Capture begins with process

By Kevin Neal posted 06-08-2012 13:09


Capture begins with process

As a prelude to an upcoming series of blog posts I will be posting on the topic of “Building an effective capture solution” I wanted to preface these posts and focus on the question of ‘where do I start if I want to build an effective capture solution?’.

More education, less self promotion

With information capture being such an obvious way to decrease operational costs, increase efficiency, reduce risk and assist with compliance, then it begs the question of why wouldn’t everyone be using capture?  I think the answer lies in the fact that as an industry we have done a dis-service to our community.  Every vendor’s product is the best *sarcasm*.  Everyone can offer the complete solution *eyeroll*.  Vendors compete for business on a list of features instead of a genuine desire to assist their customers become more productive *disgust*.  Of course this is a generalization and not every vendor, or person, is so self-centered but my point is that a resource such as the AIIM community, which is rich in educational information and maintains a genuine vendor-neutral stance, are too few and far between.  We need to breakdown the components of a capture solution to their lowest common denominator and share with others how to achieve an effective capture solution so that everyone can benefit from a technology that has a proven track record of success.  Breaking down the components of a capture solution involves three basic parts:  User Interface, Processing and Storage.  It’s really that simple.  Of course this is an oversimplification but those are the basic three components.

Eating my own dog food

Having spent nearly my entire professional career in the document capture/ECM industry you would think that someone like me might suggest that a ‘solution’ starts with consideration of capture hardware or capture software.  Not true.  An effective capture solution, to the contrary, does not start with capturing information from an image.  Rather it starts with a well-defined process.  Capture is an extension of a process that makes things more efficient. 

To give some specific examples I would like to provide four different business processes and breakdown the 'Activity', as it might happen in a manual process, and the 'Benefit', which is the result of what we are trying to achieve.  You will notice, while it's pretty obvious, that the 'Activity' in each case can be slow, costly and inefficient yet many organizations continue to operate in this fashion because it's the traditional way of doing business.  However, if you truly consider the 'Benefit' and know that in each 'Process' example below there are well established document capture solutions that can drastically improve these processes then hopefully this will drive more adoption of such a fantastic technology:




Contact Management

Typing the information from a Business Card into Contact Relationship database

You want to be able to organize and retrieve contact details

Expense Management

Entering the information from a receipt into an Accounts Payable system

You want to get reimbursed for your expense

Invoice Management

Manual Data Entry of vendor, terms and total information into ERP application

The organization would like to realize pre-pay discounts

Inventory Management

Keying the line item details from a Packing List into inventory system

The business can be more efficient by making product available for sale quicker


Building an effective capture solution:

Part 1 of 3 (User Experience/Device/Interface)
Part 2 of 3 (Capture/Processing/Transformation)
Part 3 of 3 (Storage/Business Policy/Workflow)

Capture Begins with Process

#BPM #OCR #BusinessProcessManagement #Capture #Barcode #design #process #ScanningandCapture #bcr #rules #ICR #continuity #classify #classification



12-01-2012 07:58

This is a great comment and is in the best interest of the end-user organization, not a deal-hunger vendor. Sometimes the prudent conclusion is to do nothing to change the existing process so it's best to be decisive and make this decision before too much investment of time or money. Also, regarding the observation of increasing electronic documents is unquestionably true. In fact, many of the emerging cloud, SaaS, line-of-business applications and/or vendors don't even consider anything other than electronic documents for the most part. They consider paper an 'exception' and not worth the effect on their part to incorporate capture. This technology convergence of traditional Capture/ECM and emerging Cloud/SaaS is an interesting dynamic.

06-12-2012 09:47

As a vendor neutral solution provider, we ususally start by analyzing if the process is "worth" automating. Of course it is never just about money, it can be compliance or best practice, but for the "very hard to automate" processes we often reach the conclusion that the effort is not worth the result. The capture side is in any case becoming ever smaller, as the volume of electronic documents increase.

06-08-2012 16:36

Jimar, the intention is not really a deep dive but rather encouragement to start capturing common processes within organizations. Expenses, invoices, inventory to name a few. Far too often organizations simply continue doing things as they've traditionally been done because they are not aware or think it's too complicated to use capture. My other point of these posts, as you will see, is that there are many new tools which can be overwhelming to choice vendors yet this creates a tremendous opportunity for organizations to design state-of-the-art solutions at an extremely affordable cost. We truly are back in best-of-breed times where the end-user is in control.
I would, however, also like to hear of others experience with automating these difficult processes so I hope others will share.

06-08-2012 13:32

Kevin, good lead-in to a deep dive of Capture. I'm looking forward to hearing more. I would be interested to hear about how Capture can be used in processes that are *extremely* hard to automate, which are manual and human-intensive by nature. Audits, due-diligence, and complaints/dispute resolutions come to mind.