Workflow Automation Software

A Little Out There

Integration 101

Here are a few thoughts that might be a little out there but they do have some merit.

A National Digital Document Recorders Office

Many, many years ago a great idea came about to have local governments keep “recorded” copies of real estate documents. The purpose was generally to ensure that ownership could be proven and the legal relationship was recorded and recognized. Each local government runs its own recording office for properties in its jurisdiction, but there isn’t a statewide or national “Recorder”. This is also primarily a paper based process with actual document stamps.

With digital signature technology, endless online storage and internet access, it is easy to see how one entity could be the “Recorder” of all real estate transaction documents. That would save governments countless billions of dollars on labor, storage and systems maintenance as well as user’s time and money for submitting and finding documents.

Take that one step further and conceive of a document escrow for medical documents, mortgage documents, car loan documents or commercial leases. Pieces of this concept already exist with Docusign, Dropbox, Tapestry, eRecorder, but they only serve groups of users that have volunteered to share documents in that way. This may need some government intervention and some deep pockets, but it makes a lot of sense.

Location Services to Connect You With Your Files and Data

If you own a smart phone or tablet device you are aware of the feature that allows your current location to be known to various applications. For instance, if you use Yelp, the food rating app, just open the app and search for pizza. Yelp will find all pizza joints near your current location, whether that is at home or in another city.

So is it possible that all documents and files related to the customer that I am visiting will be on my tablet as soon as I enter their office? Can all of this information pop up on my screen as soon as the phone system sees an incoming call from a recognized phone number? How about if you are a construction manager on the 30th floor of a building under construction? It would be great if the plans and specifications related to that floor were waiting on your tablet as you walked off the elevator.

Just some thoughts, but some of it sure sounds nice, and my guess is, not too far into the future.

Please contact us for more information or to get started today


For more information on Millennia Group, please go to www.mgdocs.com or email us at info@mgdocs.com

Taking Inventory of Your Digital Folders

Taking Inventory of Your Digital Folders

There used to be a frequent occurrence at retail stores called “taking inventory”, an all-night process with an army of workers. It was a process of manually counting each unit of every product on the shelves to confirm the actual inventory with the inventory on the books. Together with other data like deliveries this helped confirm sales numbers, but that was about all the data was good for.

This process has come a long way with the use of purchasing systems, UPC codes and registers with barcode reading, all feeding the same database. Inventory is now up to the minute and able to generate automated workflows that send out restocking orders to the vendors.

So where is this going relative to document imaging and digital document management? The analogy is the same when comparing the use of a static file folder method of document storage with the use of a database driven document management application. A well designed file folder system on a network drive or in the cloud should allow you to find a document quickly if you know where to look. If you need more that, you should use a database driven system.

Document files stored in a folder hierarchy, no matter how well designed, will always have serious limitations. Here is a short list:

  • Folders on a network drive will not alert you when documents are added, changed or deleted
  • Folders need to be manually updated for every change, such as customer name change, otherwise files will be lost to some users
  • Tracking folder activity on a shared network drive is almost impossible
  • Folder based systems never know that a file is missing; for instance, it is required that each employee have a signed I-9
  • Full text search or advanced searches are impossible – ie; all invoices between two dates
  • Folder based systems don’t require a user to follow any naming convention or add any specific information to a file

Cloud based, folder type storage applications fail on most of those issues and basic SharePoint setups fail on some. But most of all, folder based systems fail to provide access to information in ways that are truly productive to users, such as reporting, information assembly and workflow.

We see many companies that have very costly, manual methods to assemble groups of documents for reporting purposes. These can be monthly or quarterly financial reports, tenant common area maintenance packages, construction loan draws, collections of documents for audit purposes and supporting documentation for medical review, just to name a few. A database driven system can breeze through all of those tasks and more.

Workflows are easily initiated with a database driven system. Workflows can be initiated based on information that is entered with the document, information that is missing or a comparison of multiple pieces of data.

Just as the retailers have benefited greatly from the use of database driven systems, so too will your business when you replace the folder based document storage method.

Please contact us for more information or to get started today


For more information on Millennia Group, please go to www.mgdocs.com or email us at info@mgdocs.com

Ready, Set, Start that BPA Project (but only after reading this first)

BPA Project

The effort to improve a business process seems easy enough. Map out the required information flow. Create a list of the parties involved. Understand the security and legal requirements. Crank up the visual workflow tool and get started.

Sometimes it does work that way, but sometimes each of these steps reveals deeper issues, missing data, incorrect data or inaccessible data. Don’t be discouraged, these issues can be solved and you can achieve the ROI that you desire. Read on for a few ideas on how to succeed.

Like any good construction project, the key to success is a strong foundation. BPA, business process automation, invariably depends on connections to one or more company systems. For instance, you probably should not approve a customer loan extension without having reviewed their payment history. In the world of BPA this requires integration to the loan management system so that the online request programmatically includes a payment history report (matched based on loan number). Always confirm the ability of existing systems to be accessed (API’s) or to push data to other applications.

These connections and interrelationships also mean that the underlying data must be clean and in a format that you can work with. A simple example that highlights this issue is of course paper based data. If the automated process will rely on a review of historical information, but your historical information is all in paper, your process is not going to be very automated. Likewise, if an approval step requires that you compare the loan request to all others from the same NAICS or SIC code, you are out of luck if you were not historically capturing that data. Understand where the information resides and make a plan for what is missing and needs to be gathered before proceeding.

The bottom line is that you need advanced planning when looking at automating a process. We have many examples of information that is needed only being available in the original documents and that data was never captured.

When entering information about a new customer, new vendor, new employee, etc. into your core systems, remember that you need to capture the right information. Focus on the needs of management, but also sales, engineering and all other departments. Even consider the needs of business partners and your accountants or consultants. Think about the data needed to understand customer behavior, data needed for financial and taxes reporting and regulatory requirements, even data needed for managing employees. The upfront effort is far less expensive and it opens up the possibility for powerful and productive BPA.

The data is only one piece of the process. You will still need to set security, map out flow and find the right workflow tool, but that will all be easier when your data is present and clean.

Millennia Group would be happy to work with you to get your foundation solid and to help you achieve significant ROI on business process improvement efforts.

Please contact us for more information or to get started today


For more information on Millennia Group, please go to www.mgdocs.com or email us at info@mgdocs.com

Gym Shoes Required

Gym Shoes Required

I would love to talk about how electronic document management could supercharge your company sales or revenue, but it always seems like it is too hard to connect all the dots. Instead most prospects and customers think “what will this cost me?”

We are always looking at what it costs to create, store, share, ship and scan documents. This calculation is more challenging than ever since there is now both paper and digital storage, cloud and on premise storage, off-site storage and yes, some day, unmanned vehicles delivering documents to your door.

Millennia Group has it’s own hosted document management system called FileStar. It would be considered a private cloud application. FileStar is used for workflow, imaging, compliance, reporting and digital file archive and retrieval. We have analyzed the cost of FileStar for our customers and there are many impressive stats, but one in particular stands out – cost per view.

Our heavy use customers have a cost per document viewed of less than $0.10 with many customers at $0.50 or less. Think about that, less than $0.10 per view. Compare that to the cost of simply going to a file cabinet to pull a document for viewing. For an employee earning $40,000 per year, they would have ten seconds to get to the file cabinet and ten seconds to get back to their desk. I hope your dress code allows gym shoes.

And if your cost per view is higher, factor in the disaster recovery benefits, the absence of lost documents, the avoidance of copying and shipping costs and of course the compliance benefits of user tracking. Lastly, factor in the positive customer experience as a result of getting an answer quickly and you can see why electronic document management shouldn’t be looked at as a cost but as a real opportunity.

Please contact us for more information or to get started today


For more information on Millennia Group, please go to www.mgdocs.com or email us at info@mgdocs.com

Business Process Automation – How is your Company Doing?

According to Wikipedia, Business Process Automation (BPA) is “the strategy a business uses to automate processes in order to contain costs. It consists of integrating applications, restructuring labor resources and using software applications throughout the organization.”

BPA, as you can see, is a broad definition and sounds like a massive undertaking. Yet companies successfully complete “BPA projects” – knowingly or unknowingly – all the time.

Examples of simple BPA projects include:

  • Accepting orders via online form (replacing the use of a fax machine or order clerk answering the phone)
  • Replacing monthly sales reports created manually in Excel with automated reports and dashboards created by CRM software like Salesforce
  • Using Mail Merge to deliver customized marketing materials to customers and prospects

On the other extreme are highly sophisticated BPA tools that have completely automated an entire industry – Netflix being a prime case study. Netflix was a game changer that radically altered the movie distribution landscape and generated billions in revenues for the company.

Not every BPA tool or process in your business will have results like Netflix. But you can expect well designed ones to have an ROI of 100% or more within a year.

Here are three other examples of processes that typically have a very high ROI:

  1. Accounts Payable Process – Converting a paper and labor intensive process with a digital workflow. This process typically involves scanning of the invoices at the moment of receipt, capturing enough information from the invoice to ensure proper routing to the responsible party. The end result of this process is that invoices are in the system faster and discounts can be taken, invoices don’t get lost or incur late payments, invoices are now digital and easily searchable.
  2. Contract management – Many companies use a contract management system to manage the critical dates and compliance issues for each customer contract. These systems can be a simple database of the critical dates all the way to a full workflow from initial contact creation with the prospect all the way to final execution of the contract. Many contract management systems will now incorporate digital signature capabilities, templates for new agreements and even clause libraries for very sophisticated contract creation and delivery.
  3. Vendor Onboarding – Every company has vendors and many larger companies have thousands if not tens of thousands of vendors. With so many new financial regulations and industry regulations it is now almost impossible for a large company to not have an onboarding process in place. These systems ensure that all required documents are collected, government mandates for minority or special class hiring are met and optimally the most qualified vendor is hired. Achieving compliance in this global business world is almost impossible with a paper based process.

Talk to Millennia. Tell us about your most cumbersome, paper-intensive, human capital consuming processes. We’ll bring our best ideas and technologies to help you turn those high risk, high cost situations into productivity and cash.


For more information on Millennia Group, please go to www.mgdocs.com or email us at info@mgdocs.com

Organize, Consolidate and Share

Most businesses that we see operate with multiple information silos. From paper documents in file cabinets and files in shared directories on a server to files loaded in cloud storage and of course files on each employee’s computer.

It should be every company’s goal to consolidate all those silos into an efficient repository of critical business information that lets the company operate at peak performance.

Although most companies would claim they are accomplishing that goal by using data warehouses (CRM, Accounting and ERP systems), the real problem still looms below the surface.

The challenge arises when information needs to be sourced from documents (contracts, invoices, drawings, manuals, reports, legal documents, employee documents) and the myriad of documents that still represent an important part of a business.

When information is difficult to find, two things happen. First, immense time is burned up searching. Second, poor decisions get made for lack of information.

This need for information can be a recurring event in an ongoing business process like contract management, project management or financial reporting. This can become a very costly situation since it is happening on a daily basis.

There are also event-driven needs for data – such as when there is an audit or special project. In these situations, it is not uncommon for the entire office to shut down while the hunt for information ensues. Since such a search typically involves everyone from staff to executives, the costs become astronomical.

When all else fail, decisions are made in a vacuum of information – and risks increase. This risk is magnified when there is a merger or acquisition of another company. Not only is it likely that the acquired company had multiple silos of information, but the nomenclature and filing structure may be very different than that of the acquiring company.

Imagine having just one closet in your house – and no matter what you are searching for, it magically appears when you open the door. Whether it’s your coat, the car keys, your golf clubs or your running shoes. Whatever it is you are looking for – everything right where you want it. That would be a closet we’d all invest in owning.

At the office, we would all appreciate a similar scenario though wouldn’t we? A “folder” on our desktop – and no matter what it was we needed to find, it was always in that folder. This utopia may not be exactly possible – but at Millennia Group, we’ve come pretty close.

We start by cleaning up and consolidating the existing silos of information you have (shared drives, cloud storage, paper documents) into something more meaningful and effective. We even create rules and procedures for going forward (commonly known as Information Governance). Once we’re done, every piece of information you need will be instantly available – and you’ll have the confidence to know the information is complete and actionable.

Millennia Group has the tools and experience to help you organize, consolidate and share the information so that the information is where you expect it, when you need it. Whether your issue is ongoing or due to an acquisition, we can help. We can also help you design and implement an information governance strategy to keep your company operating at peak profitability and efficiency.

Talk to us today about your biggest data access headache – and let us bring that “magic closet” concept into your company – just like we have for some of the biggest companies in America.

Talk to us today about your biggest data access headache – and let us bring that “magic closet” concept into your company – just like we have for some of the biggest companies in America.


For more information on Millennia Group, please go to www.mgdocs.com or email us at info@mgdocs.com

We Have Seen the Light, and We Want You to See it Too

We have been busy searching for the meaning of Scanning so to speak. Millennia Group has been a scanning service bureau or scanning services company for 17 years now. We have always put customer first and that has meant providing our valued customers with scanning services that they wanted and were willing to fund. There is no question that when the economy was really good, the willingness to fund scanning projects was far greater than it is today. The underlying reasons to scan have not changed, but the willingness to fund them has, shall we say, tightened up a bit. And we understand that. This has caused us and our clients to look deeply at the reasons for a scanning project. The results of that look are really not surprising.

What we have come to fully embrace and advocate is that scanning needs to be looked at as part of business process improvement. Scanning is not a means to empty a basement full of boxes or to Go Paperless. Scanning is also not just a means to satisfy the disaster recovery team or to eliminate some file cabinets. While it is true that those things can be the result of scanning, scanning must be tied to business process improvement to get past the justifiable financial scrutiny.

For this reason, over the past year, we have been starting the conversation with companies that call and want us to “scan all of their documents” with this simple question – Why? What is this project going to do to improve your business? Will it turn a paper based routing and approval process into a paperless process with tracking, notices and an audit trail? Yes, we are on board and we can help you with that. Will it give your dispersed and mobile workforce better access to customer and project documentation and let those remote users upload new documents? Yes, we are on board with this too and we can definitely help.

Be willing to have a thick skin and maybe look hard at some internal processes that may not be optimal or in fact broken. Embrace some well thought out change. Now scanning is really going to improve your business. Will a centralized, trusted, online repository of your business documents empower your mobile or dispersed workforce? Yes, we can help get your there.

Contact us today for more information or to get started today


For more information on Millennia Group, please go to www.mgdocs.com or email us at info@mgdocs.com

Checklist Length Doesn’t Matter

We have been very busy meeting with people in a variety of companies and disciplines but one area that has taken great interest in our online document checklist continues to rise to the top and that is human resources. When we meet with someone in the human resources world and we start to describe the concept of an online checklist that helps you track and gather a set of required documents, we have been surprised by a simple response – we need to collect one or two documents from many employees.

The concept of an online document gathering system seemed to us to mean a list of many documents that needed to be collected and because it may be a long list or at least a list used over and over again, some control, organization and automation would be really helpful. Turns out, it is very helpful in those situations but a short list sent to many people is also difficult to manage and our system can help with that too.

For instance, a company with a division of 300 employees in a state that changes insurance requirements means sending out new disclosure forms and beneficiary designation forms to all of those employees and gathering up all the signed copies. That is a lot of email and file attachments and a nightmare to monitor and manage. Well, not with CollectDocs. Load the list of employees and the blank forms and send out a batch Request and let the system tell you when all files are collected. Simple. Even simpler with digital signatures.

Contact us today for more information or to get started today


For more information on Millennia Group, please go to www.mgdocs.com or email us at info@mgdocs.com

A Slippery Slope

Our blog title – “Tackling Mountains of Docs” is very top of mind lately. We have just launched a new service aimed squarely at Iron Mountain – controller of mountains of boxes of documents. Our service is a combination of technology, hard work and process but in the end, it is just common sense. We call our new service I:S Cubed as in Inventory: Scan, Shred or Store.

The point of the service is if you use some basic logic in making decisions, it is not all that painful to make that decision. Iron Mountain and other box storage firms have grown very large and accumulated a vast amount of boxes because its difficult to make decisions about the mysterious contents. Rather than sweep the boxes under the rug so to speak, take back control. As our service clearly states, start with taking an inventory. Find out what is in those boxes. Once you have the inventory you can make the decisions that need to be made – Scan, Shred or Store.

You should compare that inventory to your records retention schedule or at the very least talk to your accountant and attorney to find out best practices for retention of various document types. Armed with this information you will find it easy to make good, common sense decisions. You will not only save money in the long run, you will be surprised at the important corporate knowledge that you find and you will sleep better knowing you are effectively managing your litigation exposure.

If you are just starting to accumulate boxes in off-site storage, keep a very detailed inventory in a database or spreadsheet. Don’t start sliding down that slippery slope.

Contact us today for more information or to get started today


For more information on Millennia Group, please go to www.mgdocs.com or email us at info@mgdocs.com

It’s Not about the Scanning

Almost every inquiry we receive regarding a potential scanning project includes a discussion and focus on the scan resolution (commonly referred to as Dots Per Inch, DPI), file type (PDF or TIFF), logistics of pickup and drop off, prep and re-assembly. Very few of the discussions initially focus on the indexing or categorization and organization of the files. It is mostly an afterthought by the potential customer, as if the entire project is all about the conversion and not about how they can benefit from having the documents easily accessible.

Over the years we have determined that the value of our services is not really in the quality of the scans or how well we re-assemble. We know we do those things very well and those project elements are critical to a successful conversion. But the real value in what Millennia Group provides is the organization and rationalization of the information so that users can find what they need quickly and have confidence that they have the full picture.

Let me describe a scenario that is fairly typical. I have used employee files in the example, but the concept is the same for all types of files and records. Let’s assume a company has 2,000 employees and their employee files consist of personnel records, benefits documents, I-9’s and all the other documents typically found in the employees folder or folders. Many companies will look at these files and start scanning the documents because it seems simple to have a temp just scan each employee folder as one PDF file and save it to a network drive. So that one PDF for that one employee has all the documents in it including the I-9. Let’s say that file is for Mary Adams, so it is saved as maryadams.pdf. Seems pretty straight forward.

Looks can be deceiving. First of all, Mary gets married and is now Mary Reynolds. Hopefully someone will remember to manually go and rename the PDF to maryreynolds.pdf. Secondly, if there is an audit of the I-9’s, they will have to go dig out the paper files because the auditors should not have access to all the other documents in the PDF like the background check or the medical information. How about the fact that managers really should only have access to the employees in their region, not easy to do on a shared folder on the network. How about the annual review PDF’s that are stored in a different location on the network? Should those be merged into the other PDF for Mary or should users just know to go look somewhere else? How about terminated employees, are their files moved to a different location in the shared folder so that the retention schedule can be activated? Would anyone ever like to audit the files of all employees in a particular office? Can’t be done if they are named the way we named the PDFs.

These are just some of the reasons that organization and indexing are so important in every scanning project. This effort is what really justifies the cost of scanning – cost savings from more accessible and complete information.

Contact us today for more information or to get started today


For more information on Millennia Group, please go to www.mgdocs.com or email us at info@mgdocs.com