May 30, 2019

A Next Generation Platform for Customer Communication Archiving and e-Presentment (Part 2) – High speed ingestion and retrieval for large document batches

Tim Nelms | VP WW Channels & Alliances/International Sales
Modern Customer Communications Archive

In out last post we looked at the ideal characteristics of a next generation customer communication archiving platform. In this post we look at one some of the critical concerns for migrating legacy customer communication archives to next generation ECM platforms.

Legacy customer communications archives are rarely designed with their eventual replacement in mind. In fact, legacy archives suffer from their somewhat closed approach to archiving content. In particular, the use of proprietary file formats, the lack of APIs and the paucity of unloading tools all reflect the age of these products. The net result is that capturing data from these legacy archives that is ready for migration isn’t always easy. Where possible it is important to use documented techniques for unloading content from the source. Where techniques like these are not available, specialiized tooling to reach into these systems and extract the content and indexes may be required.

Many organizations are choosing variants of PDF like PDF/A for long term archiving since this is an internationally recognised standard with significant long-term benefits over traditional print formats. Guaranteeing high fidelity conversion from legacy print formats like AFP, Metacode, PostScript, PCL and line data to PDF/A is an essential part of a high-quality archive migration. However, for those choosing to store legacy print formats (as they may have done in legacy archives), CrawfordTech provides the ability to store these in modern ECM systems as well. That’s correct, you can continue to archive AFP with you next generation ECM system.

Next generation ECM systems are highly adaptable to a wide range of content management use cases. For example, the most common content storage model in most ECM systems is to use a one-to-one correspondence between content object and documents, which suits a wide variety of use cases and provides for fine grained records management. Crawford Technologies, has developed a storage model with a one-to-many correspondence between content objects and documents, which supports high volume archiving of document batches – a technique used in many legacy customer communications archives – and can now be applied to modern ECM systems.

We call these approaches “no-burst” and “full-burst” archiving respectively and it means that our customers can trade storage efficiency with the granularity of records management. Crawford Technologies takes full advantage of this approach which means that migrated content bears a close resemblance to its counterpart in the source system, which can also reduce storage by a factor of 20x.

e-Presentment services are essential components of the processes that allow consumers to access documents via web portals and mobile devices. e-Presentment can include document transformation to convert documents stored as AFP or PDF to HTML5 for display on mobile devices or a web browser. Accessible tagging is the process of formatting a document for screen readers that support blind and partially sighted individuals. This can be done in real time during e-presentment. Other operations that are performed during e-presentment may include redaction for documents that need to comply with PCI-DSS  and other regulatory requirements and standards as well as adding digital signatures to guarantee consumers authenticity of documents.

Behind the scenes many high-volume customer communications archives rely on Crawford Technologies e-presentment services to deliver all these capabilities. This includes “bursting”, through which e-presentment services find individual documents contained in large batches.

More about Crawford Technologies customer communication archiving and e-presentment solutions can be found here. Next week, in Part 3, we look at best practices for a successful archive migration.