August 2007

Data analysis versus data mining

Understanding the difference can be very important when looking at a content management or document management system. YSDATA had a post about the difference between data analysis and data mining. Data analysis is the act of transforming data and facilitating with the aim of extracting useful informationconclusions. Data mining (DM), also called Knowledge-Discovery in Databases (KDD) or Knowledge-Discovery and Data Mining, is the process of automatically searching large volumes of data for patterns using tools such as classification, association rule mining, clustering, etc.. Read the full description at their site.
Corey Smith is the Vice President of Innovation at Fisher’s Document Systems.

Oo, Ah, Huh?

So, I was watching a bit of TV last night and before I had a chance to fast forward through the commercial, I caught one for Caveman's Crib. I decided to check it out. It is a pretty cool site. It obviously took a lot of time to build. You can click on a lot of different parts of the apartment like watching the TV, changing the music, reading a magazine or book and even move the magnets around on the refrigerator. Here is what I don't get. Why is it there? Why was it built? If it was built for fun, great, but then why spend money for television advertising? There is no call to action. There is nothing to do but look around. There are a couple of hints that Geico has paid for the site... it is the same guys from the caveman commercials and they have placed a few Geico things around... other than that, it really doesn't make much sense. It is a pretty cool site, but after I looked through it for about four minutes, I ran out of things to do and left. There is no reason for me to go back. Bottom line? Good web design doesn't mean good business.
Corey Smith is the Vice President of Innovation at Fisher’s Document Systems.

Is paper a problem in your office?

Here are just a few quotes I have found about paper. $300 Billion annuallythat is what companies are spending each year on services such as certified mail, courier, overnight express, and faxing. Darcy Fowkes, Aberdeen Group, Inc.

With offices generating more than 3 billion pages per day. Don Dixon, Senior Analyst, Gartner Dataquest

Today there are over 100 million fax machines worldwide. Per year, fax traffic now exceeds 400 billion pages, and the worldwide fax phone bill is more than 91 billion dollars. In fact, fax transmissions account for between 30 and 40 percent of the typical corporate phone bill today. International Engineering Consortium, Fax Technology and Testing Issues

Of the $300 billion market for delivery of paper-based documents, whether through the mail, overnight delivery, or fax, analysts think that as much as $100 billion could move to the Net in the next few years. Peter Burrows, Business Week


Corey Smith is the Vice President of Innovation at Fisher’s Document Systems.

Top three required features of any scanning solution.

If you are looking to implement a scanning solution, it is very important that you have three, very important features. Those features are not scanning to email, scanning to folder and scanning to document management. Then, what do you think they are?

Scan to email, folder and document management systems are very important features that can not be over looked. They are never the most critical components, but these are the features that most people consider. Most often, people forget to look at the most critical features first.

Most Important Feature 1 - Ease of Use There are so many types of systems out there right now. Some are incredibly complicated. Some require too many buttons to push for something as simple as a scan to email. They require the push of one button to enter an email, the push of another button to add the subject and yet another button to add the note. Not to mention the little screens and virtual keyboards that make any button push cumbersome. Most Important Feature 2 - Tight Integration I have talked this week a bit about point solutions. A point solution is a solution that is implemented for one purpose, regardless of the implication on other areas of the business. In order for your scanning solution to be effective, you should look for integration with your current environment. You shouldn't have to come up with work-arounds to tie it seamlessly to your MS Exchange server. You should be able to send an email from your scanner and have the message appear automatically in your sent items folder. If you want to password protect the system, it should authenticate against your existing server and not have to create a new password system. More over, you want it to integrate with your document management system so that you don't have to take extra steps to get your documents where you want them when you want them there. Most Important Feature 3 - Security and Compliance Did you know that most scan to email and scan to folder options are open to abuse from malicious users? In most scan to email systems, I can send an email anonymously, or worse, put someone else's name as the return address? Did you know that in most scan to folder locations, security settings need to be turned off so that scanning can work easily on the network. These problems allow for violations in regulatory compliance with regulations such as HIPAA, SOX and FACTA. Don't forget these key features when looking for a scanning solution.
Corey Smith is the Vice President of Innovation at Fisher’s Document Systems.

I want to be the new guy

I moved into my new house and called my satellite company to move my dish. They said, "No problem... our first installation date is two weeks out. There will only be a $25 move fee." Hmmmmm. I thought. I called a local satellite dealer and asked if they could move me any sooner. I was told that if I was a new customer, they could take care of me. So, my wife became the new customer and my account was canceled. Here is what I get now.
  • I get installed tomorrow instead of in two weeks.
  • I get a new DVR for free
  • I don't have to pay the install fee.
What amazes me is that I had to be the new guy to get this. Why couldn't my four years as a "valued customer" been good enough? I always paid my bill on time. I never complained. I think I only called technical support once. Now I know how to beat the system and know how to be the new guy all the time. Too bad I have to beat the system instead of just being valued for paying them over $3,000 for service since I have been their customer.
Corey Smith is the Vice President of Innovation at Fisher’s Document Systems.

Can’t you just make a decision?

I am a big fan of Man vs. Wild on the Discovery Channel. One comment that I have noticed that Bear Grylls makes in just about every episode is that the most important thing to do in a survival situation is to continue to make decisions. Even if the decision ends up being a poor or wrong decision, it is better to make a bad decision that to make no decision at all. I find that so many businesses could do well to follow this advice. How many times have you (or your boss) held off making a decision for more information? I think it is good to wait sometimes in making a decision but there is a point where it just goes too far. Often, your first instinct will be the right decision. Sure, you'll make mistakes, but how many mistakes do you make when you wait? Just make a decision... sure it may be wrong, but then you get to make another decision to fix it. You'll find you'll be much further along and I bet you find that you will be more efficient with your finances, too.
Corey Smith is the Vice President of Innovation at Fisher’s Document Systems.

Marketing isn’t sales

Why is it that so many companies feel that building a marketing plan will instantly create sales? Just because you market, it doesn't mean that you are going to sell all of your products. Marketing can drive sales when done properly. Marketing should be measured by sales, but isn't a magic bullet. If you don't have good customer service or a good product, no amount of marketing can drive the sales you likely want. It might be better to find a marketing company that understands how expand your thinking about what marketing is and how to ensure that you get the biggest bang for the buck. Personally, I recommend Blueline.
Corey Smith is the Vice President of Innovation at Fisher’s Document Systems.

How important is it to market to the young?

I was reading some posts at ManageSmarter.com and found an article from a couple of weeks ago about Customer Loyalty. They state the following in their opening paragraph:
Do you remember the brands you had when you were a kid? Probably. And chances are it's because you still purchase these brands' products today—such as General Mills, Milton-Bradley and Hershey. Research shows a consumers' strongest brand loyalties are developed in their youth. That means its important for you as a marketer to get your messages heard by your customers as early as possible.
Okay, so this means that the reason I eat Skippy Super Chunk or Neste Quik is because I was marketed to when I was little? I don't remember having the money to do the grocery shopping for my family when I was six or nine or twelve. I love Skippy Super Chuck (the only PB as far as I am concerned). I can't do without my glass of chocolate milk (pretty boring, huh?). I don't buy them today because of some stupid marketing campaign. I buy them today because I developed a taste for them when I was young. I developed that tasted because that was what I had in my house growing up. Here is the key to remember about marketing. Marketing doesn't bring people back over and over again for your product. Sure, marketing can remind people, but if people don't like your product, no amount of marketing can save it. You will soon run out of clients that care. Don't think that because you tell people to buy your peanut butter when they are young that they will magically like your peanut butter when they are old. Putting your logo on a toy car (just like your competition does) isn't going to make customers for life if your product stinks. 20 years from now, you may not even be in business, so worry about the short term and the long term will take care of itself.

Corey Smith is the Vice President of Innovation at Fisher’s Document Systems.

The process and technology of scanning

Scanning is a bigger process than you might realize. Once you have determined what it is that you want to scan, you need also to understand the process and technologies that you might want to consider. AIIM Knowledge Center has posted a cool little poster about scanning processes & technologies. Capture_page1 This is pretty small, but if you click through on the link above, you can download a full version of the poster right from Atle's blog. The post does a very good job in helping to understand the flow of information through IT infrastructure.
Corey Smith is the Vice President of Innovation at Fisher’s Document Systems.

The value of a good education

When I was about six credits shy of my undergraduate in business adminstration, I decided that school wasn't worth it for me. My grades weren't that good (although they weren't that bad either). I felt like I really wasn't getting enough for my money and I thought the "piece of paper" simply wasn't worth the cost. Five years ago, I surprised my wife when I told her I was going back to school. This time, I was going for an IT management degree. I now had two more years to go to earn a degree. I was determied to have high marks on everything I did. Something surprised me. I expected to learn about IT related things. I expected to learn about programming, network and project management and even product design. I learned all that. What I didn't expect was how much about business I learned in my IT classes. I think that I was the only person in the program that had a strong business and sales background, so I may have been the only one to have seen so much apply to business. Near the end of the program, I surprised my wife once more when I told her that I was going to continue so that I could earn my MBA. From a timing and cost perspective, it was not really a smart thing. I expected the "piece of paper" to open some doors for me. What I didn't expect was how much I could immediately apply. I didn't expect that I would be able to apply the knowledge from my business program into my IT responsibilities. The most important thing that I learned was that IT really doesn't matter if it doesn't address the business problem. If business has a problem to solve, business doesn't care if it is IT that solves it or anyone else. Now, all of my IT discussions revolve around the business case. You will be surprised what you might learn if you take the time to learn it. Once I realized that I didn't know enough... once I decided that there was something that someone else could offer, I found that I didn't know nearly what I needed to know to be successful.
Corey Smith is the Vice President of Innovation at Fisher’s Document Systems.
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