David Crewe Ltd


Independent Kofax KCĀ³ Consultant

Spring Cleaning your Kofax Capture System.

Just like the dust behind the sofa, the unreplaced cracked tile in the bathroom, and the threadbare carpet you never got around to replacing... your Kofax Capture system gets 'dirty' over time and needs periodic repairs and improvements to keep it 'clean'.

This article isn't offering a complete guide to cleaning your capture system, but I hope it will highlight areas for you to look to see how 'clean' or 'dirty' your system is, and make you think about how to improve things.

Some areas to look at are:

Batch Classes

I've been to sites with literally hundreds of batch classes, only 10-15 of which are actually published. When questioned about the others, often nobody knows what they are or why they were ever created. Or sometimes the answer is that '...we used to do that years ago..' or '...they were some tests we ran a while back...' etc.

Whilst there isn't a particular technical reason to remove these redundant batch classes, doing so can make the system far easier to maintain - especially when new admins are involved who don't know the system.

Why not just backup the unused classes and keep them somewhere safe just in case (see Documentation section), and remove them from the system.

Documentation

I've recently dealt with a client trying to fix what should be a very simple issue in a KTM project - a database was not being updated causing a Validation lookup to fail.

Looking into the project we identified the text file being referenced, and then went to that file and discovered it had not been updated in months. At this stage we realised that the automated job which created the file must have stopped. All easy so far, but then we discovered that nobody knew what job had been creating the file, where it was, or how it worked. As I write this I believe the investigation is ongoing...

Documenting batch classes and KTM projects is essential!

The level of documentation is largely related to the complexity of the batch class or KTM project, and making sure that somebody who has never seen the project before can figure it out using the documentation should be the goal.

Documentation should at the least (and this is far from an exhaustive list) include:

        An overview of the project
        Import method and source
        Export method and destination
        Scripts and customisations
        External components used or referenced
        Passwords

Documentation and backups of batch classes and KTM projects should be stored in a safe location and updated whenever updates are made to the projects.

Training

This is an often overlooked area in capture systems, and should be reviewed frequently to make sure all administrators and users are able to work effectively.

Often users and administrators move into a job and are just expected to 'get up to speed' with the system. Some minimal training may be given by co-workers and there may be some documentation available, but in many cases the reality is that these users are not properly prepared and able to work as effectively as they should be.

By reviewing the roles of each user, and establishing the training needs, a package can be put together for each level - scanners, validators, administrators etc - and this can be used whenever a new user joins the team.

Ignoring this at any level - user or administrator - is liable to seriously reduce the productivity of your users, and the ROI of your capture system. If an administrator builds an inefficient job, then effort - and therefore money - is wasted every single time that job is used.

Make a point of talking to the users to establish whether some training is required.

Improvements

Ask the following questions to anybody involved in the capture system - this means users, administrators, managers, and business users:

        Are we doing things the most efficient way?
        Could we be doing the same with less effort?
        Could we be doing more?

I've yet to come across a system of any complexity where there weren't any possible improvements.

By questioning key people involved in the capture system you may identify issues and opportunities that wouldn't otherwise show up - a system that works inefficiently still works, so it isn't always obvious that improvements could be made. Identifying these can be tricky, but can allow changes to be made which can drastically improve the system. See my article on the power of small changes for more on how identifying incremental changes can reap benefits.

See our beginners guide to Recognition and Validation scripts to learn how to add scripting to your Kofax Capture system. And for those not ready, willing or able to write their own scripts, check out the custom components which can add custom functionality to your system with minimal technical effort.

As stated above, this is far from an exhaustive list of things to do to as part of a 'Spring Clean', but I hope it may prompt some action and at least give you a starting point. Good luck!

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