The evolution of capture? Hardly. (Live from the Info 360 show floor)

By Daniel O'Leary posted 03-23-2011 09:18


Just as in life, change is the only constant in the capture industry. Yet, I see so little evolution.

Today at the Info 360 conference, with a ton of AIIM and industry people, I was shocked to see all of the paper scanners, various scanning technologies and a host of other business models and processes that I thought were long gone.

Seriously, walking around with my enterprise-equipped iPad 2 in hand, it was like surveying dinosaurs! I felt like a capture archeologist of sorts, seeking new discoveries only to uncover the same old fossils.

Is this some kind of alternative universe? Personally, I’m focused on capturing content and information without ever creating paper, so it’s jarring to suddenly have paper and chemicals and giant machines thrust back into reality.

Paper is a mess, capture is a mess, and we are no closer to a paperless office than we are to a colony on the moon. So what can we do about it?

The entire philosophy around capture MUST change—immediately. The vendors who sold you the scanners, the microfilm, the paper and the toner—and all of the other devices that got you into this mess—clearly are not the ones to help you get out of it. If you were hiking and your guide intentionally led you to gnarly river crossings, cliffed-out passes and acres of head high alder bushes in grizzly country, would you trust that person on your next vacation? NO! The people that gave you the disease shouldn’t be providing you with the cure.

In short, plan on creating processes that capture information instead of paper. Embrace the cloud. Maybe we even need to change the nomenclature. Maybe “capture,” since it’s synonymous with paper, should be left behind with the other artifacts. Any ideas?

Instead, look closely at what you scan and where documents originate. Implement tools like electronic forms to replace paper forms, take printers off users’ desks and store more documents and information in your content repositories. Setup an account with or Huddle and put your documents in the cloud. If you can even possibly think of a way to not make that paper in the first place, you are one step closer to solving the problem today. Like right now, stop and do it, I’ll wait.

(Humming Jeopardy theme.)

As we’ve talked a lot about during this conference, find a bite-size capture project and “fail fast,” just go for it and see what happens.

So AIIM community, for those of you here, and those of you reading this that aren’t at the conference, are you ready to join me in challenging the status quo? If so, why? Or why not? Do you like being a disruptor too?

Or do you prefer keep facing the paper grizzly that’s gnawing away at your productivity? You know him well; he’s the one plucking your processes out of the water like desperate salmon, all following one another to certain doom. 

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