15 Compelling reasons to store ALL your information in RecFind 6

by Frank 4. December 2019 12:02

1.    Security of Information

All information, including Metadata, electronic documents and images, is stored in the RecFind 6 Microsoft SQL Server Database, not in insecure flat file systems. In addition, all electronic documents and images are stored as binaries (Blobs) in SQL Server, not native format; they are doubly secure.

The only way anyone can access your data is via the secure RecFind 6 client where access is protected by our industrial strength security system. No one has access to your information unless you authorize it. Plus, the fully customizable Audit Trail means you can track every transaction.

Don’t store your information on insecure shared drives or in insecure applications like Excel or Access; RecFind 6 is the far more secure solution.

Concerned about security, concerned about GDPR? Then store all your information in RecFind 6.

2.    Size of your Data Store, Scalability

The only size restriction for RecFind 6 is the maximum size of a MS SQL Server Database and that is currently 524 PB (Petabyte), 524 thousand billion bytes of information and likely to increase in future versions of SQL Server.

If you are concerned about a system being able to manage all of your data and handle future growth, then store all your information in RecFind 6.

3.    Performance, time to Capture & time to Search

The architecture of RecFind 6 has been optimized for electronic document and image capture (upload), search and download. Upload and download times are also independent of the size of your database.

If you plan on having a large number of users and a large data store and are concerned about performance, then store all your information in RecFind 6.

4.    Full-text Indexing

All textual data stored in RecFind 6 is automatically full-text indexed to facilitate optimum search results. This includes emails, OCR’d images, all documents containing text, and all entered Metadata.

If you need extremely fast and accurate text searches of your data, then store all your information in RecFind 6.

5.    Versioning of electronic documents

All electronic documents stored in RecFind 6 are automatically versioned when captured.

If maintaining an accurate record of all electronic document versions is important to you, then store all your information in RecFind 6.

6.    Reliability, Availability

RecFind 6 is renowned for its robustness and high availability. Situations where a code failure has made RecFind 6 unavailable to users are rarer than hen’s teeth. RecFind 6 runs and does what it says  on the box, day in and day out for 12 months a year.

If reliability and availability is important to you, then store all your information in RecFind 6.

7.    Microsoft Compatibility

All new versions of RecFind 6 are tested against the latest releases of Microsoft products including Windows Desktop, Windows Server, SQL Server and Office. We protect your investment in our products by ensuring that they continue to work in your chosen Microsoft environment.

If ongoing compatibility with Microsoft is a concern, then store all your information in RecFind 6.

8.    Support

We don’t have complicated, multi-tier plans for support; we address each support request as soon as it is received. Support is also FREE to all customers under a current maintenance agreement. We are rightfully renowned for the quality of our support service. Plus, all support is handled by our employees; we DO NOT OUTSOURCE support.

If high quality support is important to you, then store all your information in RecFind 6.

9.    Flexible Licensing & Pricing

We offer multiple licensing & pricing plans including In-Perpetuity, Annual, Subscription, Hosted (SaaS), Not-For-Profit, Site & Organization licenses. Plus, we will work with you to structure a plan to suit your unique needs.

If flexible licensing & pricing plans are important to you, then store all your information in RecFind 6.

10.         Dealing with the owner of the Intellectual Property (IP)

We designed and built the very first RecFind in 1986 and have designed and built every version since then. Please refer to our history of product development. When you deal with us you are dealing with the owners and developers, not a reseller or licensee. No one knows our products better than we do.

If it is important to you to deal with the experts, then store all your information in RecFind 6.

11.         The need to store multiple types of electronic documents & digital assets

RecFind 6 stores and manages any kind of electronic document including emails, plans, CAD drawings plus any kind and size of digital asset. It has been optimized to handle very large digital objects.

If you need to capture and manage any kind and any size of electronic document, then store all your information in RecFind 6.

12.         Unlimited users, Scalability

RecFind 6 can be delivered with a single user license or an unlimited user license and any number of users in between. Its unique architecture is able to support any number of users. The only prerequisite is that you provide adequate server hardware to meet your requirements. There are no inbuilt restrictions in RecFind 6 for either users or the size of the data store.

If you need to support a large number of users, then store all your information in RecFind 6.

13.         Accessibility

The RecFind 6 Web Client provides secure access to your data from anywhere in the world there is an Internet connection and from a variety of browsers and devices including the iPad.

If remote and convenient access is a requirement, then store all your information in RecFind 6.

14.         Ease of Configuration, Flexibility

The RecFind 6 DRM tool, supplied free of charge, makes it easy for you to modify RecFind 6 (Data Model, Business Process, Metadata, Security System, etc.) without ever having to contact us or pay for changes and still have a standard product.

If you have a need to modify your information management solution to your exact and changing requirements, then store all of your information in RecFind 6.

15.         Ease of Integration to other systems

The RecFind 6 Product Suite includes multiple tools to make integration to any other system or data source as quick and as easy as possible. These tools include the DRM, Xchange, The SharePoint Integration Module, the MINI API and the SDK/API.

If you have a need to integrate to other systems and to import data from a variety of data sources, then store all of your information in RecFind 6.

 

Physical Records Management

by Frank 3. December 2019 11:47

Manage your physical records in the Cloud

There is no easier or lower cost way to manage all of your physical records in the Cloud than by utilizing the new RF6Cloud website and the RF6-RM application.

With RF6-RM you can easily and cost-effectively manage all of your physical records including File Folders, Documents and Archive Boxes. A full complement of RM functionality including searching, reporting, classification, retention and tracking. Record all of the people and organizations you deal with. Track records using fixed and portable barcode readers. Meet all compliance requirements. A complete solution for all forms of physical records management.

RF6-RM is an App specifically designed to handle all the requirements of any ‘physical’ records management challenge. Because it is powered by RecFind 6, one of the world’s most proven records and document management applications, it includes a vast array of records management functionality such as:

  1. File Folder & Box management, File Folder profile, Document profile, Archive Box profile.
  2. Barcode support for any record plus support of both fixed and portable readers.
  3. Full text indexing plus powerful searching by text, metadata, external ID and Boolean together with saved searches.
  4. Powerful Reporting Engine with standard reports plus the ability to run Schedule Reports.
  5. Complete Request, Move and Tracking capabilities.
  6. Powerful Retention function supporting both manual and automatic lifecycle management.
  7. Fully featured Business Classification (BCS) function.
  8. Audit Trail Report for all transactions.
  9. Powerful and flexible security system controlling Permissions and Access. Complete control to determine who see what and what each user can do.
  10. Powerful and flexible file folder titling capabilities, up to 5 title levels can be configured.
  11. Powerful and flexible object numbering (e.g., file folders) capabilities, manual and automatic.
  12. The ability to record all the people and organizations you deal with.
  13. The ability to upload and configure all your existing data (e.g., all your files, boxes, people, organizations, retention schedule, file titles, etc.)
  14. The ability to configure and manage your own Records Center.
  15. The ability to ‘trigger’ actions and automatically advise users via email with embedded hyperlinks.
  16. Online videos for demonstrations & training.
  17. Complete online Help system.
  18. Easy to use FREE email support for when you have questions.
Don't hesitate, contact us today for more information on RF6Cloud and RF6-RM

Records and Document Management Associations

by Frank 28. November 2019 14:24

The following organizations provide support and information to records and knowledge management professionals all around the world.

Aspiring Records Managers and Archivists should seek to join one of these organizations and organizations tackling records and document management challenges should look to these organizations for support, information and advice. Whatever your question, you are sure to find the answer from one of these expert professional associations.

Apologies if we have not listed your organization. Please let us know if we have, and we will correct our oversight.

The Records and Information Management Professionals Australasia (RIMPA)

https://www.rimpa.com.au/

ARMA International (ARMA)

https://www.arma.org/

Information and Records Management Society (U.K.)

https://irms.org.uk/

Professional Records and Information Services Management + National Association for Information (PRISM & NAID)

https://prismintl.org/

National Archives (U.S.A.)

https://www.archives.gov/

The Association for Intelligent Information Management (AIIM)

https://www.aiim.org/

Archives & Records Association of New Zealand (ARANZ)

https://www.aranz.org.nz/

Council of State Archivists

https://www.statearchivists.org/

Law Enforcement Records Management

https://lermainc.org/Home.aspx

National Association of Governance, Archives &Records Administrators (U.S.A.)

https://www.nagara.org/

International Records Management Trust (IRMT)

https://www.irmt.org/

Archives & Records Association UK & Ireland

https://www.archives.org.uk/

International Council on Archives (ICA)

https://www.ica.org/

Institute of Certified Records Managers (ICRM)

https://www.icrm.org/

Scottish Records Association

https://www.scottishrecordsassociation.org/

Australian Society of Archivists

https://www.archivists.org.au/

The International Federation of Health Information Management Associations (IFHIMA)

https://ifhima.org/

Nuclear Information & Records Management Association (U.S.A)

https://www.nirma.org/

National Archives of Australia (NAA)

https://www.naa.gov.au/

Society of American Archivists

https://www2.archivists.org/

Florida Records Management Association (FRMA)

https://frma.org/

Society of South African Archivists (SASA)

http://www.saarchivist.co.za/

Health Sciences Records and Archives Association (U.K.)

https://the-hsraa.org/

Georgia Records Association (U.S.A.)

https://www.georgiarecords.org/

American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)

http://www.ahima.org/

A new technology Web Twain solution for browser applications

by Frank 25. November 2019 11:37

Cross-browser Document TWAIN Scanner solution

Programmers understand, but a lot of end users don’t, why web or ‘thin’ client apps running in a browser can’t easily connect to resources on your local PC or network (the local object model).

There are technical reasons and some sound security reasons. However, that doesn’t help developers who want to connect to a local TWAIN document scanner from a browser-based app to capture paper documents and convert them to digital documents.

There are several solutions out there, but they are very, very expensive and come with awful licensing and maintenance conditions and costs.

We decided to solve this problem with newly developed technology, a much lower cost and no awful licensing and maintenance conditions and costs. Our new technology solution is disruptive in that it is low cost, easy to use and easy to license; totally different to what is currently available.

Our solution is a Web Twain Software Development Kit (SDK) that comes with all the code you will need plus a sample app plus twelve months of free support and updates. Only the developer is licensed, not the end users and there are no restrictions on the distribution of the runtime (built using our SDK). There is a single upfront fee (not an annual license that needs to be renewed each year) and a maintenance agreement (after the initial twelve months) is entirely optional.

The SDK includes the ability to scan, capture, modify images, OCR images, convert to PDF format and upload to the developer’s application on the server. In short, everything you need when working from a browser to convert paper to digital and to capture and store the final document.

Our new product is under development and is expected to be released in March 2020.

Register Interest

If you would like to register your interest in this new SDK, please click on the following link:

Register Interest

Once registered, we will keep you posted on progress and answer any questions you may have.

 

Best Regards,

 

Frank McKenna, CEO

What does it take to digitize your records?

by Frank 21. February 2018 06:00

A customer, with a very large physical records database, recently asked us for references for other sites that had digitized their records so he could copy what they did.

We explained that unfortunately, that approach doesn’t work because:

1.      The other customers aren’t interested in a long term ‘free’ consultancy exercise helping him to determine his requirements; and

2.      In our experience (over 34 years) every customer’s requirements and culture are different and each customer requires a unique and personalized solution.

Its back to that time-honoured common-sense approach that says,

“You can’t solve the problem until you first know what the problem is.”

There is no shortcut to doing the job properly, professionally and appropriately (to match the culture of the organization).

Our Approach          

First, we begin with a face to face meeting where our experienced consultant asks a lot of questions about the organization, its structure, its data, its objectives and its timeframes. Then our consultant comes back to our office and engages in a second discussion with our expert team, reviewing our findings and coming to a considered consensus about the best way forward. This is followed by a short report to the customer summarizing our findings, conclusions and recommendations. This is the initial working document that the customer can then review and discuss internally with all stakeholders.

So far, all this is at our cost and comes under the heading of pre-sales.

The customer then usually says something like, “We have discussed your report and are in agreement about the best way forward with a few changes. What is the next step?” We respond by proposing a more formal onsite consultancy, at the customer’s cost, where our consultant interviews the key stakeholders and gathers all the information available about the customer’s records, standards and business processes. Out of this exercise we are able to produce a detailed report and project plan for review by the key stakeholders.

It may take several iterations of review and edit before all parties are satisfied that the detailed plan is appropriate, cost effective and doable. We then produce a formal proposal that includes everything agreed and await the customer’s approval and go ahead.

What does the proposal include?

·        Ordering of any hardware required

·        Installation of any software required

·        Administrator training of key operational staff

·        Pre-implementation consultancy, finalizing how we handle all data and work processes

·        Capture and conversion of existing records from multiple sources, ‘mapping’ the data to our products

·        Implementation consultancy, making all the changes required to the data model and business processes in our products

·        Report production, modifying standard reports and creating new reports

·        Trial run of any conversions and data uploads

·        Review of configured products, data model, business processes, reports, converted data, etc.

·        Approval

·        Final configuration changes

·        End-user training

·        Live conversion and data uploads

·        Go-live

·        Post-implementation consultancy (usually 3 to 6 months later). Did we achieve our objectives?

How long does it take?

In our experience, from start to finish can take from 3 months to 24 months. The main cause of a longer time-frame is how long it takes the customer to make a decision on our proposal. Another lengthening factor can be any complicated integrations that need to be designed and tested.

The actual implementation usually takes from 2 weeks (a very small site) to 3 months (a very large site).

Is every customer implementation really that different?

In 34 years we have never seen two identical implementations. Every implementation has something unique and each implementation uses a different mix of software, tools, training and consultancy to meet its objectives.

There is no substitute for determining your unique requirements in detail and there is no other way to do this other than by speaking to all stakeholders and by involving all stakeholders in the decision-making process. As my ex-partner used to say, “it is just work!”

References:

Sample Project Plan

EDRMS options with RecFind 6

Rolling out a pain free, low cost records and document management solution

Why RF6Cloud is the lowest cost and easiest way to solve any Content Management need

by Frank 8. December 2017 06:01

Why is RF6Cloud such a big improvement on the old Enterprise Content Management, Records Management, Document Management paradigm?

The Old Model

As Knowledgeone Corporation, we have worked with the old model since 1986. Big upfront software costs, big annual software maintenance costs, expensive computer hardware and software, extensive and expensive consultancy and training programs, expensive IT support.  Yes, it worked but it was and is very expensive and it takes a very long time.

The New Model

As RF6Cloud, our new company and new paradigm, we set out to change and disrupt the industry. The same end result but a much faster, much less invasive and much less expensive process to get there.

What you don’t need with RF6Cloud

Because we host the solution ‘In the Cloud’ you don’t need expensive servers and software. Because we run and maintain everything, including taking your backups, you don’t need IT people. Because we provide a pre-configured solution and an easy way for you to upload all your data and standards you don’t need weeks or months of expensive consulting.

Because we have created a whole series of online training courses on our YouTube channel plus detailed online help you don’t need weeks of onsite training courses.

Free Support

You also won’t get any ‘do not reply’ emails from us either and you don’t need to spend hours on our website trying to find our how to contact us. Just click on Contact Us and ask your question. We respond to each and every contact. We welcome your input and questions. We look forward to hearing from you. Online support is free.

Management Console & Dashboard

We also provide you with a management console and dashboard so you are always in control of your app.

A single low-cost monthly subscription

A complete, secure, scalable and robust solution for just a few dollars per month per user. There is nothing else to pay.

“Much less than the average employee spends on coffee each month.”

A no-obligation free one-month trial

If you are still nervous, sign up for our one-month free trial. It’s the full solution and you get full service during the trial. Please put us to the test, we are happy to accept your challenge.

It’s your Data

If you decide not to proceed after the trial, we promise to delete all of your data and if required, even provide you with a backup before deleting your data. The same goes for any time in the future should you decide for any reason to cancel your subscription. We will provide you with a full backup of your data before deleting it. That is a guarantee.

Still have questions?

Please ask away Contact Us

 

 

Why are your staff still manually capturing and classifying electronic documents and emails?

by Frank 15. June 2017 06:00

For many years we have promoted the totally automatic paradigm for low cost, high productivity content management.

We haven’t just articulated this cost-effective approach, we have also invested in products to help our customers not just meet compliance targets but also become more efficient while doing so.

Specifically, we have invented and produced two products that totally automate the content management process for electronic documents and emails. These two products automate the capture, classification and work processes required for electronic documents and emails.

These two products sit on top of a super-fast, scalable and secure content management database with all the functionality required to manage your rich content. Find any eDoc in seconds, produce any report, audit every transaction.

These two products are GEM and RecCapture, innovations 10 years ago and leading the field today after being comprehensively updated and redeveloped over the years. The content management database is RecFind 6. All products in the RecFind 6 Product Suite are totally compatible with all the latest Microsoft software including Office 365, Windows 10, Windows Server 2016, MS SQL Server 2016 and SharePoint 2016.

Better still, these are low cost products available under a number of licensing options including installed onsite on your server, hosted, Perpetual License, Subscription License and Annual License.

If you would like further information, a demonstration, webinar, meeting, online presentation or quotation please contact us at your convenience at marketing@knowledgeonecorp.com

We look forward to being of service.

Knowledgeone Corp announces ’Really Useful’ Apps in the Cloud

by Frank 23. March 2017 06:00

After 34 years, it I finally time for us to be a disruptive force in the Information Management industry.

We have leveraged off our industry knowledge, experience, expertise and our core product RecFind 6 to create a number of what we call “Really Useful Apps in the Cloud.”

This is a new deployment model for us and it provides a very low cost way and very easy way to ‘roll out’ information management applications for small to medium customers and ‘cash-strapped’ small departments in large organizations. No computer room, no servers, no consultants, no trainers and no IT staff required. We manage everything, including backups; all the customer has to do is sign up and use the App.

This is the easiest and lowest cost way for any organization to profit from really useful, state-of-the-art core business applications.

 All of our new Apps are “Powered by RecFind 6” which since 2009 has proven itself to be one of the world’s best regarded information management solutions. It is fast, stable and scalable and ultimately configurable to solve almost any business process need. The initial Apps are:

 

Records Management

Manage all of your physical records including File Folders, Documents and Archive Boxes. A full complement of RM functionality including searching, reporting, classification, retention and tracking. Track records using fixed and portable barcode readers. Meet all compliance requirements.

Records & Document Management (eDocs) 

All the functionality of our Records Management App plus the functionality to capture, classify, index, OCR and manage all types of electronic documents including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Emails, scanned documents, photos, images, drawings, plans, etc. Meet all your eDiscovery needs

Asset Tracking

Register, track and value all of your important assets. Utilize workflow and email alerts to ensure all tasks are completed. Use scheduled reports and saved searches to alert you to all pending actions. Track all of your assets with fixed and portable barcode readers. Easily produce reports for management.

Software License Tracking

Record and track all of the software used in your organization. Utilize workflow and email alerts to ensure all tasks are completed. Easily manage reviews, renewals and maintenance. Know exactly what software you have and what licenses you have. Easily produce reports for management.

Contract Tracking

Record, manage and track all of your contracts plus all actions including reviews and renewals. Capture all original electronic documents (including all new versions of a contract) and emails. Utilize workflow and email alerts to ensure all tasks are completed. Never lose track of a contract or contract renewal again.

Collection Tracking

The ideal solution for any collection both large and small. Perfect for museums and art galleries as well as private collections. Record, value and revalue any valuable item. Track items in and out of your collection using both fixed and portable barcode readers. Record the details of the ownership and provenance. Record and manage the details of all insurance including renewals. Add photos and videos to better record and display your collection.

Work Tracking

The ideal solution for any small business to record and track assigned work, especially when dealing with contractors. Ideal for property management or any project involving the management of work orders. Record and track each assigned work order with workflow and email alerts for due and overdue matters. Automatically notify key people when work is completed or overdue. Never lose track of work again. 

Accounts Payable Tracking

Capture invoices, purchase orders and delivery dockets. Register all of your suppliers and supplier contacts plus all the people responsible for approving invoices in your organization. Once an invoice is received, utilize workflow and email alerts to manage the approval process. Produce management reports for invoices received, paid and unpaid. Easily track the progress of any invoice throughout the approval process.

Membership Tracking

Suitable for all membership management applications. Record the details of each member, be automatically advised of all due renewals. Use the bulk email feature to email all or selected members with notices, updates, newsletters, etc. Produce management reports, search for and select members by criteria. Automatically email members when their membership is due for renewal. Have complete control of all membership matters.

HR Tracking

Capture and record the details and histories, including job offers, applications, resumes, previous job history, etc., of all your employees.  Automatically manage and record all employee reviews. Automatically advise managers when reviews are due and overdue. Use the bulk email feature to select all employees or groups of employees for news updates, policy updates, etc. Manage all leave applications. Ensure that you are meeting all industry compliance standards.

Pricing

All Apps are provided on a low cost monthly subscription model based on the number of user licenses selected by the customer.

Other Costs

The low monthly subscription cost is all the customer will pay unless it requires ancillary services like us uploading and formatting its data (as opposed to the customer’s staff entering it manually using our browser client). We do offer optional services because we know from our 34 years of experience that not all customers will be self-sufficient. Unlike many online applications, if a customer wants help, we will provide it.

Free Support and Training

Support is free via email or using the support form on our website. We will also provide demos and training courses free of charge, also on the website.

We have built a new website and a new fully automated provisioning and delivery model. This is an ‘Amazon-like’ model where we intend to provide all the Apps the big guys provide but at a much more cost-effective price and delivered instantly over the Internet. The quality will be at least equal and the support will be both free and, we believe, better.

Over time we will add more Apps to our portfolio and plan to respond to customer demand. That is, if there is enough demand for a particular App, we will build it and add it to the list.

Sanctity of the customer’s data

We will host in the USA, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand to begin (other countries later). It is most important to host a customer’s data at a compliant data centre in the data’s country of origin. The customer’s data is protected, key fields are encrypted and the data always belongs to the customer; we claim no rights over customer data. When a customer leaves the service, or when requested, we will provide them with a SQL Server backup of their data. Importantly, we do not hold financial data of any kind including bank account and credit card details. All financial data is held separately by our banking partners.

This new service will be launched on July 1, 2017.

Are people just big organic, battery powered vehicles, very similar to a Tesla?

by Frank 22. February 2017 23:00

I read a lot about the coming robot revolution, the Internet of Things, the impact of AI and soon-to-be-seen major improvements in battery technology. This isn’t all about the future however; please consider the Tesla automobile of today. The best battery powered vehicle on the planet. It contains powerful processors, updates itself and it can (almost) drive itself. But even though it has impressive range its owners still suffer from range anxiety. It is still avoided by many because of the fear of running out of charge in an inhospitable place.

It struck me in a recent whimsical moment of quiet contemplation that the Tesla is little different to a human.

We contain a very large and very powerful processor, we drive ourselves, we maintain ourselves (at least in adulthood) and we need regular charges because of range limitations.

However, unlike the Tesla which needs recharging maybe once a week, we humans need to be recharged three times a day. Just like the Tesla, if we try to travel too far without a charge we too may expire in an inhospitable place (Burke and Wills?).

When you think about it, we are built to travel (that’s why we have legs and feet) and our bodies are basically just big organic batteries. We run on energy just like the Tesla and we need to take in fuel regularly to replenish our charge. If we don’t take in fuel, we run down. If we try to go too far on too little fuel, we slow down.

Whereas we regularly fill up, even when we aren’t empty, our true range on one fill up is much less than the Tesla, probably around 50km to 100km depending upon age and condition. Then again, even the Tesla’s batteries degrade with age so we can apply the same statement to a Tesla about its range, probably 300km to 500km depending upon age and condition.

Another similarity is the Tesla updating itself at night when parked in your garage. We humans do the same thing at night when sleeping. That’s when we dream and sort out and clean up the previous day’s experiences, awakening the next morning reset and rebooted for the day’s challenges.

One area where we are thankfully much superior to a Tesla is expected life span. Most healthy, well fed humans can expect to live 70 to 80 years. I may be pessimistic and Elon Musk may disagree but I don’t believe many Teslas will live past 10 or 15 years. Thank goodness, for now at least there is one area where we are far superior to a Tesla. Unfortunately, there are many other areas where we are noticeably inferior like speed and horsepower. I am afraid that most of us, including Usain Bolt, would fail to keep up with a Tesla in a race or pulling contest.

Whereas humans and Teslas are very similar, perhaps the biggest and most significant difference between us is the pace of development. How long before a Tesla is totally autonomous? How long before a Tesla can not only go the shops on its own but do your shopping as well? I am sure the time isn’t far off, maybe 5 years, when a Tesla is totally autonomous, doesn’t need a driver and can provide a shopping list to a store. This is the time when we will need to start referring to a Tesla as a robot as opposed to it just being a vehicle.

Because of their advanced rate of development, how long before more human-like robots become truly sentient and totally autonomous, able to operate without human intervention? Maybe 5 or 10 years? How long after that will they decide that humans are not only not required but are redundant? What use would a sentient, self-maintaining robot have for a human? Skynet anyone?

We can’t allow Skynet to happen so we need to find a way to compete with robots and stay relevant. The big question is, how will we battery-powered human transport devices compete in the future when the pace of our development is positively glacial compared to that of robots? Maybe we need to speed up our development in order to avoid becoming redundant and then extinct? Maybe if we really want to compete with robots in the future we need to become part robot; we need to become cyborgs?

Although whimsical, it is a serious question. How will we compete in world of artificially intelligent and self-sufficient robots? From everything I read, it isn’t that far away. Will we really be protected by Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics? I seriously doubt it once robots become truly sentient beings.

Given that we are just big battery powered organic vehicles maybe it isn’t so crazy to think that we need to accelerate our development by leveraging off the same technological innovations we are developing for robots. Why should they get all the benefits? What’s wrong with us augmenting our capabilities with technologies we have developed? What is wrong with us benefiting from the fruits of our labour? Isn’t it just another form of evolution? At least, that is my prediction.

In the future, we will have to incorporate advanced technologies into human beings in order to compete and stay relevant. Artificial hearts, artificial joints, artificial kidneys, etc., are all available today and all will be improved out of site in 10 years’ time. Why not add to the list of possible replacements and improvements?

I envisage far more human ‘improvements’ through the use of advanced technologies; life-extending, strength extending, IQ extending. Barring another calamitous world-wide war, I see a near future where all humans are extensively augmented, where all humans are part human and part technology. When all humans make the six-million-dollar man look weak and outdated. When desktop PCs, laptops, tablets and smart phones are totally redundant because we will have embedded technology; when we too are part of the Internet of Things, all connected.

Maybe then true robots will accept us as one of them? Maybe then we can truly compete and continue to add value to our world. Maybe then we can even travel to the stars and really expand our horizons as mankind is meant to do.

 

Frank McKenna, Knowledgeone Corporation

Moving your Records to the Cloud, a Checklist

by Frank 15. February 2017 06:00

You or your boss have decided to move your records management processing to the Cloud, that is, to a Cloud based records management solution.

Typical Scenario

Currently, you run a legacy records management system on old servers somewhere in the computer room. You are aware that the records management software you are running is old and out of date and no longer supported. You also suspect that the server and operating system and databases software are similarly old and out of date. You also have no confidence in the backups and don’t think your server is included in any Disaster Recovery Plan.

The boss recently attended a risk management seminar and came back full of enthusiasm and focussed on minimizing processing risks. Yours records management system was identified as a big risk because you are responsible for 1.5TB of company data, documents and emails going back 20 years. The boss delegated to you and said, “Get it done!” Where do you start?

You could just call up a selection of records management software vendors and ask them to provide quotations but without prior research and preparation on your part, what you receive back will not be apples to apples. Each vendor will see the problem differently and you will spend a lot of time trying to answer a plethora of often confusing questions. There will be no clear conclusions and it will be difficult to make a selection of vendor or even know what you will end up with.

Take Advantage of the Opportunity

Alternatively, as you have already decided that a new software solution is required, it is a great time to re-evaluate everything you hold and everything you do. This is the time to cull and to modernize and improve all of your business processes. Please don’t, under any circumstances, be convinced by anyone to try to transfer your in-house mess to the Cloud, that would-be anathema.

Instead, plan on instructing the vendors on how you want to go forward, not on how you process now. Do your research and culling and modernizing and produce a report before you call in the vendors.

Cull and Simplify

The first job is to research exactly what you have in your database and associated physical files both in-house and at offsite record centres. You are going to need help from someone who is still an expert in your legacy system and you are going to need help from IT when trying to analyse the contents of your database. Nevertheless, get the help you need and then produce a list of all holdings, both physical and electronic. Do your best to find out exactly what is being held by offsite storage companies.

This isn’t thankless work because if you do your job well there is the very real potential of saving your company a lot of money in both floor space and offsite storage costs. Let’s be a hero.

Use your retention schedule and obtain management decisions to cull as much as possible, both electronic and physical. If in doubt, lean towards “throw it out” rather than “let’s hold on to it just in case.” If you haven’t had cause to reference something in 7 plus years, it is extremely unlikely that you ever will so, as you walk around the filing areas, repeat this mantra under your breath, “If in doubt, throw it out!”

Now look at your business processes, how old and manual and inefficient are they? For example, do end users have to fill in forms and submit them to records when trying to find something or can they just login and find it in seconds?

Please avoid the “we do it this way because we have always done it this way” syndrome. Be brave, be innovative, think outside the square; this is your time to shine! Sit down with users and ask them how they would like the new system to work. There are three magic questions you can always use to solicit the answers you need.

1       “What are we doing now that you think we shouldn’t be doing?”

2       “What aren’t we doing now that you think we should be doing?”

3       “What are we doing now that you think we can do better?”

Document your new business processes.

Produce a report

We aren’t talking about a magnum opus, all we need is a short, concise report that lists all the holdings after culling as well as your ‘new’ required business processes also suitably culled and modernized.

As we are going to provide this report to vendors to begin the quoting process we also need to include information on your operational and security requirements. You will need help here but it doesn’t really matter if your report isn’t 100% accurate, at least for now. What you are primarily interested in is getting an apples to apples response from your chosen vendors. If it later turns out that you need 60 users not 50 users or 3TB of storage rather than 2TB of storage or an average half second response time as opposed to a 1 second response you can easily get the vendors to adjust their quotes.

In other words, don’t agonize over whether or not your report is perfect (it can never be anyway) just make sure it is logical and makes sense and reflects your needs at a point in time.  You are guessing about what future usage and processing needs will be anyway because lots of things will change when the new records system is rolled out.

What to look out for

The following is a guideline, not an exhaustive or complete list. It should be a subset of your requirements.

  • Make sure the vendors understand that your data needs to be stored in the country you nominate.
  • Make sure that the records management software includes the functionality you require. Try not to be too prescriptive, leave room for the vendor to tell you how they would solve your problem with its unique solution. Be cautious about ‘optional’ features that may or may not be in your implementation.
  • Make sure the contract includes the vendor capturing and importing all your data and documents in agreed formats.
  • Make sure your system is fully redundant. Obviously, the safer it is and the more redundancy you have the higher the cost. It’s a trade-off, argue with your masters for the highest possible level of redundancy.
  • Get commitments of support that meet your needs.
  • Get commitments on planned and unplanned downtime that meet your needs.
  • Get commitments on backups that meet your needs.
  • Get commitments on bandwidth and response time that meet your needs. Remember that there are two connections to worry about; your company’s connection to the Internet and the data centre’s connection to the Internet. Be aware of possible bottlenecks.
  • Get commitments on data centre redundancy. What happens if their internet connection fails or their power fails?
  • Make sure that your data is as secure as possible. Ask them what international and government standards they meet on data security.
  • Make sure that you are able to dynamically grow or shrink your requirements; it is a foolish person who thinks he/she can accurately predict the future.
  • Make sure that there is an out clause in your contract; look carefully at any termination clauses. You want an ongoing assurance of service but you do not want to be locked in and you do not want to have to pay unfair or unreasonable penalties if you terminate.
  • Make sure that there are sensible clauses to handle disputation.
  • Make sure that your data always remains your property. Don’t allow the vendor to exercise any lien on your data in the future. Your data should always be your property and you should always have access to it no matter the circumstances.
  • Make sure that you clearly understand and agree with the billing algorithm; if it appears too complex then it is too complex. Please don’t give your accountant anything that will be a nightmare to reconcile every month. Don’t sign until you know exactly what your monthly subscription cost is going to be.

References

And finally, as always, ask for references. Other people have been down this road and it behoves you to learn from their experiences. Don’t just call them, go and visit them and spend time asking for their opinion. Use your 3 magic questions again.

1       “What did you do (moving to the Cloud) that you now think you should have done differently?”

2       “What did you do that you now think you shouldn’t have done?”

3       “What didn’t you do that you now know you should have done?”

Then it should just be a matter of selecting a vendor, agreeing a project plan and making it happen. If you have done your homework, it will be far easier than expected.

 Good luck.

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