Over the last few weeks, this technical series has been looking in detail at Advanced Function Presentation, AFP. Our aim has been to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the technology that underpins an enterprise archive.
Welcome back to our AFP Series, where we help you understand the richness of AFP, the terminology and techniques required to index and transform it, and its importance in archive migration.
AFP, developed by IBM in the 80’s, originated as a proprietary page description language using the all-points-addressable concept to enable the printing of text and images on mainframe attached printers. It has evolved to become a coordinated set of document creation, viewing, archiving and printing standards. AFP is now maintained and enhanced by the AFP Consortium and ISO 18565:2015, and has been published to document and define the use of AFP as an archive data stream.
For years, decades really, we have been storing electronic customer communications: invoices, statements, bills, etc., because we had to. The documents are stored in their original “print image” format to comply with regulations and to provide an exact copy of what was originally sent to the customer. This “snapshot in time” of customer activity and history has value far beyond simply responding to a customer inquiry for an old invoice.
I start my day with a regular turnover meeting: a recap of the status of each job completed (or not) as well as the discussion of any new problems. As part of this meeting my team reviews the workload for the day ahead in order to make sure we have all our bases covered with respect to materials, machines, and personnel. This can take from 20 minutes to an hour each morning with a repeat later in the day as part of our day to evening shift turnover meeting. Every since we installed a new inkjet press – about 3 months ago – my meetings are lasting at least an hour.
This particular day started off normally; tasks include creating reports manually to show how many jobs, envelopes and documents we produced in the last 24 hours. The information had to be added to the monthly analysis report; a manual task since there isn’t an automated process.