We are often asked to consider importing data from your existing Word and PDF reports. This is because while most valuers use systems like PropertyPRO for standard API format residential jobs, there are always a number of jobs that don't fit this format that have ended up being done on MS Word or Excel.
We will not be able to use your Word documents as a job database and extract individual words and paragraphs and place them in the corresponding fields in ValuePRO.
ValuePRO can, however, import each discrete file associated with a job and attach it as a document to the job card.
The degree of success we will have in achieving this for you will be hugely dependent on how you've named and located these job documents. The key is that the filename of your Word and PDF documents must contain some information we can use to uniquely identify which job a document belongs to.
Ideally, your Word, PDF and photo files will be organised as follows:
\[Any Drive on your server]\[Any collection of sub folders]\[Directory called job number]\[Any collection of sub folders]
The the folder referred to above containing any combination of Word, Excel, jpeg and PDF documents related to that job.
Another possible method is as follows:
\[Any Drive on your server]\[Any collection of sub folders]\[Job Number].doc
\[Any Drive on your server]\[Any collection of sub folders]\[Job Number].pdf
\[Any Drive on your server]\[Any collection of sub folders]\[Job Number].jpeg
\[Any Drive on your server]\[Any collection of sub folders]\[Directory called Job Number]/*.jpeg
Either of the above scenarios will be the cheapest in terms of labour hours to perfect the import process.
Another scenario is where your job register or database contains the exact path on your file system to the files that we need to import.
We have, on occasion, completed very complex imports of documents where the file naming conventions have been extremely varied and inconsistent.
As an example, in one instance, the file names contained fragments of the property address and no job numbers, using incredibly inconsistent name methods. We were able to successfully match more than 60% of 380,000 files to the correct job number by combining the information we knew from their job database, the fragments of the property address in the file name and the last modified date of the file. This is obviously an extreme case of what can be achieved - but is an expensive approach and rarely achieved with a 100% success rate.
The first step to us being able to give you an estimate on running this import for you will be to capture a database that details all of the files and sub folders stored on your file server.
To do this, you have the choice of the following options:
- Copy the entire contents of your server hard drive to a portable USB drive and ship it to ValuePRO's office address via courier or registered mail. We will then provide an assessment for you.
- Allow us to login remotely to your server and run our assessment tool over your server hard drive.
- You can download and install a tool called Advanced File Organiser (www.softprime.com). Use this free trial software to point at your hard drive and create an MS Access format database that catalogues every file and folder on your server's drive. Then send us the .afo file that the software produces.
After our assessment, we will give you a response that details which files will import to which job cards on your ValuePRO system.
The next step, if you approve to proceed, is to process the import of files for you. There are 2 methods available to you - your choice will depend on the importance of being able to access these historical files from outside of your office or VPN:
- Store a copy of all files on your ValuePRO system (recommended approach)
- Add a link to your local file system for each file
1. Store a copy of all files on your ValuePRO system (recommended approach)
How It Works
You will copy all of your files onto a portable USB hard drive and ship the drive directly to our data center We will advise you of the address. We will return your drive once we've finished if you provide a return courier.
We will then run the import. Any files in Word, TIF, Excel or PDF format will be rendered out to a PDF version and page thumbnails rendered.
Any JPEG files will be compressed down to 2 standard resolution formats (large for reports and small for mobile phone usage and thumbnails when rolling over on search results).
You can then access any of these documents via the Documents tab of the associated job.
- All documents are stored consistently - historical and new job documents will look and feel the same
- All files can be accessed from anywhere - no need to access a secondary system
- All your data is in one place and can be included in standard backup procedures
- Possibility of additional cost. Depending on complexity and size of your file system, you may be quoted a once off setup fee and a fixed monthly hosting cost.
All firms for whom consistent storage of their data in a central location and methodology is important.