The past few years have shown a remarkable transformation in the document capture and data extraction market. With the rise of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and the desire to automate labor-heavy, document-centric workflows, document capture and data extraction applications have had to morph to meet a broad variety of needs. Here are a few observations from my daily interactions with partners and customers, and a few trends that are transforming the market:

Expanded Market – It’s as if the robots found new and hidden uses for intelligent classification and data extraction on unstructured document data (using AI, of course). A market that was estimated a few years ago at $1-1.5 billion is now estimated at upwards of $20 billion. How can that much dormant market be hidden? I believe it is an awakening within organizations; a true, deep examination of document processes and their inefficiencies, with every process, no matter the size, are being considered a target for improvement.

No Longer Paper-Centric – The initial rise of document capture was during the rush to digitization and the conversion of paper files to digital assets. Scanning high volumes of paper is a painful, extensive process, and automation is required to shorten the task duration. Today, most documents being processed are “born digital,” already exist digitally or arrive in a digital state for ingestion and processing.

Humans and Bots – The rise of RPA requires the document capture platform to provide processing power that is available to both human and digital workers. The human worker accesses capture power through an app interface, while the digital worker leverages an API infrastructure for a digital processing stream.

App Enablement – The expectation is now for all native apps to have access to capture functionality (workflow, BPM, ERP, content services). The power and efficiency of behind the scenes, “transparent” capture, is now realized, recognized and available for all apps is desired.

Movement Up the Business Value Stack – Data extraction and classification started out as a way to speed up a low-level business process – scanning. Today, the information gleaned out of a document is a critical component of how that document is processed, and its value to the business. By becoming a core part of business operations, the value of this functionality has risen, and content capture has moved to the top of the food chain.

No Process Too Small – In the past, the costs and complexities of a capture project were barriers that reserved the technology only for large batch focused projects. Friendly and open APIs, and the rise of “Citizen Developer” applications that allow connecting to web services without code, have made the power of intelligent document processing available to all (you can read more on this incremental automation phenomena here: Incremental Automation with APIs).

All these factors have driven a need for modern, flexible platforms that can adapt quickly to customer needs and expanded requirements. For help in how Smart Capture® can change the way you do business, contact Ephesoft today.