To better understand how invisible capture shapes efficiency, let’s examine the four key aspects of a business process automation solution.
- You must have a way to acquire and distribute inbound documents and data. We call that “capture.”
- You need a decision or routing engine to distribute items to appropriate people or processes for work generically called “workflow.” This is also typically where exception processing is handled.
- A repository is necessary to store and retrieve things from called the “archive,” and this is generally where records management and compliance is applied.
- Finally, and most importantly, there’s the integration piece that ties all these things into the various business processes in place that run the enterprise: Order Entry, AP, HR, Order Fulfillment, Manufacturing Control and Production, etc. and industry vertical applications like Mortgage, Insurance, FinTech and so on.
Automation Projects and their Management
By and large, the market is divided into Capture providers, Workflow and Content Management platforms. The project is either managed internally by the enterprise or more often than not, a systems integrator ties all of these things together to produce the overall solution including the integrations to the various lines of business within the company.
Over the years, I’ve seen the industry grow in sophistication, the technology evolve and demands increase on the systems that we provide.
Evolution of Content and Capture
The product side is divided mostly into Content and Capture providers due to evolution. In the beginning on the capture side, we were writing our own drivers to control scanners. Imaging ISVs had to keep up with all of the different scanner models, driver compliance, etc. As processors got faster and displays miniaturized, hardware providers like Kofax (compression boards), Cornerstone (Large Format Monitors), etc. realized if they didn’t evolve, they would end up out of business. Hence, Kofax Ascent, DataCap, MicroSystems (AnyDoc) and Input Accel were born. Imaging ISVs and integrators didn’t have to worry about hardware compatibility any longer. Software/hardware integration became essentially plug-and-play for scan and release into an imaging system.
At the same time, Records Management companies like Documentum were adding “Imaging” to their capability while imaging and workflow companies like FileNet, ViewStar, Optika, etc. added records management to meet the increasing demand of single provider content management capability.
Shifting Focus: Functionality, Capability and Sophistication
As demand for increased functionality, capability and sophistication grew in each of these areas. Providers had to make a choice as to which component or market they wanted to focus on since the revenue to development and support costs from a sales perspective wouldn’t support the business model. In the 90’s you saw the emergence of vertically focused content management providers and capture providers. This market subdivided into major and minor players typically delineated between the SMB space and the Fortune 10,000.
Later, with the advent of the internet and radically increased bandwidth at reduced cost, Software as a Service (SaaS) emerged with players scrambling to provide solutions in that space. Major players like IBM, EMC, Oracle and even some venture capitalists bought up companies in order to provide one-stop shopping from a solution perspective.
Cost of Service vs. Risk Management
Corporations are—and always will be—interested in cost of service vs. risk management. The advent of “The Cloud” is a good example. Could you staff your internal IT requirements cheaper if you did it yourself? Probably, but now factor in risk. You may pay more for a cloud-based deployment, but you don’t have to deal with the hassle of backups, availability, tech refresh, etc. It’s not unlike the HVAC or coal industries. We don’t pay for coal by the ton any longer. We pay for BTU’s regardless of how many tons it takes. We don’t pay to maintain our heating and AC units any longer. We pay for 72 degrees.
Corporations are paying for results and performance now as opposed to infrastructure and staff to facilitate the business process.
Capture – the Opportunity
Content management systems have been able to adapt and keep up with demand with respect to increased levels of sophistication and requirements with many recently written from scratch designed to take advantage of cloud- and browser-based capabilities. Capture—due to the nature of the process—has been slower to adapt. In some cases, this is because of inherited architecture, license agreements with technology partners, etc. And often, the “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It” principle applies, which means folks simply weren’t looking at capture as an opportunity for improvement or a priority because they had other fires to deal with.
This means that the capture area actually provides a great deal of opportunity with respect to optimization since it has gone the longest without major renovation. Analysts will tell you that 9 out 10 companies are still facilitating document and data acquisition the same way they have been doing it for the last 10 years or more.
Everyone on the product side of the business, whether they are a capture company, workflow group, repository entity or records management platform, all look at the market through the perspective of their own lens. We all live at the center of our own universe and tend to approach the market from a singular contribution standpoint. That said, due to the design, integration and solution delivery experience that we have here at Parascript, we look at the overall solution architecture and business process relative to what and where value may be gained as a function of Enterprise Content Capture Optimization or ECCO, looking for contributions we can facilitate in capture that benefit the entire business process environment.
Capture Beyond the Scan Room
As capture is typically the first point of contact in the business process, often times minor capture changes facilitating significant improvement can provide larger benefits to the workflow and archive process.
The better a job we do of identifying and processing documents in the beginning means less work downstream and that very often means an exponential savings in effort. Couple that with our unattended machine learning ability, and you get an entire business process that gets more efficient simply through the process of doing day-to-day work.
Bottomline – Value
So, we look at things in terms of capital performance.
Thinking in terms of capital performance, at its most basic assessment it comes down to “Time To Live.” We focus on how fast we can stand up the system to begin processing in production and start claiming savings due to efficiency increases across the entire business process.
Accuracy, Throughput and Flexibility
Parascript FormXtra.AI 7.0 provides much greater accuracy, throughput and flexibility because of our unique self-learning functionality and “auto form definition” capability. In addition, we are one of the fastest—if not the fastest—advanced capture OCR/ICR, handwriting platforms there is when it comes to “Time To Live.” And, the knowledge key is 100% transportable.
Just as importantly, we can deploy without any change to customer/vendor or internal business process requiring no procedural or behavioral changes in those areas. This means the advanced capture project team is much smaller; there is far less impact on day to day operations; and the FormXtra.AI deployment is not dependent on any external contribution or associated constraint.
Fewer people involved, less complexity at the operational level, rapid application deployment and exponential benefits provide an excellent value proposition.
>>If you found this article interesting, you might find this eBook useful:
>>To find out more about self-learning capture with zero configuration, check out this FormXtra.AI demo here: Self-learning Document Capture Demo