Friday, April 30, 2010

Enterprise Capture White Paper

This was written by JD Hicks is President of Imagine Solutions, and it's a fairly insightful paper on the advantages of distributed capture in the financial service market. Hicks' view seems to the that the advantages of centralized capture are already proven, but that financial services organizations shouldn't be afraid to push their advantage, so to speak, and see how they can optimize their scanning processes by moving them outward - closer to the customer/point of origin.

One of his last lines is “Nothing happens until a document gets captured" - a parody of an old sales adage, which makes a lot of sense, when you consider that you can't really begin an electronic workflow until you have electronic documents and data. Overall the paper is a good read that raises some valid points that financial institutions should consider. (Hicks also presents them, justifiably so, as principles that any organization can consider.)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Kofax releases Interim results

From the press announcement: 

Reynolds C. Bish, Chief Executive Officer, commented: “I’m pleased to report that we made good progress and performed better than expected in our software business this past quarter. Our execution and market conditions in this business continue to slowly improve and, as a result, for the financial year ending June 30, 2010 we now cautiously expect high single digit growth in revenues on an organic and constant currencies basis with substantially greater growth on an as reported basis due to the 170 Systems acquisition. We continue to expect a low single digit decline in our hardware business revenues for the year.”

Sounds like the Bish plan, after some fairly complex restructurings, is starting to move forward. Of course, the goal of his plan has always been to increase shareholder value and Kofax's stock is currently trading at its highest level since he was brought in late 2007.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Questex Reports 24,000 People Showed Up at AIIM On Demand 2010

I have no idea, how they do their math, but these are the numbers they came up with. Now, it used to be I could get a detailed report of how many were vendors, attendees, press/analysts, etc. but I haven't seen that for a few years. So, the general consensus seemed to be that the majority of the crowds were on the On Demand side this year. What for, I don't know, as vendors like Ricoh, Sharp and Toshiba didn't even show up - and Ricoh, in fact, had its own event in Vegas simultaneously. But, assuming those observations are correct, we're talking clearly less than 10,000 for the AIIM event, although the combined show floor was so small, I don't see how an attendee couldn't have made it to both events.

That all said, the Questex release clearly has some positive exhibitor quotes in it, and I definitely heard a lot less complaining than last year. My theory is that all the malcontents (and I'm not saying their malcontention wasn't well founded) pulled out. And everyone there this year pretty much got what they expected, as the show didn't seem considerably worse than last year, and maybe even a little better, if you account for the fact that many Europeans were delayed or deterred because of the volcanic ash in the skies over Iceland.

I thought Chris Riley had a great quote about the event (it's included in the Questex press release): "I would be lost without my once a year pow-wow with industry peers.  This year at AIIM, the attendance, to me at least, did not seem to take the normal steps downward. I believe this was because of some positive sentiments surfacing about economic recovery and [rising interest in] Microsoft [SharePoint]." (I think that's what he meant to say at least. I didn't quite understand the phrasing in the release.)

By the way, Chris is now with ShareSquared, which apparently specializes in image-enabling SharePoint, and from that standpoint, it was probably a good event. The Microsoft SharePoint lab looked fairly busy and Bob Bueltmann, of Microsoft imaging partner KnowledgeLake, seemed very happy with his investment in the event.

Finally, next year's AIIM On Demand event has been scheduled for March 22-24 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in D.C. I think everyone agreed that Philly was beat, and it was time to move on. Thankfully, we're not heading back to Boston (nothing against the city, but we were just there and fresher markets are better, I think). D.C., of course, also has the built-in federal government market. Interestingly, AIIM got the dates that FOSE, the big government technology show, had this year. FOSE 2011 has been pushed back to July. So, that seems like nice coincidence (or planning) to help get people out who are used to going to FOSE in the spring.

The only thing I don't like (aside from the possible prices for D.C. hotels) is the MFP dealer event ITEX being co-located with AIIM and On Demand in D.C. Dealer events are almost always held in Vegas, and there's reasons for that. It will be interesting to see how many dealers show up in D.C. Perhaps it would have been better to hold off a year on the co-lo and move AIIM to Vegas in 2012, as people have certainly been clammering for a more western venue.

Ralph

Monday, April 26, 2010

iPhone Document Scanner

Have you seen it yet? I think if there's a market for that type of device, which lists for like $45, you'd think ACS might be able to mass market their clipboard with the phone holder that they introduced for truckers.

CVision Introduces SuperFast OCR

CVision, a Queens, NY-based document capture software developer, with some serious roots in JBIG 2 and compression technology, showed its new SuperFast OCR technology at last week's AIIM show in Philadelphia. The feature will initially be included in CVision's PDFCompressor flagship application for creating optimally compressed PDF files from images. Traditionally, CVision has licensed Nuance's OCR technology to make the PDFs full-text searchable. CVision will still utilize Nuance's OCR, but its the pre-processing which makes CVision's OCR so special.

From what I understand, CVision is able to convert recognized characters into symbols, which greatly accelerates the OCR process, especially on multi-page documents. The demo I saw processed 400 pages in 18 seconds, or an average of 22 pages per second. CEO Ari Gross told me CVision has tested the technology to deliver 10 pages per second per core processor. "With a quad-core processors, we can hit 40 pages per second," he said. Average OCR rates, from what I understand, are at least several seconds per page.

So, where does SuperFast OCR make the most sense? According to Gross, it's as an embedded feature on MFPs and scanners. Gross says it creates the potential for "real-time" OCR on these devices. In other words, as fast as the device outputs pages, it would be able to OCR them. Gross is gauging interest on embedding CVision's technology.

We recently wrote a story about Konica Minolta embedding ABBYY's OCR technology in its MFPs. However, Dean Tang, president of ABBYY USA, indicated that for users capturing and apply OCR to multi-page documents, it would probably be more efficient to apply the technology offline in a post-scan process. CVision's technology, which is in beta and will be released as part of PDFCompressor in a few weeks, could potentially eliminate the need to run a separate OCR process.

Friday, April 23, 2010

AIIM 2010 follow-up

Made it back from AIIM in once piece, once again carrying a wealth of new information on the ECM/document imaging market. No attendance at this year's show was no better than last year, but at least we all knew what to expect. Most of the vendors who complained about low attendance last year, didn't exhibit this year, so there was a lot less negative feedback. The only problem this year was the volcanic ash that limited European attendance, but no one blamed that on Questex. And most everyone was at least somewhat excited about the move to D.C. last year. I will say this much for Philly, it's a pretty cheap date, it's easy to get around, and there's a fair number of good bars and restaurants...which all made a great place for another year of document-imaging related networking. That said, the venue was getting a little stale and it's probably a good time for a change.

I think I described this year's show to somebody as 3-D Linked-In or something....

I'll have more AIIM follow-up later.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Early AIIM Report

Apparently the volcanic ash is still delaying some flights out of Europe. A couple of German vendors I was supposed to meet with are unable to make the show. Talked with the show's PR rep earlier, however, who indicated that a lot of people, including keynote speaker Whitney Tidmarh of EMC, did make it in.

Well, there's always something I guess. The weather here in Philly is beautiful, but the volcanic ash may be limiting the European participation. More from AIIM as the week progresses.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Reseller QAI Adds PSIGEN Capture

 We've been running into Irvine, CA-based capture ISV PSIGEN more and more recently. PSIGEN, which specializes in batch capture and has some advanced indexing for ECM capabilities, recently announced a partnership with Maryland-based VAR and service bureau Quality Associates, Inc (QAI).

QAI Director Scott Swidersky e-mailed us that he is very impressed with the PSIGEN technology and expects some big things to come out of the relationship. QAI is also a Kofax reseller, so it will be interesting to see which product gets more traction among QAI's customer base going forward. Swidersky is also a principal in QAI subsidiary DocPoint, which focuses on imaging for SharePoint solutions, and Psigen has a fairly healthy capture for SharePoint practice, but the current partnership does not mention DocPoint.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Datacap's Capture Portal

Check out Scott Blau's new white paper on a "universal capture portal." (I couldn't get it to display all the way in Firefox, but it worked fine in IE). It makes a lot of good points about the next generation of the digital mailroom, a topic we have covered here before. However, whereas previously, we came at it from the perspective of a traditional mailroom outsourcing provider (Oce Business Services), Datacap (which Blau founded) is coming at it from the perspective of a capture software vendor. Datacap pretty much wants to capture everything, from paper to any type of e-mail and process them through similar workflows. While I love the concept, I'm not sure converting everything to TIFF files for data capture, which seems to be what is suggested, is the answer. Basically, by converting to TIFF, you are taking a smart file, like an Office document, making it dumb, and then applying OCR to make it smart again. Not sure that's the most efficient way to go about it....Nonetheless, it's a very good white paper that presents some interesting ideas and challenges current workflows, which often involve printing e-mails and then scanning them - which is an even "dumber" way to go about converting files to usable data.

Former Visioneer Exec John Dexter Joins Consulting Firm

John Dexter, who was most recently VP of business development for Visioneer, has joined his former Visioneer boss Murray Dennis at SCNNX. Targeted at companies selling or using document imaging technology, according to a press release, "SCNNX was formed to provide document imaging consulting services in the areas of strategic planning, competitive analysis, product development, channel development, strategic alliances, executive recruitment and vendor sourcing."

At Visioneer, Dexter oversaw a lot of the partnerships surrounding Visioneer's OneTouch technology. We're not sure when Dexter left Visioneer, but it was relatively recent. Our last conversation with Visioneer seemed to indicate that while the company was enjoying a significant amount of success through its relationship with Xerox, its efforts at building a traditional document imaging reseller channel had been put aside in favor of focusing on the Xerox relationship. And the OneTouch technology, while certainly useful to Xerox, clearly had broader appeal to more traditional resellers. Dexter is certainly familiar with the traditional reseller channel from his days with Fujitsu Computer Products of America prior to joining Visioneer.

At SCNNX, Dexter "will be responsible for advising companies in document imaging product
strategies, strategic alliances and enterprise-wide implementation initiatives." Dennis, who was CEO of Visioneer when Dexter joined in 2007, is Chairman of the Board for SCNNX. Dennis left Visioneer in 2008. Dennis is also now the president and CEO of iVina, which markets desktop and mobile scanners.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

AccuSoft Pegasus to Debut Mobile Viewer

At the upcoming AIIM show, being held April 20-22 in Philadelphia, AccuSoft Pegasus will be showing new mobile viewing technology. It sounds like the imaging SDK specialist will be showing a prototype, or a proof-of-concept, of the technology, which is being aimed at Applie iPhone apps. Its "primary focus is...providing portable access to documents stored on a server. It targets the Safari browser for viewing of TIFF, PDF, and JPEG files."
"Features include paging, zoom, pan, rotation, thumbnails, access to file information, annotation viewing, and a magnifying glass. These features are activated by familiar iPhone gestures such as tap, flick, pinch, and touch-and-hold. File information currently includes file type, resolution, file size, and compression type."

"The demo illustrates usage of ImageGear v17 for mobile viewing, and offers a sneak peak of new annotation functionality coming soon in the ImageGear .NET SDK."

In other recent news:

Kofax landed an $800,000 deal with an Australian health insurance company doing capture, classification, and data extraction from forms.

Also, Tangent Systems has launched a new version of its Deposit 21 software. This version is specifically designed to be integrated with forms processing applications. It's basically designed to add check capture and Check 21 functionality to document capture applications.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Hyland and PFU Introduce ECM Kiosk

Hyland Software, developers of the OnBase ECM suite and PFU, a subsidiary of Fujitsu have come up with a self-service kiosk to enable access to document managed in OnBase in customer service applications. There's a couple of video links at the bottom of the page. The one I watched on healthcare showed the kiosk being used in a doctor's office. Think of self-check-in at the airport. Similar application. Except that in addition to checking in, you can also complete forms and make payments (I guess you can make payments at the airport too.)

Cool thing is that Hyland's OnBase workflow can probably be used to route the forms when they're completed and also provide you with access to a whole assortment of documents that you have rights or a need to see. Hyland also has all sorts of HIPAA controls that it can set up around this. There are also government and higher education versions of the kiosk as well.

PFU is a leader in the kiosk market in other parts of the world.. Hyland actually has a great deal of experience working with another Fujitsu subsidiary, scanner vendor Fujitsu Computer Products of America. They have done an embedded integration involving a Fujitsu network scanner. This would seem to build on that.

Microsoft SharePoint gets a lot of credit for bringing ECM to the masses, but this kiosk is a great way to bring ECM use, at least, to the masses. And with touchscreens getting ever more popular thanks to cell phones and now the red-hot sales of the iPad, the time for ECM access through kiosks has probably come.

Health Insurance Communcations Study

Pitney Bowes recently released a results of a study discussing communications between health insurance companies and their customers. It seems, believe it or not, that most people, even though they have e-mail accounts, prefer paper EOB (explanation of benefit) forms. Clearly, some education and/or marketing efforts need to be implemented if insurance companies want to take better advantage of technology like electronic statement presentment - really kind of a form of COLD/ERM (electronic report management).

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Computhink Integrates with Muratec MFPs

Continuing with our theme about imaging-centric ECM systems in the SMB becoming more prevalent because of their increasing and tighter connections with MFPs, SMB-focused document and image management vendor Computhink has announced an integration with Muratec's MFPs. Neither is really a leader in the their space, but both have been around for awhile, presumably have decent install bases, and these are the types of integrations that we are really seeing gain traction.

It used to be all about MFP capture, now it's starting to be more about MFP ECM. Of course, this may have something to do with the overall. trend of capture and ECM converging.