AI-Powered Transcription Services Showdown: AWS vs. Google vs. IBM Watson vs. Nuance

AI-Powered Transcription Services Showdown: AWS vs. Google vs. IBM Watson vs. Nuance

transcription services AWS, Google, IBM, Nuance

In one of my previous blog posts, I touched on the topic of AI-powered transcription services on the market. There, I introduced the idea that, with this pace of multimedia production, traditional, human-powered transcription services is not the solution.

In the past 2 years, we’ve produced 90% of all the data our civilization has. At this pace, and a 9:1 ratio of transcribing multimedia files, human-powered transcription is simply impossible to keep up. It’s too slow, too expensive, too prone to error, and too vulnerable to data leaks.

Just like hiring an army of workers to dig a perfectly straight ditch of a 1000 miles is not the best option, we need to start thinking of how machines can help.

In this blog post, I’d like to dig a bit deeper and do better coverage of the 4 major transcription services: Amazon, Google, IBM, and Nuance. They are all good players, however only one can fully respond to all of your specific needs.

To help you choose the best transcription service provider, let’s make a little comparison between the four.

My Comparison Methodology

I’ll be covering the four providers from several different angles, so you can get a more comprehensive understanding of their value proposition for your specific needs. Here are the different angles I’ll be covering:

  1. Speed. The speed of a transcribe platform is a crucial factor. Given enough time, everyone could transcribe a multimedia content, but the point of the existence of platforms like these is to make that time as short as possible. But in some cases, speed may not be the ultimate, deciding factor. Some companies will be better off with a slower but more accurate solution.
  2. Accuracy is paramount to a transcription platform. Very often the worth of the transcription platform is measured by its accuracy. If the platform gives you a transcription that needs additional edits in punctuation and speakers, then that platform my friend hasn’t done much of the job for you. But again, in some cases, companies that have large amounts of transcripts, they’ll be better off with a slightly less accurate, but much cheaper solution.
  3. Price. No matter if you are a small company or a well-established vendor moving the market, everyone cares about costs. How much of a deciding factor this will be, depends on how large your budget is, and how important the other two metrics are.

Now that I’ve introduced the software packs and the methodology of comparing the 4 transcription services, let’s get started.

Amazon Transcribe Service

Amazon Transcribe

In trying to keep up the pace with the evolution of language, Amazon Transcribe platform is continually learning and improving. AWS Transcribe platform is designed to provide fast and accurate automated transcripts for multimedia files with varying quality.

Currently, Amazon’s transcription service is able to process multimedia content:

  • Duration: maximum 2 hours,
  • Custom Vocabulary: maximum 50 KB file size
  • Sampling rate: from 8KHz (telephony audio) to 48Kh
  • Languages: English and Spanish
  • Formats: In WAV, mp3, mp4, FLAC

Thanks to AWS processing prowess, Amazon Transcribe is doing transcription at an astonishing speed.

The best thing about Amazon Transcribe is the accuracy of transcriptions. AWS has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform for the last 12 years. This experience can be seen in the accuracy Amazon Transcribe shows in their results.

Namely, unlike other transcribe services, Amazon transcribe platform produces texts that are ready to use, without a need for further editing. To achieve this, AWS Transcribe pays special attention to:

  1. Punctuation. Amazon Transcribe platform is capable of adding appropriate punctuation to the text as it goes and formats the text automatically. This way producing an intelligible output which can be used without further editing.
  2. Confidence score. AWS Transcribe makes sure to provide a confidence score which shows how confident the platform is with the transcription.
    This means you can always check the confidence score to see whether a particular line of the transcript needs alterations.
  3. Possible alternatives. The platform also gives you an opportunity to make some alterations in cases where you are not completely satisfied with the results.
  4. Timestamp Generation. Powered by deep learning technologies, AWS Transcribe automatically generates time-stamped text transcripts.
    This feature provides timestamps for every word which makes locating the audio in the original recording very easy by searching for the text.
  5. Custom Vocabulary. AWS Transcribe allows you to create your own custom vocabulary. By creating and managing a custom vocabulary you expand and customize the speech recognition of AWS Transcribe.
    Basically, custom vocabulary gives AWS Transcribe more information about how to process speech in the multimedia file.
    This feature is very important in achieving high accuracy in transcriptions of specific use such as Engineering, Medical, Law Enforcement, Legal, etc.
  6. Multiple Speakers. AWS Transcribe platform can identify different speakers in a multimedia file. The platform can recognize when the speaker changes and attribute the transcribed text accordingly. Recognition of multiple speakers is handy when transcribing multimedia content that involves multiple speakers (such as telephone calls, meetings, etc.).
    AWS Transcribe platform also allows you to specify the number of speakers you want to be identified in the multimedia file. The platform allows identification of up to 10 speakers.
    The best performance can be achieved when the number of speakers you require to be identified, matches the number of speakers in the multimedia content.

The best part of Amazon Transcribe, unlike the other transcription services we discuss, is that you pay-as-you-go based on the seconds of audio transcribed per month.

Amazon Transcribe API is billed monthly at a rate of $0.00056 per second. Usage is billed in one-second increments, with a minimum per request charge of 15 seconds.

Thanks to all of these features, Amazon Transcribe service may be considered as highly accurate transcribe service. With its speed, accuracy, and price this transcribe service is one of the best, if not the best player in the game.

Google Speech-To-Text

 

Google speech to text transcription services

Google Speech-to-Text is available for multimedia content from different lengths and duration and returns them immediately. Thanks to Google’s Machine Learning technology, the platform can also process real-time streaming or prerecorded audio content including FLAC, AMR, PCMU, and Linear-16.

The platform recognizes 120 languages which makes it much more advanced than Amazon Transcribe platform.

However, despite this, Google still falls short on accuracy and price, compared to Amazon Transcribe platform.

Google Speech-to-Text accuracy improves over time as Google improves the internal speech recognition technology used by Google products. It includes:

  1. Automatic identification of the spoken language. Google employs this feature to automatically identify the language spoken in the multimedia content (out of 4 selected languages) without any additional alterations.
  2. Automatic recognition of proper nouns and context-specific formatting. Google Speech-to-Text works well with real-life speech. It can accurately transcribe proper nouns and appropriately format language (such as dates, phones numbers).
  3. Phrase hints. Almost identical to Amazon’s Custom Vocabulary, Google Speech-to-Text allows customization of context by providing a set of words and phrases that are likely to be met in the transcription.
  4. Noise robustness. This feature of Google Speech-to-Text allows for noisy multimedia to be handled without additional noise cancellation.
  5. Inappropriate content filtering. Google Speech-to-Text is capable of filtering inappropriate content in text results for some
  6. Automatic punctuation. Like Amazon Transcribe, this platform also uses punctuation in transcriptions.
  7. Speaker recognition. This feature is similar to Amazon’s recognition of multiple speakers. It makes automatic predictions about which of the speakers in a conversation spoke which part of the text.

Google Speech-to-Text costs $0.006 per 15 seconds, while the video model costs twice as much, at $0.012 per 15 seconds.

Considering the speed, price, and accuracy, Google Speech-to-Text is definitely among the best in the industry. However, its features are mostly based on language instead of meaning and inference. Which for now, gives Amazon Transcribe advantage in the game.

But, let’s move on and take a look at the other two transcription services.

IBM Watson Speech-To-Text

 

IBM Watson Speech to text transcription software

IBM Watson Speech-to-Text can transcribe speech form 7 different languages. However, the service does not support all features for the 7 languages. For most languages, it supports 2 sampling rates, broadband or narrowband models. It uses broadband for audio that is sampled at a minimum rate of 16 kHz and narrowband for audio that is sampled at a minimum rate of 8 kHz.

In addition to basic transcription, IBM Watson Speech-to-Text includes voice control of embedded systems, transcription of meetings and conference calls, and dictation of email and notes in a real-time.

When it comes to accuracy, IBM Watson speech-to-text pays special attention to:

  1. Keyword spotting. This feature enables search by a specific keyword. It basically identifies spoken phrases that match specific keyword strings.
  2. Speaker recognition. This feature is available for audio content in US English, Spanish or Japanese.
  3. Word alternatives. This feature enables requests of alternative words that are similar to the words in transcripts by acoustics.
  4. Word confidence. IBM Watson speech-to-text provides confidence levels for each word of a transcript.
  5. Word timestamps. The service also provides timestamps for the start and end of each word of a transcript.
  6. Profanity filtering. This feature censors profanity from US English transcripts.

The IBM Watson Speech-to-Text is priced at $0.02 per minute. This price applies to the use of both broadband and narrowband models.

IBM Watson Speech-to-Text has a wide range of possibilities. When it comes to accuracy, the features above say it all. IBM Watson Speech-to-Text is one of the most accurate transcription services.

However, all of these features do not apply to all languages and even more importantly, some of them come only with the BETA version. This makes IBM Watson Speech-to-Text described as such much more expensive in comparison with the previous two transcribe services.

Nuance Dragon Transcription

Dragon Naturally Speaking text to speech service

Nuance Transcription Engine can easily transcribe messages and conference calls in 43 different languages. The process takes up time according to the length and duration of the message and the traffic on the server.

The service pays special attention to accuracy and for that matter includes the following features:

  1. Multi-speaker identification. Nuance Transcription Engine can recognize and transcribe up to six individual speakers.
  2. Customizable language models. This feature is actually very similar to Amazon Transcribe custom vocabulary. It can identify various names using specialized vocabulary tools.
  3. Intelligent error correction. This transcribe service makes probability‑based suggestions for alternative words when the speech is too unclear to transcribe. This feature is very useful and significantly increases accuracy.
  4. Timestamps. Nuance Transcription Engine provides fully time‑coded and stamped lines which increase the clearance of transcription. Making possible to know who said what and when in a particular case.

Nuance Transcription Engine price is starting at $150 and it’s a lifetime deal.

Although this transcription service is one of the best on the market, when it comes to accuracy, it, however, differs much from the other transcribe services included in this comparison.

The major difference is that Nuance Transcription Engine focuses on transcribing voice messages and industry-specific transcriptions.

To be more specific, the Nuance Transcription Engine is one of the best, if not the best medical transcription software in the world. Which, unfortunately, means that if you are not a part of that industry, the accuracy of your transcriptions will not be as good as that of medical transcriptions.

Let’s Wrap Up

Comparison table of service providers

A research shows that the human brain can remember only 10% of what we read and 20% of what we hear. This is nothing less but an emphasis on the need for deriving value from multimedia content. And AI has proven to be the real deal when it comes to transcribing multimedia content.

Capturing and retrieving information from multimedia content using NLP and Speech Recognition has been the goal of Artificial Intelligence giants for the last decade. And they become more sophisticated every year.

In this comparison, I’ve decided to include only four transcription services which, by my research, are the best ones. I included three factors (speed, accuracy, and price) according to which I was leading the comparison. And based on these factors, I found out that:

  • All four transcription services included in the comparison have some distinctive qualities that give them an advantage over the rest solutions on the market,
  • They are all fast in processing and delivering results,
  • They all show high accuracy of transcriptions,
  • They all offer acceptable prices.

However, not all of them can equally respond to everyone’s needs. Take a good look at the comparison made above and decide which one will meet your needs best.

We at Armedia decided to rely on AWS and integrate Amazon Transcribe as part of our Armedia Legal Module for ArkCase.

What choice you’ll make, depends on your organizations’ requirements.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to get in touch with us. Our team at Armedia is always at your service.

Armedia Contributing to The Alfresco DevCon 2019 Conference

Armedia Contributing to The Alfresco DevCon 2019 Conference

Alfresco DevCon 2019 David Miller Presenting ArkCase

The Alfresco DevCon 2019 annual conference is scheduled at the end of January 29-31, 2019 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

DevCon 2019 is an international developer conference entirely dedicated to Alfresco technology. The goal of DevCon is to increase technical know-how, help Alfresco developers build their personal networks, and hopefully get developers working together on different projects.

Armedia’s senior software lead David Miller will attend and present at the conference.

He’ll be talking about Alfresco as a part of a larger system of systems. Which is usually the case with Alfresco. He’ll show how Alfresco’s Audit Module and REST APIs enable seamless integration in these larger ecosystems. From Audit events to Record Management to Process Integration. Dave and team have created a bidirectional sync between ArkCase and Alfresco providing an open source case management solution that takes advantage of the Alfresco full suite of tools to include Alfresco Desktop Sync, Alfresco Outlook Client, Alfresco Mobile, etc.

The goal of the presentation, as Dave says, is to “give your customers the best of all worlds – a consistent view across all tools.”

If you see Dave at the conference, feel free to approach him and talk to him. He’s enthusiastic about Alfresco and loves helping others learn how to do more with it.

Compliant FOIA Software Solutions: When And How The Beauty Of FOIA Becomes The Beast Of Data Leaks

Compliant FOIA Software Solutions: When And How The Beauty Of FOIA Becomes The Beast Of Data Leaks

when and how the beauty of FOIA becomes the beast of data leaks

Western societies take liberty seriously. We have our governments tied with legal frameworks to keep track of everything they do, and after a set time, these documents become publicly accessible through the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA).

But sometimes, this mechanism to store documents and prepare them for later disclosure can be a pain point. Documents can leak due to human error. Or it can get hacked. Then, we get to see our government secrets leak and end up in the wrong hands. Sometimes, our liberties are at risk because of such leaks.

This puts Federal agencies, especially those that deal with FOIA in a very vulnerable situation.

FOIA Agencies: Transparency vs. Security

50 years since the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act in 1968, U.S citizens have been enjoying the right to have access to undisclosed information managed by the U.S Government.

According to the numbers the U.S Department of Justice reports every year, this interest continually increases. This year, the US Department of Justice reported that the number of submitted FOIA requests for 2017 is more than 800.000.

FOIA requests increase each year

As the number of FOIA requests increases, so does the responsibility of FOIA agencies to protect data and maintain public confidence and safety.

To carry out FOIA operations i.e to process, maintain and report necessary information, FOIA agencies are dependent on robust information systems and electronic data storage facilities. And, unfortunately, these systems make FOIA agencies an ideal target for self-proclaimed freedom activists that hack into government data storage centers and steal confidential documents.

Cyber Threats For FOIA Agencies

Cyber risks come in roughly two forms: technical security exploits by hackers, and social hacking. We solve the technical exploits vulnerability by security patches and updates of hardware and software systems. But social hacking is a bit different. It exploits vulnerable, dissatisfied employees.

Data leakage and cyber attacks are not rare in FOIA agencies. FOIA agencies face cyber threats more often than we want to admit.

According to the report the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued this year, over 70% of Federal agencies are ‘at risk’ or ‘high risk’ form cyber-attacks.

The worst part about cyber threats is that very often FOIA agencies can do nothing to stop hackers. This comes mainly from the fact that FOIA agencies use outdated FOIA Software Solutions that ineffectively protect government documents. These IT systems are incapable of protecting cyber assets from attacks which leads to:

  1. Inappropriate disclosure, modification, or destruction of sensitive information.
  2. Threaten national security, economic well-being, and public health and safety.
  3. Compromise personally identifiable data that put real people at real risk.

So, what can FOIA agencies do to deflect cyber-attacks and protect the Government and the citizens form data leakage?

The answer is simple. But the solution is complex.

The government worked on different data management legislation frameworks like FedRAMP and DoD 5015. We get regular updates of these documents almost every year, to keep up with the growing threat of data theft.

The way FOIA agencies can use these guidelines is to simply look for an FOIA software solution that is FedRAMP compliant as well as DoD 5015 compliant.

A quick Google search on “FedRAMP compliant FOIA software solution” or “DoD 5015 compliant software solution” is a good start.

At the moment of writing this text, I see that it’s, in fact, Armedia that ranks in the top few positions on Google. That’s because we have a very strong focus on FedRAMP and DoD 5015 compliance.

ArkCase FOIA Software Solution: The Reliable, Compliant Solution For FOIA Agencies

ArkCase FOIA software solution

Balancing the public’s right to information with the need for cybersecurity is a difficult job. But, modern technology and standardized workflows can make this a reliable process.

Our team at Armedia knows how important cyber-security is, and with our 15 years of experience in the industry, our team knows how to be a leader in the game.

Trying to help FOIA agencies to increase transparency, without crossing the thin line between transparency and security, we’ve partnered with ArkCase to build the ArkCase FOIA solution. In my humble opinion, this is perhaps the top-range modern FOIA Software Solution.

In collaboration with industry leaders like ArkCase, Alfresco, AWS, Ephesoft etc. we provide customized, robust FOIA Software Solution with the following features:

  1. Customized processes/procedures/controls. This customization prevents those unintentional cyber-threats we talked about. This way each employee will know when and what to do in the process, reducing time, effort, human errors, and data leakage.
  2. Federated and advanced search. This feature allows employees to easily search through the documents for a specific keyword and key phrase. This way, your employees can easily find needed information and respond to the FOIA requests much faster.
  3. Security and access controls. Armedia has collaborated with Alfresco, the only open-source and DoD 5015 compliant data management platform. This means that with the ArkCase FOIA Software Solution, FOIA agencies don’t need to worry about data security. We have built-in security measures that will stop any prying eyes from ever seeing something that’s not supposed to go public.
  4. One interface for communication. Unlike the old e-mail systems for communication that outdated solutions use, the ArkCase FOIA Software Solution uses one interface for communication with both colleagues/departments/organizations and requesters.
    This feature dramatically contributes to the prevention of cyber attacks and data leakage.
  5. Centralized database. The centralized database of this FOIA Software Solution allows great storage and easy access to all data in one single place. Armedia uses AWS Cloud for secure data storage so every FOIA agency can be sure their data is safely stored and can be accessed whenever needed, only by authorized people.

All these features add up to a modern FOIA Software Solution that helps FOIA agencies protect themselves from cyber attacks while at the same time improve their performance and productivity.

Let’s Wrap Up

modern FOIA software solution for cyber security

It’s no secret that cyber threats loom over FOIA agencies. And unfortunately, there are people who abuse our society’s transparency and hack into systems to steal our data. This is a threat to governments and individuals world-wide.

To prevent cyber attacks or human errors, Armedia relies on industry disruptors like ArkCase, Alfresco, and AWS to provide a customized, modern, reliable, secure, and cost-effective FOIA Software solution.

The ArkCase FOIA Software Solution helps FOIA agencies protect sensitive data and reduce the FOIA backlogs, from one place, at an affordable price.

If you have any questions or want to learn more about our experience in integrating and customizing the ArkCase FOIA Software solution, please feel free to contact us.

Now it’s up to you

I would like to hear your thoughts about data security in government agencies. Especially what you think FOIA agencies should do to be always a step ahead of the threats.

And if you’ve had first-hand experience with solving the data security issue for FOIA agencies, please share your insight.

And don’t forget to share this blog post on social media. We’re working to make the world a safer place, and we need all the help we can get to spread the news. Thanks!

Paperless or Paper-based: Should Organizations Consider Digitization

Paperless or Paper-based: Should Organizations Consider Digitization

organizations should embrace digitized enterprise content management

If you are reading this blog post you probably still have contradictory feelings about paper-based and paperless office.

Whether we are talking about startups or established vendors we’re all looking for every possible way to streamline operations, cut costs, and save precious time.

Moving away from paper-based content management to a fully digital workflow is one of the easiest ways to cut costs. Still, there are so many organizations that are fearful of making the switch to a fully digital enterprise.

If you’re in such a situation, it would be good to start thinking of some questions:

Are you afraid of the process of migration? Are you afraid that your employees would have difficulties in adapting to it? Or, are you still lying to yourself that you don’t need digitization and you are well of this way?

Whatever the reason is, let’s take a look at how your current way of managing documents could be harming, rather than helping your enterprise succeed.

The Weight Of Paper-based Enterprise Content Management

paper-based vs. paperless enterprise content management

I love the 80es. Such an optimistic era. In 1975, Businessweek predicted that by 1990 paper would be dead.

30 years later, we are producing more paper than ever before.

According to the estimations made by Gartner Inc. things aren’t so “80es cool”:

  • 3% of a company’s revenue is spent on managing paper, printing, filing, storing and maintaining files of information.
  • An average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year.
  • 50% of the waste of businesses is composed of paper.

Terrifying. Not that we didn’t reach the Businessweek’s predictions, we’re boldly going in the wrong direction.

Paper misuse in companies is not only an environmental tragedy, but it is also a monument to inefficiency.

Why? Because paper does not give enterprises the business intelligence and insight they need to succeed. Instead, paper is very often the cause of many harms.

Let me cover the most obvious ones.

1.   Data Loss

Imagine a fire breaks out in your organization’s archive room.

All data is gone.

Customers call.

They demand answers.

But your organization is incapable of providing the information they need.

And yes, it doesn’t always have to be this dramatic. But the truth is things like this can happen, and physical files are much more prone to destruction compared to electronic files.

As an enterprise, you don’t have the luxury of doing nothing, and hope for the best.

You must plan ahead.

You must prepare for the worse, so you can always offer the best.

The best way to protect your business documents it is to implement a document digitization and Enterprise Content Management System that will lower your dependency on paper-based documents and rely more on digital documents.

2.   Delays & Cost Escalations

According to the Paperless Project, an average worker spends around 40% of their time searching for information stored in emails and filing cabinets.

Also, the Paperless Project reports that a typical four-drawer cabinet keeps around 12,000 records and managing it costs $1,500 per year.

They also found that large organizations lose a document every 12 seconds, which can cost a company $350 to $700 a piece.

As you can see, paper archives are too time-consuming. They are too difficult to work with. Very expensive, and quite unreliable.

This is why paper archives very often cause delays and unwanted expenses. Digitalizing paper documents would make sure that the paper management cost goes down significantly. It would also ensure no document-loss happens ever again. And companies would keep expenses in check.

3.   Communication Gaps

Document Management is a complex process. It encompasses many stages, processes, departments, and institutions. All of this requires communication.

Communicating around a single document within the same department is manageable. Scaling this up to thousands of documents, hundreds of employees, dozens of departments every single day… You get a very, very messy situation. A disaster waiting to happen.

If each document could be digital, and all communication to be “attached” somehow to that document, then every person that opens that document could instantly see all the necessary communication around it.

4.   Poor or Wrong Decisions

Communication gaps lead to poor and even wrong decision. If there is a communication gap, that means that your employees don’t have all the information they need to respond to a certain task.

Your employees are decision-makers who are faced with time-bound goals that they must achieve. In such conditions when a decision is made in “an uninformed hurry” there is always the risk of mistakes.

5.   Disappointed Clients & Bad Reputation

No organization wants the same client calling over and over again, asking for the same information for days on end.

Yet, it’s so easy for this to happen if the information they require is somewhere in the archive room at the end of the hall. In a box or a drawer, unorganized, unlabeled, and difficult to search through.

Sometimes, hiring more staff can’t solve the problem.

Sometimes, technology needs to step in.

6.   Failing to Comply with Legal Requirements

Laws and regulations like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) and the HIPAA require the maintenance of records in an organized, secure, and accessible way. And in the absence of digitized documents and Enterprise Content Management System, it is very difficult to organize an information repository so that it complies with applicable laws.

Businesses that use an Enterprise Content Management System will be able to follow legal requirements much easier, much faster, much cheaper.

Let me wrap up this section on paper-based Document Management.

Data loss, cost escalations, communication gaps, all these lead to one undesirable result: Your organization is outpaced, outperformed by similar organizations that have taken the step to go digital.

Despite all these problems that come with keeping things physical, there are organizations that still can’t take the next step toward digitalization.

Organization heads usually fear the unknown. They fear the workload, cost, problems of becoming a paperless organization.

One thing I can say is, the benefits outweigh all fears of any unforeseen problem. And, if you rely on an experienced company, there’s almost no risk of digitalization.

Why Go Paperless?

why organizations should embrace digitization

There are many reasons to accept digitization and go paperless. The first and most important one is to avoid all the harms I’ve mentioned in the previous section.

But, going paperless isn’t only about avoiding problems, reducing the carbon footprint and eliminating costs. It’s also about proactively improving productivity and reliability of government agencies and enterprises.

In a form-driven industry, digitization can reduce error rates, wasted time and automate repetitive manual data entry.

With that being said, the further you move away from paper files, the closer you move toward:

1.   Better Security

Enterprise Content Management Systems have advanced security capabilities, especially when it comes to data access. With electronic Document Management Systems, it’s very easy to set up access rights for user groups, individual users, and even change these settings on a per-document level.

But, the security capabilities of Electronic Document Management Systems go beyond access rights. I am talking about electronic signatures, redacting confidential information, a creation of audit trails and much more.

Modern Enterprise Content Management Systems store all the data on a Cloud server. So even if your local archive burns down to the ground, and all your organization’s computers break down, your data will be safely stored on an Amazon cloud server.

2.   Instant Data Access

When all of your documents are digital, accessing them is much easier.

With digitized documents and an Enterprise Content Management System, you can access data much faster and easier. If you use a cloud-based Enterprise Content Management System, you can access your data from anywhere in the world, from any device with an internet connection.

Another added benefit of going digital and using Enterprise Content Management Systems make your documents content searchable by keyword as well as using tags and other metadata.

The instant access and searchability that digitization brings will significantly improve your efficiency, your workflows, and the entire customer experience.

3.   Effective Collaboration and Communication between Teams

Collaboration and communication are crucial to teamwork. And as we saw, paper-based Document Management is not the first thing you think of when someone mentions collaboration and communication.

Digitization, on the other hand, and Enterprise Content Management Systems do not only reduce the amount of paper in your office. They also make sharing of knowledge and information much easier.

Digitization will bring your employees closer even though they may be located at different places.

All of this makes modern Document Management Systems the go-to thing for collaboration and communication. I am talking about using one interface for communication, easy and fast access, pre-determined permissions, pre-determined workflows and so on.

And let’s not forget about customers and the collaboration and communication you are expected to accomplish with them too. Digitization will undoubtedly benefit everybody involved because your clients will also enjoy the interface for communication and the benefits of having an easily accessible digital copy.

4.   Unlimited Data Storage

Paper takes up a lot of space. From archive rooms, storage rooms, filing cabinets, climate control, disaster prevention etc. and that’s not even the worst part. The worst part is that paper keeps piling up and often it is so fast that your staff will struggle to effectively and efficiently keep track of what’s where.

Digitization allows you to store all documents either on an on-premises server or on the Cloud, requiring much less space than a physical records archive. And the best part is that it is much more efficient than physical storage.

Large amounts of documents can be stored in a single computer, in just a few minutes and organized and sorted without a mistake.

5.   Backup & Restore

The only physical way to backup paper documents is to make copies of them and add to your paper mountain. Digital files, on the other hand, allow an easier, faster and safer way of backup entire archives.

Thanks to these modern technologies and the Cloud you no longer have to worry about backup and restore. Modern Enterprise Content Management Systems will do that for you with a few clicks of a mouse.

6.   Satisfied Clients

Having instant access to information means no more delays and unsatisfied clients.

Digitization allows you to respond to the changing dynamics of your customers, from customer demands to material shortages.

Well organized, stored and managed data undoubtedly increases the productivity of your staff which further results in increased efficiency. This, of course, makes the client satisfied with your work.

Another very important segment is the communication and collaboration we mentioned. Namely, with good collaboration and communication with customers, the customer experience is raised on a higher level.

7.   Eco-Friendly

Paper production is a massive contributor to greenhouse gasses, uses a lot of water, and is one of the major causes of deforestation. Printer ink and toners are no better. They contain volatile and hazardous substances that complicate waste management. All this makes large enterprises and government agencies to have a growing carbon footprint.

While recycling improves the situation a little bit, it still doesn’t and cannot undo the damage. Huge quantities of paper still end up in landfills or incinerators.

The best way to mitigate this eco-footprint is to simply reduce and even eliminate our dependency on paper documents. The idea of reducing paper on the other side is much more sustainable.

More and more companies value the environmental effect of digitization. The importance of a paperless office is not only about the business and workflow advantages. It is also about being considerate of the world at large and eliminating as much consumption and waste as possible.

8.   Reducing Costs

Investing in digitization means reducing costs.

Imagine: no more paper, no printers, no ink, no postage fees, no more bulky filing cabinets occupying office space, no more energy wasted on document handling.

Paper itself does not cost that much. What costs enterprises with paper-based offices is the management of paper-based documents. Digitization changes all of this.

Time spent filing, organizing, and searching for paper documents is a time that could be spent on more productive tasks. Digitization allows you that and much more. As I mentioned, digitized documents are stored in a central repository which is basically a well-organized digital filing cabinet where all of your documents are secure.

All in all, Enterprise Content Management Systems provide a better communication and collaboration, lower costs, unlimited storage, instant access, and security.

Going paperless means increased efficiency and productivity. More satisfied clients and a safer environment. All of which could never be accomplished in a paper-based office. A paperless office is a smart and prudent goal for businesses and organizations.

We at Armedia have been on the cutting edge of helping agencies and businesses switch to fully digital Enterprise Content Management. Throughout our work since the early 2000es, we’ve literally digitized truckloads of documents. We’ve decluttered many offices, reduced the paper footprint of agencies, helped them serve more clients with less effort and less time.

How Armedia Can Help You Go Paperless

Armedia can help you embrace digitized enterprise content management

Besides all of the benefits mentioned earlier, Armedia also takes care of deliverables like a modern Document Management System, a customized Case Management System to fit your workflows, and in-house training of staff. Also, we are providing on-site interventions whenever necessary or online support when needed.

Throughout the years we found the need for a database migration software that will help us migrate large amounts of digital data from proprietary systems onto new, Cloud-based storage systems. For this reason, our team built an Enterprise Content Management migration software that we call Caliente.

Caliente can be used to import content from external feeds into managed content containers. With this migration tool, you can process millions of content files daily, without the risk of data loss or data corruption.

Using our Caliente database migration software we can do quick and painless one-time content migrations from one CMS to another. So in case you’re stuck with some old technologies that are no longer supported, Armedia can help you move off of these old Enterprise Content Management system onto new ones, like ArkCase.

Caliente has been used by many projects performed by Armedia and now it’s in use as a key element of many more projects. One such case was when we used Caliente to migrate millions of structured and unstructured pieces of content into a new ECM Documentum based Case Management system for the US Government Enforcement and Intelligence Agency.

The vision behind it was to replace the existing mainframe structured and paper-based data case system with a modern system that supports electronic workflows, records, comprehensive search, evidence tracking, and reporting.

To learn more about this awesome tool feel free to read this blog post

Our goal at Armedia was never to be someone that will offer just another solution. We strive to provide the best for our clients. In doing so, during the last 15 years, we have made many successful integrations that improved our work. Caliente is certainly just one of the many.

Trough Ephesoft we help many clients to achieve full digitization. Ephesoft advanced capture solutions help enterprises and Federal agencies to run more efficiently, to increase information accessibility, searchability, organization, and data extraction from scanned documents.

We used ArkCase for customizing Case Management.

We relied on AWS as a Cloud service provider.

We turned to Alfresco for compliant data storage.

Since recently, Armedia has earned ISO 9001:2015 certification for Quality Management System (QMS). ISO 9001:2015 is a globally recognized quality management standard developed and published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

If you have any unanswered questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. And please do not forget to share this blog post on your Social Media so other people can learn about the perks of digitization and Enterprise Content Management Systems.

Records Management In Action At The USPS

Records Management In Action At The USPS

USPS and records management

Image Source

My friend and I ran into each other at the local post office and struck up a conversation. We quickly got into the current events of the recently mailed explosive devices to national political figures. We were just amazed at how fast DHS and USPS identified the person who was sending these explosives through the mail. It got us to thinking about how this information was put together and where records management came into play.

Here’s part of that conversation:

“The United States Postal Service scans and creates digital, bar-coded images that are stored in an electronic repository. These images were instrumental in helping to locate the person who mailed the explosive packages to political figures. What’s remarkable is how efficient the recorded image search must have been in order to quickly identify the origin source of the mail and create a correlation between the two.”

So, What Went Into This Discovery?

“First, from a Records Management perspective, the recorded images must have been captured using Optical Character Recognition Software, thereby enabling search within the image object and support auditability. This means that the associated metadata had to include a Date and Time Stamp, an estimated date range for inventory and retention purposes and some type of indicator of the sending or receiving postal facility for inbound or outbound processing.

It’s likely that this data collection occurs daily and when matched with associated video footage, helped to provide a more exact date and time stamp for the receipt of the suspicious packages into the outgoing postal facility.”

Applying Some Generally Accepted Records Management Principles

“Second, Information Traceability allowed for the postal service employees to locate the appropriate record index to narrow down the search.
This was likely done with a unified set of search parameters with other information repositories for cross-referencing and indexing as well as a possible metadata profile. Thus, the principle of Records Transparency and Availability were exercised.

Finally, the records were available (Principle of Availability) which suggests that the Postal Service has the means to identify, locate and extract recorded metadata and thus pull the actual record when an emergency condition arises. It also gives rise to the possibility of a special indexing parameter that was used to identify and track the sender of the potentially explosive mail packages.

This means the recorded information adhered to the appropriate authorities governing the management and control of postal records during the period of data collection, migration to a storage facility and final assignment of a retention schedule. “

Postal Service Record Keeping

USPS and records management

Federal Record Keeping Requirements that govern the United States Postal Service do not allow for collection, management, and storage of information that relates to or can be used to identify individuals, save for Postal Service Operations and law enforcement purposes. (See General Policy overview)

Title 39 of the Code of Federal Regulations 233 provide the legal authorization of the postal inspection service that enabled this information to be captured and shared with law enforcement.

As part of the results of news reporting, we all learned that the postal service routinely scans all parcels that are entered into the mail system and stores that data in dedicated repositories. Those scanned images became official records since they are evidentiary of a common Postal Service Business Process and/or Practice. Federal records may come in any format, including text, images, documents, video or audio file.

Records Management is a growing business function and organizational capability. Strong record keeping services can be a great asset to any organization and in times of critical decision making, a tremendous asset in providing evidence of business functions and activities that can support legal discovery and decisions. As the example above proves, any electronically captured data can become a business record, given the right context and application of records lifecycle principles.

To Wrap Up

 

Armedia

Armedia has significant technical expertise in document conversion and digital imaging as well as a growing expertise in electronically recorded information management. We offer our digital conversion services based on a thorough and working knowledge of Imaging Standards as recognized by Association of Image and Information Management (AIIM) and International Standards Organization (ISO) 16175, which governs Principles and Functional Requirements for Electronic Records in Office Environments and Requirements for Digital Records Management Systems.

We have the inherent knowledge, skill and capabilities in managing the digital transformation of an organization based on a staff and skills diversity of people with strong credentials and great experience in Document Conversion, Information Technology, Data Analysis, Electronic Record Keeping, and Electronic Case Management via our flagship case management product, Arkcase.

Visit us online at ArkCase and/or Armedia.