Vanguard IMS-21: Now with More Metadata
April 1, 2014 Alex Woodie
IBM i shops that are on the hunt for a content management system may want to check out the latest software from Vanguard Systems, which last month issued the latest release of its IMS-21 suite for IBM i and Windows. With IMS-21 version 7.1, the company has spruced up its interface, expanded its collection of metadata, and bolstered integration with other products. The company also unveiled its new Accounts Payable (AP) Automation solution.
IMS-21 is a document storage and workflow management system designed to help organizations streamline their handling of documents, specifically in the areas of scanning, archiving, workflow approval, backup, and retrieval. The system enables users to input documents into the IMS-21 repository from a variety of interfaces, including retrieved faxes, document OCR scanning, or ERP output. Once in the repository, the software enables users to access document images directly from ERP system screens or from Vanguard’s Windows and Web clients.
With IMS-21 version 7.1, the company is now collecting metadata from documents, which should widen the range of functions Vanguard can provide users, particularly when searching for specific documents or data within individual documents. Vanguard also says it improved the search capability in version 7.1 by replacing the PC inquiry module with the IMS-21 Explorer.
IMS-21 Explorer allows users to search and filter on index values, as well as metadata pulled from back-end IBM i databases, says Keith Engberg, head of sales and marketing at Vanguard. One potential use of the metadata function is with accessing AP invoices.
“Based on the index keys, IMS-21 will access the ERR or legacy application and pull back vital criteria regarding that record, such as vendor name, voucher number, gross/net amount due, vendor invoice number, vendor address info, entry date, etc., allowing users to find the documents they need faster,” Engberg tells IT Jungle via email.
Multiple documents can be flagged for distribution, and the desired records can be distributed via e-mail or fax. The user is also given the option to send these documents as individual files, or to convert them into a single PDF for distribution. Searches can also be saved for future use.
Vanguard spruced up the workflow capability of IMS-21 by hooking the software up to Flotiva NXT, a Windows- and SQL Server-based product the company offers to help companies implement automated workflows across multiple applications. The company is giving IMS-21 7.1 users the right to use five workflows with the Flotiva NXT offering.
Other new features include a redesigned user interface, new batch scanning functionality, and a document viewer. The new document also tightened the product’s integration with ID Protect, which provides an automated way to redact or obfuscate personally identifiable information (PII) stored in customer records, such as credit card numbers and Social Security numbers.
Engberg says the IMS-21 solution fills a need for affordable content management system that’s easy to use. “With continued pressures on organizations to do more with less, while improving efficiency, enterprise content management has become a necessity,” he says.
IMS-21 is one of two IBM i-related offerings from Vanguard, the other being the eliteFORMS that it obtained with its 2007 acquisition of Elite Document Solutions. eliteFORMS can bolster IMS-21 by providing electronic document overlay capabilities, as well as by automating the distribution of PDF documents via email and fax.
Several years ago, Vanguard decided to move IMS-21 off the IBM i server to Windows. While it does not sell a version of IMS-21 today that runs on IBM i, the software is designed to interface with IBM i-based applications, and approximately 85 percent of the IMS-21 customer base still runs the older IBM i version of the software, Engberg says.
In late March, Vanguard unveiled its new AP Automation offering, which the company says can reduce the cost of AP processing by 30 percent to 60 percent by moving from a paper-based AP process to a paperless one.
Vanguard is selling AP Automation as an outsourced service and as a shrink-wrapped software solution based on its Windows-based Flotiva NXT software and DigiDoc OCR data extraction technology. Customers who opt to use Vanguard’s “Payables Lockbox” and outsourced data entry services can expect up to 97 percent data capture accuracy and a 24- to 48-hour turnaround upon invoice receipt.
“Vanguard’s AP Automation solution eliminates paper wrangling and data entry, freeing knowledge workers to focus on core initiatives and/or freeing the organization to reallocate resources,” Engberg says. The AP Automation offering is designed to work on IBM i, Oracle, SQL Server, and Windows operating system environments.