Virginia Retirement System (VRS), located in Richmond, Virginia, provides the customer service aspect of handling retirement funding for state employees that belong to certain member organizations. For each employee of the member organizations, an electronic case of document images is kept for all correspondence between the employee, the employer and the retirement system. Documents consist of emails, mailed-in letters, system-generated letters, applications, birth and death certificates, and many others.
The custom case management system was built on top of IBM’s WAF/400 product. IBM had announced that support for WAF/400 was being discontinued and recommended users of the system to migrate to iSeries Content Manager. This imaging solution used IWPM/2000 to capture the documents. With document capture volumes increasing, it was decided to replace IWPM with Kofax Ascent Capture to handle the higher volume and prepare to take advantage of OCR capabilities in future. The custom system used optical drives to store the documents. However, the special software used for writing the data to the platters caused abnormal drive activity and, as a result, the optical units encountered downtime due to mechanical failures. Consequently, VRS also decided to migrate the images from optical media to direct access storage device (DASD) media.
The team analysed all the current WAF/400 API’s functionality. These functions were replicated with iSeries Content Manager API’s. Code “wrappers” were built to modularize these functions so that the original custom program modules could replace the WAF API call with a call to the appropriate “wrapper”. This helped minimize changes with custom program logic. The original code used IWPM as the image viewer. This was replaced by using the CM viewer.
IWPM scanning software was replaced with Kofax Ascent Capture. Case documents and file cabinet documents are now scanned with Ascent Capture. Special batch classes were built to handle the large number of special document types. Ascent Capture was implemented as the first phase that used the WAF/400 release script. When Content Manager was implemented, the only Ascent Capture change required was to replace the WAF400 release script with the Content Manager release script.
The seven scanning workstations consisted of Bell & Howell and Fujitsu scanners. Each was equipped with Kofax Adrenaline image processing cards to handle the high speed scanning. Some scanners used the Kofax hardware Virtual Rescan and one used the Kofax software Virtual Rescan. The Virtual Rescan scanners were utilized for capturing the birth, marriage and death certificates. These documents have complex anti-copying backgrounds; without the Virtual Rescan software, the document images would be very difficult to read.
Typically, poor image quality requires rescanning from two to eight percent of all pages. The process is tedious and expensive. The scanner operator must stop scanning new documents, locate the pages that require rescanning, adjust scanner settings, then reload and rescan these pages. The process may have to be repeated many times to generate a readable image. The operator must then replace the rescanned pages in the correct locations in their batches — both the hard copy and electronic version. Research has shown it costs six times more to rescan a page than the original scan.
Optical unit availability was becoming an issue. First we change the file system from QDLS to QOPENSYS and migrated the documents from their current folders to new directories. Over a 42-day period we migrated the millions of documents on optical media to direct access storage devices. This not only eliminated the downtime from the optical unit device failure, but also increased document retrieval response time tremendously.