Optimize Business Systems with a Technical or Solution Health Check

New implementations of advanced data capture or enterprise content management platforms can help automate and simplify your important business processes. However, over time these implementations may highlight or amplify issues and redundancies carried over from manual processes. Technical or Solution Health Checks can help you identify technical and process improvements and optimizations to help your business systems run more efficiently.

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Abbey Oliver:
Good afternoon and welcome Webinar Wednesday. Today we will be discussing Technical and Solution Health Checks. Just to cover a few housekeeping items. To begin with, this webinar will be recorded and posted to our YouTube channel as well as our blog within a few days. For those of you dialing in today, this slide deck will be emailed out to you immediately after the webinar. We also have a moderator standing nearby. Those of you that have questions, please feel free to submit them via the GoToWebinar interface and also if you have any additional ideas for future webinars, be sure to let us know.

Our upcoming May webinars, we have Outlook integration for OnBase starting at 11:00 am Central time, followed by Kofax Products and Solutions at 1:00 pm. Then, planning your next upgrade at 3:00. I am Abbey Oliver. I am a senior consultant here at RPI. I have over five years’ experience in designing and implementing ECM and advanced data capture solutions. I mainly focus on HR solutions or insurance solutions but I’ve also done a lot of custom solutions as well.

Derreck Mayer:
I’m Derreck Mayer, another senior consultant here at RPI. I have been working with ECM for over eight years now, with an emphasis on accounts payable and higher education solutions, including other back office and I have also had an emphasis on client facing training. In my free time, I do a lot of podcasting. I like to talk.

Abbey Oliver:
Today, we’ll give you a little overview about RPI and what we do. Then, we will look at what is a health check in general. Then, dive into the specifics of both technical and solution health checks, and follow up with a summary and any questions at the end.

About RPI, we have over 80 full time employees across the United States, with offices in Baltimore, Tampa and here in Kansas City. We provide a breadth of different services from installations and upgrades to work flow analysis and design and our partners include Perceptive Content, on OnBase by Hyland, Brainware by Hyland, Kofax and Infor Lawson.

What is a health check? A health check is a project with a dedicated resource that will analyze different aspects of your system. Some customers choose just to go with a technical health check, and some choose just a solution health check. Both can be done to really optimize the overall results. RPI is available to complete these health checks across all the different platforms, Perceptive, OnBase, Kofax, you name it.

Then, to dive into the technical side of the health check. When RPI begins a technical health check, we consider the variables that each customer has in their environment. We note the gaps between their current state and the recommended best practices. Then, we can provide an objective view or objective plan to ensure that the health of your environment is the best shape that it can be. Our deliverable from this work is called the Technical Health Check Report.

Our consultants will run through a list of objectives to complete the technical health check. We start by monitoring your baseline performance and we can produce recommendations for both high availability and high scalability options. We do ensure that our customers have a contingency plan in place, and if they do then we will review that and make sure it’s in line with the best practices. We also report and give recommendations on all servers across our customer’s environment. Whether that be the database server, the app server, web server, remote server. We take a look at all of those. Then, once we’re completed with the analysis, we provide that Technical Health Report, which is easy for our customers to understand and interpret.

Here’s just an example of that. As you can see it’s organized in a way to show the action item, the impact it has on the environment, the level of effort to complete the action, detailed notes regarding what we found during our analysis, and the status of the action items.

Derreck Mayer:
Next up we’ll talk a little bit about contingency planning, which is one of the things that a technical health check will look into. The first big piece of that is backing up your data. While most organizations are probably doing this to some extent already, we all want to make sure that everything is being backed up to best practices. This includes application files, anything from file storage system, configuration files, your database, making sure that it’s being backed up as needed and a disaster recovery plan is also in place, which is how we get to high availability opportunities. With certain products, for example Perceptive Content 7, active-active environments are available. We can create high availability situations to make sure that disaster recovery and fail over are options for you, depending on the types of access you need for your documents.

How are your documents being stored? What is your file storage system? Are these local? Do you have a NAS or a SAN? Can we put the file storage system on something that’s more readily accessible and can handle fail over more easily? We’ll talk a bit about mirroring and fail over here and we’ll talk about fail over clusters next.

This is just an example of what we can do with a contingency plan for disaster recovery. If you’re using an active-active environment, you have two different nodes that are running at all times, but you can also have a regular fail over situation, where one node is the primary node, and the other is the secondary node, where the primary node is running at all times, and if something were to go wrong, for whatever reason, whether that’s a disaster situation, a technical hiccup, or maintenance, it will fail over to the secondary node. The idea here is that the fail over allows users to continue using whatever that application is, without any real interruption. This is really important in the healthcare industry, when you’re dealing with patient documentation, patient charts, things that need to be readily available instantly.

Abbey Oliver:
Perfect, to expand on some of our best practices, during this Technical Health Check, specifically work flow performance. Work flow intelligently searches for outstanding work, which is then bundled and made ready for a worker thread. This process of bundling and assigning and processing work is designed to be fair to the queues, while still maximizing throughput. Your system administrator can boost performance by adjusting these worker threads, kind of looking at the number of saturated queues and then adjusting your threads to match that, and then also considering overall CPU. You can also introduce load balanced routing to route work to multiple queues that can perform the same action.

Then, the graph on the left shows how increasing the number of worker threads for a workflow process effects the overall throughput. The more worker threads, the higher throughput volume. Then the graph on the right is the same test that also shows the average time taken to move an item from the starting queue to the complete queue, and that also improves with additional worker threads.

Derreck Mayer:
Next up, we’re going to take a look at what Solution Health Checks are and some of the differences between them and the technical health checks. Similar to the technical health checks, there is a scope of work involved for a Solution Health Check. We’re going to perform a comprehensive review of all of your solutions for your applications, your ECM applications, as well as OCR and we’ll discuss things like an upgrade evaluation. Is there a newer version of the product that’s currently available that you would be able to as an organization, take advantage of some new features? We will of course identify best practices. These are across the board things where we can find work flow efficiencies, any user security, group security, how documents are being captured into your enterprise content management system. Are there ways that we can better automate those processes and streamline it? Any custom development that’s being done to help automate things already? Maybe there’s ways to streamline those or bring them up to line to best practices, and reporting to assist in determining where these bottle necks may be.

We’ll also provide some training recommendations, from an IT perspective, a super user perspective, and an end user perspective. We may be able to provide some training opportunities to make the system more easily available and more usable by your employee staff.

Finally, we will provide some actionable items, things that may be quick wins that we can take care of even during the health check possibly, things that may be able to be accomplished without an