Records Management is a software solution for a USA based client who is predominantly into process automation. They provide solutions to help organizations improve efficiency by implementing process automation and becoming completely paperless or reducing paper handling substantially. The objective of the Record management application is to convert all physical documents to electronic form. This application provides the users the ability to capture and access their records quickly while maintaining security.
The existing application was developed using Visual Basic 6 and SQL Server 2000 which were both approaching their end of life and as the number of records grew, the performance of the application was affected adversely. Additionally, the application had the following limitations:
- The application was designed to just store and retrieve documents from a central location and had no option to index/process the documents in any way.
- As the volume of documents stored in the system grew, the retrieval became progressively slower due to the limitations of the existing architecture.
- The ability to store emails communication in the system was a two-step process wherein the email had to be stored on the local hard drive first and then had to be uploaded to the application, making the process cumbersome especially if the volume of mails was large.
- The application did not have the capability to store verbal communicate records.
- The application did not have any option to copy over the data on to CDs/DVDs or other optical media in case the users needed to move these documents to any external device.
- The application did not have the ability to create annotations in the documents.
To fix the above listed issues, Rheal suggested a rewrite of the application using the latest programming platforms and the same was implemented in a phased manner over a period of 2 years. We implemented the following key features in the new application to help improve the user productivity:
- A workflow process to make the document indexing/processing more streamlined.
- The ability to compress the scanned documents and store them in directly in physical drive instead of the database thus contributing to improved performance of the database. An Add-in for MS Office so that the users could directly push their documents, emails etc. to the record management application from within MS Office itself. This helped eliminate the two-step process for uploading documents.
- An additional module to record verbal communication and the ability to retrieve the same quickly.
- Ability to copy selected files to external storage media or CD/DVD/optical drives directly from within the application.
- Flexibility to use different database engines such as MS SQL Server, Oracle or MySQL instead of just being restricted to SQL 2000.
- Ability to add notes, annotations and mark ups in the scanned document directly from within the application itself so that metadata about the document could be saved and retrieved easily.
The new record management system addressed all the shortcomings of its predecessor. The user experience was vastly improved by streamlining the process and eliminating redundant steps. The robustness and the performance of the application increased tenfold as the database structure and the indexing algorithms were greatly optimized. The client received an overwhelming response from their customers which have prompted them to begin developing a web based version of the system with us.