contentCrawler automated OCR helps Makinson d’Apice Lawyers minimize the number of hidden files in their iManage DMS
- Find documents that were incorrectly profiled into the DMS by users in the past
- Find any documents that skipped the OCR process, rendering them invisible to search
- Ensure email attachments are searchable when added into the DMS
- Ensure accuracy in the matter intake process
- Determine the number of hidden documents currently in the DMS
contentCrawler as a solution
- Prior to contentCrawler, documents were OCR’d on an as-needed basis using ABBYY FineReader
- Reduced the time staff spent searching for documents
- Increased the accuracy of search in the DMS and improved DMS user satisfaction
- Provided the safety net of an automatic OCR framework for all documents saved into the DMS
- Enabled enterprise-grade search across 100% of the DMS file repository
- A faster, more efficient process reduced time spent searching for documents
- An automated, back-end OCR framework ensures there are no missed or skipped files
- Batch OCR processing of existing files means even legacy documents are text-searchable
- An audit prior to deployment was able to justify the investment in an OCR tool to key decision-makers
Makinson d’Apice Lawyers has long been part of Australia’s business fabric. Since putting down their roots in 1859, they have operated at the forefront of developments and supported their clients with expert advice as the commercial and legal environments have evolved. Today, they are a practice of over 100 people with clients ranging from private companies to listed corporations, charities, and government departments.
Challenge: Staff weren't consistent with how they saved documents into the DMS, leading to the creation of hidden files
Makinson d’Apice have been using iManage as their primary document management system (DMS) for over 12 years. The IT and Knowledge department have always encouraged staff to save all documents, email correspondence and attachments into iManage to ensure files are stored in a central, searchable location. Despite procedures in place on how to properly save documents into iManage, the majority weren’t consistent in following them. As a result, files were saved into the DMS missing the descriptions and profiles - and often the text layer - needed for search technology to find them.
Emails and email attachments were a particular pain point for the firm. In the past, staff could save them into iManage by dragging-and-dropping without profiling. Most of the email attachments saved into iManage were image-based PDFs missing the text layer needed for DMS search technology. Search was only returning PDFs saved with the proper descriptions and searchable text layer, meaning a large chunk of files were hidden.
Since staff couldn’t always find the file they were looking for in the DMS search results, they had to search the actual matter folders and document worklists (History) and rely on other details like matter numbers, client, author, and document type to narrow down their searches. Many hours were spent scrolling through hundreds of documents to find the one they needed. Hidden files in their DMS also impacted on the accuracy of worksite searches in the conflict checking process. If a conflict check did not return a particular file because it was a non-searchable PDF in the worksite, staff could be missing out on vital information.
Solution: An automated, back-end OCR framework to process every file added to the DMS
Makinson d’Apice Lawyers needed an OCR solution that could act as a safety net if files were incorrectly profiled in the DMS. They also needed a way to uncover hidden files that already existed in their repository. contentCrawler was able to do both.
Prior to contentCrawler, staff were using Abbyy Fine Reader to manually add a text layer to non-searchable image-based files by running them through the application. Since it was a manual process that relied on staff remembering to do it before adding the file to the DMS, many were skipped or forgotten. This manual OCR processing was also more often than not skipped when dealing with email attachments. The user would save the email to the DMS without OCR’ing any image-based attachments.
Rather than being restricted to searching just file names and properties, staff at Makinson d’Apice can do a full text search of a document, image-based PDFs after processing through contentCrawler, email, or email attachments. Search becomes faster and more accurate, meaning staff are spending less time looking without finding. It also reduces frustration with existing systems and delivers a better service to the client.
Transforming the OCR process from manual to automatic and from front-end to back-end saved staff at Makinson d’Apice Lawyers time and produced better search results. Their document workflows are both more efficient and more accurate. Not only does it save staff the hassle of manually OCR’ing documents, but the ability to find hidden files is in line with their commitment to servicing their clients by all available resources as effectively as possible.