Last week, we included an announcement that Nien-Ling Wacker had received the Distinguished USC Alumnus Award. here are some thoughts from Nien-Ling about the award and her career.
What does this award mean to you personally?
Receiving the Distinguished USC Alumnus Award is a great surprise and honor for me. To be included among such distinguished alumni as Occidental Petroleum Chairman, Ray Irani and Gilead Senior Vice President, Taiyin Yang is very humbling.
USC was a very special place for a young, new graduate trying to balance work, study, and personal life. The university provided me with a new world of opportunities in a nurturing and invigorating environment. It also helped me develop confidence, a must in the business world.
This award took me down memory lane to the days when you could juggle everything and make it work. My time at USC was very special for it taught me the value of communication and helped me grow in a challenging yet flexible environment that I later applied to my personal life and Laserfiche philosophy.
How did your chemical physics and chemistry degrees prepare you for your work at Laserfiche?
I think my scientific training and education prepared me well for the transition to business. In both there are few absolutes, and I became aware of the changing dynamics in the marketplace.
As a scientist you have to be a good observer, in that you find trends and you evaluate possible solutions to solve a problem. We’ve used this approach at Laserfiche to propel the company from infancy to where we are today. When addressing business issues I use the same tenacity I would in solving scientific problems. I do not want to be a firefighter. Rather, I want to raise the bar, to go that one step further to a balanced equilibrium that helps organizations meet their ultimate goals of operational efficiency.
I believe Laserfiche has a strong VAR channel, top-notch engineers and institute instructors, as well as wonderful end-users, and this is reflected in our software and in our industry awards. Da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” and this I believe best identifies Laserfiche software capabilities.
How did you make the transition from your chemistry background to document imaging/management software?
After I left USC, I started a computer consulting business. One of our first customers—a Japanese auto manufacturer—was involved in a major product liability lawsuit. The automaker’s management asked us to design a litigation support software package to manage hundreds of thousands of pages in evidentiary documents. I then realized that if we were able to get the full-content of the information, rather than just document summaries and keyfield information into the computer system, we would have a powerful information system.
I envisioned a system which could scan images and have them indexed and OCRed, this allowed us to be the first to introduce full-text search and imaging processing. When Laserfiche was released in 1987 it was considered the first DOS-based document imaging system. Our efforts were then concentrated on educating the market, and we grew the company organically.
The Laserfiche repository and intelligent search engine was ahead of the curve and we were awarded the AIIM International Pioneer Award in recognition of the design, development, and implementation of integrated digital document imaging systems.
Today, we have more than 25,000 installations, millions of users, and billions of pages in Laserfiche systems all over the world.
What’s next for Laserfiche?
Our clear vision for the future will continue to incorporate our business philosophy of a balance between the flexibility sought by professionals to perform their jobs effectively and the centralized control organizations require for greater efficiency and risk management.
Business leaders are finding that when evaluating the total economic impact of new business technology cost optimization coupled with flexible software is essential to workforce evolution and growth. And as a scientist, you have to be a good observer, analyzing current processes, then researching and testing to come up with something better, more efficient, and innovative. We developed Rio™ our solution for the ECM arena and Avante for BPM with this in mind.
Our product has evolved over the years and we have built a reputation on our ease of use and simple structure that delivers business productivity and efficiency.
Laserfiche will continue to strive for harmonized growth, and a real balance between work and quality of life that translates to our staff, VAR channel, and user community. With our ingenious approach we continue to use innovation to achieve real-world results.
Thanks for reading,