Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Reasons For Scanning

By now, almost all organizations understand that their documents can be scanned to an electronic format for instantaneous electronic retrieval. However, the following are the main reasons why business managers call SoftFile for a competitive quotation.

  • The organization is relocating elsewhere and it makes sense to have SoftFile move the boxes instead of the organization having to pay movers. Did yo know - about 1,400 boxes (at 30 lbs each) weighs about 42,000, which is usually the maximum payload that a semi-truck can carry.

  • A new records management law (e.g. the time-frame by which you must facilitate a public records act request) has passed requiring the company to act.

  • There is a hiring freeze, so having SoftFile scan the paper (or provide data entry), frees-up the organization's employees (that were scanning) to do other business processes.

  • A manager is looking for a pet-project so that when it comes time to seek a promotion, they can point to the implemented scanning project as a demonstrated management success. We have actually seen this example a few times.

  • A Return-On-Investment is realized (the light-bulb moment); becoming clear that electronic retrieval is much - much faster than paper retrieval. Employee time equals money.

This information has been provided by:

Matt Monaghan
(916) 927-4211

Friday, January 13, 2012

Spotting a reputable IT website

These days, from looking at a website only, it is difficult to determine if a company is truly reputable. In other words, even a really great looking website might actually be a home-based operation (which may not be appropriate for your organization's classified document scanning needs).

The following list offers two tips in terms of spotting a reputable company based upon the website only.

(1) Archive.org

The website archive.org maintains a feature called "The Wayback Machine." This feature incrementally archives all webpages on the internet. Simply enter a domain name (e.g. softfile.com) and you will be able to see; (1) how many years the domain has been on the internet and (2) you can actually view its earlier pages (e.g. 1999).

So what are we looking for?

First, you might not want to call upon a company that has only had a web presence for a short period of time.

Second, for those that have a longer-term web presence, what was the content of the same domain name, say ten years ago? While in general, websites esthetically look more advance today, are the sites products and services fundamentally the same as they were then? If not, this might be a red-flag.

(2) Advance Detecting

For the more technologic advanced, consider the page source of the website you are browsing, the html code. Let us look at the 'Contact Us' page for our domain, softfile.com.

Here, the customer can use the webform to communicate with someone at SoftFile. What can we learn by looking behind the Contact Us webpage, at the page source's html?

In Microsoft's Intern Explorer 8 click on VIEW then SOURCE and look for the code that submits the contact us form, it looks like the following:

form name="contact" action="http://www.softfile.com/contact/write.asp" method="post"

What does this tell us? It tell us that the form is being submitted and processed somewhere on the actual softfile.com domain.

Let us look at a website I found randomly on Google, http://www.mekiplaw.com/contact_us.html. Again, looking at the page source we see the following:

form action="http://www.bluehost.com/bluemail" enctype="multipart/form-data" method="POST"

In other words, even though the company's domain is mekiplaw.com, the form is being submitted and processed through a "bluehost.com." This fact is probably irrelevant if the consumer is searching for Attorney Services. However, it is extremely relevant if we are searching for Information Technology services. In other words, an IT company should be able to know how to use web technologies, such as online forms, without having to reply upon a third party. Such a scenario should make one wonder, 'what else will this company outsource without our knowledge?'

This information has been provided by:

Matt Monaghan
(916) 927-4211

Friday, December 30, 2011


California Government Code Section 12168.7, which deals with storing and recording permanent and nonpermanent documents in an electronic format, is lacking specification and clarity. Many attempts have been and are being made to adopt certain statewide standards for electronic storage. The use of PDF/A, which is listed in ISO 19005-1, seems to be the heir apparent in records management. Albeit - with some controversy amongst Records and IT managers.

The PDF/A standard does not define an archiving strategy, but instead identifies a compliant format for electronic documents that ensures they can be reproduced consistently and predictably, in the exact same way, well into the future.

The PDF/A offers users a way to preserve electronic documents in a manner that maintains the documents visual appearance over time, independent of the tools and systems used for creating, storing or rendering the files.

Based on portable document format (PDF) technology from Adobe Systems Inc., PDF/A eliminates PDF features not suited to long-term archival, such as audio, video and transparency.

A vital component to PDF/A reproducibility is that the documents must be 100 percent self-contained. This feature ensures that all information needed to display the document in the same manner every time is embedded in the file. Included in each PDF/A file is all content, including text, raster images and vector graphics; as well as fonts and color information.

Matt Monaghan
(916) 927-4211