In 1957, Russell Kirsch scanned the first image to a computer and helped jumpstart the information technology revolution. From that first scan came faxes, packaging barcodes, desktop publishing, digital photography, CAT scans and a plethora of other imaging technologies, many of which changed the way people worked.
By the 1990s, as resolution improved, most businesses were utilizing data capture solutions to turn their photos and physical documents into digital copies, but documents still needed to be manually handled, sorted, and filed once they were scanned. This time-consuming, tedious process, limited the utility of imaging technologies. Organizations were already looking for simpler, more productive ways to digitize and manage their documents.
First introduced as a tool for the visually impaired, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) took the written word and converted it to a digital form, with the computer recognizing text and even being able to read aloud. Over the years, these data capture solutions have adapted and grown. These solutions can now complete many common business practices, including data entry, automatic recognition, and information extraction from documents. Many organizations use this imaging solution to index and sort information into databases and hierarchies and to support sophisticated retention schedules, freeing up their employees’ time for more strategic initiatives.
While OCR technology has enabled many organizations to work more efficiently, it is not without its own set of problems. As business and the digital world continue to evolve, the software needed to keep up with these changes must provide even more adaptability.
The Problem with Traditional Data Capture Systems
In a recent AIIM survey, 51% of organizations said their biggest driver in choosing scanning and data capture solutions was to improve their search and sharing capabilities. More so than ever, organizations are looking for ways to make collaboration and information accessibility easier for their teams. Employees need to be able to find the documents and data they need when they need them. Unfortunately, with traditional data capture solutions, this remains challenging.
Businesses are struggling with their current data capture solutions for a variety of reasons, including:
- Multiple Document Types – 64% of organizations surveyed said they process more than ten different document types, including invoices, receipts, checks, applications, etc. Each of these document types needs to be processed, stored, and discarded differently, according to different retention schedules. Traditional data capture systems do not adapt well to every new document type.
- Quality and Accuracy – 44% of capture leaders surveyed feel that out-of-the-box accuracy is very important when selecting their data capture software. Businesses don’t need bad data. They need data that is accurate and reliable.
- Ease of Use – 38% of respondents found their current data capture system very difficult to configure. Employees are spending more time trying to figure out their system than actually using it to benefit their business.
- More, More, More – More regulations, more technology, more document types, more information – organizations are facing more and more each day. The solution they use must be scalable and adaptable to keep up with their growing needs.
An Intelligent Capture Solution is the Future of Scanning
In today’s information economy, organizations need a data capture solution that will continue to adapt over time. While the future of technology may not be crystal clear, we see how the Internet of Things, Big Data, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies and more are changing not just the way that we work, but where we work. Organizations that simplify, standardize, and automate their data capture system will be able to transform their business operations and unlock the value of the information and insights currently cloistered in their paper records.
Unlike traditional data capture systems, Intelligent Capture identifies and extracts critical information from both paper and electronic documents without needing guidance from a person. Business rules, industry regulations, and a clear structure can all be programmed into the system, allowing you to extract the valuable information associated with the document and within the document, sort it properly, and action it accordingly. It can help you:
- Increase efficiency by freeing up your employees to focus on more critical tasks and projects.
- Enhance collaboration, allowing team members to access the same information from across the room or around the world.
- Improve security by routing information to the correct depositories as they’re created and enforcing access permissions, protecting your organization from data loss and devastating breaches.
- Simplify compliance by automatically classifying the information and sorting it into the appropriate retention bucket, making it easily accessible in case of an audit or other litigation.
- Identify any expired or outdated documents to destroy, as well as establish set destruction dates for different document types within the system.
- Provide metadata analysis on the types of documents and records as well as on data extracted from those records, yielding actionable insights for decision-making.
By now, almost every organization knows that digital transformation, in some form, is vital to their success. Access’ Brian Quinn said, “Some documents are born digital; some rise to digital and some have digitization thrust upon them.” There’s no denying the need to transform, but how you do it is key.