Transcript:

Keith:
Good afternoon everyone. This is Keith Wayland from RPI Consultants. Thank you for taking the time to attend this webinar on perceptive file conversion component. With us today, we have two presenters straight from Kansas City, Mr. John Marney, Mr. Jeff Jones. Very excited to do this presentation live from Tampa. FCC. And without further ado, I give you Jeff Jones, John Marney.

John:
Yay. Okay, so thank you for dialing in today. As Keith said, we’re gonna be talking about perceptive content file conversion component. I am John Marney. I’m a lead consultant here at RPI Consultants. I’ve been working with Perceptive for about 6 or 7 years, and I’ve been with RPI for around three. And this is my colleague.

Jeff:
Hi. I’m Jeff Jones. I have been working with ImageNow / Perceptive Content for about 6 or 7 years, and then been with RPI going on about four years now I believe.

John:
Very good. Alright. Well, let’s get started. First, just a little overview about RPI Consultants. We have been working with Perceptive and Perceptive Products for around 15 years. Right now, on our team, we have approximately 15 members working specifically with Perceptive. The remainder of the company, approximately 60 people, they focus mostly on loss and implementation tech upgrade, that kind of thing. We have offices spread all over the country. We’re primarily located in Baltimore, Tampa, and Kansas City.

What does our team do, the imaging team? Well, we mostly focus on the items here, so eForm and iScript development. We frequently go in and are performing design and redesigns for various processes. We do a lot of upgrades, especially right now with the push for people going to 715. We are engaged for health checks, security audits, migrations, and consolidations. And of course, we work a lot with clinical and HL7.

Jeff:
So what is File Conversion Component? File Conversion Component was introduced beginning in Perceptive Content’s 7.1. Going forward, FCC is the replacement for the INMAC conversion process. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that INMAC is gone. So if you’re doing an upgrade or anything, you can still use INMAC, migrate it over. That’s fine. FCC is just the new option, kind of the new kid in town, and it is definitely much faster.

It leverages the Perceptive Doc Filters libraries, and can convert multiple file types. Works directly with Perceptive Content Workflow through integration server, and uses Perceptive Envoy and automated system queues, which were introduced in Perceptive Content 7, to trigger Workflow actions.

The Workflow queue setup is very simple, and very similar to INMAC, and we will show that in an upcoming slide.

So all the configuration is contained within Perceptive Content runtime. So this means iScripts, configurations, installation of a PDF reader, Microsoft Office, and scheduled tasks are no longer necessary with FCC. You might ask what is Perceptive Content Runtime. So this is a hub that allows for the creation of channels for mapping data and functionality between Lexmark Enterprise software products and various business applications. The file conversion component is just one of the components that use Perceptive Connect Runtime, so if you do decide to use a file conversion component, you will actually have all the components necessary for other products down the road. Since the process does not rely on iScripts and scheduled tasks, the conversion process and workflow is much faster.

So where INMAC would require much more nonworking time, while waiting for schedule tasks to run, et cetera, FCC is almost instantaneous in triggering the conversion. It supports large documents and hundreds of different file types, and is easily scalable, so one installation allows for multiple profiles to be defined in various types and configurations. And that’s all defined in that Perceptive Connect Runtime. And then Perceptive Connect Runtime runs as a Windows service

John:
And I’d like to add that beyond just being faster at converting, this is really great because it has so many fewer different manual pieces that require to run in conjunction that there are far fewer places where failure can occur. And on top of that, because it runs as a Windows service, giving it a quick restart if something’s going wrong is much faster than troubleshooting the-

Jeff:
Failure.

John:
…many failure points that INMAC can have.

Jeff:
Yeah.

John:
So next we’d like to show just a quick overview of the workflow that goes into FCC.

Jeff:
Yeah. So as you’ll see, as we mentioned in the previous slide, it is very similar to the INMAC workflow. You have a start queue. So the biggest difference is that the start queue uses an automated system queue, and this is kind of where all the magic happens. Rather than having a feed convert, all documents go directly into this start queue, which triggers the conversion process, and then sends it over to…well, I should say upon a successful start of a conversion, it sends it to pending. And the pending queue is really just a waiting queue that allows the process to finish before sending it off to success. Other than that, everything, you still have your backup queue and error queues for any exceptions.

John:
That’s right. Looks like we have a question we wanna jump in here.

Moderator:
So we have a question, and now is probably a good time, while we’re taking a look at the workflow. The question is will FCC still work in tandem with Mail Agent?

John:
Certainly.

Jeff:
Yes.

John:
It’s probably good to note that Mail Agent itself has been upgraded, sort of replaced. But essentially the same in the latest version of Perceptive. But they are two distinct components. So the Mail Agent that exists now will handle the importing of your files, and then they’ll be spit into workflow, and then we will trigger the FCC workflow at that point.

Jeff:
Correct.

John:
Good question though. Alright. And I think maybe, lost in the workflow, because it looks so familiar if we’re looking at this versus INMAC, what we’re used to with INMAC. We had mentioned how we’re dropping the requirement for iScripts to handle the handoff for all these documents. Well the technology it’s using with Perceptive Connect Runtime is web service based. So it no longer relies on a lot of custom coding for the iScripts, and it’s also faster, much faster and easier for the system to execute that handoff.

Alright, so the next thing we’d like to go over is just what it’s going to take for you to run FCC. So the first thing we’ve got are the licensing requirements. FCC does have some licensing requirements, a little bit more than probably what INMAC required. The firs thing is going to be, as we’ve mentioned, Perceptive Connect Runtime. The second thing is the ability to license Envoy, which are the web service consumption capabilities.

Jeff:
The triggers. Yeah.

John:
You also have the Perceptive integration framework and the Perceptive integration server. Those two generally go hand in hand. What you will note that is not listed here are the Perceptive integration server transaction packs. They are not required to run this particular component.

As far as the software that’s required, of course, Perceptive Content 7.1.X will be required. The Perceptive Connect Runtime, and on top of that, the Perceptive Content Connector. If these names are getting confusing, that’s alright. We’ll help you through it. Perceptive Integration Server, and Perceptive Envoy. If you are unsure as to what your licenses are that you own, you can definitely always look on the customer portal for Lexmark or contact your Lexmark account executive.

I would also point out that the Perceptive Connect Runtime does use connectors for other Lexmark products. So these licenses would apply to those as well, if you use them. For example, the Intelligent Capture Connector and Perceptive Experience.

Alright, so just a real quick, brief overview of what it would take to install File Conversion Component. Step one is going to be to install Perceptive Connect Runtime. And if you’re new to 7.1, you’re probably not going to have this installed yet. The next thing is inside of Connect Runtime, which is a web based GUI, you would install the Perceptive Content Connector. You would install the File Conversion Connector. And then, within the console that’s now available because FCC is installed, you can create a conversion profile. And that conversion profile is basically setting all of your conversion settings.

Jeff:
Essentially yes. So it doesn’t look exactly like INMAC, but if you were to look at, once you create what they call channels in there, when you initially open it and you start creating those channels, you would see a lot of the same settings. So you can choose PDF to convert. The type, black and white, color, that sort of thing. So it’s really just your configuration for the conversion itself.

John:
And after that is done, you would configure the Envoy service inside of the content management console, and finally create and configure the workflow process that we showed a couple slides ago.

Of course, the official technical documentation contains the required tech specs for your servers as well as more information on the full install process. And really it’s that simple. So we would open it up to any additional questions now.

Moderator:
Yeah, so one additional question is do we have to create a new conversion queue for each file type that’s being converted?

John:
Good question. I’ll leave that to Jeff.

Jeff:
No. So you don’t have to create a new queue. You actually just create multiple channels within Perceptive Connect Runtime that handle the various conversion types.

Moderator:
And that goes in with another question of which file types can be converted using FCC?

Jeff:
So there’s not really a specific list, but I will tell you that there are hundreds of different file types that FCC’s native libraries can handle. So I doubt you’re gonna find very many that it can’t convert.

John:
Yeah, so the most common ones, of course, that we would see for conversion applications. PDFs are number one. It can handle PDFs flawlessly. Other image types like PNG, JPEG, no problem. Next, Office Documents, you’re solid.

Jeff:
Yeah, which is great, because we had pointed out before, you don’t, with FCC you do no need to install Office on the server where it’s installed.

John:
Right, and that’s a big … That alone can save you some licensing money on the Office installation.

Jeff:
Right. Exactly, yeah.

John:
And then, some more specific use cases, we see HTML files, TXT files, things like that.

Jeff:
Right.

John:
So if you have a question around any specific file type, we’d be happy to address that.

Moderator:
Yeah, so we do have a couple more questions that have come in. So one of which, and I’m actually not sure what this means. Perhaps you guys do. Will this replace the file processing agent?

Jeff:
No.

John:
No. No, no.

Jeff:
That is a separate-

John:
Yeah. Well so, File System Agent maybe? I’m not quite familiar with File Processing Agent. I may just be mixing them up. But if we’re talking about File System Agent, File System Agent is responsible for deleting documents.

Jeff:
Right.

John:
In Perceptive, it’s completely unrelated to this.

Jeff:
Yeah.

Moderator:
Okay. And then another question, it’s a little bit more open ended, but what are some cons of FCC compared to INMAC.

John:
Boy.

Jeff:
I would say…

John:
I can’t think of any.

Jeff:
Well, it is, it’s a very new product, to be honest. I think one of the…and that’s gonna be one of the biggest cons. There’s gonna be a lot of stuff that is gonna be found out as more organizations implement it and use it. So I think there’s one issue that we’ve run into with check boxes, right?

John:
Right.

Jeff:
With the [crosstalk 00:13:28]

John:
So there’s new, since it’s all new functionality, there’s always the risk of things that nobody else has run into before. But I would say even on top of that, probably the biggest downside is just the number of new components it utilizes. While that’s also its biggest upside, that means that you are installing and configuring things like the Content Connector and some other pieces that you may have not used before.

Moderator:
Yeah, and I would mention, and Jeff, I think you started to allude to this. We have had one client that did mention to us that with a W4 that was actually being filled out electronically, it wasn’t reading the check boxes off of that W4.

John:
So when it converted to TIFF, that check wasn’t present.

Moderator:
Correct. And it sounds like Lexmark is responding to that fairly quickly and releasing a patch to fix that issue.

John:
Yep. And even if you are using W4s, that may not apply to you depending on what type of PDF you have.

Moderator:
Yeah, this is a specific version of a fillable PDF that they were using.

Jeff:
Right.

Moderator:
There’s another question around how do we, or I’m sorry where do we download the Content Connector?

Jeff:
So that’s, you can download that all in the portal. I wish I could give you the various naming schemas, because one thing I will say is the file naming can be kinda confusing when you’re looking at it, to try and figure out what to download. So the easiest thing I would say is reference the documentation for Perceptive Connect Runtime and for the file conversion component, and that should give you all the information in terms of what you need to download, like prerequisites.

John:
Yeah, the install guide should be named file conversion component.

Jeff:
Correct.

John:
And if you find that on the customer portal or at Lexmark customer portal, you should be able to fetch the rest of your components.

Moderator:
Excellent. Another question around the doc types. Do you have to specify doc types to be enabled?

John:
So if you have to turn on docs to convert or PDFs or Excel files-

Jeff:
Well, you set that all-

John:
Or does it just do it natively?

Jeff:
It’s natively. So that’s all in the channels that you set up within Perceptive Connect Runtime. So you might set up a channel for black and white TIFF from PDF or from-

John:
Okay. So you do need, you have to set up a channel for each type of document you wanna convert.

Jeff:
I believe you do, and you know, that might be something we can investigate a little bit more. The primary use cases we’ve dealt with so far have been PDF, but yeah. Essentially you would set up a channel for the various ones.

Moderator:
And then what does FCC do with attached or embedded documents? I’m guessing perhaps that’s referencing an email.

John:
Right. It’s not going to be able to, my understanding is it’s not going to be able to handle that any better, because that’s embedded as an object, and it can’t necessarily detect that it’s a file. And that would apply to emails as well as if you had embedded Word documents inside of another Word document.

Jeff:
Right.

John:
I don’t know if you’ve seen differently.

Jeff:
I haven’t seen differently, but it’s definitely [crosstalk 00:16:40]

John:
I would expect no, but I’m not sure we have 100% certain answer on that. So we can certainly find out.

Moderator:
And then this next question, I would definitely preface this one with we probably don’t have 100% answer, but maybe we can give some feedback based on what we’ve seen with other clients. I always disclaim any licensing talk is really that, goes back to you need to speak with your-

Jeff:
Yes.

Moderator:
Lexmark account executive. But the question is, is there a cost associated with these components if we already own INMAC. We’re upgrading from 6.7 to 7.1/

Jeff:
Yeah, and that’s a good question, and something that we’ve talked about. So, and as you said, we’re not 100% sure. The best thing I can tell you is to check with Lexmark. I know that we’ve heard, I should say-

John:
Yeah.

Jeff:
… that if you own INMAC currently, that they will convert the licenses over for you if you’re switching to FCC. Now again, I would check with your account rep and check the validity of that.

John:
Yeah. That’s the feedback we’ve gotten from the installations we’ve done.

Jeff:
Yeah.

John:
But of course, we can’t officially speak to the licensing of Lexmark.

Moderator:
And this is an interesting question because I think it’s one that we’ve gotten fairly often around INMAC and eForms in general. And I don’t believe this has changed for FCC, but can FCC flatten eForms?

John:
No. Mm-mm (negative). It’s … That requires a special processor to be able to even display the eForms properly. And that is not part of FCC. There are third party alternatives to that, however.

Moderator:
And then, does FCC detect password protected PDF or Word documents?

John:
Great question.

Jeff:
I do not believe so. Again, that would be something we would look up, but just like anything, if it … It uses its own libraries to open the doc and do the conversion, and if it can’t open them then it’s going to fail, just like INMAC mostly.

John:
Yeah, I mean, I would say almost certainly it’s gonna hit an error exception at that point, because it can’t fully open the document.

Moderator:
Well, and if we don’t know the password, then it’s hard for FCC to enter the password, right?

Jeff:
Right.

Moderator:
But I guess what’s important would be, I would assume that FCC can be configured to handle those exceptions

John:
Yeah, certainly.

Moderator:
… if it can’t open the document.

John:
And that’s where the workflow on the content side comes back in, where we can direct traffic based on exception.

Moderator:
Yeah, and you know there may be a possibility I guess of maybe some kind of more advanced implementations, where you could maintain passwords. It would certainly be [crosstalk 00:19:25].

John:
Anything’s possible, right?

Jeff:
You can always ask Santa. We’ll see.

John:
Yeah.

Moderator:
So one other question. Do you know the mechanics of how it converts, i.e. does it open up a Word file for conversion. I ask because of the possibility of malicious documents that execute code when the file is opened.

John:
Yeah.

Moderator:
This was a concern for us with INMAC.

John:
Good question. I can’t, I’m not a developer, so I can’t say I know specifically, but I do know that the mechanics of how it works has changed from INMAC. And so, with INMAC, yes, it absolutely opened the document in an instance of whatever viewer was required. So if it was a Word document, it opened it in an instance of Word. PDF in a PDF viewer, whatever. That definitely has changed. It is now all scripted through custom libraries built to basically process the raw data inside of the file and create the TIFF instead of having to open it in the host application. And we can say that pretty much for sure because these applications aren’t even required to be installed. So I don’t know of any way it even could open half these documents without the application there. But that is a good question.

Moderator:
Excellent. And this question is maybe a little bit off topic, but does Envoy work with Lawson?

John:
Well, so Envoy is-

Jeff:
That’s a good question.

John:
Its own sort of-

Jeff:
It’s own product.

John:
… category outside of FCC. So I have used Envoy in the past to consume for Lawson, for PeopleSoft, for Microsoft Great Plains, for Microsoft Dynamics, et cetera. So Envoy can absolutely be used to facilitate communications with just about any web service that has a available in point. So I guess the answer to that question is absolutely yes.

Moderator:
Yeah, and I guess I would add that to communicate from ImageNow to Lawson, for instance, posting data, invoice or GL data from an eForm, you don’t necessarily need Envoy.
John: Correct. You can do web service calls strictly through code and completely avoid using Envoy. But it’s definitely the recommended way, because using Envoy allows you to do trace locking. Every time you make a connection, you can see the input and the output from that connection point. It also allows you to verify security, like you can punch in a username and password for the web service and get an “Okay, test connection successful,” response essentially.

Moderator:
And then as well, we’ve also implemented using a comm object-

John:
Yeah.

Moderator:
… between ImageNow and Lawson.

John:
Lawson. Yeah, we, I think it’s been a number of years now since we in house developed a way to interface with Lawson that didn’t require web services.

Moderator:
Yeah, and we do more and more recommend these days rather than performing flat file loads at the end of the day, that we do actually perform AGS calls ad hoc so that we can actually get the feedback from Lawson as well into the [crosstalk 00:22:42].

John:
Absolutely. Yeah. Real time response from any sort of data interface is definitely preferred.

Moderator:
And then our final question here is does this need to be installed on a Linux machine or can it run on Linux exclusively?

John:
It does not have to be installed on a Linux machine. I can say that for sure. Have you looked at the technical documentation to see if it supports Linux?

Jeff:
I have not. I do know, I mean, the only thing I know off the top of my head is that it can run on a Windows machine, but it is recommended that Perceptive Connect Runtime B run on a separate server than the app server.

John:
Okay.

Jeff:
But in terms of Linux, we can look at the tech specs and follow up, get you a definite answer.
John: Yeah. And we will be sending out a recap email with these questions and our answers to them. So if there’s any we didn’t quite answer thoroughly, we’re gonna attempt to go back and find the answers. That one, we can definitely refer to the technical specifications document that the manufacturer releases to get a for sure answer.

Alright. My information is here on the slides, so feel free to email me with any questions.

Moderator:
I wanna thank John and Jeff. Excellent presentation here today. I wanna thank you for attending. We hope you found it informative.