Why Document Management: a White Paper


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Why Document Management: a White Paper

  1. 1. Why Document Management: a White Paper John Heckman Heckman Consulting www.heckmanco.com heckman@heckmanco.com (201) 792-0022 November, 2008 Ver. 1.0
  2. 2. Table of Contents Executive Summary Introduction: Why Document Management? Types of Document Management DIY Document Management Optional Obligatory Static Cloud (Internet-based) Thinking About Buying Document Management Actually Purchasing the Software Implementing Document Management Every Site a Snowflake? Plan, Plan, Plan Involve End Users, Set Expectations Designing the System Old “Legacy” Documents Integration with Other Software Email Scanning W orking Remotely & Web Access Brief Banks/Forms Training Followup Basic Functionality Searching Viewing Documents Archiving Audit Trails Security Taking it with You Email General Saving Outgoing Email Saving Incoming Email Saving Existing Email Accessing and Saving Archived Email Managing Email Attachments Scanning W orkflow Workflow Issues – Email Workflow Issues – Scanning Other Workflow - Forms Approval Other Brief Banks – Why Aren’t They More Common? Document Assembly Collaboration Appendix Programs Referred To
  3. 3. Executive Summary Everyone organizes their documents, emails, scans, 1. To make the case for document manage- electronic faxes, graphics, etc. in some fashion, ment systems as such. whether or not they use a document management 2. To raise issues and functionality that a system (“DMS”). More sophisticated users develop document management system can (or naming conventions to make identifying and retriev- should) provide that perhaps your firm had ing documents easier. The question is, what does a not considered. specifically “document management” program such as Hummingbird, Interwoven or Worldox get you 3. To consider some of the best practices that some home-made system does not? involved in implementing and using a docu- ment management system. Just as everyone organizes their documents, so too has everyone not using a document management Thus some sections of this paper have a more system spent much too much time hunting for “lost” general conceptual approach, while others have more documents, often even re-typing them, hunting for of a “how to” flavor. subdirectories that were “dragged and dropped” who This paper focuses primarily on Worldox, since I knows where, and so on. These are some of the believe it to be by far the best suited to small and issues that typically drive firms to adopt a document medium size firms. management system. Many parts of this document were originally pub- Today, attorneys are swamped with information that lished as shorter posts in my blog Does It Com- goes beyond traditional “documents,” including pute?, although they have been extensively rewritten emails, faxes, scanned documents and pages saved to eliminate redundancy. from the Internet, as well as traditional documents generated by the firm. A Document Management Finally, I realize it is utopian to suppose that all my System is the traffic cop that brings order to this suggestions will be implemented by any given firm chaos: organizing it by client/matter, categorizing but if you at least are conscious of why you don’t the types of documents you have and directing them want to implement them, you will be ahead of the to the proper place. So by “documents” here I game. include all these items. This document has three purposes: John Heckman Introduction: Why Document Management? For medium and large law firms, with tens or quate access to their documents. They argue that hundreds of thousands of documents, using a any added functionality offered by document man- document management program to organize, index agement programs is not worth the expense of and control their documents is an absolute necessity. additional hardware and software, training, and Many solo practitioners and smaller firms, however, administration. This paper details some of the do not see the need. They feel that with a well advantages document management offers even a solo thought out directory structure they can have ade- practitioner or small law firm. Document Management Page 1 of 25 ©Heckman Consulting
  4. 4. Naturally, there is a wide range of opinion concern- implementations in, for example, town government ing what features are critical and which are “super- (tracking tax and property records), hospitals and fluous” bells and whistles. And like word processing health care companies (patient records), banks and programs, document management tends to conform similar areas. They frequently offer (optional and at to the “80-20” rule: 80% of people use only 20% of additional cost) advanced data mining capabilities. the program. However, people in different practice Legal document management systems tend to be areas or with administrative functions tend to use a integrated in all aspects of the firms work – taking different 20% of the program, so this is not reflective over saving and retrieving all documents, emails, of the overall use of a program firmwide. And keep faxes, scans, or saved Web pages – whereas the in mind that when a feature that might otherwise be “static” document management systems require a considered an “extra” is needed, it is often very badly two-step process of importing documents into the needed. system (in however an automated fashion that may How Document Management Works be), hence the appellation “store and forward” systems. In a document management system, each document – or email, fax, scanned item, or saved Web page – One of the first issues a firm needs to decide is is assigned a profile sheet or “template” which typi- whether or not use of the document management cally contains a long descrip- system should be obligatory. tion for the document, au- Giving users the option of “opt- thor, client/matter informa- The DMS acts as the traffic ing out” of document manage- tion, document type (brief, cop at the crossroads of the ment almost inevitably means contract, memo, etc.) and information highway: control- crippling the system due to perhaps other items. For ling, organizing and directing human error or lack of coopera- example, an insurance com- the flow of information. tion by recalcitrant users. So the pany might want to identify ability to “lock down” the sys- the state law governing poli- tem is often a “deal breaker.” cies or contracts. A firm representing a real estate When a user starts to retrieve a document, a list of developer might need extra fields to identify the the most recent documents he or she has worked on, client (the developer), the specific property, and including the long document description, appears various tenants. Both the profile and the full text of first. If the desired document is not on this list, the the document are indexed for rapid retrieval. A file user enters search criteria on the profile screen and name is assigned by the document management is presented with a list of “hits.” Fairly complex system, which decides where to store the document boolean searches are generally possible, including a based on criteria set up by the firm (author, docu- combined search of both the profiles and the full ment type, client/matter number). This process is text index of the entire document store. transparent to the end-user who never even sees the underlying structure. Depending on the program, additional features can provide advanced security options, better reporting A second type of document management system, on document use, version control, an audit trail represented by programs such as Document Locator showing who has accessed the document, and so on. and Laserfiche, depend on an expanded version of Windows Explorer to organize documents. These Key Considerations/Features in Opting for programs tend to be more popular with non-legal Document Management companies. They also frequently focus on managing a static document store, rather than ongoing drafting What are the key considerations that lead a firm to of documents. Thus they are more appropriate for adopt a document management system rather than Document Management Page 2 of 25 ©Heckman Consulting
  5. 5. continuing with a manual system? The key points user spends 5 minutes or more searching for a listed here will be developed at greater length below. document, or even winds up retyping it! Client/Matter-Centric Approach. Many individual Avoidance of Human Error. The time lost in a attorneys use their Outlook in-box as their “docu- manual system due to human error is substantial. A ment management system,” often storing 5-10,000 user may have stored a document in the wrong place emails there. The problem is that Outlook is based by accident, forgotten what the document was on individuals: there is no automated way to locate named, or even “dragged and dropped” an entire all the emails relevant to a particular matter across directory to some new location without even being the firm. Document management systems, on the aware of it. When someone other than the original other hand, tend to be client- or matter-centric: author tries to access a document, difficulties are everything is organized compounded. A user may have around clients and matters. to look in four or five places Thus it is trivial to ask the Outlook is based on individu- before finding a document, or system: “show me all the doc- als ... document management even be unable to find it at all. uments, scanned items and systems tend to be client- or If the original author of the emails” for Client X or matter-centric. document is out of the office Matter Y. due to vacation, illness, etc. this can be a serious problem. Centralizing Force. Document management is a When people change jobs or assignments, the centralizing force. When all users are obliged to use problem is aggravated. the same system, you are assured that, for example, all correspondence is stored under “correspondence” Control over Document Access. Document man- rather than “letters;” or under “motions” rather than agement typically gives a firm much better control differing subsets of motions and that everyone uses over document security and access. Confidential the same conventions. In addition, it ensures that all documents can be made available only to the people documents, emails, faxes, scans and saved Web who need to see them, whether it be accounting, pages are stored in the same place, rather than some human resources, trusts and estates or those respon- being stored on the server and some on the local sible for highly confidential client matters. desktop; that all documents are organized using the By defining what groups of people have access to same system instead of having a given client’s which kinds of documents, document management documents stored using different criteria – by user, systems avoid the problems inherent in passwording by practice area, document type, etc. Note that this documents, which range from forgetting passwords is also an increasingly important criteria in relation to posting them on yellow stickies on the computer to electronic ediscovery by facilitating rapid and monitor. Security provisions frequently include an complete retrieval of all relevant documents. audit trail showing who last accessed a document, who made changes, printed it, checked it out, etc. Greater Speed of Document Retrieval. In a manual system, the user must know where an existing Full Profile and Text Indexing. The fact that pro- document has been stored and what its name is. files and the full text of all documents are indexed While most users are fairly efficient at finding their has other advantages besides increased efficiency in own documents, searching for a document created retrieving documents. For example, you can define by someone else can take a significant amount of a search that lets you see at a glance all documents of time, which in any event is bound to be greater than a particular type that contain certain words (all briefs the 5 seconds or less it takes a document manage- containing the term “amputation” for example). Full ment system to find a document. In many cases, a text indexing can also be of assistance in conflict Document Management Page 3 of 25 ©Heckman Consulting
  6. 6. checking, for example by searching on all documents ! Reporting (all documents of a certain type, or all that refer to a particular business or person. While documents used by “X”). desktop search engines will full text index your ! Check-out/Check-in of documents; the ability documents, they are not matter-centric, so a com- to take a set of documents with you or on a bined search for text + type of document or client is laptop. not available. Finally, in some programs, such as ! “Mirroring” so that backup copies on the local Worldox, when you do a full text search and then hard drive let you continue to work if network is “View” a document in the hit list, the document is down (especially useful if you are using a laptop opened at the specific text you searched for. and want to take things with you). Email Integration. With more and more communi- ! Automated link to Time/Billing system so that cation and document exchange taking place via new matters can be imported into the system email, integration of your email system into the automatically. document management system is increasingly ! Version Control. important. With the new rules on ediscovery, one could even argue that this might be the most critical ! Web Access to your document store. item in a document management system. Cost/Return on Investment (ROI) Other Features. Many of Law firms typically do not pay a the specifics of a document lot of attention to Return on management system will be The Return on Investment for Investment, although in the dealt with below. In addition any document management midst of a recession that is to the items mentioned changing. Most of the studies system will be six months or above, some of the key addi- you see estimate a cost savings as tional “bells and whistles” less. a percentage of investment. For firms often need in a system a small firm, however, there is a include: more telling measure and one that is easier to evalu- ate. ! Integration with all the main programs you use, in particular e-mail and scanned documents, as Lets say implementing a document management well as Acrobat, Excel, etc. system such as Worldox costs $1,000 per user. ! Incorporate all your scanned documents in the Larger systems are likely to cost close to double that. document management system, including with Say a user saves 10-12 minutes a day (and that is a full-text searching. very conservative estimate) or an hour a week. So an ! Save Web pages from a browser to the DMS. attorney who bills just $200 an hour recaptures his investment in five weeks! You can juggle the num- ! Individual document security as well as by bers any way you see fit: the fact is that the return on category (e.g., all HR documents) investment for a document management system is ! The ability to create an “ethical wall” around almost always going to be six months or less. Natu- certain clients or for certain attorneys. rally this varies according to product. See the ! Audit trail to see who has accessed (printed, “overhead” considerations for types of document checked-out, etc.) documents. management below. Document Management Page 4 of 25 ©Heckman Consulting
  7. 7. Types of Document Management with a single search? As the question of organizing Do-It-Yourself email becomes increasingly important – and Out- Many solo practitioners or small firms believe that look organizes email by individual not by client – file naming conventions and a structure can function this can be a critical consideration. as a “free” version of document management. Fre- (4) Do you want full boolean search capabilities that quently this approach proposes a structure that does combines full-text searching with a matter-centric indeed mimic what a document management system approach? Examples: would offer, namely organizing files by client, matter, document type and with a naming conven- – Find all documents with “tax*” in the title (i.e., tax, tion starting with date: “YYYY-MM-DD name of taxes, taxing, taxed) and that contain “2004” in the file.doc” or some such. This is sometimes combined document for the Jones matter. with a desktop search engine for indexing. – Find all pleadings that contain “malpractice” Is such a DIY Document Management system within 10 words of “negligence” that were done in adequate for a small firm? The problem with these the last 6 months for your insurance client. systems is that they are (a) manual; (b) depend on – Find all the emails from John Smith relating to accurate input from end users; and © offer very the Haversack matter. limited capabilities in comparison with a true docu- ment management system. So the question is, what (5) Do you want full version control without having features and functionality justify the expense of to have a separate file for each version? You want to adopting “document management?” If you answer be able to find them all at once and if necessary yes to even one of the following questions, then you compare different versions. need a document management system. (6) Do you want to be able to create security groups (1) Do you want usage to be enforced? Or do you for specific files and/or departments (e.g., Human want to have people have to think about whether or Resources, Management Committee)? not they will follow a voluntary convention. Does (7) Do you want an audit trail of who worked on a the firm want to control and track all its documents? document, printed it, copied it, etc.? This is doubly true with the new electronic discovery rules, where it might be argued that someone who A DIY document management system will do none stored a file not in the proper place was trying to of these things. Trying to create one will simply be hide something. This has actually happened for very time-consuming, and the minute-here, minute- deletion of emails and penalties have run into the there adds up very rapidly. millions of dollars. (2) Do you want the naming of documents to be Optional automated? Why should you type in “YYYY-MM- Many practice management programs, such as Time DD” for every single file you save when you can get Matters, Amicus or Practice Master include a the computer to store that information for you? “document management” feature. In these cases, Why should you have to scroll through a bunch of every time a user saves a document, they must directories when the document management pro- actively select some form of a “save (or link) to gram can search an index qualitatively faster? document management” function. By doing nothing (3) Do you want it to integrate your email, so that and just hitting the “save” button, users will not all documents, scanned items and email are available make use of the document management functional- Document Management Page 5 of 25 ©Heckman Consulting
  8. 8. ity. Optional systems depend on the human element The main programs of this type in the legal market to use the system in a disciplined fashion. are Worldox, Interwoven’s WorkSite and Hum- mingbird’s DocsOpen/DM5. Higher-end systems that are based on an expanded use of the Windows Explorer interface, such as Static Laserfiche or Document Locator usually also suffer from this problem (in some cases they can be config-Static systems such as Laserfiche and Document ured to “lock down” the systems – but it is not the Locator depend on a two-step “store and forward” default). process. First you save or scan a document, then you port it over to the DMS. In my experience Murphy's These systems are most law condemns any “optional” Murphy's law condemns any heavily used where the over- system to failure at key junc- “optional” system to failure at whelming body of documents tures and therefore to be little key junctures. are scanned forms: Town or better than no system at all. If County records (tax, real es- users can decide not to save a tate, etc.), Hospital or Health document into the system, they will of course make Care provider records (doctors’ or patients’ records), this decision with a key document at a key moment. or Banks (various loan applications and similar Therefore any “search” is not in fact searching all items). your documents and the key omissions make the system fatally flawed. Mandatory systems are some- They are not designed for the creation of legal times referred to, in honor of Jerry Seinfeld, as documents or the integration of email. In fact, “Network Nazi” systems. Laserfiche’s 100 plus page “Overview of Document Management” barely even mentions the integration Obligatory of email, a critical function for law firms. Obligatory systems take over the way you open and Cloud (Internet-Based) save documents, emails, faxes, scans, and Web pages. Any time you want to open or save a docu- There is a lot of debate about whether the future is ment from any application on your desktop (with in the clouds – more specifically the Internet the exception of most database programs), instead of “Cloud.” Will most or all applications become the program’s native screen, you see the document web-based? For better or worse, the answer is management screen. Thus users cannot decide “probably.” From a law firm’s point of view there are whether or not to save a document into the DMS, two major problems with this trend. they are obliged to do so. The DMS acts as a traffic The first is the sad state of “high-speed” internet cop at the crossroads of what used to be known as connectivity in the U.S. A recent article by Nobel the “information highway” – controlling, organizing Prize winning economist Paul Krugman in the New and directing the flow and access of documents and York Times (July 23, 2008) noted that broadband information to where they need to go. connection rates in France are three times as fast as While sometimes initially perceived as an intrusion in the US and in Japan they are 12 times as fast. into work habits in fact obligatory systems are much French broadband can reach speeds of 18Gps - more reliable. There is never any question where which is about 15-20 times faster than a standard someone has “put” a document – it is always in the “high-speed” connection in the US. In Sweden, a system. Furthermore, with full-text searching it is test network can download at 40Gps - so you can virtually impossible to “lose” a document. download an entire movie in 2 minutes. Document Management Page 6 of 25 ©Heckman Consulting
  9. 9. The more important impediment, however, is what backup is on the internet. A company that would lawyers sell. Lawyers do not sell cars, soap or reverse the process might be able to make major manufactured goods. They don’t even sell services inroads into law firms. like landscape gardeners or maids. They sell docu- ments – contracts, agreements, court pleadings, and NetDocuments is an internet-based document so on. So asking lawyers to store their critical management system (now controlled by Lexis- “product” on the Internet understandably meets with Nexis) that seems to be well on the way to having a significant resistance. If a manufacturer loses its practical solution that fulfills these requirements. It documents, it still has its product inventory. For is internet based, but it also has a module that lets lawyers, however, their documents are their product you “mirror” the internet files to a server at your inventory, so losing them is more akin to having all site. NetDocuments was formed by former their manufacturing facilities burn to the ground. SoftSolutions employees (the granddaddy of all document management systems) and has come a True, storing documents on the Internet has a long way toward offering a practical solution. If you tremendous convenience, especially for firms with don’t have a visceral negative reaction to storing your multiple offices. But for this to truly work for law work product on the Internet, where it might be firms, there has to be a way to have real time replica- visible to all and sundry, this is worth exploring. tion between the internet and on-site servers. Some internet-based backup companies do this now, but No doubt other Web-based systems will be spring- in reverse: the working copy is in the law office, the ing up in the months to come. Thinking About Buying a Document Management System Most vendors focus on feature lists that promise to The list of what you want a DMS to do mirrors the do just about everything except have coffee ready for list of your existing aggravations. Plus, the process of you in the morning. Forget the feature list and focus creating a wish list helps to focus your thinking and on your wish list (you may also of course want to will improve the implementation. On the other augment your wish list by items on the vendor’s list). hand, you also need to be flexible. Remember the To the extent a vendor’s feature list does not match old adage that while you should be able to get 90% your wish list, consider a vendor that more closely of what you want from a given software package, matches your needs. getting the other 10% is likely to be very difficult and very expensive. So you also have to prioritize Wish Lists and Flexibility your wish list: which items are critical and which In business, there is a principle that you never start would you be willing to give up in a pinch? negotiating from your fallback position. The same is true here. Start from your maximum wish list. You Note that the characteristics of your wish list will may not eventually want to devote the time and have to be explored in greater detail in the process of money to implementing all of it, some things on implementation: it is utopian to try to develop a full your wish list may not be realistic, but at least you implementation program before you even commit to won't be in a position of saying three months from the software. That said, what are some of the items now, “If only I had....” on a typical wish list? Document Management Page 7 of 25 ©Heckman Consulting
  10. 10. Do you want better search capabilities? Both speed“document management” modules that are optional – users are not obliged to use them. Some higher and the ability to do boolean searches can be impor- end programs such as Laserfiche or Document tant here (find a and b; a within x words of b, etc.). Locator also do not lock down the system. Espe- By integrating email into the document manage- cially if a firm is highly com- ment system, all the firm’s partmentalized where each emails become searchable Never start negotiating from practice area (and sometimes and you can easily locate all a fallback position ... start each individual attorney) “does emails concerning a given with your maximum wish list. their own thing,” this is a criti- matter, regardless of who cal issue to get agreement on. sent or received them. Out- look cannot do this. Getting Buy-In It is important to have a firm-wide policy on email. As with any other implementation, it is critical to The best option is to mandate moving all email into get buy-in from key people and practice areas in the the DMS. This makes all the email regarding a firm. Who the “key people” are of course depends on specific matter available to everyone concerned with the firm. The list frequently includes at least the that matter regardless of who sent or received it. It Managing Partner, various practice area heads, key also lightens the burden on Outlook/Exchange and paralegals, senior “power users,” and so on. They greatly facilitates ediscovery should the need arise. need to be aware of the issues described below and how they will affect them. Thus when a firm has a Do you want to be able to access your documents presentation from a document management consul- over the Web, from home or elsewhere? Do you tant or vendor, it should make sure that the atten- want to make specific documents of selected clients dance includes Senior/Managing Partners, Office available to them, again, over the Web? Administration, technologically inclined Junior A critical issue is whether you want to “lock down” Partners or Associates, Paralegals and Administra- the system, that is, oblige everyone to use it all the tive Staff. These are the people who can make or time. Practice Management programs such as Time break an implementation and it is important to Matters, Amicus Attorney or Practice Master offer involve them from the beginning. Actually Purchasing the Software Once you’ve decided to bite the bullet in principle, Other things being equal, cost is a significant factor how do you actually go about buying the software? to consider. “Cost” includes the base price of the software, network hardware requirements (will you Since most major document management systems need one or more additional servers to run the offer roughly equivalent functionality, the marginal software), local workstation requirements, the cost difference among them as far as your firm is con- of implementation/customization, and ongoing cerned may be marginal. On the other hand, if there overhead costs. is one feature you absolutely have to have that one program has, but another one doesn’t, that may be Leasing. One option may be to lease the hardware, a decisive factor, since the ROI on all these pro- software and even consulting time. This will provide grams is very short. you with a fixed monthly cost over time, at a small Document Management Page 8 of 25 ©Heckman Consulting
  11. 11. premium (10-20%) over the cost of immediate likely to need at least a part-time dedicated adminis- purchase. You should, however, be careful to use a trator, whether in-house or by using a consultant. specialized leasing company rather than the leasing You should also factor ongoing training into the programs of a hardware vendor as it will be less administration costs. Brown-bag lunches to cover expensive. specific or more advanced elements of a program are Price of the Software. This obviously varies with the highly desirable. Not only do they upgrade people’s size of the firm and the different products. There are knowledge, but they help insure that minimum several important questions to ask here, however: standards are met across the firm. ! Is the price all-inclusive or is there a “base price” Consultants. Obviously you want to perform due and then a bunch of additional modules? Fre- diligence about any consultant: experience, certifica- quently when a software vendor says a program tions, references, and so on. will do “x,” that involves an additional module If a consultant represents a single program, he or she and cost. may have an ax to grind. Ask the consultant to ! Does the price of the software include technical compare his product with competing products you support and future upgrades? Worldox, for are considering. Any consultant who refuses to do example, includes future upgrades in the main- this discredits himself: consultants are supposed to tenance fee; many other companies do not. advise you what is best for you, not what is best for them. Cost of Implementation. There are three parts to Perhaps the most important characteristic of a implementation: the cost of actual rollout, the cost consultant is somebody you feel comfortable with of customization, and training. Be sure to investi- (once the basic skills and experience are verified). In gate the cost of customization carefully, especially fact, I would even argue that choosing a consultant for higher end products where the quoted price that fits your firm could even strongly influence frequently may not be the biggest part of your cost. what program you decide to implement: a program And don’t forget training. Training may take with fewer bells and whistles implemented by a anywhere from a couple of hours to close to a full consultant you are comfortable with may be a day. Further, you want adequate floor support superior choice as opposed to a program that is (depending on the size of the firm) after the actual theoretically “better,” when implemented by a rollout. consultant who turns out to be a mistake. Remem- Ongoing Overhead/Administration. Depending on ber the old adage: a consultant is the person you the program, ongoing administration may be a bring in to clean up the mess created by the last significant cost. For SQL-based product you are person who called themselves that. Document Management Page 9 of 25 ©Heckman Consulting
  12. 12. Implementing Document Management There are no hard and fast rules when implementing structure than a general firm with numerous differ- a document management system, although experi- ent practice areas. For a larger firm, you also need to ence shows that some configurations tend to work consider whether the various practice areas are self- better than others for most firms. Therefore I contained (in effect, the firm is a collection of willfocus on some general guidelines based on my boutique firms) or intepenetrated, with secretaries experience as a consultant with document manage- and paralegals working for multiple practice areas. ment systems. This has consequences for the structure you wish to put in place, in particular whether you have one or “Every site is a snowflake multiple “profile groups” (think of it as dividing up – unique.” the document store into different compartments). To the extent a particular department or practice This frequently comes up in the form “our firm is area wants it’s “own” profile group, it is important to unique in the way we work.” In a literal sense, this is examine what is it about that area that requires a of course true – every installation has tweaks and different or expanded set of information in the details that are unique. However, underlying this profile. (“We’ve always done it that way” is not a uniqueness there are structures, typical patterns and very good answer if you cannot articulate why that is categories that, when understood, make it easier to the case.) get to the final “tweaking point” needed to round out a good installation. Firms are not as different as Most likely, you will want some additional profiles they sometimes like to and levels of security for confi- imagine. Implementing dential information (Accounting, document management Human Resources, the firm Answers to design issues must could also serve as a start- Management Committee, etc.) so ing point to reexamine a start from an analysis of the that only authorized personnel firm’s past practices that firm’s structure and culture. have access to whole categories of may have “grown like documents. In specific cases very topsy” and make them sensitive areas of a practice (trusts more efficient. & estates; mergers & acquisitions) might need a “walled-off” area. Some programs also allow you to Plan, Plan, Plan create an “ethical wall” for particularly sensitive clients. Once you have a list, how exactly do you want the In addition, you need to address the issue of per- system to work? Do different practice areas/depart- sonal information. How do you want to deal with ments require different settings or levels of security? users’ requests for a space to store their “personal” It is important to look at this closely to distinguish stuff? Users will have questions such as “what about between what a practice area or specific attorneys my personal documents?” “I keep the partner’s might think they want and what they actually need. personal correspondence on my local hard drive, Does the firm have a strong management or does it what will happen to that?” “I keep drafts on the hard more resemble a series of medieval dukedoms, with drive and only put the final copy on the network.” It each “duke” ensconced in his castle on a hill (or is important to distinguish here between truly corner office)? personal documents and “work in progress,” drafts, Thus the first thing to look at is the structure of the documents that are not done, etc. The latter are firm. A boutique firm requires a much simpler obviously part of the firm’s work product. If these Document Management Page 10 of 25 ©Heckman Consulting
  13. 13. issues are not addressed beforehand, you could have “Please let the office administrator know of any a revolt on your hands. The actual answer you give concerns you have or additional issues you feel is less important than addressing the issue – and you should be addressed...” may also be led to modify the structure of your While this process may be somewhat foreshortened system to accommodate certain concerns or require- in a smaller firm, the basic issues should be ad- ments. dressed, even if informally. The answer to these issues depends on the firm’s culture. In principle any documents produced on a Designing the System computer owned by the firm belong to the firm. The technical aspects of the system – where will the However, this principle is most often honored in the documents be stored, whether a new server will be breach. required (most DMS’s require a separate server, Finally, keep in mind that there is a trade-off be- Worldox is almost alone in not normally having this tween security and convenience. If you lock a system requirement) – should be decided between your IT down too much, it can have a serious effect on people and your consultant. usability. You need to establish your comfort level Document management systems create “profiles” or here. “templates” to facilitate organization and faster searching. These typically include Client, Matter, Involve End Users; Document Type, Author and sometimes Typist in Set Expectations addition to the document description. You need to decide whether this is adequate or whether you have If end users are taken by surprise when a system is special needs. For example, a corporate legal depart- rolled out, you could be in for a rocky implementa- ment might want to also categorize documents by tion. In addition, Partners who are used to certain the state whose law governs the document. work habits (and may not want to “share” their Questions you need to answer include the following documents) may have to modify old habits, so it is (which have been examined in more detail else- critical for Partners to “buy in” to document man- where): agement. ! How many different profiles/templates do you One way to further this goal is to put out a memo need? Separate ones for HR, Accounting, along the lines: Management Committee, etc. What special requirements might mandate the need for a “We are considering implementing a document separate template for separate practice areas? management system. We expect it will address the following issues that have been plaguing the ! How do you wish to deal with personal docu- firm.... ments? A subset of this issue is how do you want to deal with personal business by senior “In addition, the DMS will provide the follow- partners or others? ing enhancements/benefits that will make your work easier... ! How do you want to deal with email? ! How will you deal with, e.g., faxes, saved Web “In order to properly implement the system, pages, and other types of electronic information? users will be expected to conform to the follow- ing guidelines in terms of personal or other ! What additional functionality do you wish to non-business related documents... include (brief or form banks)? Document Management Page 11 of 25 ©Heckman Consulting
  14. 14. On the other hand, you want to avoid “design by DMS. Lastly, some utility programs, such as committee” like the plague. At some point, a firm ActiveWords, may conflict with the document simply has to designate a small group of people to management system. come to a decision. Email Old (“Legacy”) Documents Client-related emails sent or received by various A major issue when implementing a document people in the firm should be integrated into the management system is what to do with your old document management system so that they are documents. It is a safe bet most firms will never available to everyone working on a case. Outlook access up to 75-80% of the documents created makes it difficult to organize emails around clients before the document management system is imple- and matters. mented. I recommend setting up a “legacy” category The firm needs to establish policies for how emails for your old documents. Force users to move old are stored in the document management system. files into the new system the first time they access You want to make it possible for people to exclude them. This will be far less time-consuming (and personal email, items from listservs or RSS feeds, hence less expensive) than trying to convert your old spam, etc. You also need to decide how to deal with documents. existing email stores. This critical topic is examined If you are switching from one document manage- at greater length below, especially since it is fre- ment program to another, however, there may be quently an area of resistance from attorneys who conversion utilities available to convert your old have been using Outlook as their “document man- information. This would also be a question to ask agement system” and may have 5-10,000 emails in vendors during the initial evaluation: can their Outlook. program convert the structure of your current sys- tem? Scanning Integrating Other Software The desire to manage scanned documents frequently provides the impetus to adopt a document manage- Make sure that the proposed document manage- ment program. Developing an efficient workflow for ment program will integrate not only with Microsoft scanned documents is a major issue and is dealt with Office or WordPerfect products, but Acrobat, below. various scanning products, cost recovery modules such as eCopy or Equitrax or other specialized Working Remotely/Web Access programs that the firm uses. One frequently-used program you should explicitly check on if you use it Virtually all attorneys these days work from home at is DeltaView (Workshare). If the program does not least part of the time. What provisions will you natively integrate, can integration be easily added make for attorneys to access the document manage- without costly additional custom programming? ment system remotely from home? Worldox, for example, integrates with over 50 Remote Access to the DMS. Smaller firms may use programs, and tech support can usually integrate it programs such as GoToMyPC or LogMeIn, which with almost anything in a half hour or so. Most enable the user to log in to their own desktop and document management programs cannot integrate work as if they were at the office. with database programs such as those commonly used for e.g., real estate closings, precisely because Larger firms are more likely to use a VPN connec- they are databases, not individual files (although the tion, Terminal Services or a Citrix installation, output as PDF or Word file can be saved with the which accomplish the same thing. Document Management Page 12 of 25 ©Heckman Consulting
  15. 15. Web Access. For instances where this is not feasible, Training most systems provide some form of Web Access (generally as an additional module). This enables Most document management systems are suffi- users to log in just to the document store via a ciently easy to use that many firms do not feel browser. Some programs, such as Worldox, use training is necessary. However, in the process of “pure” browser access – no other program is re- “hand crafting” ways to keep track of documents in quired. Others require a small program to be in- the past, users will inevitably have created proce- stalled on the home machine or laptop which may dures for naming and storing documents that may limit access (if you are in an Internet café in Italy, have been useful to specific individual users, but are say). Lastly, you should enquire about access to your either not necessary, inefficient, or even counter- document store via PDA. Ideally, this should be productive in the context of a document manage- device-independent: Blackberrys, Treo, Windows ment system. In addition, most users do not get the Mobile, iPhones, Gphones. You don’t want to tell most power out of the program’s capabilities. As an attorney they have to give up their Blackberry in with any other program, adequate training can order to access their documents! While reading and multiply the effectiveness of a document manage- editing documents on a PDA is not very realistic, ment system many times. the ability to review documents and email them from your PDA can be very valuable. Followup Extranets. It should also be possible to set up an Followup can be just as important as the initial “Extranet:” remote access to restricted areas of your training. One of the problems with any rollout is document store so that specified clients can access that after the initial training, users get “up to speed” those documents (and only those documents) that and are able to do their basic work. However, very the firm makes available to them. rapidly, the minimum they need to know to get their work done becomes the maximum they actually do All these functions will become increasingly impor- know. And over time, that knowledge tends to tant in the future. While you may not choose to shrink due to natural entropy (the tendency of any implement this functionality at the present time, you system or body of knowledge to deteriorate without should make sure it is available for future use. outside input). Most users do not explore further, increase their knowledge or find better ways to do Brief Banks/Forms things. There are two kinds of followup that I recommend. First, after the initial rollout and Most firms do not take the time and effort to create training, circulate items from a “Tips and Tricks” brief banks, boilerplate or form documents. Instead, list via email about two or three times a week for a attorneys “recollect” a similar document that could month or two. This has two functions: be modified for a new case. This process is prone to ! First, it reminds users of things they may have error (“old” language overlooked and left in the heard during training but forgotten. It tends to document by mistake). And not only are memories both reinforce training and expand their knowl- faulty, but this process leaves the firm without edge at an early stage (it is much more difficult “firm-standard” boilerplate for certain purposes. In later on). addition, standard form documents can serve as a valuable resource in training new attorneys: “this is ! Second, it encourages them to believe that how we have resolved this issue in the past and here people are paying attention, willing to address is why.” This issue is dealt with in more detail issues, etc. It encourages users to ask more below. questions and helps fight passivity. Document Management Page 13 of 25 ©Heckman Consulting
  16. 16. The second is to sponsor “brown bag lunches” on an and because one person’s question will have actually ongoing basis, perhaps every three or six months, occurred to several people, you get a reinforcement where particular topic or topics are explored. Again, effect that tends to expand users’ knowledge and this serves to reinforce and expand knowledge, help keep all your users on the same page. Basic Functionality 3. You can look in the index. This is what you do Searching with full-text desktop indexing programs like Google or Yahoo. However, these programs may What do you do when you want to find a document not index all your files, and they likely will not index if you are not using document management? Obvi- files on your server. The problem with these ously if you remember where you put it, that's great. searches is that they cast a But what if somebody else very broad net: you have to worked on it initially, how do You should be able to search check the “hits” and if you you know where they put it, how for e.g., “all the pleadings for are not careful you get many they named it, or whether they more hits than you really just put in on their C: drive in Client X done in the last six want. There is no easy way “My Documents?” Sooner or months for the term “excited of adding a “matter” cate- later, you have to search for a utterance.” gory to narrow down the document. search. As anyone who has Think of the sum total of your firm's documents done substantial research on (generally referred to as the “document store”) as a the Internet or on-line services like Lexis or West- huge book. If you want to find a particular docu- law knows, this kind of search is a fine art. ment (chapter, passage), there are several ways to 4. You can specify “look in Client X's files for the proceed. Chapter called 'Pleadings' for the term 'excited utterance'.” Or, find all the retainer agreements with 1. You can read the whole book. This is what the a specific term in them. This is what a true docu- Windows search function does. As one potential ment management system like Worldox does. client said to me: “I don't have a problem with this – I just start the search and go get a cup of coffee Good searches start with good naming conventions. and by the time I'm back, it's done.” May be. But The trick here is to put anything unique about the pretty wasteful of valuable time – besides, how many document in the description. If you want to do a cups of coffee can you drink in one day? more extensive “key words” listing, use the com- ments field. You do NOT need to put e.g. “letter” or 2. You can look through the table of contents. This the date or the client matter number in the descrip- is like looking through the directory structure tion, since these can be searched for in other fields (assuming it is organized in a reasonable fashion). in your profile. You might want to put the client Better, but still pretty time consuming on a regular name, or the name of the person a letter is addressed basis. to in the description. If a brief deals with particular Document Management Page 14 of 25 ©Heckman Consulting
  17. 17. or unique points of law, put those in the comments Viewing Documents area. A good document management system will let you When searching a DMS you can combine profile view documents without having to open them. and field information. For example, you can com- When you see the list of documents a search has bine a search in the description field with full text found, you should be able to open a viewer and search in the text field and/or limit a search to a scroll through the documents without having to specific client, time period, etc. Most DMS’s also open them. This can be a great time-saver. have full boolean search capability (AND, OR, NOT, A within X words of B) just as you would In addition, you should be able to cut and paste text have with Lexis or West. Some examples: from the viewer into whatever document you are working on. So instead of opening a second docu- accident AND liability – will find documents ment, finding the text, cutting and pasting and then containing both those terms (in the description or as closing the second document, it can all be done a full text search) through the viewer. accident NOT liability – will find documents Lastly, if you do a full-text search, the viewer should containing “accident” but not “liability.” open to the first “hit.” So if the first hit is on page 25 Rost* – will find any word starting with “rost” (such of a 30 page document, you should be able to see it as Rostropovich). This is useful if you are not sure right away and not have to redo a search within the about the spelling or you want to find variants of document. Desktop search applications generally words. Some programs offer “stemming” or “sounds also do this. like” capabilities. However, this may significantly increase the size of your index and your response Archiving time. It is not always clear that this functionality is worth it. Archiving used to be an issue in the days of limited disk space. Today, when you can get a 1 Terabyte accident w/10 amputation – will find occurrences of drive for under $200, this is no longer the case. “accident” within 10 words of “amputation.” However, you may still want to archive files to ease Searches should search across all your different types the load on your index (which typically takes up of information: documents, scans, faxes, email, saved about 20% of your total document store). It is Web pages, and be able to combine profile (client/ important to be able to store your archived files off- matter) information with types of documents and line, on a NAS device or elsewhere. You will also full-text searches. need to have ready access to archived files if needed. Lastly, for people who have to consult certain form documents frequently, or administrators, bookkeep- Audit Trails ers or HR personnel who want to be able to consult Many people initially say “why bother with audit- certain forms, spreadsheets, etc. on a regular basis, a ing.” There are basically several types of answers to “quick and dirty” solution is to put a unique code in this question, all having to do with administrative the description field, such as “yyy.” If you do a functions. search for “yyy” you will find all the required docu- ments. You can then also create a bookmark for that First, if you come in one morning and find that a search so all your common documents can come up given document has been badly bolloxed up, you can with a single click of a button. This is the equivalent find out who last worked on it and better figure out of putting specific frequently-used documents on what happened. The audit trail lets you see who the desktop. exactly has been working on a document. Document Management Page 15 of 25 ©Heckman Consulting
  18. 18. Secondly, for administrators who wish to track the A second level of security is to assign a specific activity of specific users, you can see what a given document to a group of people, or make it read only person has done for a day or time period. You can to everyone else. This gives both accessibility to the also track whether employees have checked a docu- proper people and prevents casual errors such as ment out, copied it off-line, etc. saving a form or boilerplate document with revisions instead of doing a “save as” and making it a new Security document. Generally speaking there are three categories of You can also create different profile or template security, that is, three types of things to guard groups and store the documents in entirely different against: locations. This is appropriate for example for Accounting/Bookkeeping; Human Resources, the ! Carelessness. Users delete a file by mistake, drag firm’s Managing Committee and similar types of & drop to the wrong place (and then the file is function. Only certain people even see those docu- “lost”), etc. ments in the first place. ! Hostile users and random intrusion. Somebody Lastly, many document management systems tie in has decided to quit and says to themselves “let’s with Active Directory, and apply security settings see how much damage I can do.” Someone else determined by the DMS to the specific files or sees a spreadsheet labeled “personnel salary directories using Active Directory. schedule” and says “gee, let’s see how much everybody makes.” Taking it with You ! Targeted intrusion. This is the equivalent of industrial sabotage and is generally not much of So you have a Paperless Office (or nearly so). All an issue for smaller firms. It can be an issue for your emails are saved, documents, incoming items larger firms with high-dollar clients, cases, etc. that have been scanned, etc. Since copies of files will For example, trusts and estates work for the very inevitably be taken outside from the firm, you need wealthy; high-end mergers and acquisitions, and to establish policies governing how off-line docu- so on. ments will be treated. So when you speak of “security” you have to keep in As part of this policy, the firm should consider mind what level you are speaking about. Also, security provisions for laptops and USB keys, espe- remember that the more secure a system is, the more cially in view of the number of laptops that are annoying it is to use (witness the Vista UAC set- stolen every year and how easy it is to lose a USB tings). key. At a minimum, data taken on a USB key should be encrypted. The ability to password protect a document can be useful although subject to a number of limitations. You want to take your whole case with you to court Commercial password breakers abound, so although on a laptop, CD, DVD, etc. There are a number of a password may protect the document from casual options for accomplishing this, depending on what intrusion, it does nothing to protect against deter- your current configuration is. mined intrusion. Larger firms with a higher volume of litigation, will Document management systems typically allow for have invested in a true litigation support/trial prepa- very granular security, so that a firm can, for exam- ration software such as CT Summation, Trial- ple, prevent all but designated users from deleting Works, or Verdict Systems “Sanction.” So the files. And since everything goes through the DMS, question really comes up only if you need to do this “drag and drop” errors are eliminated. on a less costly scale. Document Management Page 16 of 25 ©Heckman Consulting
  19. 19. If you are using a document management system able to synch the directory in question either with such as Worldox, you can simply export the entire your laptop or an external hard drive. Putting in on case to the hard drive of your laptop (or even a flash an external hard drive has the advantage that you are drive), and retain all the organization, searching, etc. not dependant on your specific laptop, you can of the DMS. This is by far the easiest and most access the files from anywhere. The big disadvan- efficient way to proceed. In fact, if you need to take tage is that they are easier to lose. an entire case to court on a regular basis, it could be a decisive reason to invest in a document manage- However, this solution then raises the issue of how ment system. you efficiently organize and search for files. You can If you have a do-it-yourself handyman’s solution, use Copernic or a similar solution to full text index you can copy the entire directory containing the the files, but this does not allow for any other case. Or better, use one of a number of tools avail- organizational principle (i.e., by client or matter). Email GroupWise, although Worldox will also integrate General with Lotus Notes. Hopefully, at least partial integra- With the exponential growth of email, the ability to tion with programs such as Gmail and Thunderbird manage email messages is criti- is in the wings. cal. Integrating email (and at- There are two separate issues tachments) into a single docu- To really merit the name, a here: dealing with future ment store together with docu- document management email (easy) and dealing with ments generated by the firm, system must adequately the masses of past email, scanned documents, discovery integrate email. including archived email documents, and so on, becomes (harder). ever more essential. To really merit the name, any document management system must adequately integrate email. Saving Outgoing Email One key issue here is whether you can work with Saving outgoing email is relatively simple. The your entire email inbox and subfolders, or whether DMS intercepts outgoing email (for example, by the system will only deal with your inbox. Can you watching the “sent items” box) and asks you what send email messages alternatively from the docu- you want to do with it: copy or move it to the DMS, ment management program or just the email ignore it, etc. system? The ease of automating the process of moving emails from your email system to the docu- By tracking emails and constructing what Worldox ment management system is also extremely impor- terms “quick profiles” you should be able to auto- tant for a system to be successful. Finally, there is mate this process so that an email to person X is the critical question of which email systems the assigned (either automatically or by asking the user) program will integrate with. Most currently do not to the same client/matter as previous emails to this integrate with anything much besides Outlook and person. Document Management Page 17 of 25 ©Heckman Consulting
  20. 20. Some systems automate this more fully than others, attorneys readily see the tremendous advantage to but the automated systems (including some of the the fact that all emails concerning a specific case or Practice Management programs such as Amicus or matter will now be available to everyone with appro- Time Matters) tend to make mistakes: for example, priate rights, regardless who sent or received them. what if you regularly email the same recipient but No more additional emails asking who got the email pertaining to several different matters (which might or yelling down the hall to locate the email. be common in real estate or similar practices)? How does the system “automatically” know which client It is critical to make it easy for them to move exist- to assign the email to? ing emails into the DMS. Attorneys who find this prospect too daunting to even consider might be However, Quick Profiles or similar systems do let well-served to have a secretary or paralegal come in you partially automate the process. They are also on a weekend and spend several hours doing noth- extremely useful in moving old emails to the DMS: ing but organizing and moving, say, the last 6 properly set up, you can drag and drop multiple months of emails to the DMS. In addition, you can emails (in some cases hundreds at a time) to the set up what Worldox terms “Quick Profiles” so that Quick Profile and have them moved to the DMS. once the initial setup is done, emails can simply be dragged and dropped to a specific matter without Saving Incoming Email the need to fill out profiles. Saving incoming email is much more complicated than saving outgoing email and is generally done Generally, there are two ways to proceed. If the manually. Consider your incoming email: personal attorney is an organized type, with client sub-folders items, spam, business email. Email from the same in Outlook, or if the Firm has instituted public person may relate to different matters: how is a folders organized by client matters, then the emails system going to decide how to allocate that email? can be batch imported into a DMS. I have seen people import as many as 3,000 documents in a Generally speaking the programs that have more single pass (though I recommend splitting it into robust capacity for automating the saving of incom- smaller batches). ing emails, such as Interwoven, do so at a significant additional cost. It is also frequently error-prone, so If the attorney is a disorganized type, try sorting the it would need to be examined carefully before being emails by sender or recipient. The chances are that implemented Depending on your volume, this most of the emails to or from a given individual added automation might be a reason for adopting belong if not to a single case, at least to a small one of those programs. number of cases. This greatly simplifies the process of importing them. Saving Existing Email Giving careful attention to these considerations can Careful attention should be paid to the process of make your implementation much smoother and getting existing emails into the document manage- result in more satisfied users. Once again, buy-in is ment system. Many attorneys use Outlook as a junk critical. catch-all, and it is not unusual to find an attorney with 5-10,000 emails in Outlook in a completely disorganized fashion. Accessing and Saving Archived Emails This will likely be an area of considerable attorney resistance. Many attorneys are too used to working When a DMS is being installed, clients frequently in a specific way and using Outlook as their “docu- ask “what about my archived email?” There is a way ment management” system. On the up side, most to deal with this although it requires a bit more Document Management Page 18 of 25 ©Heckman Consulting
  21. 21. focus and concentration than “on the fly” integra- Practice management programs such as Amicus tion. Attorney or Time Matters typically require that you The trick is to restore access to the archive folder save the email separately as a document before you and then go from there. In Outlook, select File | save the email because the email record is saved in a Open | Outlook Data File. Choose to open the database table. There are third party utilities that let “archive.pst” folder. If your network administrator you automate this process, but it is still an extra step has been storing archive files offline somewhere, you and additional expense. may have to negotiate for the ability to do this. Your “archive” folder appears at bottom of the When you save an email from Outlook into Outlook Inbox and folders list. You can then open Worldox, or other DMS, they save and index the it up and move those files into the DMS. Again, attachments with the email. You can also save it depending on how your network is set up, this may separately if you need to work on it. This has a take some doing – but most network administrators number of advantages. First, it saves the email in a will be more than happy to do anything that reduces *.msg file (not as part of a database), so it is always the load on Outlook and the Exchange server. accessible – there is no database table to become corrupted. Second, by preserving the link between Managing Email Attachments the email and the attachment it leaves a trail that can be valuable or even critical when it comes to elec- Many emails are simple “transmittal emails:” “At- tronic discovery. Last, the process is much simpler tached is the following document.” However, many and more streamlined than with most practice of them also have content linked to the document: management programs. “Attached is the document. What do you think about the new section 27?” In the later case, you Many firms send their scanned documents and faxes need to maintain the link between the two as part of to specific users as attachments. In this case, the best an audit/evidence trail. So the question of managing procedure is to save the attachment separately and attachments is as critical as the emails themselves. then just delete the email. Scanning A firm decides it “wants to start scanning” because likely to be considerably more expensive an a that seems like the thing to do. But you have to service bureau with very high-speed scanners, define the content of this statement more closely. dual 30" monitors, and so on. What exactly do you want to scan? ! Every piece of paper that comes through the door? Most firms do not really want to do this. But if you do, then you have a major issue of ! Documents for discovery? Aside from the fact how you distribute the scans. Physical mail is that discovery requests are likely to increasingly routed through a mailroom or secretaries. How require documents in their native format, this is will the scans be routed? an area that is most likely best handled by an outside service bureau. The chances are that in- ! Just the important documents that come in? house scanning (perhaps done by paralegals) is Who decides this? What process is involved? Document Management Page 19 of 25 ©Heckman Consulting
  22. 22. ! For firms with relevant practice areas, doctors’ ! What do you want to do with historical data reports or handwritten notes, accident reports, (How do I get rid of all those file cabinets and tax forms, property documents, and so on. That boxes in a data center?). Here again, this may be is, all the paper forms that just have to be im- a prohibitive undertaking, but a service bureau aged and not necessarily OCR’d. may be the best solution. Workflow Perhaps the most difficult subject, however, is Workflow Issues – Email exactly how do you exchange documents? And what An issue that comes up increasingly is how to if multiple people are making simultaneous revi- manage workflow and collaboration. On a primitive sions? You have an initial document. Version 1 is level this seems easy: you exchange documents, mark created by editor 1. Version 2 is created by editor 2 them up, make changes, etc. but does not incorporate the change of Version 1. And so on. This scenario can get very complex very It’s when you have to organize them that problems quickly. Generally, somebody has to coordinate all arise. Document management systems provide an the changes (by hand). initial basis for collaboration by organizing your As a frequent proponent of “less is more” I was documents and implementing version control. This intrigued by the suggestion, in the recent book by lets you see which “versions” of document are saved Dennis and Tom Mighell, The Lawyer’s Guide to on different dates and by whom. To the extent you Collaboration Tools and Technology, that you put are exchanging documents within the firm, you the entire document in a table with the text in the should be able to email just a link to the document: left column and comments in the right column. This various people can then make their changes and save makes it easy to look at the comments and relatively them as different version. This works on a one-to- easy for somebody to coordinate the changes. one basis. Very often, however, firms are exchanging docu- Workflow Issues – Scanning ments to outside counsel via email. They then get One of the main problems in the process of going revised versions back through email. You want to “paperless” (or “PaperLESS” as Ross Kodner likes to have the ability to save those returned documents as say) is the thorny issue of workflow. As scanning versions of the original document. Ideally, the DMS becomes more and more prevalent, there are a should be able to recognize that the return attach- significant number of workflow issues that need to ment is a version of the sent document and treat it be addressed. The bottom line is that if you are accordingly dealing with a large number of files, it is imperative to set up the workflow correctly, otherwise you will The next level comes with the need to perform some wind up wasting hours of time. sort of document comparison/track changes func- tion. If Word’s built-in functionality is adequate (for The first issue is the question of large-volume vs. many people it is not), fine. Otherwise you will need desktop scanners. Copier companies are increasing some third-party add-in such as DocsCorp’s selling scanning modules. These are very fast, and CompareDocs, iRedline from Esquire Innovations ideal for large documents, but they suffer from two or the 800 lb. gorilla, DeltaView/Workshare. defects. First, they are inefficient for small volumes, Document Management Page 20 of 25 ©Heckman Consulting
  23. 23. since the user has to get up from their desk, go to (4) Finally, depending on the implementation, the scanner/copier, reset it, scan (usually to the deleting the original scan to avoid duplicates. network, sometimes emailing the scan to them- For some documents you can omit step two (re- selves), then reset it back to copying, return to their ceipts, handwritten notes, etc.), but if you want the desk, retrieve the document and save it. resulting document to be searchable, you need to The second issue is that while high-speed scanners OCR it, and this is the most processor-intensive and claim to produce “PDF”s in fact they are frequently time-consuming piece of the equation. Since the producing image-only PDFs, which cannot be text whole point of fully automating your document searched. Therefore a second piece of software is store (documents, scans, emails) is to have every- usually required to OCR the PDFs so that they are thing searchable, this should be done an overwhelm- text searchable. This should be determined when ing majority of the time. considering the purchase of one of these machines. When you consider the entire operation, to the If you have a desktop scanner, the situation is extent that you can off-load parts of this process to somewhat better, since you will be able to scan a background or automated function, you can save directly to PDF, then save the PDF file wherever significant amounts of time. you want. Step 1. Actual scanning. If you For most firms, the best use a large-volume multi-func- solution is to use both: use You need a good workflow: tion machine as scanning, there the large, fast central scanner You can’t automate chaos. is the workflow issue indicated for big jobs and a smaller above. People have to get up desktop scanner for shorter from their desk, go to the scan- documents such as letters. This also means that the ner, scan, go back to the desk and save or manipu- person processing and scanning the mail (for exam- late the scanned document. Due to their high ple) does not have to get up from their desk to scan scanning speeds (sometimes hundreds of pages per small items. minute), multi-function machines are good for big Where are you going to put the scanned documents documents, but quite inefficient for, say, one-page and how are you going to organize them? How do letters. you route today’s scans in a fashion analogous to Step 2. OCR. This is the most time-consuming routing physical mail? At this point, the need for a part of the process and the part that it is easiest to full-fledged document management system such as off-load to an automated background operation. Worldox, Interwoven’s Worksite or Hummingbird The major OCR programs, Abbyy and OmniPage, (Docs Open) becomes critical. Otherwise the vol- let you set up a “watch” directory and you can then ume becomes overwhelming and as someone said, schedule the OCR, even for off hours. Larger-scale you can’t automate chaos. programs such as eCopy or pdfDocs will also let you There are three or four logical steps when you scan do this. a document: 3. Saving to Document Management. If you are (1) Scanning the document, i.e., running it through using Worldox and the eCopy cost recovery system, the scanner; an elegant system is available from Loffler www.loffler.com. The “connector” takes over the (2) OCR’ing the document (this is the most time- scanning process, when you start the scan, you consuming part of the equation); and profile it into the Worldox system. There is no (3) Saving the document to the DMS or elsewhere. “middleman” or interim process. Depending on Document Management Page 21 of 25 ©Heckman Consulting