New Grocery in town! Why you should care

By Chris Riley, ECMp, IOAp posted 07-07-2011 13:26


New Grocery in town!  Why you should care

When my finance tells me to come with her to the grocery store, my reaction is just short of a 2 year-olds temper tantrum.  I’m not the best person to shop with.  So obviously when she wanted to head over to Dublin, CA to check out the new Sprouts grocery store, I did not share her excitement.  But I must have done something wrong because I agreed anyway.

To my surprise this trip was slightly different then all others.  Why?  Because the new Sprouts store demonstrated two interesting concepts right from the ECM space.  The first was double-sided printing, and the second was content organization based on use case.

I was pleasantly surprised that the store had started implementing double-side printing of receipts.  I know MANY grocery stores deploy double sided printing, but this is unique for two reasons.  First, they don’t print useless adds on the back, they print actual receipt content.  And second, it’s smarter printing. At print time it calculates the amount of real-estate needed for the complete receipt and nicely divides it in half to determine what goes on front, and what on back.  This is the most efficient use of the front and back, dramatically reducing the amount of paper used.  Cool!  How does that relate to ECM?

The first most obvious correlation is the reduction in paper use.  We talk about it a lot, and this is a cool trick to print on both sides of the page.  I would first companies to scrutinize printing at all, but if they must print, print double-sided.  I wish more companies would grasp this simple concept.  What our printers lack is the ability to dispense just the right amount of paper and cut it, so still not quite as efficient.  The second way this relates to ECM is in the world of mobile capture. 

Mobile capture is the hot new space that all ECM vendors want to play in, and trying to understand.   Mobile capture is a very exciting use of ECM technology, and receipt content is a prime target for purpose of more efficient expense reporting.  This segment of mobile capture has always been a challenge technically and strategically.  But the double-sided receipts coming out of Sprouts actually introduce additional challenges.  The first is that a receipt is now captured with two separate shots, one for the front and one for the back.  This has always been a problem with long receipts, but no choice in this case.  This adds more variation to the completed document.  Next it introduces the familiar challenge of document assembly.  Because you cannot be 100% sure the receipt pages were captured in order, assembly has to be “smart” and have a good understanding of what a receipt is in order to complete a document.  This is a fun challenge that current technology can solve, the problem is the price tag for such technology is out of the range people are willing to pay for easier expense reporting.  The other solution would be to use a mobile document scanner instead of cell phone camera.  This was a concept we were attempting to address with LivingSCAN ( ) several years back.

If you have met me in person, you know I can be intense at times.  What does that have to do with this blog post?  I’ll tell you.

The second concept the new grocery introduced relates to how they organize content in the store.  Being that I’m always trying to find a way to save some money.  I wanted to see if this new store carried Gaba, literally my “Chill Pill”.  Gaba is a chemical in the brain that helps you calm down.  And I’ve found that instead of much more intense medicine that robotizes you, Gaba works great.  So in trying to find it in this store, the first thing I did was look for “supplements”.  But to no avail.  There was no “supplement” section in the store.  At first I was very frustrated by this, but I was wrong.  Just because of a habit I had, does not mean things should be done the old way.  What the store had taken on was a new trend of content organization that I have used with all my recent clients.  That concept is to organize content by its use, versus what it is.  So I found my Gaba in “Brain/Mood/Sleep” ( more expenseive!  Bummer ).  I needed Gaba to calm my Brain / Mood which was my use case.  This is great and a common trend in ECM systems, especially Extranet and Intranet sites.  Organize content by what you will do with it, versus what it is.  Once a user is familiar with the system it’s a more efficient and natural way to find content.

So while I was not happy to spend the whole 20 minutes that I did in a grocery store, I was happy that these concepts were being deployed.  If ECM is an animal, this was like seeing it in nature versus a cage in the technology zoo.


#mobilecapture #contentorganization #documentcapture #ScanningandCapture #Taxonomy #ElectronicRecordsManagement #ECM