Alfresco Data Extraction & Sorting (SkyArea Sort)

No more wild goose chases. Always find your documents exactly where you expect them to be.

The Alfresco Alfresco Data Extraction & Sorting (SkyArea Sort) addon by Skytizens makes file storage automatic and transparent. Companies can set rules for how data migrations get organized and how new documents get processed. Indexing of files going into the Alfresco Document Library happens automatically according to detailed parameters.

This module takes file sorting out of the hands of humans to avoid mistakes and conflicts with inbound documents. This tool for Alfresco Sorting regulates the searchability of system files and keeps your company information organized and uniform across departments. Lost data has become a thing of the past.

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What is Alfresco Data Extraction & Sorting?

SkyArea Sort is an Alfresco Data Sort tool for setting up and maintaining the systematic arrangement of your files. It extract, sorts and organizes everything that enters the system. This Alfresco Sorting module is how a company sets rules to automate a file’s name and destination. It also extracts index properties at the moment of upload to make the data easy to find in the future. SkyArea Sort then creates the folder structure for its destination within the Document Library and automatically moves it to that folder.

Before the sorting process kicks in, files can be uploaded to the Alfresco system three ways: manually, using SkyUpload Plus (semi-automated), or SkyArea OCR (fully-automated data capture). If uploading and data capture both happen in the first step, then SkyArea Sort is the logical second step. This extensive sorting module makes documents easy to find by placing them where they belong and recording detailed notes about their locations.

When used in conjunction with file upload modules SkyArea OCR or SkyUpload Plus, SkyArea Sort enables Alfresco to place and index new files by a fully-automated process – data extraction and data sorting. For companies with large amounts of data in hard-copy form, this makes document input ridiculously simple.

Why is Alfresco Data Extraction & Sorting (SkyArea Sort) so important?

  • Save time – massive amounts of man-hours are saved by automated file sorting
  • No more lost files – due to automated indexing, every file will be easy to locate using the advanced search function
  • No more mistakes – take the naming and arranging of folders out of human hands
  • Get organized – folder structures remain uniform and uncomplicated for users
  • Stay on top – this module can send an email notification when the automatic sort function has an issue so every file gets dealt with in a timely manner

The Benefits of Alfresco Data Extraction & Sorting (SkyArea Sort)

Skytizens has integrated this Alfresco Data Sort addon so that computerized sorting of new files is automated. This module takes the manual “click-and-drag” organization of incoming files out of the hands of humans and into the automated computer system. It auto-fills search fields for each file, making the file infinitely easier to find. SkyArea Sort saves massive amounts of time, sidesteps human error, and puts an end to lost data forever.

How Does It Work?

Alfresco Sort is located in the Administrator’s Tools menu under Skytizens Features. To setup the addon, your company creates official sorting rules to tell the system how you would like your files organized.

First, your company chooses the upload location. This folder is “connected” to the Sort Rules that you have created. The rules dictate future action; all files that enter the folder will follow the rules you wrote for this folder.

Companies can use multiple Sorting Rules simultaneously. For example IF the file contains X, use Rule 1; IF the file contains Y, use Rule 2; IF the file is document type Z, use Rules 3 and 4.

Thanks to precision sorting rules, the client can sit back and watch while SkyArea Sort does all the work—complete with automatic indexing. It sorts in hundreds of different ways according to your company’s needs.

In the case of companies that are using Sky Upload Plus or Alfresco Data Capture with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology as their file input method, this module works as a perfectly streamlined second step.

Files enter the Alfresco system and their index information is populated using one of the data capture modules mentioned above. Next, sorting is automatically triggered so the Rules set by the user begin to name, categorize, index, and place the files in their final destination. In two seamless steps, files have gone through data capture and sorting and now reside in their correct location.

This is the ease of end-to-end automation.

As an example of how these two automated input steps work together, imagine your company HR gathers documents via FTP (scanning). This means when you receive a job application, HR scans the candidate’s CV or resume and it is sent directly to a designated landing site or “input folder”. That folder uses the Data Capture OCR solution to generate a QR code that identifies the document.

The QR code is a small, square graphic that computers can read. It has a string of numbers encoded into it that help ID the document. A resume would have a code like 00002-23-12-16-Y-N-M-6-0-4-01-01 where the numbers are stand-ins for actual information taken from the document.

Once the QR code is assigned to this document, Alfresco Sort kicks in and reads the code so it can have all the information necessary to sort the document. It places the document where it belongs in the HR files. If the folder does not exist yet, the module creates the correct folder on the spot and puts the document inside. Everything is right where you expect it to be—no mistakes.

If a file cannot be sorted because it does not fit a Sorting Rule, it is sent to a predetermined Error folder for manual review. Alfresco can shoot off an email notification to an HR person so that these files can be dealt with in a timely manner.

For an enterprise-level company that deals with a massive volume of files, this 1-2-punch of Alfresco Data Capture and Sort saves tons of time. With thousands of employees, each having hundreds of HR documents over the course of their employment, these two modules are invaluable pieces of technology that work together to streamline processes data from every industry. Everything from HR documentation to Purchase Orders will get filed away in seconds thanks to SkyArea Sort.

Main Features

SkyArea Sort setup – The file manager must instruct the system how to deal with files. The setup area is located in the Tools Menu Bar under Sort Rules.

Information Extraction – The file manager must instruct Alfresco how to extract information from the file’s properties so that the Sort module can “read” this information and sort the file. File properties are broken down into building blocks of information or “Groups” in a string of numerical values.

  1. Groups of information can be taken from:
    • Barcode or QR Code of the file
    • Default properties of the file’s index information
    • Custom properties from Model Manager (CMM)
  2. Automated Indexing – uses Groups to execute the sorting Rules and index files based on the information extracted

Without this automated indexing, users need to know how to use special characters such as “*” and “?”  to find the file later. When properties are extracted in this module, everyday users can use the intuitive button interface in Alfresco to search for files.

Sort Rules – Using the extracted information by Group, the file manager creates sorting rules:

  1. Document Type – Choose the document type related to the rule
    • Designate how to index files based on the information contained in the file properties, filename, and more.
  2. Regular Expression – Define the extracted information by groups for the basic labeling of files
  3. Validations – Decide if the listed rule is applied or not. The module will validate or check for certain information to determine its sorting behavior.
    • Internal – Validate a file using the file’s properties. If the validation information is present in the file or TRUE, the file will be sorted by the listed rule. If the validation information is not present or FALSE, the file will not be sorted by this criterion.
    • External – Validate a file against an external data list. For example, the module can check if a file has information related to a list of business partners, a list of companies, or other data kept as reference on the system site.
  4. Destination Path – for storing the files that reach this Rule’s criteria in a folder
  5. Expand the Rule – three buttons for expanding on a rule to make it more precise
    • Add – add another parallel parameter to the Rule
    • Remove All – clear all parameters of the Rule and start over
    • Help Menu – For those who are not fluent in writing property definitions, an extensive help menu appears with common regular expressions so the file manager can copy/paste complicated parameters
      1. Available Variables – 8 options including ways to dynamically set the date such as {gyy} or {gyyy} for Gregorian calendar years written as “18” or “2018”
      2. Available Functions – 10 options including:
        • automatically rewrite information such as converting the date from “03” to the written format “March”
        • replace string values e.g. “123” replace (“2”, “4”) -> “143”
        • join elements from the list of values using a defined string as delimiter such as “.”
      3. Available Validation Parameters – copy and paste these as possible validation items
  6. Test Tool – to check if the regular expression’s meaning is defined correctly

Sort Rules can run in sequence based on priority. The file manager can adjust the order using the arrow icons to move rules up or down in the sequence.

Renaming Files during the Sort–Users can define a systematic naming template for files as they come into the Document Library. This feature will re-name each file according to what kind of file it is, what content is in the file, or other searchable information contained within. Using this feature, all files will have a uniform name and will be easy to identify.

Original file names will be saved as part of the index history during the sort.

Defining File Destinations – Set a template to choose where new files end up in the Document Library.

  1. File paths are defined by special characters: “*<>?:|\n\t

If a folder does not exist yet, Alfresco Sort will automatically create a new folder to house the files in the location where they should be—according to the stated rule.

Sort (by Folder Rule) – For the actual sorting, the file manager must enable Sort Rules that have been created (see above) and apply them to incoming files via Folder Rule. Choose the origin folder or root path for incoming system files and then navigate to Manage Rules.

  1. Perform Action – select SkyArea Sort
  2. Select Sort Rule – select document type
  3. Root Folder Path – select
  4. Error Folder Path – select a depository folder for files that do not meet the Rule criteria
  5. If the destination file already exists – select a systematic renaming strategy
  6. Notifications – define how error messages are sent and to whom

Notification of Error– Alfresco can notify users about errors in the sorting process. The system will send an email notification with the below details.

  1. Send email when document doesn’t match rules
  2. Send email when error occurs
  3. Select users to notify – with access to system user list
  4. Catch all duplicate documents (with same filename) and send email

Permissions Control – Access to the SkyArea Sort feature is managed by Group.

  1. Group Access – Permission to use the feature is given by the client’s administrator by designating members of a group.

Conclusions

No more wild goose chases. Always find your documents exactly where you expect them to be.

The Alfresco Alfresco Data Extraction & Sorting (SkyArea Sort) addon by Skytizens makes file storage automatic and transparent. Companies can set rules for how data migrations get organized and how new documents get processed. Indexing of files going into the Alfresco Document Library happens automatically according to detailed parameters.

This module takes file sorting out of the hands of humans to avoid mistakes and conflicts with inbound documents. This tool for Alfresco Sorting regulates the searchability of system files and keeps your company information organized and uniform across departments. Lost data has become a thing of the past.

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