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How are you using Transparent Records Management (TRM)?

posted on September 18, 2014 Show version history

TRM is when you use the Records Management Module (RM) to house a record series, but use Workflow to arrange those records in a folder structure that your users are accustomed to. Workflow uses shortcuts to the records that reside in RM.

To date, we have 5 notable TRM systems in place:

Meeting Documents (agendas, minutes, etc.)

Ordinances

Resolutions

Completed Public Works Projects

Bond Documents (Tax exempt bonds for projects)

 

I am happy to show anyone more on this if you are interested. Or if you have questions about the RM module itself, I am happy to share what I know about it.

 

What have you done? Anything cool? Oh yeah - prove it :)

The ability to add pictures within this thread is very easy and very useful. Lets put it to good use and share some ideas!

 

Thanks

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replied on September 22, 2014

Chris, thoughts after your last post:  So much info!  LOL  Thanks!  

In answer to questions you posed:

 

"...require users to use custom searches...?"  I did create some Saved Searches I thought they would find useful (pasted them in all the users attributes), but I don't think my two test pilots have been using them.  I didn't think of trying to make them mandatory.  (and YES!  My users are scared to death of using the search tools, as well!  Seems to be a big hurdle for them.  They especially don't like having to Reset after each unsuccessful try (reset, so it's not just searching the new criteria within the results of the previous search).  Just discovered a few short vids LF offers for new users that  might help:  One called Laserfiche Quick Search and one called Getting Started with the Folder Browser).

 

"...have you tried adjusting folder access to block..."  or  "...deny rename..."  or  "... deny access to change metadata..."  I've only blocked them from deleting, or moving folders (in order to enforce locations); the documents are considered theirs to use, then archive or delete as necessary.  Training will be necessary so they understand what they're allowed to delete and what must be archived.  If, after the first year we find they are deleting things they shouldn't, we may adjust our policy on this.

 

"...more info on our users..."   Two users currently (test pilots).  Had to insist they put all their docs in LF before they began using it enough to be good test pilots.  There seems to be a default back to using the G: drive when they're uncomfortable with the new steps in LF, so had to insist all docs come in and be deleted off G: drive (it's our end goal, anyways).  We have 35 more staff to be brought in; one dept at a time will be brought in with a deadline of ___ days to get all their docs in before they are locked out of G: drive.  We expect to have one designated scanner per department eventually.  Haven't begun the pre-planning work with the dept staff yet.  Will start pre-planning with depts once BP's have been designed and are working for test pilots.  I've chosen the legislative assistants and finance dept as my two key areas to get BP's working for before bringing in any other dept.  Next will be getting Human Resources BP's set up and working.  Once those are all working nicely, bringing in the remaining depts will be a snap!

 

"...mini map of WF..."  Wow!  I don't have anything that complex yet.  I've explored creating and using tokens, but am not proficient with it yet.  Hoping to get more practice in soon.  Printed yours off for more study down the road.  Thanks!

 

As far as your "Doc Import" processes and metadata/renaming WF's, I've explored those ideas over the past months but haven't settled on anything concrete yet.  I've started a WF that will Move a doc based on Template, but haven't got it working 100% yet; plus, we are concerned about staff choosing the wrong template so we're exploring ways to assist staff in choosing the right template (see my posts in LF Answers looking for help on these).  Need more time to get these two projects completed, plus I think I might have a better idea how to complete them after a training session I have set up for this Wednesday.

 

"...considered using Business Processes..."  Hell, ya!  ;)  I have a ton of plans set aside for creation once I have enough training (my first solid BP will be created with our VAR this Wednesday, using a Contracts renewal process as a training session with him; we will be working on it together).  Two projects started already; have been put on hold until I get more experienced:  Service Request process to be launched on website for the public and staff to use (created in LF Forms) and Draft Agreement process (using WF & BP's, mapped out using LF Forms).

 

Connie (Flagstaff County, AB)

 

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replied on September 25, 2014

Connie,

 

Looks like you have some options on the table with Biz Processes leading the way. Let me know if you need any more details on a particular subject. 

 

Most importantly let us know what you do! It would be great if some other readers down the road can hear about your results.

 

Thanks!

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replied on September 19, 2014

I have designed our repository (and workflow creating shortcuts) the same as Greg, however, we ran into issues.  Staff would do a search and, even though they couldn't see or use the RS folders, the documents would come up in the searches.  They have to have access to those documents; that's what the shortcuts are all about, but is causes confusion and clutters up the search window.  I was planning on training heavily weighted on doing searches for "shortcuts only", however, we ended up discovering more serious problems with this design and we have now restructured completely.

 

Problems:

1)  Staff would copy a shortcut and paste elsewhere, rename the shortcut (thinking they are renaming a new document) then go in and change what they thought was a copy of the old document.  They were overwriting their originals, losing critical data.

2)  Staff were extremely confused by where the actual documents were located and even the simple steps of opening the document and hitting Save As to create another document became problematic.

 

Solution:

1)  We got rid of all the shortcuts and put the documents back into the staff folders, except for those documents that could already be considered archived (permanent records, never to be changed, like copies of approved bylaws, policies, business plans, etc.)

2)  Some of the "working documents", once approved by Council, would be pdf'd and archived, leaving behind the Word doc (for example) in the staff folder for use in the next version of this type of document.  The LF Versioning tool will be used in many cases, but not all.

2)  Staff will have to add a tag (called "Archive Document") to any and all documents they consider now finished and ready to file away.  A workflow will then take away the document to RS.  (There is a second tag they can use for this if they want a shortcut left behind.  A second WF will act on that tag with the only thing different being it will leave behind a shortcut for them in the originating folder.)

3)  Staff may not remember to take this step when finished with docs, so another WF will be created to search out docs not opened for more than 6 months (or maybe a year) and report those to the departments, asking someone to review them and determine if any of them should be archived.

 

Chris Cartrett:  If you have any processes or designs to share, I would love to see them!  We, our LF implementation team, have the opinion that we shouldn't have to re-invent the wheel, so to speak; considering that we are all municipalities working on processes that should be very similar.  There should be a place we could go to see samples of what others have done (including samples of the design, details of the wf's, how they were put together, etc).  This would give us a head start with implementation and result in less frustrating experiences.  Good for you for starting this thread!

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replied on September 19, 2014

Addressing your first paragraph. Are you saying that you had shortcuts and documents both showing up in results, or you had documents that you didn't want in the search results?

 

If you've got documents that people are actively modifying and needing to manually move and copy, then generally they aren't good candidates for TRM. For us, this is actually a pretty rare occurrence. We don't have any instances where people are allowed to make copies of a document (data duplication gives me heartburn). If there is a need to duplicate pages or documents due to incompatible modifications that need to be made (e.g. department A needs page 1 and Department B needs page 2, or there are different templates and processes involved) we have Workflow manage that for them using Business Processes.

 

The key here is to do some thorough business analysis to understand the customers' processes and build the WFs/BPs to support that. Think about some of the problems that we use as selling points for Laserfiche. One of the biggest is misfiling and human error. Workflow gives us the ability to remove much of that from the equation. Jane no longer needs to remember that when she wants to process a Personal Property Tax Return, she does her part and then sends the file to Frank and notifies Sally. Instead, she finishes her work and sets the Status field to "Completed". Workflow then takes care of the rest of the steps.

 

This kind of scenario isn't always possible, but I think it's important to really understand why the customer wants to be able to move or copy a document from point A to point B, and then take that responsibility (and risk) away so that they can focus on their job and not shuffling paperwork. If a person's job consists entirely of shuffling paperwork, then we can either lighten the budget by an FTE or, even better, make that person twice as productive as before and increase their value to the organization.

 

Don't get me wrong, this is hard. You have to stop just implementing the customer's paper process in Laserfiche and start working with them to streamline and improve the process. Sometimes the customer isn't willing to go that far. However, what we've found is if we give them what they want and implement their entire process, then they change their minds later. This is because the process goes so much faster that the redundant steps are more obvious and they then come to you and ask for changes to be made.

 

Ok, I'm off the soapbox for now. :)

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replied on September 19, 2014

Hi Connie,

 

Thanks for posting and welcome to the group :) It sounds like you have a working method in place right now.

I had a few thoughts from what you posted. I will address them from the top of your post downward.

  • Can you require that your users only use custom search profiles? In other words create the search profile that only searches for shortcuts in specific folder. My users are scared to death of using the client search tools :) I have them spoiled with WebLink custom searches.
  • Also, have you tried adjusting the folder access rights to block users from doing the things you don't want them to? 

 

something like this maybe:

  • If you denied rename, then the users could not rename the shortcuts.

 

  • Problem #1: deny access to change metadata in RM. Then there is no danger of the user altering it.
  • I think your solution #1 & 2 are they way that RM is designed. I only use it for non-working documents. Have you considered using Business Processes (in Workflow) for your working documents? The final routing could be to RM.
  • The item after solution #2, I agree with you. It seems like you get the sneaking suspicion that there is probably a better way. Tell me more about your users... do they all add documents in? Do they all scan? How many are there? Could you be using Web Access for your read only users? 
  • Solution #3: You have a working solution! It can only get better from here!

 

As far as an example goes....

  • I have a primary "Doc Import" folder that all users add their imports to. Different departments have separate import folders.
  • The document is renamed based on metadata, moved to RM. A shortcut is added to the browse-able user area. All docs in RM and the users folders are restricted from being altered in any way. 
  • An additional shortcut is created in the Doc Import folder for users to quality control the 'generate pages' procedure. Users can delete the QC shortcut once finished with QC. So the 'Doc Import' folder has delete access rights.
  • If for whatever reason the user entered the wrong metadata and the file name is incorrect -or- it was placed in an incorrect folder because of bad metadata, admins can go to the RM folders and correct the metadata which in turn kicks off a WF that renames the original entry as well as its shortcut(s). If the entry needs to be moved, Workflow also moves it.

 

Here is a pic of one 'Doc Import' folder. This is for the Town Clerk's office. There is a mix of meeting bodies as well as resolutions, ordinances, etc..

 

Each of the above folders has a field in the metadata. The template used for importing has a default token of %(Parent). So by placing the entry into the folder, that value is passed into the token. Right now my users only need to add 2 fields and Workflow does the rest.

Here is the Quality Control shortcut after an import:

 

Similar to what you are doing, I have a Workflow run daily that checks this folder and emails a user if they have left a QC shortcut hanging out there. As you can see, I place the users name before the file name.

Lastly, at this point there are 3 versions of this entry (RM, User Folder shortcut, QC shortcut). I use a Business Process to delete all three is a user needs to.

I cannot attach the Workflow I use, but I have attached a mini map of it. 

If you are interested in something specific, just let me know.

Hopefully this has sparked an idea or two. I am happy to help out a fellow 'Fichian in any way :)

 

TCO  route new doc.jpg
2 0
replied on September 19, 2014

Hi Connie,

 

Thanks for posting and welcome to the group :) It sounds like you have a working method in place right now.

I had a few thoughts from what you posted. I will address them from the top of your post downward.

  • Can you require that your users only use custom search profiles? In other words create the search profile that only searches for shortcuts in specific folder. My users are scared to death of using the client search tools :) I have them spoiled with WebLink custom searches.
  • Also, have you tried adjusting the folder access rights to block users from doing the things you don't want them to? 

 

something like this maybe:

  • If you denied rename, then the users could not rename the shortcuts.

 

  • Problem #1: deny access to change metadata in RM. Then there is no danger of the user altering it.
  • I think your solution #1 & 2 are they way that RM is designed. I only use it for non-working documents. Have you considered using Business Processes (in Workflow) for your working documents? The final routing could be to RM.
  • The item after solution #2, I agree with you. It seems like you get the sneaking suspicion that there is probably a better way. Tell me more about your users... do they all add documents in? Do they all scan? How many are there? Could you be using Web Access for your read only users? 
  • Solution #3: You have a working solution! It can only get better from here!

 

As far as an example goes....

  • I have a primary "Doc Import" folder that all users add their imports to. Different departments have separate import folders.
  • The document is renamed based on metadata, moved to RM. A shortcut is added to the browse-able user area. All docs in RM and the users folders are restricted from being altered in any way. 
  • An additional shortcut is created in the Doc Import folder for users to quality control the 'generate pages' procedure. Users can delete the QC shortcut once finished with QC. So the 'Doc Import' folder has delete access rights.
  • If for whatever reason the user entered the wrong metadata and the file name is incorrect -or- it was placed in an incorrect folder because of bad metadata, admins can go to the RM folders and correct the metadata which in turn kicks off a WF that renames the original entry as well as its shortcut(s). If the entry needs to be moved, Workflow also moves it.

 

Here is a pic of one 'Doc Import' folder. This is for the Town Clerk's office. There is a mix of meeting bodies as well as resolutions, ordinances, etc..

 

Each of the above folders has a field in the metadata. The template used for importing has a default token of %(Parent). So by placing the entry into the folder, that value is passed into the token. Right now my users only need to add 2 fields and Workflow does the rest.

Here is the Quality Control shortcut after an import:

 

Similar to what you are doing, I have a Workflow run daily that checks this folder and emails a user if they have left a QC shortcut hanging out there. As you can see, I place the users name before the file name.

Lastly, at this point there are 3 versions of this entry (RM, User Folder shortcut, QC shortcut). I use a Business Process to delete all three is a user needs to.

I cannot attach the Workflow I use, but I have attached a mini map of it. 

If you are interested in something specific, just let me know.

Hopefully this has sparked an idea or two. I am happy to help out a fellow 'Fichian in any way :)

 

replied on September 19, 2014

LOVE your scenario for the PPT Return!  I will make it a goal to use that somewhere!  Our staff (test pilots -- only two people) are not doing anything unusual or wrong.  The instances that I can remember they were working on were documents where the format stayed the same but the wording changed month-to-month or year-to-year. 

1) One was a Council Highlights doc done in MS Publisher.  After each meeting, they would copy the last highlights for a new doc, then just change the wording inside.  NEW PROCEDURE:  Using the Versioning tab for all of one year.  Create a new doc and start versioning again each new January.

2)Another instance was a Business Plan created in CorelDraw, where they wanted to copy last years and start working on 2015 changes.  NEW PROCEDURE:  I believe they will be pdf'ing their final version to put in the staff viewing folders and the original working document will be Security Tag'd for only those involved in the yearly draft creations and approvals.

3)Another was Job Descriptions  New procedures on this one may be Versioning with the "Checked Out" tool being used whenever they are working on revisions.

 

Once our test pilots have determined the right processes and sample BP's are in place for as much as we can create, I will be bringing in dept's one at a time and training them for those new processes and tailoring anything I can for their teams.

 

Thanks for the tips! 

1 0
replied on September 18, 2014

We pretty much use TRM for everything, even documents that have no need of formal retention. It's saved us some headaches in making changes. It's nice to be able to delete an entire folder tree and regenerate it into a different structure as requirements change.

 

We have some cross-department records access as part of our accounts receivable process. Finance owns the Records, but we generate folders and shortcuts within each department's folder structure specific to that department's documents. We have a business process that also crosses department lines. When the document is initially scanned, it gets stored in a Records Series. As it works it's way through the process, the shortcuts get moved around to various people who need to act on them. Eventually there ends up being shortcuts to the documents that are relevant to each department in that departments folder structure.

1 0
replied on September 18, 2014 Show version history

Hi Greg,

I see what you are talking about here. A couple of solutions come to mind. One is to restrict those employees who are members of the credit union from using client based searching and instead use WebLink as an intranet for document viewing only. If you use WebLink, you can define the custom search criteria to only retrieve shortcuts from a defined folder location.

Here is an example of how I use custom weblink searched for our public portal. Here I have a defined search pointing to specific folders only.

The other option I am thinking of would involve the use of Workflow. If you have a table with data telling if your user is a member of the credit union, you could have workflow 'assign rights' for each of those documents to restrict access to that individual user. That being the case, the individual user could retrieve the document in a client based search, but would be stopped upon trying to open the entry.

 

Does any of this give you an idea or I am just shooting blanks here?

 

 

 

 

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replied on September 18, 2014

I'm in the initial stages of implementing TRM for all of our member records (we're a $1B Credit Union).

I have workflows built to move documents into RM as they are captured, and I have prepared a workflow to migrate approximately 3.5 million documents from the general repository area into RM.

One issue that has held up that roll-out (I posted about this in a couple other LF Answers threads) is document security.  Documents in RM can be found in search results even though the shortcut to them is in a secured location.

I'm trying to determine how I maintain the security in force on the shortcut to the document in RM as well.

The main reason for this is employees who are also members of the credit union.  Their member records are stored in repository folders with limited access.  When those documents are moved to RM, the limited access doesn't follow.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

3 0
replied on September 18, 2014

I replied in the other thread, but you've given a whole lot more detail here. First, remember that the shortcut is just that, a shortcut. It stands in for the real document, and securing the shortcut won't get you anywhere if the real document is accessible.

 

Is there a reason why you can't restrict their access in Records? Can you provide more detail about the access they should and shouldn't have? Keep in mind that just because they can't see a document in a search doesn't mean that it isn't accessible. We have some cases where people don't have browse permissions, and can't search, but we allow them to see documents via direct shortcuts.

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replied on December 23, 2019

Hi Devin, can you explain how this is configured?

We have TRM set up, and although the records are initially in a secure location, the access to the document once final and in the record series is set to "read" for all staff.

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replied on December 24, 2019

Keep in mind that in 10.4 the new method for Records Series can relieve the need for TRM methods. I haven't upgraded nor used this, but know it is out there. From what I understand, RM becomes more like a type of metadata on the entry itself. 

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replied on December 30, 2019

@████████ Unfortunately, I've lost the mental context of this thread, and I can't remember which portion of our repository I was referring to.

@████████ Yes, there are some ways to make records management easier. However, IIRC using those features will probably impact your regulatory compliance. For many customers, that might not be a big deal, but it could be a scary proposition for others.

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replied on July 24 Show version history

Greg Vermilion, could you contact me:  Bonnie Hilyard, BHilyard@TwinStarCU.com

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