Laserfiche tackles VERS certification

Laserfiche is adopting the VERS (Victorian Electronic Records Strategy) records management standard in its push to increase the profile of its ECM platform in Australia in 2010, commencing with the release of Version 8.2 due mid-year.

At the annual Laserfiche conference, held in LA from January 11-13 and attended by more than 1200 users from the US and around the world, CEO and founder Nien-Ling Wacker (pictured) announced that 2009 was a watershed year for the company which has now spread to more than 28,000 organisations worldwide.

In her keynote address, Wacker criticised a the ECM industry for delivering systems that are too "resource guzzling, too complex, inflexible and often unused."

She said ECM vendors faced the dilemma that “Users won’t buy into central control, but if it comes from users IT won’t buy into it because there is no central control.”

The company reported 10% growth in 2009 and now stands at 250+ employees. Major customer wins in the US include the NY Board of Education, the largest school district in the US that is now managing more than 25 million student records in the Laserfiche Rio ECM system.

Laserfiche has a strong presence in state and local government in the US, and is tackling VERS certification as part of a push into this sector in Australia. It is also seeking to recruit new local VARS to extend its customer reach.

Laserfiche sees the growth of SharePoint as an opportunity to put records management in the spotlight.

Wacker said the company was aiming to make Laserfiche “look the same as working in SharePoint, so users don’t need to make a choice.”

Michael Allen, Laserfiche Software Architect, said that adding VERS support in addition to existing support for US Department of Defense (DoD) record-keeping standards, required a focus on maintaining the fidelity of records.

“We are adding support for electronic signatures directly integrated into the product, as well as the ability to have flexible audit trails,” he said.

“Laserfiche 8.2 will also ensure that a certain XML format specific to the Australian government is supported.”

He said the DoD standards are more concerned with traditional records management issues such as retention schedules and assume that security is already in place.

Initially developed as a document imaging and management product for Windows in 1993, Laserfiche evolved to an ECM platform with the launch of the redesigned Version 8 in 2008. It is now available in two configurations, Rio and Avante.

The company is working on the release of an SDK that allow .Net developers access to all of the features of Laserfiche and support XML formats for data import.

The next release of the Laserfiche Quickfield module for production scanning and batch processing will feature support for GPU processors to enable a modern low level workstation to handle production level scanning.

Despite the 2009 hype over cloud computing, Laserfiche is continuing with its strategy to only develop software for users that install and maintain systems themselves.

“The cloud gives savings,” said Allen, “But managing data is the easiest part of an ECM solution, the hardest is developing processes and maintaining standards. If people don’t want to run their own systems, and avoid the need to have an internal dBA or IT staff, then we have ASP partners which is a bit different to what Microsoft are doing with the cloud.”

Adding realtime capture of email to the Laserfiche ECM is also on the agenda for Laserfiche 9 in 2011.

The company has announced it is teaming with FileTek to offer an email archiving solution that offers secure email storage in native format directly within Laserfiche, thus eliminating the need to maintain a large email repository in Exchange

The Trusted Edge Intelligent Email Archive for Laserfiche is a policy-driven solution that enables secure, enterprise-wide email management while concurrently reducing the cost and burden of eDiscovery and compliance.

It offers Outlook and Notes users capabilities for transparent mailbox management; .pst file archiving; message classification, tagging, and annotation; file server and SharePoint intelligent archiving capabilities; and full audit and reporting.

“FileTek is proud to deliver the premiere email and file archiving solution for Laserfiche by combining centrally-managed, policy-driven archive capabilities with the advanced information management features of Laserfiche,” said FileTek President Gary Szukalski. “Additionally, by partnering with Laserfiche and its worldwide integrator network and customer base, FileTek further expands our presence in the global marketplace.”

The platform provides template archive policies for easy, out-of-the-box deployment. It also offers a browser-based policy management environment for tailoring policies to specific industries, markets, and customers.

Additional features of the Trusted Edge Intelligent Email Archive for Laserfiche include:

Speedy search and retrieval features from the Laserfiche web interface or workstation client;

Forensically sound method for content authentication and storage;

Granular archive rules and end-user archive privileges; and

Comprehensive audit trail and system logging.

In addition to traditional archive capabilities, administrators may configure policies to perform automatic records declaration within the Laserfiche RM environment or to initiate business process workflows within the Laserfiche Workflow platform. The combined solution enables businesses and government agencies to construct robust archive configurations that transcend traditional static archive environments. These configurations provide complete visibility to all message traffic flowing into and out of the enterprise.