Wednesday, May 31, 2006

File Scrub

This looks like some pretty cool and useful document management technology. Aren't these the same guys that originally developed LizardTech's geospacial compression stuff? In fact, it appears LizardTech's old CEO, John "Grizz" Deal might even be involved in this venture as well.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Intriguing New CAS

Here's a new content-addressed storage company founded by the guy that apparently invented Centera. Now, I have trouble telling one CAS device from another, but I assume there are some people out there that really understand this stuff...I'd like to say things were easier when all we had to worry about was optical, but I know that's not the case.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

AIIM Wrap

Another AIIM is in the books. Wow! What a show. It was nice to see everybody who I saw. I apologize to everyone I missed, especially those I had appointments with. I think I need to hire some correspondents just to fully cover the show.

There was a lot of good quality mature technology there. I got to see a lot of scanners, I acted as a Best of Show judge in the workgroup and departmental scanner categories. Compared to five years ago, boy, have feeders and image processing come along way. The real current of the show, however, seemed to be pulling in the direction of server-based computing. More on this in the next issue of DIR - but there are two camps being orgazined. Microsoft supporters are in one and Google supporters are in the other. Guess which side wants to move functionality off the desktop and onto the server?

Based on the fun I had last year with this, I thought I'd offer my informal, very, very informal, DIR Best of AIIM award. Please, take note, these are in now way associated with AIIM sponsored Best of Show awards for which I got to test all the scanners.

Thanks.

Best Product: Scott Blau's SOA-based forms processing product. Love the concept of making data extraction (and also image processing by the way) available as series of services. It is the most efficient way to handle this. Oh yeah, and guess whose side I'm on in the above mentioned debate.
Most polarizing product: The Kofax Avalon/Document Scan Server. People loved it or hated it.
Biggest, only in Philadelphia, inconvenience of the year award: I think we finally figured out how to deal with the Penn graduation on Monday, only to be hit with a city-wide 24-hour taxi-strike on Tuesday. Next year - Boston - the week of the Boston Marathon.
Best Storyteller of the Year: Art Gingrande. Well, they were a little long, but Art is apparently in law school, so he should fit right in.
Best Disappearing Act: Chris Thompson. He was missed by many, but everyone seemed happy for him as well.
Best Soon-To-Be Disappearing Act: Go Reynolds!
Best Digital Copier-related product: Sharp. More SOA stuff.
Best AIIM Chairman of the Year: Don McMahan. Congrats, Don.
Yawner of the year: It was 2 p.m. on Thursday and Xerox was showing me yet another proprietary digital copier capture platform. Sorry about that. The guy demoing it was nice enough, but seriously, I nearly fell asleep on my feet.
Story of the Year: Art's bit about a trash can and a CEO - oh yes, and OCR software.
Dinner of the Year: Suzie Fu's - something like that - French/Asian wonderful food.
Party of the Year: I believe I was singing Karekoke at one point.
Casting the longest shadow: Microsoft
Best Apparent Turnaround: Scan-Optics. Seem to be doing great a year after a major reorg. I guess, we'll see long-term, but CEO Paul Yantis seemed is optimistic.

Cheers

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Why I love AIIM

Yesterday, I've having a conversation about my blog. I mention one that one of my favorite posts occurred while waiting for an hour on the Philadelphia runway when I handed out my impromptu DIR "Best of AIIM Awards." The marketing people I'm sitting with get a laugh when I explain that being trapped on an airplane is a great muse. The software engineer with us mere says, "nice battery."

Anyhow, the big talk out here early seems to revolve around Microsoft SharePoint and its future effect on the ECM market. There is more than one person who thinks it spells doom for people like Open Text and other EDM specialists. Ironically, however, this is also the week of Microsoft's own SharePoint convention, so a lot of their heavy hitters aren't even here. If I'm Open Text, I'm not too worried yet. (I love the way the spell checker in the thing - which is owned by Google I understand - doesn't recognize "SharePoint.)

Ralph

Monday, May 15, 2006

AIIM 2006

So, I'm stuck here in the Erie Airport, waiting for my departing flight to Philly - what a great time to blog. Yup, headin' down to AIIM On Demand - the second year at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. I actually enjoyed last year's show immensely and found Philadelphia easy to get around. (Sorry for any mistakes that follow, need to go through security. We're moving.)

Apparently, there are some T-storms going on this way. Hope your flight isn't too badly delayed. Fortunately, I'm flying direclty there and not using it as a connection, because (Philly is a U.S. Air hub), the people in front of me in line were really screwed up. I'm just going to use my down time here as a substitute for sitting in Starbucks this afternoon and catching up on things and prepping for the show. (Flight from Philly just landed close to on time, but still we're delayed for an hour. Don't quite get it, but oh well.)

Two interesting announcements in preparation for the show this week. The first comes from Kofax, which has finally officially announced it Document Scan Server. The Scan Server is a hardware/software appliance designed to replace ISIS and TWAIN drivers with SOA calls directly to the device. In other words, instead of having to configure a TWAIN interface into your accounting application, you can just write some SOA/Web services calls to get the image. Like a lot of things these days, the Scan Server is designed to bring document imaging further into the mainstream. "No longer do you need a developer that specializes in ISIS or TWAIN, now you can get any engineer that knows standards-based Web services to do you image enablement [enable your application to receive document images directly from a scanner]." That's a big of a paraphrase, but that's pretty much what Anthony Macciola of Kofax told us. It's an interesting venture by Kofax, whose Image Controls driver business has morphed into VRS, and which has cooperted very closely with ISIS Master Developer Pixel over the past few years. It appears Kofax wants its driver buisness back. It definitely has the partnerships with the scanner vendors in place to make this happen.

Kofax partners seem pretty excited about the Document Scan Server, and we recently had an opportunity to talk with an integrator that has had the Boy Scouts of America commit to buying like 250 Scan Servers. Kofax preliminary pricing was $1,000 per unit - but they stressed that volume discounts will be made. The ROI comes in the areas of integration and maitenance, as the Scan Server is designed to enable true server-based deployment and maiteance of Server-based capture. Plenty more on this in my next issue, which comes out tomorrow.

Interestingly, Datacap also made an SOA-centric announcment today. It make it TaskMaster flagship application available as a service. (I apologize, I couldn't find it as a link, so here's the complete text:

Datacap Releases Taskmaster Web Service,
the Industry’s First SOA Capture Solution


On Demand Image Processing, Recognition, Validations and
Export Formatting for any Platform

May 15, 2006, Tarrytown, NY – Datacap announced today the release of Taskmaster Web Service, a new approach for users to capture document images via the Internet. Whether an organization is running FileNet Capture, Kofax Ascent Capture or another capture product, they can expand their capture capabilities whenever and wherever needed simply by calling the Web service.

“Datacap continually leverages key technology developments to provide maximum flexibility to organizations looking to increase data-entry and document-indexing efficiency and accuracy,” said Datacap CEO Scott Blau. “Taskmaster Web Service brings a whole new level of flexibility. Users can take advantage of Datacap’s procedural rules engine to control document identification, field recognition, data validation, and export formatting – all without any programming.

Taskmaster Web Service takes advantage of the Service Oriented Architecture trend to decouple traditional forms processing and advanced document capture capabilities from the capture platform. This makes it easy to set up rules that will run exactly the same on documents whether they are scanned locally or remotely, whether they are processed in one capture system, such as Kofax Ascent Capture, or another, like Datacap Taskmaster. Simplified rules administration – without programming – means less administrative overhead for a capture application. Centralized, Web-service based processing also makes it easier to monitor multiple capture applications efficiently sharing the same resources.

Those using FileNet Capture, Kofax Ascent Capture or other capture platforms can use Taskmaster Web Service to add enhanced capture capabilities not standard in their existing platforms. As user needs change, organizations can add the capture pieces they need via the Web Service. Taskmaster Web Service integrates with third party capture platforms and can easily provide added capabilities, saving organizations the expense and effort of replacing their existing capture investment.

An early adopter of the Taskmaster Web Service has built an application that sends fax images to the Service to capture addressee information with advanced recognition. The fax management application was developed independently as a Microsoft .NET executable. The functionality for natural handwriting recognition was added with only a few lines of code to call the Web Service and interpret the results.

Availability
Taskmaster Web Service is available immediately. For pricing and system requirements, contact Datacap at sales@datacap.com.

Comment: This application would seem to be the perfect compliment to the Document Scan Server, as it puts the entire data capture portion of document imaging on a servier - makes it available as a service. So, once you capture the image with one of these Scan Servers, you feed it to Datacap and off you go.

Ralph

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Good quarters

Capture specialists Dicom and Top Image Systems both announced strong first quarters - another sign of the current stength of the imaging industry.

Also, I'll apologize in advance for anyone I miss at the upcoming AIIM show in Philly next week.

Thanks.

Ralph

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Carman at Computhink

Congrats to Paul Carman, who has accepted the job a president of Computhink. Computhink is a Chicago-based document imaging/workflow/records management software vendor. Last I knew, they were trying to build a VAR channel. I actually applied for a business development job there a few years back, but was turned down. Always thought Chicago would be a cool place to live. Paul's been around the imaging block, so to speak, a few times. He started with Kodak, moved into the IMC, which he helped sell to AIIM, was with an ASP firm for awhile, and most recently has been an EVP with Document Boss - a job search/M&A organization based in the U.K. We wish Paul the best in his latest endeavor and are looking forward to catching up.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Pegasus Releases Latest toolkit version

Improved .NET functionality, better support for thumbnail viewing and improved image processing.

INSCII acquisiton completed

In case you were wondering what happened to the old INSCII high-volume COLD and document imaging business...

Secure document imaging

Talking about introducing more security into your processes...

Forms processing news

Here's a story from ReadSoft, about an invoice processing installation that leverages the company's links into the Microsoft Great Plains accounting system.

Also, Datacap and FCPA have gotten together with an organization for accounts payable professionals to put together a survey on invoice processing. I coundn't find a link, so here's the text:


End-User Survey on Invoice Scanning and Capture Sponsored by Datacap, Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc. and IOMA

Analysis and Report to Be Presented By Power Decisions Group
Tarrytown, NY – May 4, 2006 – Datacap Inc. announced today that it has partnered with the Institute of Management Administration (IOMA) to conduct the industry’s first customer data-driven survey exclusively focused on invoice scanning and data capture benefits, success factors and barriers. The survey is being distributed to more than 50,000 accounts payable, financial management and IT professionals worldwide throughout the month of May.



With more than 19,000 members, IOMA provides practical information to the accounts payable profession, including the Report on Managing Accounts Payable newsletter, special reports, conferences, and training seminars. The IOMA/TAPN Accounts Payable Certification Programs have enabled thousands of AP professionals to prove their skills and distinguish themselves by passing a comprehensive exam. “This survey is a great supplement to our own ongoing research,” said Andrew Dzamba, IOMA’s Editor of Accounts Payable publications. “We expect this survey to provide the most detailed information to date on how AP managers are leveraging scanning and capture technology to streamline AP and reduce cost.”



Survey results will be analyzed and interpreted by Power Decisions Group, a marketing research firm, based in San Francisco. The survey results will be presented in a special report, published in May 2006. Datacap, Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc. and IOMA will also sponsor a webinar in June to present findings from the report. The finished report will be made available to all survey participants free of charge. “We welcome Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc. and IOMA in recognizing the importance of end-user research, particularly in this high growth segment of the capture market” said Arthur Gehring Director of Marketing at Datacap.



Analyst firm Aberdeen Group has benchmarked more than 875 companies and investigated several dozen enterprise-AP strategies and the use of supporting technologies. According to a recent Aberdeen report, “Electronic Invoicing Solution Selection Report: Leading an Accounts Payable Extreme Make Over,” electronic invoicing strategies, including scan and capture, can reduce accounts payable transaction cost between 63% and 67%. Survey data revealed that: “79% of AP managers see ‘automation’ as the key enabler to future success.”



The goal of the Invoice Capture study is to identify current behavior and the key factors driving organizations in their invoice scanning and capture decisions. The survey was designed to encompass those who have already embarked on an invoice capture strategy as well as those who are examining its feasibility.



To participate in this survey and receive a free copy of the survey results when available – visit www.datacap.com/survey.

About Datacap
Since 1988, Datacap Inc. has provided leading document capture and forms processing software solutions to organizations worldwide. Datacap Taskmaster software efficiently transforms paper into information, increasing efficiency and data accuracy while reducing costs and document cycle time. A client/server, rules-based capture workflow platform, Taskmaster provides highly flexible solutions for both document image indexing and data entry automation. Taskmaster also enables scanning and indexing from a browser and integrates with all leading document management solutions, databases and ERP systems. http://www.datacap.com/

IOMA
IOMA is the acknowledged leader in providing practical information to the accounts payable profession. From Report on Managing Accounts Payable newsletter and our numerous special reports to its highly-regarded conferences and training seminars, IOMA’s contributions to AP education are considered the gold standard around the world. The IOMA/TAPN Accounts Payable Certification Programs have enabled thousands of AP professionals to prove their skills and distinguish themselves by passing a comprehensive exam. All IOMA AP products offer APCP certification CEU credits. http://www.ioma.com



About Fujitsu
Fujitsu is a leading provider of customer-focused IT and communications solutions for the global marketplace. Pace-setting device technologies, highly reliable computing and communications products, and a worldwide corps of systems and services experts uniquely position Fujitsu to deliver comprehensive solutions that open up infinite possibilities for its customers' success. Headquartered in Tokyo, Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.8 trillion yen (US$40.6 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2006. For more information, please see: http://www.fujitsu.com

About Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc.
Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc. conducts engineering and marketing activities in Sunnyvale, CA and sales operations throughout the United States. Fujitsu Computer Products of America currently offers products and services including scanners and scanner maintenance, hard disk drives, Magneto-Optical drives, palm vein recognition technology and 10Gb Ethernet switches. Fujitsu Computer Products of America is located at 1255 East Arques Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA, 94085. For more information about Fujitsu products and services, call us at 800-626-4686 or 408-746-7000. For more information, please see: http://www.fcpa.fujitsu.com

About Power Decisions Group
Power Decisions Group is a market research company focused on marketing strategy. Using market research and decision clarification tools, PDG stays focused on each client’s decision-making agenda. Clients benefit from the right marketing research information for uncovering marketing strategy solutions that work. http://www.powerdecisions.com