For those of you who have received a SysCheck from CPS, you understand how useful it is. In a previous article, we explored a high-level overview of the SysCheck. This piece will dig into some of the details you will likely receive if you participate in a SysCheck. Please be assured that the reporting provided is given in the spirit of consultation. At this time, we offer this service to new-to-CPS clients who already have a Laserfiche implementation.
Capturing documents in Laserfiche- Capturing the "right" information fundamental for an organized enterprise content management (ECM) implementation that functions as it should. The number of documents in the system (total), document types, and which documents are from the various departments. The number of documents helps us understand which departments store documents if there was a back-file conversion or migration from another ECM. It also lets us decide search performance and whether it needs a tune-up. According to our tech staff, a common problem that presents as a slow search is that the folder structure is disorganized. We see it so often that we're likely able to correct it in less than 30 minutes, sometimes ten!
Template usage- Those of you who use Laserfiche understand template usage is where the rubber meets the road. Laserfiche defines a template as, "A template is a collection of related fields; assigning a template to an entry allows you to assign multiple related fields at once. Laserfiche comes with some default templates, which you can add to or modify to store any information that is important to your documents." Frequently, we find that there are many documents without assigned templates or are assigned the wrong templates. Sometimes one department doesn't see the need for templates and rebels against the "extra" work. Having just a few templates is a best practice, but not using any is a problem.
Template fields-Again, from Laserfiche help files, "Field and template information has several purposes. It can provide a quick overview of the content or important identifying characteristics of a document or folder, such as the document type or category or the document's author. It also makes it easier to search for an item: you can search for a document or folder by its template or its field values, allowing you to quickly locate documents based on information such as an invoice number or customer name. Fields and templates also allow you to store additional information with the document, such as a customer e-mail address or phone number." There are best practices for determining what metadata you should capture. When making the determination, it's essential for the project owner to gain consensus among the stakeholders. Don't expect to get it right immediately; CPS can help with methods gleaned from working with hundreds of clients. Also, if you are an agency, you are likely to have colleagues from neighboring municipalities who are willing to share their metadata strategy.
Workflow and other recommendations- The SysCheck ends with our recommendations for your Laserfiche system. Building workflows is a common suggestion as automation helps organizations standardize, so there will be less manual completion of template fields that can be inaccurate—having a capture folder that triggers workflows to grab information and auto-populate the template fields. If you aren't using workflow for capture or public records requests or……, you really should. Workflow usage provides many benefits, including a considerable ROI. Another standard recommendation is to add or subtract metadata fields. I was recently on a call where it was determined that a contract expiration date was unnecessary (many of the agency's contracts just rolled over), yet it was a required field. Ultimately, the team decided to retain the field, but it was a thoughtful conversation to have. These types of discussions are necessary to keep Laserfiche running at peak efficiency.
In the upcoming months, we plan to do more with SysChecks, including consolidating and anonymizing the data to conduct a trends webinar. Stay tuned.