In the early 2000’s, the Nokia 1110 was the most popular cell phone on the planet. It was a great, functional phone at the time, but within a few years, it was obsolete. If you forced your users to work with that phone today, you would have a mass rebellion. So why do organizations still use legacy technology from the same decade for document capture and automation?
The answer: Many are not. Progressive organizations are quickly moving to modern, newly designed technology, and reaping great benefits. For organizations looking to capitalize on the enhanced efficiency and productivity modern intelligent capture can provide, here are some trends within the broader capture and document analytics market.
- The Browser is the UI of Choice. As organizations look to refresh their capture technology and migrate to modern platforms, the thick client is going the way of the Dodo. Web-enabled applications provide simple access through any of the major browsers, ease the burden on IT staff from a deployment and management perspective and allow an easy transition to the cloud. Providing both end-user and administrator access through a web app, also allows for broad reaching distributed capture solutions, a must in today’s global, connected Enterprise.
- RESTful Web Service APIs are now King (and Queen). As organizations drive for maximum efficiency and productivity, capture-enabled line of business systems are the weapon of choice. From the ERP solution that auto-classifies a document on upload, to the workflow app that uses data extraction to make branching decisions, “transparent” capture that just happens, offers a seamless way to leverage the power of document automation. In addition, two types of APIs are on the street:
- Macro-services – APIs that perform multiple tasks provide efficiency in code, and allow single calls to process from start to finish. These all in one services will classify, extract data and return a searchable PDF, and in one swoop.
- Micro-services – having an expansive toolkit available, through web services, provides an all-encompassing document-centric platform. This platform can service end users through the browser, provide broad-reaching macro functionality where needed, but also provide niche solutions. Examples might include the ability to convert an image to searchable PDF or read a barcode from a photo.
- True Cloud is necessary – being cloud-ready means quite a bit more than just running a VM with software in the cloud. A platform that is built from the ground up to take advantage of the key benefits of the cloud:
- Automatic Scale-up/Scale-down
- Native Web Browser support
- Support for Cloud DB architectures
- Core-based licensing
Having a structured, tiered offering that can support all types of organizations and usage scenarios is also key.
- Open, modular architectures. Just like the fat client, the locked down, proprietary architecture of the past is over and done. CIOs are demanding open interfaces in all their apps for ease of integration, and standard software languages for extending functionality. Modularity with an open “plugin” type architecture allows administrators and developers to only use what they need, when they need it.
- Machine learning provides the ultimate in efficiency. Basic pattern matching and templates are long gone, and have outlived their useful days. OCR and provided text are now just input for the intelligent, learning application. The emphasis is now on automated learning, not only during configuration, but also supervised learning provided by the end user/knowledge worker. The system gets smarter as you use it, always working towards zero end user interaction.
- Companion analytics. There is so much information that is buried within an organization’s document content. Providing that content in an “analytics ready” state optimizes processing, and provides ready access to “dark” data. Today’s modern capture platforms can feed the big data beast, and provide powerful, once hidden information to those that can benefit in the organization.
The last two points are the future of the market, and forward-looking companies are focusing on vendors that provide a vision and path to take full advantage of the unstructured information that lies within document content.