I have been a part of many engagements recently involving incorporating document and data extraction technologies into existing business processes in order to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. The needs are all similar: an organization has certain documents involved with customer engagements or business transactions and would like to automate the process in order to do more, faster.
The needs are not so different from “traditional” document and data capture scenarios that we have experienced over the last decade or more, but what has changed significantly are the expectations and/or requirements of the impact of these technologies on the business process involved.
Whereas implementations five or ten years ago would typically “front end” a capture process onto the overall business process, more and more organizations are looking to embed these capabilities into existing applications and workflows. And why not?
Companies are organized around business processes, not software.
Organizations have human resources, finance, and operations groups. They use technology suited for their needs. So they purchase accounting systems, resource planning systems, inventory management systems, and customer relationship management systems.
Gone are the days when a generic workflow or business process management system is acquired and implemented. Gone too are the days when companies think of document and data capture as a completely separate process. Instead of managing teams that exist solely to scan documents and perform data validation, organizations want their HR, finance, and operations staff to be part of the process. This staff doesn’t perform generic document scanning and data entry. They receive purchase orders, invoices, and remittance information, and they need to use these documents and the data within these documents during their normal business workflow, which includes their supporting applications. HR staff manage processes related to finding and retaining talent—not document scanning and data entry.
It’s no wonder, then, that increasingly I find that people are confused when there is any discussion of specialized scanning stations or data entry software. More and more companies want traditional document and data capture workflows to be built-in to the software that they use every day. They want it fully integrated and not to have to think about it.
While much of this could be viewed as a nuanced view in terms of the end user organization, it is a game changer for solutions providers of document and data capture since it means a complete rethinking of how providers architect the solutions that they present to organizations. There are a number of novel solutions out there, and Parascript is excited about several new offerings coming out in the next several months that further this democratization of advance document and data capture.