Incremental Automation for the Masses

The document capture industry has gone through a number of transformations over the years, typically tied to technology innovation and market demand. The new frontier we are experiencing, which I refer to as Pervasive Capture, is a challenging one for legacy vendors with dated technology that is bound to the server and desktop. Let’s explore the evolution of document capture and how we now arrive at the age of Pervasive Capture.

Centralized Capture

When capture first made its debut, the focus was purely digitization. You could say this was the Stone Age of Digital Transformation. Organizations centralized scanning rooms with extremely expensive hardware and software to digitize their paper documents. Documents from remote locations were transferred via mail or truck and fed into high-speed scanners. They were processed in large batches and ended up in a digital records repository. Once again, licenses to access digitized documents were extremely expensive and access was limited to a select set of users in the organization.

Decentralized Capture

As hardware and software costs dropped, organizations could justify the cost of numerous “scanning centers” at branches and decentralized locations. Mail and trucking costs were eliminated, while paper was still the focus, with large document batches processed on location.  This led to less lag time in processing, and a faster return on investment and improved access to newly created digital documents.

Distributed Capture

The rise of the scanning copier and low-cost desktop scanners in the office created a market for distributing the efficiencies of capture. Pushing capture technology to the front lines created almost instant access to digital documents, as workers could process small batches, and even single documents. It is during this time that capture software began to expand its reach into digital documents as well. Digital fax, email attachments and other “born digital” documents were now a target of automation as well.

Pervasive Capture

Here we are in 2018, the age of Pervasive Capture. In this world of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Intelligent Process Automation (IPA), Smart Capture® is now available via Web Services APIs to create document automation in any process and at any scale.  Applications can now call a document intelligence service to immediately gain information mid-process, creating micro-efficiencies at the individual document level. (See an example here: OCR and Data Extraction with Nintex)

So, what does this mean? Organizations can now examine their existing workflows and robotic processes and use that data to look for incremental automation opportunities. For example, a financial services company can implement an onboarding workflow that allows a prospect customer to upload identification and the most recent W2. The workflow uses Smart Capture® to classify the uploaded document types and extract pertinent data. The ID’s state of issue and the expiration data can be verified to ensure it is a current ID. The W2 year can be extracted and confirmed to be last year’s earnings. The whole process removes humans from the loop and prevents errors from flowing downstream, creating micro-efficiencies at the document level, and allowing additional, incremental automation at the process level. Using this process and deploying this strategy enterprise-wide and the sum of the added efficiencies can be massive.