Monday, December 22, 2014

This Time with Feeling

By Brian Kopack


We filmed the next installment in our video series.  Look for it sometime in early January.  Admittedly, I am biased, but it should be pretty great.

“Make it personal.” That’s what I heard a few times.

Normally, I would shrug a comment like that off pretty easily.  What does that even mean?

This time, I paid attention.

It’s exactly what’s missing from the information management discussion.

It’s not about hardware or pages-per-minute or modules or concurrent users.  It never really should have been.  If you purchased all of those things and still ended up with the same problem - the human element was most likely missing.  It wasn’t personal.

Technology is complex.  Corporate structures and processes are complex.  Collaboration and personal interaction is what makes the connection, makes the complex simple.  It’s what gives the technology perspective.

At IOS, we’ve been telling you that everything we do revolves around the belief that it’s the idea that matters.  That’s because we know business.  We know technology is just the buttons you push.  It’s not why you push the buttons.

To save time, to create efficiency, to reduce risk, to make better decisions – those are reasons to push the buttons.  Empowering people through better access to information - give the button pushing a purpose, that’s what IOS does.  That’s really what IOS has always done, it’s just becoming more critical than ever before.

We believe our development approach is unique – mainly because it starts with us listening to the real issues or visions of real people.  Since we aren’t selling a “thing”, our expertise allows us to be creative and responsive in the context of the true need.  It allows us to be a what-you-need-is-what-get partner.

Too often it seems that the information we don’t have is what holds us back.  The old adage is, “If I only knew then what I know now.”


Welcome to IOS.  Now you know.
Monday, December 15, 2014

Waiting is for Suckers

By Angela Childs

I recently bought the latest version of Adobe Photoshop except saying “bought” isn’t really accurate and “latest version” isn’t either.  I pay a monthly subscription for Photoshop.  The monthly subscription gives me access to the latest version, which is upgraded regularly (about 3 times a month).  I never have to wait for new features.

Financially it was the right move and technically it was the right move.  In three years, assuming everything stays the same (current price a copy of Photoshop vs. what I pay monthly) I’ll have paid as much for my subscription as I would have a full copy and still not own it.   But three years from now owning a 3 year old copy of Photoshop would have almost the same value as not owning one since technology years are like dog years.  I also really, really like new stuff so the idea that I always have the latest/greatest feeds my addiction.

One of the content management systems we offer, FileBound, offers a subscription-based model for both their hosted and premise based options.  They have the same smart design that Adobe has.  You buy only what you need, have access to all the latest and greatest, and quickly and easily scale up as you need to.  We expect to see a similar trend in the other systems we offer.

As Jay-Z said, loiterers should be arrested.  Change isn’t a burden or a luxury of those with the time to plan.  It is a necessity.  In technology, what’s old will never be new again.

If only there was someone who knew what was out there and what others were doing.  If only there was someone that would come in and help you find a better way.

Are you sitting down?  There totally is someone.  IOS.  We spend every day helping business use their information better, automate processes, error-proof operations, and tighten controls for audits.

Your 2015 shouldn’t look like your 2014.  We can help.
Monday, December 1, 2014

25% Off...Three Days Only

By Brian Kopack


But wait…..there’s more.

Hurry and contact us for our best deals of the season and get a $100 gift card!

Does that really work?  I’m not much of a shopper, but in retail that seems to be all it takes to get people interested this time of year.  Set your strategy, ditch the family, wait in line for hours in the cold (in the Midwest) - maybe get in a fight just to make sure you get a crack at a great deal on a drill or video game or a Cabbage Patch Doll or whatever.  (Note:  If you did those things to buy a Stretch Armstrong doll, I understand.  That toy was totally awesome and worth all of the trouble.)

Marketers have convinced us these are never-to-be-missed, life-changing days – but hurry because supplies are limited.

What’s their secret?  I have yet to see the Black Friday-type commercial for content management.  If a special promotion or fancy ad is all it takes to get the “I have to have that” side of the brain to activate, there should be one.

A content management strategy won’t have the same pizazz as say a dancing, orange monkey you can control from an app on your phone to wake you up in the morning in your choice of six different languages, but it’s just as cool and -- your business definitely needs one.  The “never-to-be-missed, life-changing days” part is no sales exaggeration here.  It’s real life.

If an ad existed, it would probably say things like:

  • Improves decision making!
  • Reduces stress!
  • Cuts time spent in the office!
  • Gets you organized!
  • Makes vacations worry-free!
  • Look and feel 10 years younger!

Maybe not the last one, but it would be nice wouldn’t it?  That would be a holiday miracle. Exclamation points make everything seem more important, so there would definitely be a lot of those.

Here’s the sad truth.  That commercial will never be made.  It doesn’t fit the profile.  Managing information isn’t sexy – and it isn’t easy.  People like to be sold on easy.

Every business is different.  Every business has different needs.  Every business culture is different. Strategies can’t be developed over a long, holiday weekend.  Excellence isn’t a seasonal fad.

Moving your business’s content management strategy forward takes a commitment that will need to outlast the holiday irrationality.  You have to ask why you do things the way you do and what if you did something different to be better.  Who can help you reach your potential?

You can’t find that in a store.

4 out 5 people surveyed said they would call IOS to help.


What are you waiting for?  Experts are standing by.
Monday, November 17, 2014

Information Therapy

By Brian Kopack

10 to 15 minutes twice per day.

I spend at least that much time thinking about how IOS uses information.  I think about what we need, craft where we will get it and fret about how much effort it will take.  In that respect, IOS is just like every other business.

It helps me to create out loud.  It gives me a chance to hear what I’m thinking.  If I can’t explain it, I probably don’t know exactly what I want.

My year-and-a-half, part Golden Retriever-part dinosaur (Champ) is a good sounding board.  He hears every word during our walks.  It is a pretty safe bet that he is as well-versed in content management as any dog anywhere.

Hearing is one thing.  Listening is another thing.  Being able to offer a clear vision to solve a problem is completely next level.

If I had to rely on Champ to solve my problems, I probably would need therapy.  He hears me but he can’t solve problems.  He’s a dog.

No worries.  I’m usually not concerned about the finding answers I need because I know we have great people at IOS.  Great people who understand that above all, the idea matters.  If I explain the issue and opportunity well enough, smart people will do what you would expect smart people to do – come up with a great idea – an idea that saves time or saves money or improves a process to make IOS better.

Businesses know they can be better.  They want to be better.  They just don’t know how.  That makes the pain more real.

It is totally illogical that technology is everywhere creating unimaginable opportunities but businesses are still lost.  So, they settle for doing the same thing the same way and getting the same result – frustration.

They don’t have anyone to talk to.  They don’t have anyone who will listen to what they need.  They don’t have anyone who can create and deliver ideas that matter.

Sometimes the most obvious answer is the best answer – especially who to talk to for help.  Often, it is right in front of you the whole time – like the answer just jumped off the page.

This page.  Thanks for reading.


IOS

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Analyze This!

By John Trimble

Analytics is the new multi-industry buzzword. In sports it is a new argument inducer; the flashpoint  term being code for “Moneyball” gone mad with statistical probability spreadsheets versus the suspect Luddite but cherished concept of believing one’s  own eyes when assessing player and team performance. Listen to Sports radio for an hour and you will hear it debated. Hotly.

But in Information Management Analytics is not debated. In fact, it is achieving Holy Grailish status and rightfully so. As soon as people see it, understand it just superficially, they want it with no leap of faith required.

A prominent software company achieved their long time strategic goal of being placed in the coveted Gartner “Magic Quadrant” simply due to their software’s strength of Analytics in their new release. Analytics is a major component of the cresting concept of “Information Governance” with its thesis of combatting information overload by requiring the ability to leverage that information mass, to use it and not drown in it. Gartner told them that if they had started the software review by showing the Analytics features they could have “saved a lot of time” Yes, Analytics in Information Management now has that much oompf, that much cachet.

Back to sports: If you imagine for a second Peyton Manning calling out a play at the line instead of hearing ‘Omaha, Omaha” the evolution of Analytics could sound like this:

Store -Capture – Retrieve – Workflow – Analytics – Hut!

Knowing from your AP workflow how many invoices are being processed and what percentage will be done by end of day, week or month and what dollar amounts are projected to be unpaid is one simple example. Upward and onward, we go from there…

Analytics is the ability to strip information from your documents and put that information in a fluid, digestible, highly useful snapshot of real time information…to quote the 1940’s” it is news that you can use”. It is a very big deal and has the potential to change everything.

Analyze that….

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Luck Isn't a Strategy

By Brian Kopack

Quick

The VP of Something Super Important walks into your office and asks for a muti-year, cross-departmental analysis of important trends affecting the business.

You, as the keeper of the company’s information architecture (a) run a quick query to produce the information from the tightly-integrated content management system you’ve created, or (b) panic and hope you can piece together enough morsels to distract the VP while you scour the systems all weekend to get real answers.

Feeling lucky?  Not county fair-carnival game lucky.  I mean being able to access perfect information and deliver it to the right people at the right time lucky.

If you are the typical business, the reaction is closer to (b).  An AIIM survey report, “EMC at the Crossroads” details that in more than 60% of the companies surveyed, one-half or more of their content is housed in non-enterprise content management systems.  Additionally, more than 25% of those companies use 4 or more disparate systems in their operations.  

Unorganized information = missed opportunities.  

A long time ago, somebody smart said that luck favors the prepared.  In 2014, luck favors the connected – the integrated.  Information is currency.  Whoever can get it first usually wins.  

Business has access to more information about everything than at any other time in the history of the universe, but it’s never been harder to organize it all to make meaningful decisions.

What are you supposed to do?  Even if you had a strategy to capture the information your business needs to make critical decisions today, you have to be adaptive to changing needs tomorrow and navigate around an IT staff that is perpetually overbooked and try and squeeze one more task out of department heads that spend all of their time in the day-to-day.  Good luck with all that.

Or, you can find a partner who knows content management and business – a partner who understands that your information strategy should be simple but dynamic – a partner who knows process automation can tap into unimaginable efficiencies – a partner who believes you can’t integrate systems without integrating people.

Lucky for you, I know that exact partner.

IOS
Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Soap Opera Close Up

By John Trimble

You have all seen this, with or without sound, on every soap opera: a close up on a couple seemingly in love and embracing. The camera then zooms in on the woman’s face who secretly – her emotion shielded by the hug – shows distrust, unhappiness or even queasiness. It is a great device and is used so often simply due to its economy. A complete assessment of a relationship from one side is captured and revealed in two seconds.

How valuable would it be if that type of revelation, that same economy, that honesty (OK, forget it’s a cheesy soap opera and focus here) could be arrived at in the business world with clients? Or even a prospective client?  Understanding, in one quick reveal, how they really feel about your company when they were relieved of having to be fake friendly or politically correct? How they really feel about a current provider whom you are hoping to displace?

When one asks sterile questions like “Are you satisfied with our services to date?” before that last syllable even hits the air you can hear the auto response of “Yes, we are.” Of course in no way is that answer bankable, the answer is pre-determined by the poor phrasing of the question. Similarly, “Is there anything else we should be doing” brings forth the automatic,”No, we’re good.” Maybe that’s true but maybe not…or the common, “Are you happy with your current provider?” You can already hear the “Yes” because again it’s a programmed response.

Bad questions, bad language = bad information

Here is how IOS does it; we ask them if they are in love.  Seriously. We ask our clients if they are in love with IOS.  We ask “what would we have to do to lose you as a client?” We also ask prospects if they are currently in love with their current provider.

We use extravagant language – non business language on occasion because we have to know if we are fulfilling everything we promised in their eyes. We think we are – do they? Not knowing is negligence and like every advice column ever written for couples, quality communication is everything for a happy long term relationship.

Test it yourself: ask a prospect in any field if they are satisfied with their current vendor. You will undoubtedly hear “yes.” Then follow up with, “Are you in love with them?” Then the honesty begins – usually with “Well, I don’t know about that” or “I wouldn’t go that far.” You are now quite possibly in a real conversation.

So, we ask current and prospective clients if they are “in love” because the simple use of non –business speak encourages honesty and full, less careful responses. It avoids the automatic programmed response, responses that do not get anywhere near the truth.

No one can improve what they cannot touch and no one can fix what they allow themselves not to hear. Besides, everyone deserves to be in love.


Cue the closeup.
Monday, September 15, 2014

If you think money can't buy happiness...

By Angela Childs

I recently took a 7-week Social Psychology course (coursera.org…check it out) and week 7 covered
the science of happiness.  The findings:

  • Money can buy happiness
  • Couples are happier than single people
  • Having children does not, according to research, mean you’ll be happier (My son rolled his eyes when I told him.  I can kind of see where that research is coming from…)

One of the lectures included a TED talk by Michael Norton titled How to Buy Happiness.

In the talk he shares his research findings and the nut…
If you think money can’t buy happiness, you’re not spending it right.

Watching this made me think of one of Brian Kopack’s blog posts and I think it’s worth repeating some of his points in this context of “buying happiness”.  (No, I’m not just sucking up to my boss.)

From Brian’s post:

Think about how you manage your information.  How does it make you feel?

Seriously.

I bet it depends on how you purchased the system(s) you use.  Did you buy a thing or an idea?  Ideas don’t show well in big-time PowerPoint presentations, so my guess is you bought a thing.  Most likely, something expensive that does everything except what you need it to do most right now.

Congratulations, you bought a great system (thing) that doesn’t do what you want and you don’t know how to make it do what you need.  How do you feel?

You feel frustrated by the extra work you have to do to work around your system’s limitations. 

You feel trapped because you spent a ton of money and now you are stuck with a mediocre purchase.

You feel embarrassed because you forgot the power of technology doesn’t come from pushing buttons to be able to do something – it comes from making the buttons do that which will allow you to be more of something: smart / efficient / accurate / audit-ready / whatever. 

Without the idea, all you have are menus and drop-down lists.

Buying a thing is definitely a lot easier.  You come up with a feature check list, do some research on the internet, maybe you write an RFP, and you pick the thing that comes closest to your feature list that’s within whatever budget you set.

Not like you could go to the idea store…

Except, that you can.  The “idea store” is a partner that has the expertise you’re looking for and a desire to learn who you are and what your “idea” looks like.  What would make a difference for your organization or department?  How do we make an impact and buy a little happiness?

That’s our whole thing.  It’s why we get up in the morning.


At IOS, everything we do is based on the simple philosophy that it’s the idea that matters.
Monday, September 1, 2014

A Real Solution is a Problem Turned Inside Out

By John Trimble

Copier companies kill me. They throw around the word “solutions” more than a Presidential debate prep team. As copier companies attempt to move into actual document management they are second only to the low end imaging software companies in their never ending mantra’ing of the same word. Close your eyes, listen hard and in the distance you can actually hear the robotic marketing chorus: “Solutions…solutions…solutions…we offer solutions to today’s ever challenging business problems.”

Sure you do.

We have been called twice just this week from a copier company looking to us for help on a project already begun. My personal annoyance is not being asked to perform a rescue but rather in the simple fact that the more superficially one approaches a business problem the easier it is to act like X solution will fit X problem – like AP or Sales orders – even if you have never even analyzed the prospect’s specifics... as if all AP departments operate the same way.

Problem = solution. Solution = Problem

I wish. We could all go home early.

This is not the case. Flat out. At this point IOS has done discovery on hundreds of AP departments and you know what? They are all a little different. The path to creating a better process is a little different each time. Doing specific discovery on each client’s departments, making sure that efficiency is created and bad things actually are made to go away is part of the requirement. It would be lovely if that could be cookie cutter. It’s not.

What helps is if you have done it over and over, if you can name drop a gargantuan list of companies who you have helped, if you have technical and project personnel with skills who have experiences to draw from, who can guide clients towards improvement and away from missed opportunities.

How do you provide a meaningful, dare I say it, solution to a complex business problem?

First, as hinted, recognize the reality that no matter what you think, they are all complex. Secondly, even before you even dare to blab that word, be prepared to do the discovery work so thoroughly on the problem that you are actually now inside looking out. The hidden gotchas, the minutia, the exceptions….because we all know they are there…waiting and almost hoping to be put to bed.

If I am buying that is what I dearly hope someone is selling. Agility and creativity…. experience and expertise. Because that is what I know I will need.

IOS: it’s the idea that matters.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

IOS' Age-Defying Secret

By Brian Kopack

Technology at your fingertips

Collaborative work environment

Totally-immersive approach to problem solving

Thought I was describing your company / division / department, didn’t you?  Or, maybe you wish I was.  Go ahead - admit it.

That is what my daughter’s 1st grade looks like in 2014.  Each student gets an iPad.  They work in groups.  The education strategy focuses on project-based learning.

Elementary school today doesn’t look anything like how it did back in my day.  I might as well be from Pluto. As a product of chalkboards, desks in straight lines, lots of memorization and ruler-wielding nuns (sorry Sister Felicity, I really am), it is hard to believe what 6/7 year olds are being exposed to today.  Things have changed so dramatically, Pluto isn’t even a planet anymore.  But I digress.

Your business isn’t the same either.  If you’ve been at the same company or in the same line of work for a long time, almost everything you knew when you started has changed. When I started in public accounting 20+ years ago, Price Waterhouse made sure I had an adding machine, plenty of mechanical pencils and a life-time supply of 24-column paper. Those were the good old days.

What prompts change?

Ideas.

Take what you have always known. Add a splash of creativity and leverage the power of technology and presto – a new, more excellent normal.

Ideas change everything.

Great ideas and willingness accept change, not fear it, create revolutionary opportunities.

At IOS, everything we do is based on the very simple philosophy that it’s the idea that matters.

Document conversion, intelligent records storage, content management systems and business process improvement – all start with an idea – all impact effectiveness, continuity and sustainability.

More than 40 years of experience have fostered our agile development environment where we can share our expertise creatively to solve complex information management challenges.


IOS can’t make you young again, but our inventive perspectives on information management can make you feel younger with a renewed optimism in the potential of the future.
Friday, August 1, 2014

Ideas Aren't Commodities

By Brian Kopack

Think about how you manage your information.  How does it make you feel?

Seriously.

I bet it depends on how you purchased the system(s) you use.  Did you buy a thing or an idea?  Ideas don’t show well in big-time PowerPoint presentations, so my guess is you bought a thing.  Most likely, something expensive that does everything except what you need it to do most right now.

Think about it like this:

Say you bought a lake cottage.  You notice the stuck window and peeling paint.  You have a list of stuff you have to do to get it “fixed”.  Problem is, as soon as you fix that stuff, you notice more stuff - the roof is leaking and the dock is sagging.  Panic sets in because it will soon be time to close it up for the winter.

You bought a thing.

Now say you bought the same cottage for what it brings you: quiet, calmness, escape.  Now the window doesn’t seem as stuck and the paint peeling can wait a while.  You make the repairs so you can get back to relaxing.  In fact, the repairs don’t seem like work.  They probably help you relax more because you’ve restored some order to your little piece of the universe.  Your effort isn’t burdensome, it’s liberating.

You bought an idea.

Back to the original question.

Congratulations, you bought a great system (thing) that doesn’t do what you want and you don’t know how to make it do what you need.  How do you feel?

You feel frustrated by the extra work you have to do to work around your system’s limitations.

You feel trapped because you spent a ton of money and now you are stuck with a mediocre purchase.

You feel embarrassed because you forgot the power of technology doesn’t come from pushing buttons to be able to do something – it comes from making the buttons do that which will allow you to be more of something: smart / efficient / accurate / audit-ready / whatever.

Without the idea, all you have are menus and drop-down lists.

Ideas make the magic happen.

At IOS, everything we do is based on the simple philosophy that it’s the idea that matters.

Anyone can sell software features.

We won’t ever be just anyone.
Monday, July 14, 2014

It's the Idea that Matters

By Angela Childs

We recently spent time working on IOS’s Why.  Looking not at what we do but why we do it.  If you’ve seen Simon Sinek’s great TED talk or read Start with Why, this will be familiar to you.

When we got to the heart of it for IOS, what did we discover?

Everything we do is based on the simple philosophy that it’s the idea that matters.

What drives us is the search for the most elegant way we can accomplish a goal, pulling in cross-departmental expertise and lessons learned from thousands of projects.  Elegant may mean inventive or it may mean simple.  Because…at the end of the day it’s the idea that matters.  Not who came up with it.  Not what departments are involved.  The idea.

This commitment to the idea, our expertise, and our people, let us reinvent ourselves to achieve the right fit; big or small, quick-turnaround or on-going, simple or complex.  We’re kind of like Taco Bell; we have 10 ingredients and it’s in how we put them together that the magic happens.

Why is it the idea that we’re so passionate about?

There are a lot of reasons but there were a couple that came up during the meeting that I'll share.  One person said it’s because we like being right.  That's honest.  Not the glossy finish that a marketing person would put on it, but we can all identify with that feeling.  When we come up with an idea and it solves a customer problem, we are validated.  We were right.  You go all in and come up with an idea and seeing that be successful for the customer is huge.

Another person had this take.  When a customer engages us to do something, we are asking them to trust us and by giving us the order they are extending us that trust.  When we deliver we are validating that trust.  That trust and fulfillment circle was what he found so fulfilling.

For me, I like the challenge of taking on something we’ve never done before or something we have done but do it in some new, better way.  I like the brainstorming, research, mockups and the back and forth while we zero in on “the idea”.  When the response is “that’s cool”, that’s my reward.


Yes… I get that it’s nerd cool and not Fonzie cool.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Back to the Mailbox

By Brian Kopack

IOS:

I enjoyed looking over your website.  You have an interesting approach to sharing your content.

My question is fairly straight-forward.  I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but how do I know IOS is big enough to help us?  We are a sizable organization.  We have big, complex issues.  We typically have many stakeholders involved in our decision processes.  How would you convince me IOS is a good fit to help us move forward?

Interesting question – but not as straight-forward as it appears.

In fact, I would say it is probably the wrong question entirely.

First, I am not sure what “big enough” means.

I think the real question is, “Are your ideas big enough to help us?”

The answer: Absolutely

Solving problems isn’t about the number of consultants or project managers you have on staff or where your offices are located.  Solving problems is about the ability to understand an issue, develop a creative solution and deliver it effectively.

For as long as IOS has been around, we have been empowering our customers through better access to their information.  Our solutions have helped the largest companies in the world and the smallest of county governments alike.

How can that be? A great idea expertly deployed is completely scalable.  Each customer gets the solution it needs to solve its issue.  No more.  No less.

That’s the genius of the IOS approach – simplicity.


A deceptively inventive perspective, simply.  That’s IOS.

Monday, June 16, 2014

It Would Only Be Strange If It Wasn't True

By Brian Kopack




At IOS, we often talk about how a single content management solution won’t be perfect for all companies, but content management, if designed and implemented properly, will be a perfect fit for every single company.

To illustrate, check out this little game.  Mix and match a selection from each of the lists A, B & C and then read the sentence you created.

Our (insert from List A) department is wasting a ton of (insert from List B) managing all of the (insert from List C) we have to process each day.

List A                                          List B                                    List C
Accounts Payable                     time                                      repetitive transactions
Regulatory/Compliance          effort                                      increasing complexity
Credit/Collections                    money                                   overwhelming volume
Human Resources                  employee potential            internal requests

Whatever the combination it probably describes a lot of your days doesn’t it?  It’s crazy I know.

There is no trick to this, I promise.

We’ve done it for so long, it just seems like we can read your mind – like we know the answers before you even ask the question.

All we do is empower business by helping solve information management problems.
Sunday, June 1, 2014

Dear Professional Services...

By Angela Childs

Dear PSG, 

In the past you’ve specialized in system conversions, is that still true?  

Signed, 

Buried Under Outdated Systems 

Dear Buried,

System conversions continue to be a big part of what we do for our customers, for other companies like IOS, and for software companies like MedHost.  We have 7 in-progress right now:

  • ImageRight to OnBase
  • FileNet to OnBase
  • ImageNow to OnBase
  • BlueWare to MedHost eArchive
  • ODS to OnBase
  • Alchemy to Oracle Stellent
  • Oracle Stellent to OnBase
Typically we employ a multi-phase approach to help with the transition to the new system.

  • Phase 1:  On the first conversion date, IOS collects everything in the current system at that moment in time. Those documents are converted into the format needed for the new target system.  Once that new system is in place, those phase 1 documents are imported so when training occurs, all of the phase 1 documents are there.  
  • Phase 2:   Once users go live on the new system, content in the old system is frozen and we start phase 2.  This is when we collect the new documents (those added between phase 1 and when the system was frozen) and the same conversion steps are followed, ending with the import into the new system.

This two phase helps with the training, eases the transition for go-live, and shortens the window during which users would need to search two systems for their documents.

When you’re ready to get “unburied” give us a call.  Even if you don’t see the system you need to convert from in the list above, odds are we’ve either done it or can do it.  Take a look at the full list.

Sincerely,

PSG
Friday, May 16, 2014

From the IOS Mailbag

By Brian Kopack

IOS,

I would like to discuss some ideas on how best to proceed with my current situation.  

In my new position, I am responsible for managing our aging information management system.  The system is old and its functionality is limited.  To keep up with the information needs of our department managers, we have been forced to create several manual workarounds to compensate for our system’s restrictions.  We have to retain hardware and technicians specifically dedicated to maintaining the system.

I know we need to do something, but I need some direction on how to do the analysis to prove it. 

Any help you can provide would be most appreciated.

By the way, I enjoyed watching your videos.  

I chose to respond to this question publicly because we get some flavor of it all the time.  Technology is constantly advancing and the information needs of businesses are increasing dramatically.  Budgets are tight and time to squeeze in another project is scarce.  Put all of that together and it is easy to understand how companies get frustrated.

If you are considering upgrading / replacing the current system, I think you need to know exactly how much it really costs to operate in the current environment.  The real cost is more than whatever software licensing fees you pay.  The older the system, the more your business is leaking time and money.

Maintaining a legacy system can be expensive.  You might be in a “high rent low living” situation because to keep your current system going you need to maintain hardware and compatible, older-version software.

You might be employing extra employees to muscle through tasks you can’t automate.

You are probably spending time reviewing / auditing / correcting information that you can’t control within the software – again, maybe with more additional employees.

And, depending how integrated the systems within your business are, rewriting links to the disparate programs every time anything is upgraded or patched or replaced can vary between expensive and really expensive.

If you look at it honestly, I think you will find you aren’t getting any real value for your effort.

A new system might come with a healthy price tag, but when you consider the total cost of ownership for your current (old) system, there isn’t really a comparison.

One last thing – I think the videos are pretty great too.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Waiting for Take Off

By Brian Kopack

I have been traveling my share lately.

Travel enough and you are assured of a lot of things: early mornings, long lines, expensive food, that awesome TSA message about carry-on bags and….delays.

During my last delay (3 ½ hours in Dallas) I was so bored I sat for a while and watched the ticketing agent explain to one crabby person after another why the flight was delayed and when she thought we might actually leave.

Then I saw it.  Actually, I heard it. A dot matrix printer with an endless supply of continuous-feed paper attached to it.  It just kept printing and printing and printing.  Very strange.

Right there in the middle of this enormous, zillion dollar terminal was a dot matrix printer ripping through page after page.  Giant flat screens, restaurants, retail stores, massage chairs and a dot matrix printer.  Which of these just doesn’t belong here?  You can get through security with a fingerprint and board with a ticket on your smartphone, but they are using Mary Tyler Moore’s printer behind the desk.  Nice.

There are probably two different perspectives here.  Let’s explore.

Maybe you think it’s great this relic has found a way to stay relevant when everything around it has given way to evolution.

Or…

Maybe you can’t believe the printer is still around in the midst of all the progress.  Everything about it screams defeat, stuckness.

How you answer probably says something about you, but we’ll save the psychoanalysis for another time.

Now, imagine the printer is a metaphor for the content management systems you use in your business.  Are they old and out of date?  Has everything grown up around them?  Are they just sitting in the corner making noise?  If the answer to any/all of these is yes, why?

Even though change is difficult and scary, the alternative, doing nothing, is worse.  What could be more terrible than watching your business become irrelevant right before your eyes?

You can’t fear the future.  More data doesn’t mean less knowledge.  More technology doesn’t mean less control.  Being more connected doesn’t mean you have less freedom.  That’s urban legend created by people’s overactive sci-fi imaginations.

Think about it this way.  A little old makes you retro.  A lot old makes you antique.  Older than that and you are a museum exhibit.

Systems exist today that can create opportunities you probably never imagined.  State of the art technology combined with process automation can have a transformative effect on how you do business.

A little effort plus great advice from an expert partner is all that is standing between your business and the future.

If you commit to the effort, I know some experts.
Monday, April 21, 2014

He Who Hesitates Is...

By Brian Kopack

You know the rest, but we can’t help ourselves.  Why?  Even when we know the consequences, we still chose to do nothing.  We dream big, but it is hard for us to take a chance - even one that might be a catalyst for something positive.  As weird as it sounds, it’s like we are more afraid of success than failure.

Suppose you know someone, or maybe the someone is you, that has a great idea and works really hard, takes a chance and enjoys some impressive success.  But then, some disruption turns everything upside down. Therefore, the someone has to act to recapture whatever they lost: power, security, comfort, whatever or do nothing.

Confused?  Not for long.  Two narratives.  One of the following is absolutely true.  The other might look so familiar it will be like looking in a mirror.

**********

The Exciting Beginning:  It’s the late-90’s.  Technology is advancing opportunities but skepticism (fear) dampers enthusiasm.  You don’t care because you have an idea – one you think will make a difference.  Your passion eventually wins the day and your company follows your lead and embraces your vision for the potential of technology.  For fun, let’s say – enterprise content management.

**********

April 15, 1996 – 100th Boston Marathon

Start - Awesome.  No comparison to anything - anywhere. History – Pageantry – Pure Energy

**********

Fast forward 10 years.  You were right.  Your idea for managing your information through technology was exactly what your company needed.  Your vision was the future.  You bask in the glow of celebrity - a promotion, a raise, the unwavering respect from your peers because you trusted your instinct.

**********

Just past Natick, I run up on a group and at the lead of the pack is him.  Mr. Boston Marathon-4 time winner-hometown hero-probably on the Mt. Rushmore of American distance runners-him.  Bill Rodgers.  We run together for a couple hundred yards, chat a little and then I am off.  I know, right?  I pass Bill Rodgers around the halfway point of the Boston Marathon.  Yep, it really happened.

**********

Five more years pass.  The spotlight isn’t as bright.  Your crowning achievement is starting to show its age.  You have a ton of other responsibilities and addressing the overhaul of your 15 year old system is always next on the list.  You can’t even think of advancing.  You are struggling just to maintain – to protect what you built from ruin.

**********

The back half the race isn’t nearly as enjoyable.  Climbing at exactly the wrong time and, because what goes up must come down, descending at an even more wrong time.  Every step is work.  The last hour’s enthusiasm is gone.  It’s survival to the end from here.

**Finis**

I make the last left-turn onto Boylston St and can see the finish line.  The roar is overwhelming.  Not manufactured-overwhelming like the Super Bowl, or mechanically-overwhelming like the Indy 500.  Human-power + 100 years of history overwhelming.  About 300 yards out the roar is intensifying and I think how cool this is considering the leaders have been done for more than 30 minutes and nobody knows me from Adam.  This is probably what it feels like to be Bono.  Closer to the line the louder the roar.  Unbelievable.  Then I look over my right shoulder.

Bill Rodgers

Smiling.  Waving to the crowd.  Totally owning the moment.  We shake hands and he is off.  I should have raced him to the end.  Then the story would have been how I out-kicked Bill Rodgers at the 100th Boston Marathon.  I didn’t so it won’t.  I don’t know why I didn’t.  I just didn’t.

For almost 20 years, I’ve relived that story each spring.  I hope for a different result, but it always ends the same.¹

**********

How does your story end?

It doesn’t have to be conflict -> hesitation -> procrastination -> avoidance -> fear and loathing.

You can rewrite your system’s happy ending.  Instead of fading away, you can chart it a new course.  We can rebuild it better than before.  We have the technology.  Next generation systems unlock potential that is difficult to quantify – bigger, faster, stronger isn’t an exaggeration.  You know what the success that comes from embracing progress feels like.  Don’t make it a once-in-a-generation thing.

¹The spot where I realize Bill Rodgers is beside me with about 1 minute to run in the 100th Boston Marathon is eerily close to the spot Bomb 1 exploded last year.  Next time I run there, I will pass the spot of the handshake – and where the bomb went off.  My chance for a new ending.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014

We've Always Done It This Way

By Angela Childs

I saw this picture posted in LinkedIn.  “The most dangerous phrase in the language is “we’ve always done it this way.”  In this tiny picture you can’t tell but the quote is attributed to Rear Admiral Grace Hopper.  She was a US Naval Officer, serving from 1943 to 1986, an early computer programmer, and the first to say, “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to ask permission” - which I may have used a time or two.

She also said “You manage things, you lead people.  We went overboard on management and forgot about leadership.”  

Challenging the status quo is all leadership.  Not change for change’s sake but thoughtful steps toward the future, whether they be big or small.

We help our clients do this, challenge how they work, and we also turn that focus inward and examining how we do things.  Periodically we get a team together and divvy up IOS’s back-office functions, those non-revenue/non-customer focused activities that we have to do to keep the business running and we observe.  We watch step by step and ask “why that way”, “why then”, “why by that person”.  Then we automate what can be automated and streamline where we can remove bottlenecks.  It’s not an indictment of a person or process, it’s growth.  Things change, tasks creep into processes, you get duplication of efforts over time, and the people on the ground, so to speak, are unaware of or unable to implement technology, can’t effect cross-department change, and don’t have the view of the big picture company wide.  

They’re working “in the business” and following the lead from the top.  From the top, you can learn if there’s technology to benefit the business, you can see where there are duplication of efforts, and you can change how departments work together.  You just have to decide to make it a priority.

The April issue of Inc. has an article 35 Great Questions listing questions suggested by business leaders that you should ask to move your company forward.   Danny Meyer offers “How can we become the company that would put us out of business?”    Chip Conley poses “What counts that we are not counting?”   From Gary Hamel, “Are we changing as fast as the world around us?”  All of these call for introspection and for challenging the status quo.

The eye rolling and sighs that follow “We’ve always done it this way” are completely understandable at the process level, but from the top?    That’s where we need to replace management with leadership.

Next time you hear “we’ve always done it this way” and get ready to cringe, roll your eyes, sigh, whatever the impulse, just give us a call.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Pluralistic Ignorance

By John Trimble

I have learned about pluralistic ignorance from Bob Cialdini’s great book on persuasion. Pluralistic
ignorance is a term you may never have heard but you have heard the stories: someone is attacked or threatened in front of or in ear-shot of a large group of people and no one lifts a finger to help. This apathy seems inexplicable and incomprehensible. But it is not: It is pluralistic ignorance.

Humans are socialized, particularly in large urban areas, to count heavily on the group response of others, of the “crowd” to determine what the correct response should be in many situations. The social evidence can unfortunately be interpreted by the individual who then thinks that if “nobody is concerned then there is probably nothing wrong.”  Additionally, with several potential helpers around, the personal responsibility of each individual to react is reduced.

Conversely, a single individual, uninfluenced by the non-reaction of a crowd, probably would react and save the day. So much so that if you were to have a health emergency in a crowd your best bet, according to social scientists, is to single out a specific individual in the crowd and say, “Hey, you in the blue suit, call 911, I have an emergency” as opposed to thinking that someone out of this large group surely will come to my aid.

This is a dark example of the downside of “group think” and also the power of the uninfluenced individual. Are there different, more common examples that occur every day of pluralistic ignorance?
In a word, yes.

In business today how many staff or management meetings use group think or group consensus to avoid resolving business problems, addressing out-dated technology or manual processes? Glances around the conference table reinforce the idea that if several of the attendees or managers are comfortable with status quo, with apathy, then there must not be a problem. That the old world way of processing information, handling A/P, claims, staying paper based, whatever, must be OK.

It’s not.

Obviously here there is no gore, no loss of life, no front page story but it is still a big problem. To overcome pluralistic ignorance in the business setting there is still the need for that one individual to take personal responsibility to get help.

For resuscitating a business process with failing vital signs, happily that guy in the blue suit, the one taking personal responsibility...he can call the 911 equivalent: IOS.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Perfect Match

By Brian Kopack

Stay with me on this one.

It is hard to consume any media today that doesn’t come with a healthy dose of dating website options. Pick an address, age, religion, ethnicity or profession and there is a demographically-exclusive dating site just for you.

It doesn’t matter if you live in the city or country, are a farmer or astronaut, write left-handed or right-handed, there is a whole internet of people exactly like you waiting to be met.

I’m not a participant in any of the sites, but I imagine they all start with a profile.  You know, the “tall, blonde hair, blue eyes, likes puppies and rainbows” kind of thing.

What if businesses found partners the same way?

IOS could put its profile on the site for the “mature” business - the second-generation content management user.  They know the concepts and have some experience in what works and what doesn’t.  They have had some good times and some challenges and now they are looking for something more.  They are confident, know what they want and are at a place where if they saw something they liked, they could go for it.  IOS’ breadth of proven experience makes it an ideal complement here.  Our expertise is scalable up to the largest, most complex business environment.

IOS could put its profile on the site for the “mid-life adjustment” business – the successful, growing business.  These businesses are settled, have had some success, know there are ways to manage their content better but don’t have the expertise or the horsepower to follow through on their vision.  They have tried others plans but just aren’t satisfied.  They are cautiously open to new experiences but have an eye of the potential of the future.  Here IOS is a confidant.  IOS has served as a trusted advisor and thought leader in the industry for over 40 years - creating solutions that last.

IOS could also put its profile on the site for the “now” business generation - the more vision than experience group.  This group is comfortable with technology and doesn’t have the baggage of “that’s the way we have always done it” thinking.  They are more adventurous and less risk averse and they thrive in a flexible and creative environment.  Perfect.  IOS is what’s next.  IOS’ belief in continuous improvement, constant pursuit of innovative service delivery and focus on cutting-edge development keeps us relevant.

Can IOS really be everyone’s dream match?  Yes.

However you see yourself, whatever your profile, IOS can take the best parts of your business and make them even better.  We believe that because we’ve lived it every day for 40+ years.

That synergy generates the ultimate compatibility.

We don’t try to be different.

We try to make a difference.
Monday, March 10, 2014

IOS Receives Silver Honors from Hyland Software


Hyland Software salutes IOS for helping organizations operate more efficiently 
using the OnBase enterprise content management solution 

IOS was recently honored at Hyland Software’s 2014 Team OnBase Conference as a Silver Partner award winner.

“We are pleased to be recognized by Hyland as a Silver Partner.  This award is result of the cumulative effort of many, many people at IOS since we became a Hyland partner in 2010,” commented Brian Kopack, IOS President.

“This award shows IOS’ dedication to providing customers with the best enterprise content management solutions that solve a wide range of business problems for organizations,” said Bill Kavanaugh, director of U.S. channel sales for Hyland Software. “Our partners are held to the highest standards and IOS went above and beyond those benchmarks.”

About the Hyland Software 
For over 20 years, Hyland Software has helped our more than 12,100 lifetime customers by providing real-world solutions to everyday business challenges. That dedication is why Hyland achieves double-digit growth, and why 98 percent of our customer base continues to renew its annual maintenance. Our customers see the ongoing value of partnering with Hyland and continue to work with us year after year.

Hyland’s enterprise content management (ECM) solution, OnBase, is one of the most flexible and comprehensive ECM products on the market today. OnBase empowers users to grow their solutions as needs change and business evolves. It is tailored for departments, but comprehensive for the enterprise, designed to give you what you need today and evolve with you over time. For more information about Hyland Software’s ECM solutions, please visit Hyland.com.

About IOS
Imaging Office Systems derives 100% of its revenue from content management. IOS has designed and installed over 500 multi-user systems throughout the United States with clients in Europe and Central America.

An acknowledged differentiator for IOS is its very sophisticated Professional Services Group which excels in difficult legacy system conversions as well as process improvement workflows and system design.

IOS is also recognized as one of the largest document scanning companies with four separate conversion centers operating identically under the same quality system converting over 5,000,000 images per month.

Complementing these three pillars of document management is hard copy box storage. In contrast to many competitors, IOS has developed a business model geared to accomplish far better return on investment for its clients resulting in startling growth for this offering.

IOS recognizes that the real need in the document management marketplace is to furnish expertise to clients, providing direction on process improvement and re-engineering as well as helping the client avoid pitfalls and missteps. Gleaned through 40 years of experience, IOS expertise is the driving force of its success.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Inside Baseball

By John Trimble

Ready or not - here is the arc of how document imaging companies have evolved (or not) and the changes in how they are perceived by potential clients over the last twenty years or so.

First wave – Product First (1990- 2005) - Companies that installed and configured document imaging systems that included honest to god imaging software - not copier companies co-opting the language in an attempt to rebrand copiers as “imaging” – but actual document imaging software were primarily identified with the product they sold. The main focus was the product, be it Hyland OnBase, EMC’s ApplicationXtender, FileNet, Optika or countless others. All the differentiation was on the product and the integrator – reseller – vendor (please pick one descriptor) was typically ancillary to the real or imagined plusses and minuses of the software. Incidentally this is when the term “robust” describing the software’s capabilities was so thoroughly overused that it turned into white noise and went into its death spiral orbit. It will not be missed.

Second Wave – Product and Reseller equally valued (2005 – 2011) - Integrators and resellers who sold and installed high quality imaging systems were now being selected on the dual basis of both product and their own internal abilities, not just the capabilities of the software. Both sides of that equation were now beginning to be scrutinized under the same harsh light and rightfully so. The vendor’s expertise, industry knowledge, resume of installations, PMPs, the amount of certified techs on the software product began to carry as much weight to the prospective client as the product itself.

Third Wave- Reseller Expertise Valued above Product (2011 – Present) - While the product capabilities and sophistication remains critical-critical, it is now perceived as less of a factor than what the reseller – vendor – integrator can do with it to create results through process re-engineering and process improvement. Without question huge differentiations can be made on the products themselves (they are not equal and one does get what one pays for) but the most commonly heard pain point now from clients who have made significant investments in product and services is that they are not getting what they thought they paid for. The cliché of “I bought a great car but have a crappy mechanic” is more and more applicable. Unfortunately the reason is simple: it is very difficult for vendors to have the systems expertise, the ability to share both success stories as well as which missteps to avoid like the plague – all from experience- to fulfill the role of a seasoned trusted advisor. It is increasingly uncommon for resellers to have the internal controls, the Certified Project Managers, the knowledge of all the ramifications and potential of the process changes being discussed and implemented.

Expertise is now the product that clients need even more than any actual product. One is officially worthless without the other. Happily IOS has both. Make us prove that to you.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Just Listen

By Brian Kopack

A couple of weeks ago, I met up at the Y with a guy I had run with occasionally.  We were both going through our post-workout routines.  At this stage of the game he is much younger and much faster.  Truth is, I have been running longer than this guy has been breathing. We chatted (lied) about plans for the year.  Then, he ran through a couple of stretches / exercises that I had never seen.  He explained why he does them and how they help him recover.  Since then, I’ve borrowed them and they absolutely do work.  

I’m embarrassed.  I don’t know how I didn’t know about them, but I didn’t.  Comfortable in my own smugness, I have done my thing for such a long time I stopped looking for anything better.

My running and your business might be similar.  

Stop me when this quits sounding familiar.  You’ve been successful for a while.  You’ve been through a lot of change and probably some adversity.  You’ve always made it to the other side.  You’re comfortable.

Thankfully, here is where your business and my running are dramatically different.

Unless I go all-Lance-Armstrong and find some pharmacological support, the best I can hope for is to age gracefully.  No technology exists can get me back to age 22 – the height of my superpowers.  

Your business, however, has infinite possibilities available to it.  Technology does exist that can make it bigger / faster / stronger.  All you need to do is talk to right people.

IOS

More and more, how you see and use your information projects your vision for the direction of your business.  Are you accumulating and forgetting?  Or, are you capturing and empowering?

Enterprise Content Management isn’t as brave a new world as you think.  

Intelligent Records Management

Automated Process Improvement

Collaborative Content Management

You never know what idea will lead to the breakthrough.  You just have to be willing to listen – and stop being comfortable being comfortable.  

Be greater.  Talk to the right people.

IOS
Monday, February 3, 2014

2013 Employees of the Year

Each year at IOS we come together to review the past year and to kick off the next one.    One part of this annual tradition is recognizing a person from our conversion services group, someone from our implementations/technical support team, and someone from sales to be the person of the year for each of those groups.  This year’s recipients were Vikki Medina, Darnell Taylor, and Amy Dolan.

Vikki Medina, Conversion Services

Vikki has been with IOS for 3 years and is the Production Manager for our Indianapolis facility.  She managed several large conversions in 2013 while simultaneously managing jobs for our daily, weekly and monthly customers.  She focuses on customer service, insuring that the customers get what they need in the format needed and in the time frame needed and insuring we have the right people working on the right tasks at the right times with the proper training.

She’s responsive, innovative, analytical, tech savvy and an all-around great person to have on the team and we appreciate all of her hard work and creativity.  Congratulations Vikki.

Darnell Taylor, Implementations/Technical Support

Darnell started working at IOS in 1994 as a conversion services employee operating a microfilm camera.  Soon he was working as a delivery driver and his attitude and work ethic was rewarded when he was promoted to supervisor of the warehouse.

Interested in learning new technologies, he enrolled in a local community college. With long hours of study and hard work, Darnell continued to achieve and was promoted into the position of Hardware Technician in the Indianapolis office. Darnell continued to learn new skills and put in the effort to move forward and before long he was assisting customers by providing technical support on a variety of software products.

Darnell was selected this year because of his performance, technical growth, attitude and leadership but clearly, with his drive to grow, 2013 was no exception.  Congratulations Darnell.

Amy Dolan, Sales

Amy joined IOS in 2008 working in our Kansas City office.  She didn’t immediately wow us by knocking down sales goals but she stood out because she always had excellent activity.  She’s good at and committed to getting into large corporations. Companies that IOS wants to do business with.  She’s tenacious, smart, and funny and it finally paid off this year when she stood out again as our sales person of the year.

Her progress and development should be instructive to all newer reps.  She did not inherit any accounts and she hasn’t been here forever.  She struggled like mad to get business in her first years and she protected herself and was insulated from circling the drain by her activity and her ability to be consistently in front of companies that IOS wanted as clients.

She wanted this, she set her sights on it and she has earned it.  Congratulations Amy.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Same Story, Different Day

By Beth Schrader

Every New Year we prepare ourselves in one way or another to “ramp back up.”  What does that mean, what does that look like?  Clearly, it’s different for each of us and obviously dependent upon which area of our lives we are referring.

To some of us, it means we set the typical cliché goals of personal betterment.  No, I am not saying those are futile and worthless because they are not.  I am a huge fan of goal setting.  But under the heading of “personal betterment,” the list can be daunting and at times, seemingly endless.  So where do we start?

Oddly, at IOS, we start right where we left off: with the customer.

Year-end is typically a whirlwind, and let me tell you, December 2013 was no different and may have even taken the proverbial cake.  Good problem to have.  Our customers called us last month with immediate needs, immediate funds which needed to be spent in order to avoid losing it faster than you can say Powerball, and an immediate time frame of by December 31st.

So what do we do?  We respond – same as we always do.

While the free-world is racing to beat the imaginary clock, at IOS we know we don’t have an expiration date.  IOS knows service and reliability are calendar-neutral.

IOS is about continuous improvement.  IOS is always about tomorrow – what’s next.

If we think about it that way, at IOS every day is like December 31st.

That’s pretty cool.

That’s IOS.
Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Question

By Brian Kopack


What does your company do?

It would be a lot easier if IOS sold cell phones or made mufflers or cupcakes.  Easy to explain.  Everyone can relate.

The answer to the question at IOS isn’t straight forward because we don’t make anything.  You can’t order what we do from Amazon.  Trying to google what we do is a challenge.  Making the answer “tweet-worthy” is a herculean task.

Our website (shameless plug: www.imagingoffice.com), and more specifically our storybook, explain what we do - illustrate the diversity of our client base and document the breadth of the solutions we have provided.

Our clients are unique.  Their issues are unique. Our solutions need to be unique.

Everything we do is a little bit:

Simplify – Create – Organize – Preserve – Innovate – Facilitate – Automate

We have talked about, and will continue to talk about, capture and retrieval, system conversions, intelligent records storage, cloud-based storage and back-up and automating business processes. We will continue because they all have a place in today’s business environment – and because we are confident we are good enough at all of them to make a difference in your business.

We will also talk about what’s next – what we see in the marketplace – what your competitors are doing – what you should think about doing.  We know innovation is part of the evolution of business.  IOS 2014 isn’t the same as IOS 1973 or IOS 2003.  Your company isn’t the same either.  I think we both agree we like it that way.

As a thought leader in content management, IOS has helped businesses be better than they could be by themselves for over 40 years.

To a prosperous new year.