Is there an Ideal Capture Strategy for SharePoint

By Jeff Shuey posted 11-18-2010 15:59


How should businesses think about processing both paper and electronic documents? Is there a best way? Is there a right way?

The Simple Answer … No!

There is no “ideal” capture strategy that will work for and apply to every business. Every business has unique needs for scanning (aka capture), processing and categorizing content.

Some businesses may seek to go completely paperless. This is an admirable goal and one that might work for certain businesses. The fact is that paper will continue to enter the business – receipts, invoices, purchase orders, and yes mail too.

The Good News

I think 60-80 percent of each core “capture” solution are repeatable. Meaning the core components can be used over and over again to create new solutions. Much like lego blocks can be mixed and matched to create new things.

Does that mean it’s easy? No.

Like a lot of things ... 90 percent of the job is easy. It's that last 10 percent - sometimes called The Last Mile - that requires the true skills. This is as it should be. This is one of the biggest benefits of SharePoint. It’s a platform. As a platform it can be built into many different types of solutions – including many of the core elements of what are common in legacy ECM solutions. SharePoint allows for the Rise of the Experts.

The Great News

People with core ECM skills will be able to extend their careers and take their skills into a SharePoint environment.

Experts in scanning, data extraction, document handling and processing, document and records management and archiving become a business’s best friend. Experts with these skills have been around for a long time. They have honed their skills the old fashioned way … by doing it, by creating the industry we know today as Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

They are the ones that have built many of the systems that are in place today. They might be called Document Management, Records Management and even Knowledge Management which are commonly rolled into the all encompassing definition of Enterprise Content Management.

Back to the title of this post …
Is there an Ideal Capture Strategy for SharePoint?

The key point here is that “Capture” is only the first step. Once the paper or electronic content is “captured” additional steps need to be completed in order to put the information contained on the paper or in the electronic documents to work or to rest. Knowing which additional processes and steps need to be completed is where the partner ecosystem and internal experts come in. This is where The Rise of the Experts come in. Those with the ECM skills will have a job for as long as they want one.

A couple of points to keep in mind. To me these are Reality Checks. Inflection points that should not be ignored. Inflection Points that shows

Reality Check One
SharePoint allows for the easy integration of content that has been born digital and for content that exists in other formats.

Traditional ECM systems allow for this too, but not at the price point and not with the widespread market penetration of SharePoint.

Reality Check Two
Too many vendors have gotten hung up on the old school way of thinking.
SharePoint will change all of that - for the better. The concept of capture will continue on, but the reality is that successful vendors cannot solely focus on Capture. They will need to expand their thinking to have a greater focus on collaboration with other software solutions.

What do you think?

  • Is there an Ideal Strategy for Capture in SharePoint?
  • What is the “sweet spot” for Capture?
  • Is Capture enough? Can a company survive if they ONLY do Capture?

Next up --- My thoughts on how traditional VAR’s will need to change in order to leverage and maximize the SharePoint channel.

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