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The Document Bomb. William J. ‘Bill’ McCalpin MHE Xplor International’s 25th Global Electronic Document Systems Conference and Exhibit October 26, 2004. About MHE. MHE is the “print2image2Internet” consulting firm

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The document bomb

The Document Bomb

William J. ‘Bill’ McCalpin


Xplor International’s 25th Global Electronic Document Systems Conference and Exhibit October 26, 2004

MHE - the print2image2Internet consultants

About mhe
About MHE

  • MHE is the “print2image2Internet” consulting firm

  • MHE provides a wide range of analysis, research, product management, and electronic print software support services

  • See

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Trends in electronic document systems

Trends in Electronic Document Systems

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  • In the 1980s, the goal of electronic document systems was to create and deliver paper documents more efficiently

  • In the 1990s, the goal became to create and deliver both paper and electronic documents more efficiently

  • In the 2000s, the goal is to create and deliver only electronic documents as often as possible

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Printing old
“Printing = Old”


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Does this latest trend have risks

Does This Latest Trend Have Risks?

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  • EBPP (Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment) was the darling of the industry in the 1990s

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  • However ...“Explosive growth appears elusive to those banks pursuing EBPP, and the belief that EBPP would be the linchpin of consumer online banking has been all but abandoned.” (Bank Technology News)

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What happened
What Happened?

  • “(the companies) had fallen into the classic trap of building software it felt customers ought to like instead of what our customers wanted to buy.” (John Cullinane)

  • Did the technology work? Actually, it did - the problem was that EBPP was more convenient for the billers than it was for the customers.

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Are we doing this again

Are We Doing This Again?

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Rethinking the electronic document
Rethinking the Electronic Document

  • At each change of technology, we need to re-evaluate what we do and why

  • We do this partially because the new technology may allow us to improve business processes

  • But we must NOT let old technology obscure necessary processes!

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The electronic document process
The Electronic Document Process

  • In a simple case, there are the major processes in creating a B2C document:

    • Creation

    • Delivery

    • Archival

  • Note: B2B documents don’t have the same problem

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The process on paper
The Process On Paper

  • Creation:

    • Precomposed forms are proofed and stored

    • Variable data is used with rules and merged with fixed data, all of which is tested on paper

    • Printed documents are ‘finished’, stuffed in envelopes, and placed in the mail

    • The documents are delivered securely

    • The documents are received, and are easily read and stored by the customer

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Good news bad news
Good News/Bad News

  • You all know the problems with paper, but what were the advantages?

    • Testing was on one medium, not on many browsers and platforms

    • You had a very good idea of what the customer would see

    • High level of customization is available

    • Privacy in delivery was assured

    • The customer knew what to do with it

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What about the new paper free world

What About The New Paper-Free World?

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  • We have been creating electronic documents since the late 1970s

  • Some electronic documents are made from transforming print streams

  • But, when possible, electronic documents are made afresh from composition systems

  • All told, little change in the composition side

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  • How one prominent insurance company “delivers” electronic documents

  • You, the customer, indicate that you wish to accept electronic documents rather than paper

  • You, the customer, must agree first to the following conditions:

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Delivery the fine print 1
Delivery - The Fine Print #1

  • You are notified by email when new documents are posted to the company’ website

  • “In the event you do not receive such an email notification, it is your responsibility to periodically logon to XXX and check the delivery of new electronic Documents”

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Delivery the fine print 2
Delivery - The Fine Print #2

  • “.... Additionally, please check any email filtering software you may be using to ensure that it does not screen out email notifications from (XXX).”

  • “You are solely responsible for accessing your...personal account to retrieve Documents. (XXX) is not obligated to monitor whether you are accessing your...personal account to retrieve Documents.”

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Delivery the fine print 3
Delivery - The Fine Print #3



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Delivery the fine print 4
Delivery - The Fine Print #4







    • A PRINTER(!!! - emphasis mine)

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What does this really say
What Does This Really Say?

  • One, it says that we, the company, want you, the customer, to pay for printing

  • Two, if you, the customer, don’t print, then either

    • you, the customer, will have to be prepared to become your own data center to safely store electronic documents, or

    • you, the customer, will have to trust us, the company, to keep accurate copies of your documents

  • Three, we, the company, can send you emails about your documents, but you, the customer, can’t send us emails back

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What are we losing
What Are We Losing?

  • Paper documents have well-established governmental protection when sent through the U.S. and others Post Offices

  • U.S. Postal Office agents have police powers to root out pornography, pyramid schemes, and other mail deemed not in the public interest

  • Emails have no such protection:

    • companies read their employees email

    • email service providers (like AOL) can inspect mail

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What are we losing1
What Are We Losing?

  • Documents "delivered" by being hosted on a website ("pull" instead of "push") can be intercepted and the encryption (if any) broken, while the laws to prohibit this are weak, and the “break-in” is difficult to detect

  • Paper documents delivered by USPS can be certified for legal purposes as "received"; the existing email system cannot work this way

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Delivery not
Delivery - Not

  • By moving to solely electronic delivery, we are short-changing the customer

  • Either we expect the customer to pay for printing and delivery, or

  • We expect the customer to become suddenly proficient in IT, or

  • The customer has to hope that we keep good and accurate copies

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Can customers become data centers
Can Customers Become Data Centers?

“Customers themselves are lax at safeguarding data. Only 24% of respondents surveyed by InfoTrends/CAP Ventures indicated that users upload digital pictures to an online photo service to back them up. But what if that service goes away?” – Frank Romano

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Government study
Government Study

  • A study being released Monday by America Online and the National Cyber Security Alliance found that 77 percent of 326 adults in 12 states assured researchers in a telephone poll they were safe from online threats

  • Upon examination, the study found:

    • two-thirds of adults using antivirus software that was not updated in at least seven days

    • two-thirds had no protective firewall program

    • spyware was found on the computers of 80 percent of those in the study.

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Government study1
Government Study

  • 15% have no anti-virus software at all on their computer

  • 67% do not have any firewall protection at all – half of those with a broadband connection lack a firewall.

  • 72% do not have a secure firewall (with no open ports).

  • 38% leave their connection completely open (without any WEP or WPA-PSK encryption).

  • Conclusion: The large majority of users falsely believe that they are safe from online threats

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Personal story
Personal Story

  • I would consider myself more technologically savvy than most home users

  • Yet the earliest Word document that I have is from the early 1990s, but I have owned an Apple since 1980 and an IBM PC since the mid 1980s

  • I have older backups, but they are in Central Point Software, which is no longer supported

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The internet as a car
The Internet as a Car

  • If we drove cars the same way we use the Internet, we would have

    • a big, fast engine

    • wobbly steering

    • no gas or oil filters

    • and no windshield wipers, seat belts, or air bags

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  • When documents become solely electronic, archival becomes much more important

  • Frequently, the company has the only reliably archived copy of the document

  • But can the company actually (and accurately) reproduce the original document?

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Archival media
Archival Media

  • Does the medium matter for reproducibility?

  • “The Uniform Rules of Evidence indicate clearly that…(i)f the process or system consistently produces accurate results, then the records produced will be deemed accurate and appropriate for admission into court.” - Donald Skupsky

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Accurate copies
Accurate Copies?

  • With little care, copies of paper documents are highly accurate

  • Are copies of electronic documents as accurate?

  • Well, that depends on how the documents are stored...

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Classes of documents
Classes of Documents

  • A - viewable images to the eye, bitmaps with non-proprietary formats with non-proprietary compression schemes

  • B - XML and XHTML when in controlled environment

  • C - Proprietary imaging systems that are bitmap-based

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Classes of documents1
Classes of Documents

  • D - Proprietary storage systems that store both the document and all resources under revision control in the same or other secured data bases; PDF (footnote); AFP if all resources are collected within file

  • E - most HTML

  • F - most print streams; regeneration of document

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Real example of class f
Real Example of Class F

  • A very successful life insurance company:

    • They do not archive the composed policies

    • They save only the data

    • To create copies for customers, they rerun the old data through the current issue system

    • So the “copies” of the documents contain old data mixed with new forms, new business rules, new resources, and new versions of all software

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When there was paper
When There Was Paper...

  • The customer got a free, customer-focused service

  • The customer got a stable, permanent medium

  • The customer got a document that required no special tools to read

  • The customer received the document via a government-protected delivery method

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Now with electronic
Now With Electronic...

  • The customer has to pay one way or the other

  • The customer - if he/she gets anything at all - gets an impermanent medium

  • The customer must provide the special tools to read the document

  • The customer has little to no legal protection as to the sanctity or even the reproducibility of the original document

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The document bomb1
The Document Bomb

  • The Document Bomb will explode when customers realize that electronic document archival and delivery methods were chosen for the company’s benefit, not their own

  • Electronic document methods must show the same reproducibility, security, and ease of use in order to replace paper!

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About the speaker
About the Speaker

  • William J. ‘Bill’ McCalpin is a principal at MHE

  • Mr. McCalpin has held a number of technical and management roles in the industry, including VP of Product Marketing at Xenos and General Manager of Xplor International.

  • Mr. McCalpin holds professional certifications in electronic printing and imaging from Xplor, AIIM, and CompTIA

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About the speaker cont
About the Speaker (cont...)

  • Mr. McCalpin has held numerous offices at Xplor and AIIM, including Chair of the Accreditation Committee for AIIM and Board member/Executive Committee member/Treasurer for Xplor

  • Mr. McCalpin is a frequent speaker at both AIIM and Xplor

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  • Slide 8 - "EBPP Fans Cling to Their Dream” Bank Technology News (11/01) Vol. 14, No. 11, P. 23

  • Slide 9 - John Cullinane “Why Successful Companies Fail”, as quoted by Pragmatic Marketing, Inc. in “Practical Software Product Management”. The quote is not specifically about EBPP, but describes what happened perfectly.

  • Slide 23 - Court ruling on email privacy -

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  • Slide 26 - Frank Romano, Editor, the EDSF Report (V3, I5), September-October 2004.

  • Slide 27 - the story about the government study is from - the report itself is at

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  • Slide 32 - From an interview with Donald Skupsky, a lawyer and the president of Information Requirements Clearinghouse (, in the Fall 1997 issue of Xploration

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Contact information
Contact Information

William J. ‘Bill’ McCalpin




1400 Cheyenne Dr.

Richardson, Texas 75080-3921 USA

(972) 231-3660 (v) (972) 690-4521 (f)

[email protected]

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