As I look back on 2019 at the good, the bad and the in-between, I see a trend forming with our customers and in the markets we serve. Organizations are starting to build broader strategies around their document capture needs, tied to their digital transformation strategies. At a tactical level, companies are evaluating the automation of their core processes. 

However, legacy capture has distracted the enterprise into viewing document capture as a cheap, commoditized method of automation and content data extraction. Essentially, legacy capture sits at the periphery of the enterprise and facilitates the single-use of flat – barely usable – data through a fixed, static predetermined process. The data it uses is really a digital “plastic bottle” to the organization. It’s leveraged once, used, and then no one knows what to do with it. So it is typically purged, thrown away or left in a dark corner of the IT world. It can create major headaches in this era of GDPR and regulation if it floats around the dark data ether. But that data, if properly harvested and enriched can be an immense value and a catalyst for true productivity. 

Think of all the content that flows in and out of your organization today. Most of it has no context, and is usually a trigger for more processes or tasks that need to take place. Take a government immigration/visa form that arrives via the mail. It is opened, scanned, its data extraction takes place and it is typically routed into a workflow or RPA process. This static process combined with flat data is where capture ends and the real work begins, triggering human involvement with questions such as:

  • What is this document?
  • Does the employee still work for the company?
  • Do they have valid ID?
  • Is their visa valid?
  • Who is their manager?
  • Are there other pertinent forms in the system?

It’s this context about the content and the relationships of key data that is the blockade to true automation. If technology can advance to gather the answers to those questions automatically, organizations will see increased productivity and agility in solving tasks.

In 2020, Ephesoft will address those problems and define a concept that looks at content capture through a new lens: Enterprise Acquisition, or more plainly put, “Acquire.” Before I dig in on a quick overview of this concept, let’s define acquire:

acquire

ac·quire

/əˈkwī(ə)r/

verb

  1. buy or obtain (an asset or object) for oneself.
  2. learn or develop (a skill, habit, or quality).

The Acquire mindset requires us to look at incoming content in a new way. It is now an asset we obtain, as well as a new way for the Enterprise can learn. So how does that differ from the way we have treated legacy capture in the past? Does it require new technology? How do they differ?  

The Seven Core Areas 
Core AreaFrom: 

Capture

To: 

Acquire

IntentLegacy capture systems have a sole purpose: to capture inbound documents and their data through a static, repetitive automated process and place it in a system of record.With an acquire mindset, that captured data is a stepping stone to the promised land. Acquire focuses not only on the initial content data but provides a pathway to data enrichment and the creation of context. 
DataCaptured data is plain, flat and one dimensional.Acquired data is enriched with contextual dimensions and relationships.
PresentationThe presentation of captured data is tied to a fixed and static UI, typically for human validation and error handling. With an acquisition system, the presentation is dynamic and expansive to take advantage of the extended dimensions and provide users with a single view to consume all the information to finish a task.
TechnologyCapture technology leverages pattern matching and templates to accomplish data extraction.Acquire leverages semantic data extraction and neural networks to accomplish its goal.
Post ProcessThe data within a legacy capture system is purged when its task is done and now resides in an internal system.The Acquire data lives on within an ever-growing Knowledge Graph, providing immense value post process.
AutomationCapture automation is task-oriented and human-intensive. Acquisition is process focused and automation-ready.
PlatformLegacy capture applications are thick client-server apps that don’t live well in the cloud.With Acquire, processes have no boundary and can live on-premises, in a hybrid state or in the cloud. This pervasive coverage gives organizations flexibility and fluid infrastructure.

As we venture into the new year, we will be posting more on this topic and how the face of document capture will change. Can’t wait? Contact us here