Tags: ConXApps

ConxAudit Will Give You a Whole New Management Dashboard You Didn’t Know You Could Have

By Paul Edwards, Co-Founder & Product Manager, SynApps Solutions

Last time we spoke, I started to explain about the problem audit trail users can have with Enterprise Content Management systems; how they do a very useful job, but can get ‘clogged up’ over time, as they record so much data that gets pushed into a database in a way that often makes it hard to work with, plus starts to impair the performance of the overall system – as it often comprises millions of tables after a year or two of serious enterprise use.

Hence our release this quarter of a new addition to the ConXApps) family of products; ConXAudit, which takes that growing audit trail data pile and turns it into a highly indexed form that is not only a lot easier to work with (especially via our graphical front end, which makes it really simple to interrogate the audit log to see who did what with which document) but also removes the audit database’s drag on the ECM (be it Documentum or Alfresco) in terms of overall daily performance.

Another benefit of porting your ECM audit trail to ConXAudit is that it will make it a lot, lot quicker to restore the system should you ever need to – or, indeed, move your work to a different ECM platform, when and if you should need to do that.

I also mentioned that we are helping an early ConXAudit customer work though the issues their huge – 65 million row! – audit database is giving them. That customer is a major transport facility that wants to upgrade to the latest version of its chosen ECM, but which was worried this audit data issue would complicate this process (or not allow it to keep all of the data it really needed, which is a potential compliance headache further down the road).

The great news is that that issue has gone away. Another benefit is that the team says that the amount of time needed to work with audit data has dropped, quite dramatically, since it moved the data into ConXAudit.

That’s because of the wide range of data presentation formats that the app offers, from pie charts and other sorts of statistical analysis tools; you are getting a whole new dashboard piping important usage and security information to you that you would have struggled to get before. And in the case of this early customer work with ConXAudit audit, the team there has told us it actually intends one large display in the support office with a rolling dashboard view displaying system usage as a way of promoting the value of the ECM platform internally.

So, as you can probably tell, I am really excited by ConXAudit, as it solves a problem in convincing ways that will genuinely help ECM users.

Find out more about ConXAudit here, and contact the SynApps ConX team today to start streamlining your ECM audit trail.

ConXPhoto 2: Not Just Solving A Real Problem, But A Signpost To The Future, Too?

SynApps has just announced an exciting new product: ConXPhoto, a new addition to its expanding Vendor Neutral Archive solution set for NHS users. The idea: make it really simple but also totally safe and trackable for nurses to take the digital pictures of patients increasingly demanded by medical needs, but which have up until now too often been stored in haphazard, inaccessible ways.

Here, Mark Winstone, SynApps Solutions’ Sales and Marketing Director, continues to explain the functionality of the product and how ConXPhoto, despite being an obvious solution to a specific problem, actually fits very neatly into the wider SynApps Solutions VNA-based EPR philosophy.

Last time I started to tell you about why we’d built ConXPhoto: NHS Trusts up and down the country are struggling to properly manage and keep all the digital photos they need to take of patients, which are often very useful in their care but which can also be very important if any kind of dispute or legal action happens once the patient is discharged.

Last time I talked about why the product came into being – how we were introduced to the whole problem of modern digital patient photography management by the Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Following what the Trust’s Deputy IT Director had told us, we looked into the problem and discovered that there were some real issues here. Images were being created but not properly stored, deleted or backed up. You can’t blame the busy ward sisters for that: we employ them to look after us when we’re ill, not to be data management experts. So what could we do to help?

We have worked with Kingston, and a number of other significant London area Trusts, to produce ConXPhoto which we think it will really save everyone a lot of time.

In essence, we have put an extension into the digital cameras that the Kingston nurses are using which intelligently routes the images to a safe place: so not the thumb drive or shared drive where they were putting images before, but a central repository. We offer a simple Web-based interface that displays all the pictures in a ‘light box’ format, so they can easily click on the ones they want to save for the patient.

We then prompt them to enter appropriate information – but what’s better is that we’re getting the metadata in: the nurses are inputting the NHS ID number of the patient in question by linking into the other records we have for that individual in the main hospital database.

Which, if it is ours, will also be the place where the patient’s case notes, radiology files, endoscopy video (video is almost as big an issue for the NHS as patient still photography), scanned paper notes and so on all reside. Once again, you have the connected, holistic electronic patient record basis that we have been waiting for.

The end result of our work with Kingston and the other Trusts we have been piloting this with is ConXPhoto: a way to safely record and validate accurate, time stamped, auditable images around a patient journey, stored in the correct, safe way and in a medium (such as a VNA system) that lends itself to easy access and integration.

The shape of all patient records to come?

To sum up: there are four big winners from ConXPhoto.

One is the nursing staff – who can get this small but important job done much more efficiently.

Two is the CCIO, the Chief Clinical Information Officer (the IT leader in hospitals who looks after the health-IT interface) who will get compliance and a proper way to manage clinical information.

Three is the CIO or IT Director of a Trust – who will be able to see that a chaotic process, leading to proliferation of files on all sorts of media, is going to be done in a controlled and validated way.

Last, but absolutely not least, – the patient. Patients will see more efficient wards with clinicians able to spend more time on our care and who will be storing away information that may be highly useful to refer to in an accurate, dated and detailed way.

ConXPhoto is a really exciting and useful product solving a real problem for the NHS of 2014 – but it is also yet another example of the fantastic way that a VNA system, which by definition is a system that can capture and help manage any sort of digital information, is the way all patient information systems really need to go.




SynApps Creates a Content Capture and Retrieval Solution for Medical Imagery

UK tech SME partners with a major NHS England hospital to forge a medical photography capture and retrieval solution for the sector

Maidenhead, UK – August 27, 2014 –SynApps Solutions, the content management specialist, has today announced a new medical capture and retrieval solution to address the prevalence of unmanaged medical photographs in hospitals.

The innovative new solution also offers extensive and Backed up, Accessible/Searchable, Secure and Indexed photography functionality linked to a unified patient record to enhance patient care and minimise a Trust’s legal and financial risk.  The solution was created in partnership with a large NHS England Trust.

The medical care context

For patient safety and legal reasons, Trusts need to take external photographs of patients, e.g. bed sores, bruising, rashes. Prior to recent budget cuts there would have been a dedicated department responsible for the task.  However, these days, ward sisters use digital cameras but without a process and technology to support them.

As a result there is insufficient control or management of these images – some institutions will have the patient and hospital id included, but there is a wide gap in standard approaches. Meanwhile, such images are rarely backed up and there is no link to other hospitals and systems, while for videos of operations and medical procedures, there is a similar inconsistent approach across the sector. 

The ConXPhoto system from SynApps Solutions addresses these issues by using a wi-fi enabled memory card that captures the photo or video and downloads it on to a network drive so it’s adequately backed up. It then validates the clinical info associated with the media by performing a look up on the hospital admin system so that when it files in the VNA (Vendor Neutral Archive), the hospital and patient ID are accurate.

An interface to enter details is also provided in ConXPhoto, while thumbnails of photos and a lightbox for video is also available, allowing users to pick, index and save desired final images to the VNA.

ConXPhoto can work with any Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS).

“Until now, there really was no viable solution that would help address the proliferation of unmanaged photography produced by hospitals across the UK and therefore minimise the storage and administrative difficulties this is starting to create for the NHS,” commented Mark Winstone, Sales & Marketing Director at SynApps.

“We’re excited to introduce today our ConXPhoto software that completely automates this process – allowing hospitals to enhance patient care and improve governance at the same time,” Winstone added.

About SynApps

SynApps is an independent UK-headquartered services and solutions company specialising in Enterprise Content Management (ECM) technologies. Founded in 2003 by former Documentum services professionals, the company provides consultancy, implementation and support services for EMC Documentum, and has authored a suite of content integration solutions, ConXApps, that allow businesses to quickly maximise their investment in ECM technologies. Organisations across healthcare, government and commercial markets rely on SynApps solutions and services to capture and share knowledge more dynamically and efficiently.

Find out more at synapps-solutions.com, or follow the firm on Twitter @SynappsSol


Why ConXReporting Really Is ‘XBRL AS A Service’

Last time (‘Can CRD-IV Compliance Be Made Into A Process?‘) we looked at the implications for banks and financial services organisations resulting from new regulatory demands from the EBA the European Banking Agency.

The EBA has mandated that all reports filed to it going forward need to follow certain prescribed formatting rules, centred on the database language of XBRL– with the first real deadline being FINREP, for FINancial REPorting which you need to be set up for by no later than November.

More importantly: we started to talk about what you could do to prepare. You won’t be surprised to hear that vendors are scrambling to offer ‘solutions’ here. What you actually need, though, is more likely to be what we at SynApps solutions, working with our key partners of XBRL firm CoreFiling and main enterprise content management partner, EMC (with the Documentum platform) have brought to market: the production of EBA-conformant reports via the delivery of XBRL as a service.

We do that via our ConXReporting tool, which takes the correct XBRL that CoreFiling helped produce but as part of a more complete system that can help you build a transparent, reliable process for getting things like FINREP production right.

This is what I want to discuss a bit more today. What might we mean when we call this a service?

Do you have the time to do this any other way?

I think this is an efficient service for the following reasons:

Because it’s a cloud-delivered solution, there’s no time-lag or big up front investment needed on your organisation’s behalf. A lot of projects, even for vital work, get pushed back because of the issues of provisioning resource, setting up servers, assigning development resource. You don’t need to do that with ConXReporting – and to be honest, given it’s now Q2, I wonder if you would have the time anyway.

This is a real service that you can just plug in tomorrow and work with.

Secondly, there are features of the ConXReporting approach that are genuinely unique to it that the other solutions don’t have – which means you’d have to work on providing them. Take persistence. The vast majority of the other systems hold validations transiently – they don’t store them for future reference. That will almost certainly prove to be quite a hassle, as chances are the whole EBA system will change (it has done so far!) and things like the taxonomies will change. That means if the data is not there in three months time if you have to re-jig it, you’d have to go back and start over – which isn’t just a chore, it invites the same opportunity for manual error that you wanted to avoid by automating your XBRL work in the first place. ConXReporting offers you ways to re-apply and re-validate, which is a great back-stop should you need it. (Think of it like a tax return. Few people keep all the information after they finish; most of us file online and that’s it. FINREP is like doing the tax return every two months – so you would want to keep the data and only update as needed, surely?)

Risk management

Persistence – keeping the information – is very useful then. But that’s not all. The workflow aspect of this is just as vital, our customers are telling us. Banks want to delegate EBA report work out and handle it as efficiently as they can internally. To do that, they want a process but also visibility. Who did this work? Where did that figure comes from, what were the bases used to derive it? What happens if you need to change resource allocation around? Our ‘XBRL as a service’ procedure is very good at helping your managers and administrators handle the HR and auditing/security side of FINREP (and soon, COREP and the rest). You are going to know, very quickly, who did what, when did they do it and why they did it – or be equipped with enough insight into the process to ask why.

To sum up: we genuinely are offering a service-led way of helping you manage the CRD IV report production process. That means from the efficiency, risk management and general peace of mind aspects, ConXReporting is going to be the way you want to get set for all this XBRL-based work, going forward.

Can I end by wishing you both an amazing summer – but also not too many headaches dealing with all things XBRL!

Can CRD-IV Compliance Be Made Into A Process?

Can I ask how you are coping with all things CRD-IV reporting? The reason I ask is that, as you will know, SynApps has recently moved into this market.

What sort of a market is it? It’s one tied to the twin themes of compliance and deadlines. As anyone in the European financial services sector will know – the EBA, the European Banking Agency, is pressing for a uniform reporting structure to help it better track banks’ underlying financial strength. In practical terms, that means you complying with its strict requirements in terms of filing your financial records in the database language of XBRL.

That’s the compliance side. The deadline side is just as important. As it stands, the deadline that is mostly affecting you is likely to be that of FINREP which is looming for the end of the year (November), with another, COREP , coming soon after. And if you are a financial services organisation, you have no choice but to give the Agency what it wants and in the form it wants, when required.

That’s the CRD (Capital Requirements Directive) (more accurately, CRD IV) system summarised. The question has to be, then, are you – as a financial organisation – set up to properly conform to these compliance structures – and meet those non-negotiable deadlines?

The chances are that if you aren’t looking to make the production of XBRL-format reports as slick as possible, you may struggle. After all, you’re going to need to do it in as consistent and as compliant a manner as you can.

That’s why we at SynApps have started talking about XBRL ‘as a service.’

Let’s dive down into that a bit more. As you may know, we’ve been working with a company that is 100% focused on the XBRL problem, a great UK firm called CoreFiling. What CoreFiling has done is to produce a way to allow you to accurately produce, and even more importantly validate, XBRL.

In one move, that offers you a lot of help in terms of meeting the CRD-IV requirements. What we are doing – working with our enterprise content management partner, EMC (with the Documentum platform) – is to make that process into an actual service.


What do I mean by that? Well, with a piece of software called the ConXReporting tool, we use CoreFiling to validate the XBRL and add a complete environment around that to help you and your team complete the requisite CRD IV work – at such a level of automation that we think the term ‘service’ is entirely accurate.

How? Through templates that are fully conformant to the regulations, you can help team members quickly and comprehensively fill in what they need to. They can do this by the mechanisms they are used to/happy with, like Excel – as everything will be checked by the system and made consistent.

Which gets you the report completed quicker and more accurately. However, that’s not really enough, if you think about it. That’s because you also need to think about the workflow and the process. In each and every organisation needing to do FINREP, or COREP, etc., there will be identified individuals you need to push elements of this process out to. You also need reviewers to check and if necessary query what comes back, so as to make sure that what gets put in the central ‘pot’ for the final report makes sense.

It’s the production of that valid whole that we call the XBRL service.

We are going to take you from what is likely to be – if you have even got as far as properly preparing for this – a very manual, ad hoc effort to a smooth, safe and automated validation process that will offer you a way to implement a proper, auditable, internal process.

Now that I have given you a top-level view, in the next blog I will dive a bit more into what the specifics of the XBRL service is.

Thanks for your time – and good luck with CRD-IV!


How To Get Your Users To Buy You More Beer…

When we last spoke about PST files, we started talking about our great new range of tools, the ConXApps family. It’s now time for us to talk about how all this technology works with that very widespread collaboration standard, Microsoft’s SharePoint.

There is something of a stock phrase in the IT world at the moment that everyone has SharePoint – but not everyone knows what it is! The idea is that Microsoft, a fiendishly effective sales organisation, has been able to get a massive number of licences for this platform, but that not all its customers have done that much with it yet. There may be some truth to this, but SharePoint unquestionably provides an excellent collaboration capability. What’s more there will always be people who want to go down the SharePoint route, which is a great use for your corporate licence for it.

Our view however is that while SharePoint is a great route to try, there are limitations. Worth noting if you are a public sector customer, for one: SharePoint doesn’t do the Records Management very well. If you are in healthcare or social care, where Records are particularly important, you are not getting a solution (unlike with ConX, which works in tandem with market leading ECM platforms) that is able to identify and help you manipulate Records as you are working.

Think, for example, about when you want to declare some data as a Record. That’s typically a very arduous process in many public sector user’s environments, which is why people either don’t do it or it is a task left to people who’ve done it all their lives and that is all they understand.

If you have the ability for an end user not to worry about that, it is going to be very useful, I’d contend. That’s going to mean you can say to the team, Store your e-mail, interact with people, collaborate on that information and then when it reaches a particular part of its life cycle it will be automatically declared as a Record and that’s all taken care of in the background with the ConX approach.

They’re going to be queuing up to buy you beers for that, as it will take a huge amount of hassle out of their working day.

 For more information on the SynApps ConXApps range, please go to https://www.synapps-solutions.com/products



Can ConX Help You Save Time – And Dump Those Pesky PST Stores At Last?

Today, I’d like to talk to you about an exciting range of products we’ve been building at SynApps that we call ConXApps. We think that we can both save you a lot of time and also maximise your electronic content management investment with this technology, the result of lots of time talking to customers about what they really want to do with their information.

At the top level, ConXApps is split into four: ConXSys, ConXMail, ConXOffice and ConXLoader. Let’s briefly describe each in turn. ConXSys is going to give you the ability to Content Enable Vertical (Business) Applications (CEVA). If you’re not familiar with the term, it was first coined by analyst leaders Gartner some years ago to denote where an organisation has a number of structured data centric applications but also needs to manage associated unstructured data such as that contained within a variety of content – images, video, documents, and so on.

ConXMail, meanwhile, allows users to store emails and their attachments directly within their corporate Repository, thereby enabling a much finer control around the security and distribution related to the information; sharing content as a link to the repository, rather than circulating the physical document, ensures that the data integrity is maintained and appropriate security levels maintained.

With ConXOffice, you’re going to be able to store Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents directly within that same Repository, so that these can be shared using ConXMail. This promotes collaboration within the workplace. So having created content with ConXOffice, you’re now able to share content easily using ConXMail in a way that promotes collaboration within your workplace.

Last, but definitely not least there’s ConXLoader – an extremely flexible content migration tool that allows you to safely and easily transfer content and metadata from a wide range of custom, in-house and proprietary applications, including file systems and databases.

You may have started to understand why we’ve created these products from those brief descriptions, but let’s be more explicit: we want your users to be able to use their regular, familiar Office applications, their productivity tools such as Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint and so on, and be able to save information easily into their organisations wider enterprise content/records management system. Why is that something worth doing? Because the number of clicks your users have to perform to do that, is often so many that they just won’t (sometimes can’t!) do it. What they have been waiting for: a nice simple interface to allow them to store, search and reuse information easily.

Let’s say a member of the organisation gets an e-mail that is important to a business transaction. They can now store that email, plus any attachments, either as a single e-mail, a single document or as an encapsulated e-mail with attachments inside in the organisation’s proper ‘memory bank’ (the Repository, of course).

How? Literally by one easy move – a simple drag and drop step, you drop it onto the appropriate folder, a dialogue pops up and allows you to add additional information to the e-mail and/or document. The beauty of all this is that your users never need to work in any other user interfaces and can work from within their regular productivity tools.

Of course there are very many other productivity features that we can go into another time, but the great advantage is that corporate information is easily shared across the team or to the most appropriate person, as defined by your information policies. Let’s look at how that can save your organisation considerable hassle. Most of us spend most of their day working in e-mail; but when we are all working with Outlook PST files like this, that PST file is typically local or stored on a server and is not generally shared. This results in a lot of duplication because people send stuff in e-mails all the time, because they think, ‘Have you got that e-mail I sent?’ ‘No, I haven’t got it,’ ‘Let me just send it to you again’ – and this conversation/process gets repeated over and over again, of course!

Many large corporates are now running into issues with email and document duplication as a result of this over-use of email (and with the associated problem of sharing information). However, we are finding that with the ConXApps products, the business is able to share information easily and ensure that it is available correctly at last. Through the ConXApps suite, which I have described here, users are able to directly declare mailed documents as records from within their application tools. That is quite important for many of the government organisations that we work with, because they need to be able to store their information as records so that it is held in a secure environment and retained for the appropriate period of time, and that there is an appropriate schedule in place for the deletion of it when it is no longer required and the retention period is up

I hope you agree that ConXApps provide a very powerful set of tools that will make a big difference. Let’s pause here, as that’s a lot of information about the ConXApps to absorb at once!

For more information on the SynApps ConXApps range, please go to https://www.synapps-solutions.com/products .