Preparing for your Implementation of Content Central

Welcome to Content Central.  A powerful, web-based document management system that your organization will be using soon to manage your documents. In this video, we’ll cover what to expect from your implementation including the phases it goes through.  Let’s take a moment to talk about your implementation and how it works.  At a high level, your implementation will go through the following four phases: preparation, installation and configuration, training and testing, and going live.

The preparation phase usually includes some homework for you, some conversations with your engineer, and a bit of testing that the engineer performs to discover hurdles that might slow down your implementation.  Everything that you and your engineer work on during this phase is captured in your initial configuration document, or ICD. This document is the centerpiece of your implementation.  It’s a complete list of all the details that need to be figured out for successful implementation. The initial configuration document is such a critical part of your implementation process that we should take a moment to look at it in more detail.  You should have received a blank initial configuration document already,  and you may want to take a moment to look through it now to get familiar with the type of information that is requested.  There are a couple of sections that are gathering basic information such as the contact information for the project lead and the technical contact of your organization.  Another example of basic information is the users & groups section where you can provide a list of the users who should be set up as an administrator of Content Central.  Most customers are able to fill out these basic sections on their own without any help from an engineer.  

There are also a number of sections that are IT focused such as the section about basic connectivity or basic Content Central features.  Typically, your IT department or your third party IT company are the best resources for filling out these sections.  Ademero has created a technical discovery workbook that contains only these IT focused questions from the ICD so that you can send it off to your IT department or third-party IT company and they can begin figuring out those details on their own ahead of time.  You should have received a blank version of the technical discovery workbook and you might want to take a moment now to hand it over to the person who handles IT tasks so they can begin work on it.

The rest of the initial configuration document contains sections that will eventually describe how Content Central will be configured on install day so that it meets your organization’s needs.  Examples of these sections are automated indexing, advanced Content Central features, and ODBC integration. A handful of customers are very familiar with Content Central and can fill out all of these sections on their own before the first conversation with the engineer.  But most customers will need to work closely with the engineer to fill out these sections.  

One of the sections requiring the most preparation from you is determining the catalogs, document types, and fields that you’ll need, so let’s spend some time to understand those now. Content Central is made up of document types that are grouped together into different catalogs.  The document type is a very important concept in Content Central and is probably different from what you might expect.  In Content Central the document type doesn’t have anything to do with the particular format of the file, like PDF or Word or Excel.  Instead, it has to do with what function the document has in your organization.  For instance, an accounting department might have document types like purchase orders, checks, or invoices.  A human resources department might have document types like an application, an offer letter, or a performance review.  

Take a moment now to make a list of three or four examples of document types that you want to save in your Content Central.  It doesn’t have to be a complete list, it’s just helpful to have a couple of your own document types in mind as we learn more.  For each document type we can configure Content Central to ask us for some of the details about that document when we bring it into the system.  For example, I’ve told Content Central ahead of time that whenever I want to bring in a purchase order into the system, it should ask me for the PO number, the quote number, and the vendor’s name.  Also, I can tell Content Central to display that information in the table on the right whenever that document shows up, so I can sort by, or group by any of those fields.  Sometimes Content Central refers to fields as “fields” and sometimes it calls them “properties”, but they mean the same thing.  I’ve also given Content Central a set of rules to follow so that it can automatically file away any purchase order into the right place under catalog browser.  If later I change any of the properties or fields of the document, Content Central’s going to reevaluate whether the document is in the right folder using the same set of rules and move it to the right one if it needs to be moved.  

So, just to review, it looks like our sample purchase order document type is configured with three fields that help us perform better searches and also help the system file away the document automatically for us.  The first field, the PO number, is configured to only allow 4 digits to be entered and automatically starts with the number for you.  The second field, the “quote number”, also only accepts 4 digits.  The third field is configured as a drop-down box with a list of vendor names.  Notice that the quote field is not required.  The system allows me to enter a purchase order without the quote number being filled in.  Also notice I can type in a new vendor name that’s not on the list.  The vendor field will add the item that I typed in to the list for next time.  Also, if we wanted to take advantage of some of the more advanced features of Content Central, we might be able to have Content Central fill in these fields or index the document automatically for us based on information that it finds in certain areas of the document, or based on other systems like your accounting system.  For instance, since all purchase orders have the same layout, we could configure Content Central to always look in the upper corner of the purchase order for the purchase order number, and to fill in that field automatically for us.  If we know that the accounting system can tell us what the vendor name should be for a given PO number, then we could also configure Content Central to fill in the vendor name field automatically by asking the accounting system what the vendor name should be.  These advanced features, like automated indexing or ODBC integration take some time and technical expertise to set up properly, but they can save a lot of manual effort if your organization will be scanning a high volume of documents on a daily basis.

For each of your document types that you have in mind from before, we need to figure out what fields the system should ask you for, and how these fields should be configured.  We also need to figure out how we would like to documents in each type to be filed away.  In trying to figure out what fields you need there are a couple of questions that can help you identify possible fields.  First, how are those documents filed away today?  If they’re stored in the network folder, usually the folder names should be considered as possible fields.  If they’re stored in a filing cabinet, the folder name is usually a field.  Second, in an ideal world, what ways would you like to be able to search for your documents?  For instance, is it just by client name, or would you also like to be able to search by client ID, or date of birth? Third, is it helpful to see specific data about that document show up next to it as a column in a list?  For example, you may have a number of users entering purchase orders into the system and it might be helpful to see who entered the purchase order into the system whenever you get a list of purchase orders.  It’s important to remember that generally speaking, the system will prompt the user to fill in every field that you add to a document type every time someone tries to bring in a document of that type into the system.  If you have a document type with lots of fields, it will take userslonger to fill out all of the fields for each document they bring into the system unless those fields are automatically being indexed by the system.  It can also make getting around the system a little less convenient.  Also, remember that you don’t need a field for every possible item that you want to use in a search.

In this example, we’re looking for a purchase order for Bowman fabrication that has Commercial Boulevard in the ship to area of the purchase order.  We can combine the full text search with the drill-down search to find this document even though we don’t have a field for the ship to address configured for purchase orders.  You might be wondering what happens if you don’t configure any fields for a document type.  Let’s make a new document type for purchase orders that doesn’t have any fields.  As you can see, you can still bring in documents that have no fields configured, but Content Central won’t ask for any of the field information.  On the search pane, your search options are limited to full text search only, which means that Content Central looks through every word on the document to see if it matches your phrase.  You can narrow down your search to the document type, but your fields won’t be available for drill down searching.

Finally, Contents Central doesn’t have any field information that it can use to automatically file away the purchase order, so it puts the document in the top-most folder instead.  Your initial configuration document has an example document type already filled in, and you can use it as an example to start documenting your own document types, fields, and folder building that you want in the system.  Don’t worry about it being perfect, and don’t worry about leaving some areas empty or unfinished.

This section of the initial configuration document is the most important and usually takes the longest to complete, so any steps you can take to provide information here will move your implementation forward greatly.  If you need to collect a list of document types, fields, and folder building from multiple departments, you may want to send this video out to them so they can be introduced to how the system works, and start thinking about how they want their documents to be set up in the system.  After you and your engineer complete each section in the initial configuration document and you’ve signed off on it, your implementation moves into the next phase, which is the installation and configuration phase.  Your engineer will schedule your install day which is the day your Content Central is installed on your server and then configured based on everything you and your engineer decided during the preparation phase.  After your install day, your implementation will move into the training and testing phase. You will receive some basic information about your system, including the web address you can use to access it, and some links to training videos that explain how to use the system.  You can get started right away exploring and testing the system on your own, or you can wait for your engineer to give you a walk-through of your setup.  

In this video, we’ve covered what to expect from your implementation, including the phases it goes through.  As always, if you have questions, feel free to contact your engineer directly.

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