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The Monthly Vertican Newsletter - August 2020

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Issac's Essentials

Teach a Man to … ?

Isaac fishing

I recently took a vacation with my family, a modest escape from the COVID chaos, to the Thousand Islands in Upstate New York. If you haven’t heard of the place, you’re not alone. It’s in fact a not-so-hidden gem along the Saint Lawrence River region.

I learned a few things while there: 1. There are over 1800 islands throughout the river. 2. It’s a major thoroughfare for large ships. For example, you may see a container ship sailing to Chicago from Singapore as they navigate through the Great Lakes! And 3. I don’t really know how to fish. All right, that’s an exaggeration; I get by.

Still, my experience there got me thinking about how you don’t know what you don’t know and that I often see this pattern in business. Taking a step back to the beginning of quarantine, I began taking my three-year old son fishing. We ventured out almost every week. Thanks to some SparkNotes-style learning, there we were, me and my boy, catching little sunnies, and even largemouth bass – success! This is me, a brute force type of guy, not knowing what I don’t know except what I learned from YouTube, feeling awesome.

Up next, we head to the Thousand Islands and I’m still riding the I reeled some fish in a Jersey pond wave. If you’re like me, you go all in when an interest strikes. So, I’ve got this; I buy all the stuff. I buy the jig heads and spoons, minnows and nightcrawlers, even different types of lines and steel leaders. I’m a walking tackle box. Brute force.

Three hours a day and eight days later, I’m boasting a total of six fish. Caught somewhere between total defeat and blaming the fish, I invested in an expert. Captain Dave is a long-time fishing instructor and charter captain. After a few hours with this guy, I caught 27 fish. Why? Because he showed me things I had no way of knowing. Areas to go to, how to properly hook the bait, that different types of fish like different depths and water temps, and much more.

And while we were on that boat, I thought to myself, “Here I am all about brute force, yet I almost missed out on the coolest experience because of that.” And another thing that’s 100 percent certain, I would’ve come home blissfully unaware that I had achieved unnecessary mediocrity.

Don’t get me wrong, brute force has served me well, but I also know where it won’t. Where it just can’t. It’s all perspective. When you lean head and heart first into excellence, you find out how much it genuinely matters to enlist an expert.

That brings me back to the now and the stark misconception that saving time and a few dollars in the short term increases one’s bottom line. For example, we have clients that learn Collection-Master, Q‑Law, and other software from third-party resources. They go online, talk to colleagues, seek help on forums, and perhaps take some SQL classes. They catch a few fish and feel confident. That is until a predicament hits, an unexpected update emerges, or yet another regulation change in the ARM world materializes. Worst of all, frustration mounts among the staff and quite possibly with the product, a crisis ensues, and expensive assistance is required. So, still with access to an entire river of information, a minor ripple becomes a tidal wave.

Even the adage, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime,” isn’t enough for us at Vertican. We believe in fishing together. Here’s why, with full disclosure, we’re all about relationships. As a client, our partner, you have the opportunity to help us improve. First, a subject matter expert (SME) becomes an extension of your organization delivering personalized training on process management conducive to your needs. Then, your SME takes your pain points back to our developers to further enhance our collection solutions. Call me selfish, but this plays a significant role in how we become a better partner.

Since we are the first to know about the latest advances in automation (we know this stuff, we write the software), your SME customizes your organization’s workflow versus just providing technical, cookie-cutter fix-its. All our clients ultimately reap the benefits of their counterparts’ experience while gaining credibility.

Vertican practices these same principles with our own vendors. Quick example, our brilliant IT team still knows when, and when not, to go it alone. We have VMWare SMEs on hand to help us seamlessly address VDI issues or even avoid them altogether.

So, one plus one equals two is a flawed notion in my book. When it comes to the business community, a one plus one partnership yields exponential growth! Partnerships are like the cogs in a well-oiled machine. Every person, each component, has collective value. A shared purpose. So, if there’s a break in communication, everyone suffers. This is why the SME/client relationships at Vertican are critical. This is why I do everything in my power to provide this opportunity. This is what ultimately enables us to leverage technology to lower our clients’ costs to collect.

We still create learning opportunities at our conferences, town halls, and events so that Vertican staff and users can come together to share tips, tricks, and pain points. But if you really want to get to the next level, partnering together is key. As a business leader, my guideposts to improving people’s lives and boosting opportunities for success are through Vertican’s core values and community culture.

Of course, you can fish on your own. But I’m here to tell you that not only did I catch more fish when I was with Captain Dave, we had an awesome, mutually beneficial experience. When you invest in subject matter expertise, you invest in yourself and in all those to whom you are responsible. In business and in life, challenges are not going to come when convenient. Often, they will not be manageable on your own. And even once resolved, they may leave an indelible mark. But when you and I partner together, we’ll surely catch a lot of fish.

Product Stories

vMedia’s Star Feature – Are You Missing Out?

vMedia is a repository and management tool for all things media. We spoke with Luis Gomez, Vertican’s Chief Information Officer, about one of vMedia’s most powerful and newest features, Spectrum Importer Zonal Optical Character Recognition (SIZOCR).

Luis and his team are the architects behind SIZOCR. While vMedia manages scanned documents, this new groundbreaking OCR feature takes converting characters, text, and images to a whole new level. And we think that’s a pretty big deal.

VT Marketing: Let’s start at the beginning, Luis. In a few words, what exactly does the SIZOCR feature in vMedia do?

Luis: SIZOCR highlights a targeted area or areas of scanned documentation and intuitively captures that information to store it into a user-defined part of the database.

VT Marketing: So you tell the importer tool to look at a particular spot (a.k.a. zone) of a document. Why would someone need to do this?

Luis: When you scan a document, using the Spectrum Media Importer, you can precisely target three OCR zones and define where to store that information. By entering the location coordinates, for example, of the top right corner, the account number, or any other section of information, the SIZOCR feature will extract the information and insert it into the appropriate destination or file.

VT Marketing: Awesome, so users can zero in on a particular spot of any document. Can they do this with documents from within a multitude of files as well?

Luis: Yes (it’s awesome) and yes. vMedia does everything in bulk. Here’s what happens: our clients receive, for example, stacks of lawsuits from the court with docket numbers typed on them. Once the user imports them to vMedia, SIZOCR looks at the specific area(s) that the user defined to locate those docket numbers and imports the information into the respective docket number fields within the proper files.

VT Marketing: What was the motivation behind developing this feature?

Luis: On an average day, users need to extract portions of information from hundreds of documents. Until recently, this has been a painstaking, tedious process done manually. Not only is that time-consuming, there may be costly repercussions when errors are made, which makes life for our clients that much more difficult. So we wanted to improve both this process and accuracy while reducing the costs and frustration. It’s all about allowing our clients to reclaim valuable time.

VT Marketing: Is there anything else you would like users to know about SIZOCR?

Luis: For starters, this feature is fast, robust, intuitive, and secure. These are all critical components to our industry. Two other points we want our users to keep in mind are:

  • The quality of document(s) being scanned has an effect on the quality of the output.

  • Spectrum Importer requires that users be on the SQL database.

VT Marketing: You mentioned the quality of the scan has an effect. This raises the question, how accurate is OCR technology? Is the ARM industry ready to rely on this, as there has been a lot of justifiable concern out there?

Luis: OCR is generally 98% accurate, which compares rather well to that of human-based reading. The beauty of Zonal OCR is that such specificity improves accuracy. Plus, our developers are continually enhancing the software, improving logic, etc.

VT Marketing: How much does this feature cost?

Luis: There’s NO extra cost for SIZOCR; it’s part of the vMedia Power User subscription package.

VT Marketing: How did you come up with the name?

Luis: Well we tried to be as technical as possible. Seriously, we gave it a name that simply depicts this feature’s job.

VT Marketing: Luis, as a marketing team, we feel this remarkable feature deserves a flashier name. What do you say we leave it up to the ones who use it day-in and day-out?!

Luis: Sounds good to me, we’re all about listening to our clients. How about we attach a prize to whoever’s suggestion we decide to go with?

VT Marketing: Now you’re talking Luis! Okay readers, you heard it here. Click the Submit below and suggest an amazing replacement name for Spectrum Importer Zonal Optical Character Recognition. The winner will not only get bragging rights, but we’ll send you a $100 American Express gift card!

SUBMIT

Submit as many ideas as you would like. Please send us your suggestion no later than August 30. We’ll announce the winner and the new feature name in our September issue of vConnect!

v square

Vertican’s  Virtual Town Square event is a week of webinars, hands-on workshops, client round table discussions, client health checks, and social events.

Coming in Fall 2020

Vertican Town Halls

Vertican has produced 12 Town Halls since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While we plan the next schedule of Town Halls, you can view any of the previous 12 for free. Just click here.

These Town Halls are part of Vertican’s Emergency Relief Stimulus Package. Click here to find out more.

Welcome to the place where we share an inside look at some of Vertican’s amazing team members. This issue of vConnect is pointing the spotlight on Irasely Oquendo and William Higginbotham.

Irasely has been with Vertican since 2018. Her key role with the company is working as Account Manager/Client Service Representative. Irasely mainly focuses on providing technical support to Vertican’s Collection-Master clients.

We talked with Irasely about her work at Vertican and learned what she is up to outside of the office too.

What sort of work did you do before joining Vertican?

I worked as a nail technician for many years, then worked for Easy Pass in Puerto Rico as customer service representative. After moving to the U.S. in 2016, I worked for Pitney Bowes in their Global Ecommerce program, handling logistics on packages sent through eBay.

What is a typical day at Vertican like for you?

Busy, lol. It’s different every day and every day I learn something new. On typical days, I jump onto our support program (SWIN) and work with our clients to help them with issues, errors, or requests they have reported with Collection-Master or vMedia. I also attend scheduled meetings for vMedia and the Client Services team, and address pending or newly assigned tasks.

What do you like most about working for Vertican?

The thing that I like most is how Vertican has given me the opportunity to learn new things. With a customer services background, I never had the exposure of working with the technical features like we do at Vertican. This has allowed me to grow and expand my skill set from customer service to technical support, legal collection process, training staff and clients, travel, and management. I have also been able to use my creativity and share ideas on different projects. In a nutshell, Vertican provides room for growth and is open to employees’ input.

If you could learn anything new, what would it be?

Coding! In the plans already.

What was your very first job and how old were you?

I landed my very first job at 16 years old as a cashier at a restaurant. I also did nails and hair on the side for a little extra cash.

What is something about you that may surprise your colleagues?

I was born in the U.S. and moved to Puerto Rico when I was seven years old. I lived in Puerto Rico until 2016, then I moved to the U.S. I’ve only been in the U.S. for four years. Settling in has been challenging at times but I’ve adjusted pretty well.

I also really love arts and crafts, decorating, making flower arrangements, and gardening. My dream is to own a flower shop and be an event decorator.

What else do you like to do outside of work?

I love spending time with my family. We barbeque, play board games, and do karaoke. Every once in a while, I enjoy ME time paired with a visit to the spa.

Share something exciting you did in the last 12 months.

I visited Canada with my family! We went to Niagara Falls; we fished and kayaked on the river. It was a great trip. We rented an Airbnb on a farm and my little one enjoyed counting the hens back into the barn.

Do you have a favorite movie, artist and/or book?

Inception and Beetlejuice are my favorite movies. I have too many favorite actors/actresses, but some are Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Winona Ryder.

Please share a favorite quote.

“Sometimes you will never know the VALUE of a moment, until it becomes a MEMORY.” – Dr. Seuss

Will with Tiffany Haddish and David Miller (l-r)

Will has been with Vertican since 2012. His key role with the company is working as a Business Systems Analyst building workflows for our largest clients and resolving day-to-day issues that arise.

We caught up with Will to learn more about his position at Vertican and what he’s up to outside our normal business hours. Here’s what we learned:

What sort of work did you do before joining Vertican?

I worked at a collections law firm for five years in Missouri throughout college before joining VT. At the firm, I worked in multiple departments before I ended up managing both the mailroom and the service department. I also worked with account placements, complaint generation, and helped manage incoming calls from consumers. Oh! And I was once a licensed process server as a side hustle.

What is a typical day at Vertican like for you?

I spend most of my days in meetings with one of our largest clients to help build out workflows for their states along with work through (or resolve) any other fires that come up.

What do you like most about working for Vertican?

I love not having a daily commute (especially during Chicago winters). I also appreciate that I’m involved enough with the future enhancements of Q-LawE that I can keep track of what new features our clients should be using.

Additionally, I like that when we face issues as a team, we actively brainstorm together on a solution. This helps ensure we have the best resolution. These discussions we have also help team members learn about areas of the software they might not have much experience with.

If you could learn anything new, what would it be?

I would love to be able to learn new languages without putting the effort into learning and maintaining that knowledge.

What was your very first job and how old were you?

I worked as a web designer for a local university when I was 15. My mom was going to school for computer science and she hooked me up with a department head who needed a website built. This was my first real introduction to code and working in a technical field.

Word on the street is you love the gym? Tell us about it and how that began.

It started about five years ago to lose some weight and improve my health and I got hooked. COVID has made staying active difficult, but it’s good to know that when we return to normal, I will be able to get right back into it!

What is something about you that may surprise your colleagues?

I haven’t owned a car in over 10 years and don’t miss it one bit.

What (else) do you like to do outside of work?

Watch college football, garden, cook, listen to music.

Share something exciting you did in the last 12 months.

Ran the Chicago Marathon to raise money for the American Cancer Society. I also met Tiffany Haddish after one of her shows.

Do you have a favorite movie, artist and/or book?

Favorite movie is probably Last of the Mohicans. My favorite artist is van Gogh and I was lucky enough to go to the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam to see a lot of his work.

Please share a favorite quote.

“You’re going to need congressional approval and YOU DON’T HAVE THE VOTES!” – Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton.

Did we miss anything?

I have a dog named Gabe and am getting married in 2022.

Software tips q law

What’s New Tool

What’s New is a valuable tool to search for processes and changes within the Q-LawE program. From the main menu click on the Help button and select What is New in Q-Law. From this screen you can do key word searches and then read about any of the programming enhancements and changes pertaining to your key word.

Click on image to view larger version.
What's new in Q-Law Screen shot

Just click on the topic and in the box at the bottom details will appear regarding the enhancement/change.

Add Quick Links to My Favorites

Did you know you can add quick links to your my favorites for those processes/screens that you use regularly?  Simply go into the Quick Menu from the main screen.

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Add to Quick Links screen shot

Locate the menu and code you need, click on it, and then click on the Add User Fav Button to add it to your My Favorites Menu. Then click on the My Favorites button in the main menu, and double click on the Favorite to be taken to that screen/process.

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Add to Quick Links screen shot

Software Tips collection Master

Open the Smart Notes box in Paperless Notes

In Paperless Notes, you can press F1 to pull up the Smart Notes box. If you need to jump to the Code field to enter a specific code quickly,  just press F1 again to go directly to the Code field.

Click on image to view larger version.
Open the Smart Notes box in Paperless Notes

Claim Folders

  • Do you have files you need to store on a claim? Any file types can be stored. Security can be enabled to allow access to specific users.

  • Access the Claim Folder from the Claim Information dropdown menu while within the claim. F7 Attachments while in the Paperless will also access the Claim Folder.

Click on image to view larger version.
Claim Folders Drop Down

  • A folder will be created in the Reports folder.

  • Policy MAST: Claim Folder can be used to allow or deny access to claim folders by users or groups.

enter to win

August 2020 Contest

Show off your Vertican knowledge for a chance to win!

Do you know the answers to the questions below? If not, when you click to enter we’ll give you some help. Three winners will be chosen at random from everyone answering all three questions correctly.

1. Name three of the five people shown in this photo.

Vertican Founders 2013

2. Name a Vertican internal event that DID NOT take place in July.

3. How many LinkedIn Followers does Vertican Technologies, Inc. have?

This contest has ended. Winner are posted in the September edition of vConnect.

Prizes

Charging Station

Anker Wireless Charger, PowerWave 7.5 Stand

Wine Basket

Picnic at Ascot Original Insulated Wine and Cheese Cooler Bag

Water Bottle

Hydro Flask Water Bottle – Stainless Steel & Vacuum Insulated 

July 2020 Winners

Congratulations to the three winners in the August survey!

Becky Jacobo, Machol & Johannes, Prize selection: Fire pit

David Mendelson, Mendelson Law Firm, Prize selection: Balance board

Julie Thompson, Lotane & Associates, PA, Prize selection: USB turntable