Category Archives: General News

Why businesses should implement client-service clouds

Nowadays, electronic document management is becoming more of the norm in the office, but there is a new way to share files among staffers: using cloud services. While this method allows accessibility from anywhere through a web browser, this can pose potential risks if employees are operating from a personal cloud server, instead of a company-wide network.

There are cloud vendors that allow files to be uploaded and saved for free, but for commercial organizations, business owners may want to consider owning their private cloud. Elijah Yip, a JD Supra Law News contributor, explains why.

"An employee can essentially connect the organization to the cloud with the company's knowledge via a private cloud account," he said. "This enables the transfer of confidential company data to a location outside of the company's reach."

Cloud networks have great potential to streamline operations among many departments, but Yip recommends implementing a cloud management policy before "bring your own cloud" gets out of hand.

Businesses that want to create a secure cloud for work-related materials should provide the credentials, so that control is still kept within the organization. Because this network is exclusive to workers, it is less likely the information will be exposed to the wrong parties. 

Instead of opting for a free service that is open to the general public, company assets are more likely to be safeguarded from exposed data with a private, client-based cloud. OptiDoc is a document management provider that can help provide a platform that suits employees' needs. 

How electronic document management helped game developers

Paperless office solutions may be a newer trend for some work sectors, but in the video game industry, the shift has been happening for a much longer time.

Although game developers have been creating video games to meet the demands of console and online users for many years, the market is beginning to use premium graphics and game code, which makes these files much larger than they used to be, BBC reported.

The highly anticipated launches of the Playstation 4 and Xbox One have raised the stakes higher, and Electronic Arts (EA) knew that they had to revamp their document management strategies to prevent their game "Battlefield 4" from freezing during gameplay. Nowadays, complete game files can be as large as 50 gigabytes and this figure is expected to rise.

Due to EA's international reach, technical director Steve Scivally told BBC that necessary changes have to be made.

"EA is made up of a large group of development sites and a few dedicated [quality assurance] test centers," he said. "New game builds need to be transferred to the test centers as quickly as possible to locate defects and improve quality."

Sending these attachments via email would take many hours, even days in some cases. EA's staffexperimented with multiple data transfer methods, but found the most success with a client-service cloud. Although this network enabled more file sharing, EA was aware that not just any file could be transferred, to ensure that Battlefield 4 processes would remain efficient.

Over time, EA was able to constantly update Battlefield's game code without interrupting the master file through compression and deduplication. This process would detect identical bits of data, ultimately removing that portion of the program—not the entire file.

Businesses outside of the gaming industry can benefit from a similar setup. Instead of constantly photocopying the same files into the company's data center, operating from a private, client-service cloud can expedite many tasks. OptiDoc is a document management provider that can help organizations make the most out of their file-sharing and transfer capabilities.

NOAA launches cloud-based data center

As the federal government works to change how information will be accessed by switching to electronic document management programs, many staffers should expect that strategies will vary from one agency to the next. Part of this has to do with how data has been collected in the past and how it can be applied in a more effective way, while improving the bottom line.

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced it would stop printing its lithographic maps in October. The Federal Aviation Administration, which is in charge of federal chart-making, made this decision.

Despite this transition, the NOAA was already working on its own plan to streamline operations, impacting many other industries like meteorology and aviation, FCW Magazine reported. NOAA's electronic document management portal will eventually produce as much as 20 terabytes of data per day from United States space systems and partnering satellites.

"That effort has to work in order to maximize the exploitation of multi-billion dollar systems in space," Jamison Hawkins, deputy program manager for NOAA's Environmental Satellite Processing and Distribution System (ESPDS), told the source. "For forecasters, getting just the right files and information on a particular situation should be as easy as just downloading the song you want from iTunes."

Because information from geostationary, defense and foreign satellites will have to interoperate with one another, this project is expected to be at its peak by 2022. This increased accessibility to NOAA data will greatly benefit its constituents who utilize sea surface temperatures, lightning detection, smoke monitoring and other weather-related sensors.

Companies that are looking to aggregate data to increase file-sharing capabilities among employees may want to consider going with a secure cloud-based network. This platform allows access to pertinent data after staffers provide the appropriate credentials. OptiDoc has the tools to build this service for businesses of all sizes.

Electronic document management needs to work around the user

In the past, whenever a business purchased software, all it had to do was input the disk into the system and install its components. From there, users were limited to the program's interface to complete daily tasks. That worked when information technology was considered "relatively scarce, cumbersome, and often extraordinarily expensive," Harvard Business Review contributor Aaron Levie writes. 

However, IT is no longer viewed this way—it now needs to be customized to tailor the employees' needs.

"Vendors that don't support the multi-platform world we live in with a user-centric mindset will be locked out," Levie added. "Software that isn't used gets shut off."

Some business owners may be all too familiar with the one-size-fits-all platform, but they no longer have to feel limited to a broad interface. Industry-leading electronic document management systems now offer the option to utilize a private cloud. This shift enables companies to work in remote locations without sharing the bandwidth with other organizations.

This added flexibility is what Levie is talking about. With tablets, laptops and smartphones facilitating the completion of work-related tasks, a cloud platform that allows this type of accessibility is at a great advantage over programs that do not.

Employees are accustomed to accessing data through these devices in their personal lives, and they expect electronic systems at their workplace to be just as functional. 

Organizations that wish to utilize a system that allows operations from a private and accessible network should consider reaching out to OptiDoc to serve as your document management provider. 

Report: Executives and IT departments face ‘trust gap’

Whenever a business is transitioning from one way of completing tasks to another, it may require effort from multiple departments. Access has to be granted by the executives, information technology experts must install the program and all staffers have to be adequately trained.

Why are all these steps necessary when a company implements an electronic document management system? Because not doing so may heavily impact the program's potential of improving efficiency and reducing cost. A report from IBM found that time and again, a "trust gap" among different parties has created obstacles toward these efforts.

IBM presented such an issue at a financial institution, where multiple offices asked IT to create an electronic database for clients, but wanted it to be exclusive to the department.

In turn, "they'd be doing the same work the way they wanted to have it done," Kathy Reece, one of the authors of IBM's report, told InformationWeek. Reece added that businesses that completed operations this way were "actually doubling the cost of their analytics workload, as well as duplicating efforts."

When less than 40 percent of business leaders feel that there is a "strong level of trust" between other executives, it can be difficult for IT officers to effectively implement document management programs.

"[I]f you have information about a customer, and you want to hold it tight to your chest and not share it with the other lines of business, it's really hard for them to get a 360-degree view of the customer," Reece explained.

One of the most visible examples of this issue occurred with A lack of interdependence prior to the launch of made it difficult for the Department of Health and Human Services to build a portal that could handle the influx of Americans applying for human insurance exchanges.

Now, this $195 million platform may cost taxpayers more dollars to repair the glitches—further delaying the launch of universal health care for citizens in 2014.

Companies that want to take a step toward a paperless office, but are unsure how to go about it may want to reach out to a document management provider like OptiDoc. We will help implement and maintain a private cloud system for organizations that may not have the knowledge in doing so.

Why the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website works

Becoming a paperless office may be a challenge, but one way to alleviate these issues is by deciding how the system will transform daily workflows. During the early stages, communication between executives and chief information technology officers is essential to develop the best strategy.

Based on responses, it may be clear that the best electronic document management solution is to slowly roll out more digital processes. Thinking too broadly may cause a disconnect during the implementation process. An example of such an operation gone wrong is the website. On the other hand, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has found great success sharing its resources on the internet. 

"A compliance officer at a small community bank shouldn't have to sign up for a [subscription] service to find out what the regulations are," Matt Burton, acting CIO in the Technology Innovation office at CFPB, told FCW Magazine.

When CFPB was working to create a user-friendly and accessible database a year ago, it had to consider who would be the most affected by the change. Obvious contenders were those who worked for the CFPB, but also compliance officers and attorneys who may need information on specific regulations to support their case. 

What stood out the most to Burton is that many communities in the United States do not have a huge staff due to tighter budgets. That means any time wasted looking for necessary paperwork can greatly influence their overall productivity. 

Now, the live website serves as "an [application programming interface] that will ingest a body of regulations and spit them out as structured data," FCW explained. The CFPB is responsible for requiring ATMs to disclose user fees and consumer-facing services and products. 

Businesses that are deciding on an electronic document management solution that can greatly increase efficiency and reduce costs may want to reach out to OptiDoc

General Services Administration increases data management measures

While a majority of the government's federal agencies are in the midst of transitioning toward electronic document management programs, some agencies are taking the next step in changing the way operations are done to increase their overall efficiency.

The General Services Administration (GSA) specifically used to have data centers spread across 11 regions within the United States. At first, this effort appeared to be a great way to streamline operations, but the GSA found that some offices were not used to their maximum capacity, wasting electricity and money spent on renting these spaces, FCW Magazine reported.

In turn, the agency closed 37 data centers and is working on a new strategy that would centralize information technology efforts for the department. Overall reducing redundant tasks will make the GSA run smoother. The GSA is one of many agencies under the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative. Efforts include mobility, security, consolidation, cloud computing and Big Data—measures that are meant to lower federal costs

"Instead of having several CIOs serving each individual business line, or having IT staff reporting into a different program office, those resources will not be located in a new GSA IT office under the GSA CIO," the agency said in a statement. "Having a centralized GSA IT office will improve access to technology services."

Businesses that want to improve overall efficiency will benefit from becoming a paperless office, but it is important to determine a plan that meets the company's goals. Going too big, as the GSA did, can actually become very expensive. A document management provider like OptiDoc can help evaluate where redundancies are found and help condense processes that will save employees more time they can use to complete core tasks.

NASA moves data onto the cloud for public access

Though information that government agencies collect is available to the general public, not many Americans know how to go about doing so. Is there an application to fill out, and if so, where should a person go to do so?

Action to obtain public information may vary from state to state, but President Barack Obama is requiring federal agencies across the board to become paperless offices, FCW Magazine reported. This mandate was announced earlier this year as a way to make "information resources easy to find, accessible, and usable" in order to "fuel entrepreneurship, innovation, and scientific discovery," the executive order stated.

Since the order was made, progress has greatly varied from one agency to another. Though a report from the National Archives and Records Administration found that 59 percent of agencies have started switching their business process software, exactly what is being transferred differs.

At the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), this federal agency recently rolled out its first collection of Earth science and climate data available to the public and researchers, according to FCW Magazine.

Through the support of a client-service cloud, 20 terabytes worth of information gathered from the agency's years of research is now live on the web. Information on climate change projections and precipitation totals will now be available on the internet. The next collection of data will focus on vegetation modeling and global land surveys.

"NASA continues to support and provide open public access to research data, and this collaboration is entirely consistent with that objective," NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan told the source. "Earth science research is important to every person on the planet, and we welcome contributions from all researchers in improving our understanding of Earth and its climate."

Maps that NASA provided will be in a user-friendly interface, allowing individuals to take create projects and run algorithms based on the data that is provided.

Businesses that wish to improve document sharing capabilities within the company may want to reach out to OptiDoc. Our team has extensive experience in creating private, secure cloud-based solutions for a more streamlined workflow.

Falls Church Planning Commission: There is a value to going paperless

Whenever a business is looking into ways to improve their bottom line, it is becoming more common for them to ditch the filing cabinets and transition toward business process software. This client-based solution allows employees to spend fewer hours searching and retrieving pertinent documents.

While there are many cost benefits to transitioning in this direction, some staffers are reluctant to make the switch. However, for companies that have been in business for many years, storing paperwork this way is becoming more of a hassle. Electronic document management on the other hand, has search engine capabilities within the program, which saves employees time looking for older documentation.

In Falls Church, Virginia, the town's planning commission recently started making the switch themselves. Previously, multiple copies of site plans were printed for meetings, the Falls Church News-Press explained. If the commission agrees to go digital, those who attend meetings will be taking notes from iPads.

Falls Church is considering on heading toward this direction because other communities in Virginia have already began implementing similar solutions, and have found success doing so. However, the source added that the city's planning director Jim Snyder is concerned that costs "can go as high as $5,000 and take a full day to process."

Even though delays can slow down processes, one day spent installing the new system can be translated to years of up-to-date agendas for meetings and an interactive site plan. Blueprint designs can be viewed in multiple ways from an iPad—these visuals are harder to imagine on a flat piece of paper.

Overall, becoming a paperless office has many more advantages than keeping hard copies of documentation. Often times, individuals will mistakenly throw out pertinent contracts because their office is full of similar looking paperwork. When stored electronically, it is not as easy to permanently lose paperwork, seeing how these systems are frequently backed up.

India considering plan to implement automated passport kiosks

Flying internationally can be an exciting time for tourists and casual travelers, but for diplomats and businessmen, it can be quite the hassle. Going from a connecting flight domestically can be difficult as it is, so the amount of pressure international travelers go through is much higher.

As a way to significantly alleviate one to two hours waiting in line to deal with immigration processes, some American passengers will be able to scan their passport into an automated passport control (APC) stand, allowing them to get into the country faster.

Though APC kiosks are fairly new in the United States, Dallas Fort Worth, Chicago O'Hare and New York's JFK international airport has them, and they have shown great success so far. O'Hare specifically began its launch in July and found that wait times decreased by 40 percent for U.S. citizens, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) told the Business Travel News.

The business process software "removes the administrative responsibility for a CBP officer to scan a traveler's passport and verify their paper customs declaration, reducing the time a traveler spends with a CBP officer," a CBP official added.

How India plans on implementing APC at their airports

Across the world, India is planning on launching a similar boarding system for their citizens. India is one of the most populous nations in the world, so any alternative to expedite travel time can benefit work efficiency for airports and those who have business arrangements in India.

What makes this program different from the U.S.' ADP program is that India security officials are creating a list of trusted travelers who would not need to provide immigration paperwork to an international officer because it will already be electronically filed, the Indian Express reported.

"A pre-authorization will not only reduce hassles at the airport but will also not require a traveler to go through immigration checks," a senior home ministry official told the source. "We are also planning to include biometric details of travelers, which will mean facial recognition or finger prints, in e-gate."

Priority will be given to diplomats then frequent fliers who visit the nation. The cost to enroll in the program has not been decided because officials are unsure if this will be a one-time fee, or a fee per trip.

Electronic processes can greatly impact how a business completes daily tasks. If immigration can find a way to handle passports faster, then international travel may not longer appear as daunting.