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It’s 2015. Now CIO means “Career Isn’t Over”.

The Top 5 reasons you still need a CIO

by Mike Mahon, CEO – Zia Consulting

cioTraditionally the primary role of the CIO was to secure and govern information, while also making technology investments that provided cost savings for the company. This “legacy” CIO role, which focused on reducing costs instead of adding new value, has been criticized widely since 2008 as having little knowledge of what it actually means to be a CIO or sit on a board. Their primary stakeholders were typically the company’s employees and it’s been noted that they have limited ability to relate to customers or investors—and limited relevance in the strategic direction of the company.

In the context of document and records management, CIOs face a number of barriers in executing their role. First, there is an issue of enterprise content management (ECM) avoidance. CIOs have not been successful at engaging customers in utilizing available tools. Typically these tools are challenging to understand, difficult to use, and time intensive. This is not solely the CIO’s fault; the industry as a whole has been providing advice, guidance, and consulting that has ignored users and poorly implemented the business tools that drive productivity. Several research studies have shown an overwhelming amount of failure in the industry regarding ECM implementations. Not only is it challenging to input information, it is difficult to locate the information once it is entered. In addition, the cost and complexity of the in-place systems are high for the value they bring.

Finally, CIOs are challenged to manage a massive amount of content and keep up with the ever-increasing pace of business. Content is exploding in areas such as mobile, social, electronic, and paper. With no way to effectively manage these areas, the CIO loses trust with the board or CEO. According to a recent AIIM research study, a “Stunning 82 percent of firms lack an enterprise-wide content management solution, and half of all content still sits outside ECM systems…” The bottom line is that if the CIO’s core job responsibilities are still security and governance, they are not doing their job!

However, Zia would like to offer 5 reasons you still need a CIO and how we can make sure they are still in place in 2016:

(1). Solve ECM avoidance once and for all! CIOs have the capacity to provide a solution to this problem. Using our solutions, that actually provide a competitive advantage, CIOs can respond to what the business needs (e.g., governance, security, reliability, scalability, and connection), while at the same time delivering what users want (e.g., ease of use, simplified processes, ability to collaborate, access through existing tools, and the ability to search and access information through mobile devices).

(2). Solve SharePoint! With Adhere for Alfresco from Zia, CIOs can finally solve the puzzle that is SharePoint. Users demand it, IT really struggles with it, and it continues to grow out of control. We can show you how to use SharePoint with your users, but manage the complexity, bloat, archival, and governance needs of the business with a solution that delivers integration and synchronization, federated search, simple and smart business processes, and more.

(3). Solve the Dropbox problem! CIOs can use our Universal Document Security (UDS) Solution, powered by Covertix, to address the risk of your company being the next Sony. You can lock down any piece of content, anywhere, within any system at any time and never worry about it being stolen or misused. Forget the Dropbox (or Google Drive, USB or Email) problem—security at rest or in the wild is handled.

(4). “Everyone’s a records manager (and nobody knows it)”! Our EasyRM solutions provide a strategy for automated governance and records management. If you were working in our system, you would be able to email, use Office products, and collaborate internally and externally with customers, without ever knowing you were in an ECM system or declaring records.

(5). Solve the tactical problems and become strategic! Once we deliver on the promise of ECM (governance, integration, cost-savings, and freed-up content), we can build systems of engagement that will contribute to the growth of your business. Together, we will provide you with new ways to do business that give you the ability to move out of a cost center and into the business itself.

In the future, we expect many more of our customers to share the same vision as a leading mortgage insurer: “this solution isn’t about cost savings or ROI, without this solution we don’t have a business!” Similarly, a leading property and casualty insurance provider completely rebuilt their business processes—leveraging Document Automation Solutions from Zia—delivering not just cost savings but increased customer satisfaction and time-to-revenue through this strategic initiative.

More recently, we have seen other CIOs that buck the traditional challenges presented above. With the right training and tools, CIOs can play an integral role in the success of any business. Quoted from the article “Why a Company Should Consider Adding a CIO to the Board” by Peter High, “Boards will increasingly think about including the strongest CIOs on their boards to ensure that they do not have any blind spots in their plans both from an innovation and from a risk mitigation perspective.” Zia provides the solutions that will propel companies into the future and CIOs into the boardroom!

Three Areas of Successful Workflow Implementation

Written by Ryan McVeigh – VP of ECM Solutions, Sales

Recently I was in discussion with our team as we contemplated a response to a proposal request. This particular request was heavily focused on workflow which lead to a spirited discussion. It occurs to me that often at Zia, we are cautious about scoping workflow implementation work. There’s good reason for this, as workflows are that type of software in our business that is heavily utilized by our client’s users, so we have to get them right. Workflows also typically have integration points with other pieces of software. What that tells us is that there is reason to be clear on both the technical and user-facing components of the implementation. Interestingly, the Java portion of this isn’t really the hard part. Our team agrees that ultimately writing the software, drawing the diagram and creating the workflow isn’t where the time is spent. I find that I get caution from my team around duration of workflow implementation and when we look closely at why that is, we can attribute the overall effort to three distinct areas:

  1. Requirements Gathering: This is where we collaborate with our client to understand their business process. We guide our clients on what makes for a successful workflow or business process implementation in Alfresco given their unique environment and build a successful implementation plan. Many organizations that Zia has worked with to implement workflows require multiple design iterations to finalize the requirements for their business processes. We recommend clients allow an appropriate amount of time in their project plan to finalize requirements for automated business processes.
  2. Implementation: This is the relatively straightforward part. Creating the software, implementing the workflow and integration points, and testing.
  3. User Acceptance Testing Loop: Users need to test and provide feedback, fix bugs and update, then test again.  This loop is important to enable users to get hands on experience with the workflow. Workflow Adoption-2

These three areas are ultimately very straightforward. What happens in reality is users learn through this process and the workflow changes – and thus we spend more time than it would seem is required for a workflow implementation. The lesson learned here is that workflow actually takes a reasonable amount of calendar time to implement, but not in the traditional sense. Time is spent more in getting user consensus and feedback which simply takes time, than in writing software.

This brings us to what does this mean to you, our reader? Well, if you’re thinking about implementing workflow as a developer, prepare yourself for the feedback loop. If you’re an Alfresco customer, what can you do to expedite this cycle? First, work on your requirements for the “To Be” process ahead of engaging your integrator. Second, don’t try to implement your existing broken process! I always tell folks to start small, get a quick win and build upon that. This seems obvious, but more often than not, folks request complex processes. These are not very easy to implement and usually do not facilitate user adoption or produce user satisfaction. Consider these trends before approaching the automation of business processes. Remember you cannot please everyone. Finally, be on point when it is time to test and verify. Be patient and don’t expect a perfect business process, but rather something that can work and can be built upon over time.

Case Study: Zia Consulting Delivers Rapid ROI for Leading Mortgage Wholesaler



Zia Consulting, Inc., the leading provider of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Intelligent Document Capture solutions, today released a new case study about their project with Interbank Mortgage Company–providing details on the automation solution delivered utilizing Ephesoft Smart Capture™ software as well as the exceptional results of the implementation.

View the Case Study Now.

New Whiteboard Video: Records Management + ROI

The legacy of Records Management (RM) systems is one where RM solutions have traditionally been designed for dedicated compliance officers rather than content creators, deployed in a standalone environment that is disconnected from corporate collaboration and ECM systems. This duplication of effort–moving documents from ECM to RM systems and back again–adds tremendous cost and complexity to the management of information within the enterprise and leads to the increased probability of non-compliance from errors during this process.

Zia provides Easy Records Management (Easy RM) Solutions that work the way you do, connecting those who are creating content with the compliance process. Easy RM incorporates the tools you use on a daily basis, reducing barriers to implementation and widespread usage. Whether it’s “in-process” records management, automated declarations of records, or intelligent rules for file plans, our Easy RM solutions simultaneously increase productivity and compliance.

This whiteboard video hosted by Zia’s SVP Phil Robinson will demonstrate how to gain a positive ROI on the Alfresco One Records Management module with Zia’s Easy RM solutions.

New Video Demo: HR “Offboarding”

For those outside the HR department, one area that is typically “hidden” when considering the cost and complexity of document processing is the “offboarding” of employees – either through termination or resignation. With both company and regulatory requirements for documentation and data, and ranging in source from Paper to Email to E-Forms, for many organizations the need for automation of “offboarding” rivals that of “onboarding”.

This demo will show:

  • Creation of “Offboarding” Case – with Dynamic Role-Based Views & Templates and Zia’s Document Assembly offering
  • Processing of Case – with Advanced Workflow, Office / Email Integration, and Annotation/Redaction
  • Employee Collaboration – featuring Alfresco One Cloud Collaboration
  • Leveraging Intelligent Capture to automate the classification & extraction processes

Lightning Talks: Alfresco Share Evaluators (Predefined and Custom)

Customizing the Alfresco Share user interface may require actions/indicators based on something about the node to be actioned (property, state, type, etc). For example, you may only want to enable an action for a node if of a specific type. This can be achieved by using Evaluators. Alfresco provides a number of out of the box evaluators. Additionally, more robust evaluators can be created by extending the classes used to support the out of the box evaluators. In this Lightning Talk from ECM Architect Mike Wallach, the predefined evaluators will be described and a walk through of how to utilize some of the out of the box evaluators will be given. Additionally, an example of extending the base evaluator to create an evaluator for a custom condition will be presented.

New Video Presentation: Document Assembly

Each month at Zia Consulting we gather to present Lightning Talks–a series of 5-minute presentations on virtually any topic of interest to the group. This month Senior Solutions Engineer Jon Solove presented “Document Assembly” where he discussed how to automatically build documents utilizing boilerplate text, clause libraries, and metadata.

Slideshare Presentation: Breaking Down the Barriers of ECM Adoption

We recently exhibited at IFO’s FUSION 2014 Conference. During the event, EVP Pat Myers and SVP Phil Robinson gave a presentation entitled, “Breaking Down the Barriers to ECM Adoption.”

While true cost per invoice may vary significantly per organization, including differences in how this cost is calculated, virtually every report has shown this cost can be substantially reduced though invoice automation systems – up to 80% in some studies. So with the potential for such enormous cost savings, why hasn’t every company adopted an invoice automation system? In this presentation, we’ll examine the very real “why nots” that are barriers to adoption, and how to break them down. These objections include:

  • Inbound invoices come from a wide range of sources (paper, fax, email, electronic data interchange or EDI). There’s just not a system that fits for us.
  • Every invoice is different, and a system can’t possibly understand the variety of invoices we receive.
  • My business rules are just way too complex for any technology to address — including the validation of invoices against enterprise resource planning (ERP) data.
  • We have a unique or custom accounting system, so invoice automation can’t work for us.
  • I’m concerned this process will be a “black hole,” that I won’t be able to get visibility into where invoices stand and other analytical information.

View the Presentation Slides Now:


Video Demos: New Features in Ephesoft 3.1 Release

Ephesoft Smart Capture has a new release – Version 3.1. EVP and Capture Practice Lead Pat Myers from Zia Consulting walks through some of the new features of the release in this short demo video.

In the first segment, Pat walks through the some of the new Advanced Key Value Extraction rules, including:

  • Fuzzy Percentage
  • Case Sensitivity/Insensitivity
  • Setting pages and zones to search for values (first page, last page, right side, left side, and more)
  • Generating and testing regular expressions and selecting pre-populated expressions

In the second segment, Pat discusses the previous options for error alerting and logging, and shows the new emailing and downloading capabilities.


Case Study – ICE: Initial Consulting Engagements

case-study-bannerInitial Consulting Engagements (ICE) allow you to immediately get started with your ECM or Capture project, without the risk of a large up-front commitment. Our deliverables provide you with a clear understanding of the requirements, time, and cost of the project–giving you full information to decide on next steps.

Learn how our proven method of discovery, technical assessment, and project road mapping lead to successful project implementation for a leading technology company.

View Case Study