Capture: get over yourself

By Chris Riley, ECMp, IOAp posted 03-24-2011 19:57


Document capture is not cool.  It’s not modern, and frankly the amount of effort needed to be successful is just aggravating.  But document capture is necessary and extremely valuable.  The more we want technology, the more we need to bridge the gap between that cool new technology and that annoying paper.  Recently Daniel O’Leary wrote an article on the stagnation of document capture titled “The evolution of capture? Hardly. (Live from the Info 360 show floor)

Maybe document capture is not evolving.  Look at the history of improvements in capture technology over the last few years.  Starting at the core of OCR, yeah we are pretty much as good as we will get, moving to advanced semi-structure data capture, very mature technology exists but not all products are leveraging it.  So there is a valid argument to be made that capture is not evolving, but is that really the issue?  Not evolving does not diminish its value, but not using it certainly does.  Its document capture, it does not get much sexier than the stream lined desktop scanner, and the single button push scan.  That is it.  The problem is really that we are not using it.  Why?

One thing Daniel said in both an info360 Twitter panel and in his article was “fail fast”, and I can’t agree more.  What he is describing is the process of picking something easy that takes little time to setup, little time to test, and little time to ascertain the value good or bad.  The process will educate, and deliver some answers with little impact to the organization.  Maybe what we should be teaching is a reduction of fear.  Empowering our end-users to pick up the technology, play with it in a small scope, and figure it out in baby steps.  What I often talk about, as I did in the recent AIIM capture webinar ( was, succeed in small steps, know your ultimate goal, but don’t try to get there all at once.

I agree with Dan, capture is not evolving, but that is not the point, what is really not evolving is our adoption of technology, and our reliance in the over complication of the problem.  If your users don’t know what a scanner is, start there.  Put scanners in their hands, allow them to start saving documents to searchable PDF, let them discover the value.  If your users know how to scan, think about introducing meta-data and tying those scanned documents and meta-data to an ECM system.  Once your organization is capture savvy start building a data capture system on a single desecrate business use cases or processes.  You might be surprised how little time it can take to go from crawl to run with this approach. It may not be the best idea to take on data capture, with a hefty license cost, PSG, and a three month integration time-frame when your users think the new scanners are really new printers.

Sometimes it is hard to crawl, walk, run when you are seeing the other guy sprint past you, or watching the Olympics ( AKA canned capture demo ).  But if that runner is not a seasoned expert, there is a very high probability he will trip, fall, and break a leg, never to run again.  Applause for cheesy analogy please!

#Capture #future #ScanningandCapture