If the Olympic creed is “Faster, Higher, Stronger,” the motto at Olympia-based ImageSource Inc. might be “Faster, Simpler, Smarter.” That is the driving mantra behind its software ILINX, which is competing against products from industry giants Oracle and IBM – and winning in the local market.
ILINX itself isn’t new; clients ranging from city and state governments to Superior Courts, universities, financial institutions and hospitals have been adopting ILINX products since 2008. But recently, ImageSource found itself in position to capitalize when California-based Oracle decided to change the development and deployment platform of its 10g Image and Process Management software.
That meant dropping several several critical capabilities from its product road map, including the entire workflow engine that Washington State Department of Transportation was heavily invested in. With DOT having no choice but to evaluate other possible solutions for their document management and workflow needs, ImageSource surfaced as a contender to fill the void. After an exhaustive internal study and a consulting engagement to confirm and refine their requirements, WSDOT turned to ImageSource, which has long provided integration services for other companies’ software before developing its own.
“Being a top seller of the Oracle IPM product, as well as several other industry leading solutions, they had intimate knowledge of what it could do and how the customers were going to be left stuck in the middle, trying to find somewhere to go,” said Richard Norrell, senior ECM systems engineer at WSDOT. “With their knowledge of the ECM platform being used at WSDOT, ImageSource was in a perfect position to build a replacement for it.”
“We’ve always had developers on staff,” said company marketing director Carol Jellison, “because as we were integrating products from other manufacturers, we would need connection software. But we started realizing that there was really a hole in the ECM industry.”
Software was expensive and required a long ramp up-time, and upgrades frequently meant that every single computer needed a new installation.
“Some organizations had 4,000 or 7,000 customers,” she says. “It was too much.”
Despite his confidence in the company, Norrell is clear that it wasn’t easy for ImageSource to win the DOT bid.
“We had 250 technical requirements and then the platform requirements and the training requirements and the road map requirements,” he said.
Additionally, the top three of 16 companies that submitted requests for proposals were asked to make a live presentation.
“They had four hours to come in and present a scenario we laid out for them,” says Norrell. “We told them what app to build, what workflow to build, what retention management to build. They weren’t allowed to come in with it all pre-built and show it to us. We mandated that they build it right in front of us.”
The team from ImageSource was the only one to successfully build the app.
“It was pretty impressive,” Norrell says. “We wanted to make sure that they were up to it, and they were.”
Currently, the WSDOT is in the process of migrating to ILINX for management of 25 different workflows and 75 content management applications, including collision records, bridge drawings, traffic counts documents, real estate deeds, maps and more.
The transition has been seamless, according to Norrell.
“With minimal assistance from ImageSource, we took the product and wanted to see how easy and intuitive it was to implement,” he said. “We installed it on our own in about three hours on the servers and had it up and running.”
He went so far as to ask one of his system engineers to create an application using ILINX — without allowing him access to the help files.
“I said, ‘You’ve done this before. Use their product to replicate what we’re doing over here using Kofax and Oracle.’ It took him a little while, but he had it delivered the next day.”
That will be music to the ears of ImageSource Director of Development Phong Hoang.
“We’ve taken from our experience in servicing other software,” he says, “all the things that we don’t want to do. We try to make it as simple as possible for security, ease of use, user interface, training, deployment — all of the things that are not so relevant in terms of technology but relevant in terms of the needs of the client being able to do things in the quickest and most efficient way because we couldn’t find anything else out there that was doing that.”
“The challenge with a lot of software companies is where you create the technology and then try to find a business problem to solve,” says Randy Weakly, vice president of Software Development at ImageSource.
“I think we approach it from the opposite direction due to our history. We were geared toward delivering solutions, not necessarily that we created, but that we put together with other different products.”
ImageSource co-founder and CEO Terry Sutherland agreed. “Anybody can create technology; there’s a lot of great technology platforms out there,” he said.
“To have people that are passionate, that want to work hard, give great customer service, I think that’s where our vision has been on track from day one.”