essentially a list that is shared across many computers (peer to peer).  Because many computers contain a time-stamped replica of the data, it is very difficult, and expensive to hack or change the data in a fraudulent way – and its encrypted.

These concepts are moving into other areas such as smart contracts.  However, these contracts are not documents as that term is generally understood.  The smart contract is essentially a perfectly known set of conditions and data, that when met, results in a payment or action.  The contract is essentially data points; house address, meter number and usage, bank account or Bitcoin account, electricity rate, dates.  All immutable data that can be kept in a ledger. 

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To Purge or Not to Purge

Friday, March 31, 2017

via Flickr, Liz WestBased on my observation the world consists of two types of people, purge people and non-purge people.  We all know which category we fall into, but as a reminder:  Purge people frequently empty out desk drawers, closets and the garage of useless documents, old clothes and stuff. Non-Purge people don’t.  And yet, we all co-exist.

There is a business practice that you may be familiar with called Legal Hold.  If a company is aware of or suspects litigation, that company should place all records and information related to the litigation on legal hold – don’t let the purge people get to it.  Of course, nobody is happy when there is litigation, but how is it possible to lock down (or not over accumulate [non-purge people]) information in this day and age?

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I need a little wiggle room to be productive

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

via FlickrThe security of the information that our clients have entrusted us to host in our document management system is paramount.  Clients demand that their information remain private and confidential and we absolutely understand and abide by that.  The SEC, auditors and sound business practices demand it too.

Our clients concern certainly includes stopping bad actors, but it also includes the people that they set up as valid users – they should only see and share what they are allowed to see and share.  However, as far as sharing goes, some flexibility is needed so that users can be productive.  Here are some thoughts on why wiggle room is needed and how sharing information can be protected.

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My PDFs are Dazed and Confused

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

One of the core principles that Millennia Group advocates and adheres to is that the official copy of a digital document should be a singular unit.  What this means is that the digital version, a PDF in most cases, should contain only one document.  What our users encounter, and sometimes want, is a different story.

A user may receive a single PDF from an external party that contains many documents.  The other situation is where the user receives multiple PDFs that together comprise a single document.  In one case the file needs to be split and in the other case, the files need to be merged.  Here are some examples of why this principle of a singular unit makes sense when your PDFs are dazed and confused.    

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Active vs Final - Revisited

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Via Flickr - Martin HostThe good thing about this blog is that I don’t really need to have answers.  That is especially good since I am re-visiting the discussion about working documents versus final documents.  It comes up in most every discussion about effective document management – how do I have one system that provides the functionality that I need for both working documents and final documents.

Recall from our earlier post about how creators of working documents tend to like fast and simple – a system where the user can create any collection of folders and subfolders to suit their needs and drag and drop files at will.  A user of final documents requires structure and certainty because having quick access to the right documents gets the job done.  However, at some point the documents in that web of active folders become the source of final documents.  So, is the method of transition from one status to the other the answer, are document police the answer or should there just be two systems?

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Keeping it simple is not always the answer

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

via FlickrRecently we helped a client convert a small amount of paper documents related to a one time transaction into PDFs.  The PDFs would simply be in a folder and viewed or emailed as needed.  To keep it simple the files could be named in a structured format, ie. “ABCCo-Contract-060116-Brazil-Engine-D-JF.pdf”.  Most of that short hand is clear except the "D" is for diesel engines and that the Sales Rep was John Franklin?  Seemed simple enough and so we proceeded based on the clients requirements. 

In this case, the volume of documents was small, but the documents had a significant amount of descriptive information that could be captured. Each piece of information could be captured in a document management system database and ready for user searches. For example, find all contracts for Brazil or all diesel engine contracts.  So here is the issue – do you capture all of the rich information when converting the documents or do you keep it simple because sometimes simple is better?

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Make my day - delete those records

Thursday, December 15, 2016

via Jay Gorman from FlickrRecords retention and records management are very important principles in dealing with corporate information.  Records management being the overall guide book for employees on to how to store and classify information.  It is also about proper management of that information including legal holds (don’t destroy if litigation is in process), access to information and records retention.

Records retention is basically an information destruction plan based on business or legal requirements.  A business doesn’t necessarily want the burden of securing confidential, but outdated information for ever – ie. former patient records.  Creating a records management policy and records retention schedule requires a lot of effort and yet the actual deletion of records is a very difficult step to take. Here are some thoughts on how to feel better about pulling the trigger.

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Clutter of a different kind

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Via Sean MacEntee on FlickrThe existence of duplicate documents and files is commonplace in companies of all sizes.  There is the email with a document attachment that was sent to five people, each of whom downloaded the file.  There is a file on someone’s desktop that they copied from the network.  There is a copy in the cloud.  You get the picture and you probably live this picture daily.

What can prevent this from happening?  Does it really even matter?  Companies seem to be surviving just fine, so what would be the cost benefit for an actual solution?  Unless your company is a company of one, you will likely not find a perfect solution, but a combination of tactics will lower the frustration.  And yes, it does matter and it will be worth it.

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Collaboration – Group Chat vs Workflow

Thursday, October 13, 2016

By Ron Mader via FlickrThe past five or so years have been filled with plenty of talk about and some success in the area of collaboration.  Collaboration being defined as multiple people fully engaged and involved in a single work effort.  The end goal of any collaboration is that the combined effort produces superior results, ie. a better decision, a better product, a better presentation.

Much of the success in the field of collaboration has come in the area of communication, such as messaging applications like Slack or AIM.  These applications improve the communication and are instant and flexible including group chats.  Other areas of collaboration, like co-creating documents, such as a live spreadsheet or text document, have not been adopted as quickly.  But this form of collaboration has historically been linear, passing from person to person.  So can the non-linear form of collaboration (live group editing) be a better approach for working with documents?

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How to prevent that sinking feeling

Friday, September 30, 2016

via Flickr - Judith E BellIn an old paper based world, notification of new information meant extra copies of the document were placed on the desks of teammates.  Otherwise, it required a hunch and a trip to the file cabinet or the random perusing of co-worker’s desks.  In fact, it was probably not known that something new was available until it was a surprise – learned from a customer or worse yet, from the boss who somehow knew the facts.

Today, documents are digital and some might think that has solved all the problems.  Not exactly, not even close.  The only problem that has been solved is now there are less paper copies distributed.  Information, including documents, can still go undetected and unknown.  Surprises still happen and decisions based on incomplete information are still made, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

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