Monday, January 31, 2011

OCR Accuracy Benefits

One of the often under-rated benefits of automated data capture technology is the accuracy improvement it can bring to a process. I was just typing a colleague's business card info. into Outlook (yes, I still sometimes use Outlook), and I accidentally typed the fax number into the field for cell phone. Luckily I caught it and saved myself the pain of hearing a loud screeching sound when I thought I was dialing a mobile phone number. As I typed in the correct number, I realized that would not have happend had a I scanned the card and used my OCR-enabled business card software, which I typically use for batch capture only.

So, yes, while we usually like to stress the productivity benefits - less manual keying - of OCR applications, there are certainly accuracy benefits as well, that can potentially further contribute to the ROI - how much depends on the value of your downstream data. Which brings me to a second instance of inaccurate data entry that I ran into this weekend: My wife had recently purchased a memorial service (I don't know if purchased is the right word, but...) for her father-in-law in our family's name. Well, wasn't it quite a surprise, when I received the church bulletin this week and saw the service was being held in memory of me! Whoops. The flowers have certainly brightened up the house though.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Recent ECM Headlines

Lot of great news stories moving over the past few weeks, that you'll see links to in our free e-mailer tomorrow. If you're not getting it, you can sign up by signing up for a free trial subscription to our premium newsletter.

Some of the featured ECM headlines in tomorrows e-mail will include:

IIS Secures Venture Funding


Open Text Earns DoD 5015.02 Joint-Certification with SharePoint 2010

Major Publisher Licenses CVision's PDFCompressor

Square 9 Softworks Partners with Pintey Bowes Canada

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Kennedy Digital Archive

Today is being celebrated as the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's inaugural address. That is the one that contains the line, "Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country," among others. In honor of this anniversary, last week, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and the National Archives and Records Administration unveiled a digital presidential archive "providing unprecedented global access to the most important papers, records, photographs and recordings of President John F. Kennedy’s thousand days in office."

The new archive contains approximately 200,000 pages, 300 reels of audio tape containing over 1,245 individual recordings of telephone conversations, speeches and meetings, 300 museum artifacts, 72 reels of moving images and 1,500 photos. Technical details are available in this white paper. Technology partners participating include AT&T, Raytheon, Iron Mountain, and EMC. There are plans to digitize more materials as "staff and resources" become available. The library can be accessed at www.jfklibrary.org.

We'll conclude with this visionary quote by Kennedy, who seems to have predicted the rise of the document imaging industry, "through scientific means of reproduction…and this will certainly be increased as time goes on, we will find it possible to reproduce the key documents so that they will be commonly available…” Who knew?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Kofax Sells Hardware Business

As previewed on our blog yesterday by an Anonymous poster, Kofax has sold its hardware business. The price is listed at $23.2 million, which seems startling low what was reported as a $126.6 million business for Kofax's fiscal 2010 (ended June 30). Of course, the EBITDA was only $1.8 million, for a 1.4% margin, down from $8.8 million the previous year.

We all knew Kofax wanted to sell this hardware distribution business, which operates primarily in Europe, for some time. For a couple years, Reynolds Bish cited it as a profitable entity that helped contribute to Kofax's bottom line, but those tight margins last year, were likely the tipping point that made Kofax finally go ahead with the sale.

I guess the Anonymous poster already pointed out the irony in the fact that Dicom, which was basically the distribution business, bought Kofax in 1999. A couple year's ago, the entity's name was changed to Kofax, and now Kofax is selling off the former Dicom business, which is going to be renamed Dicom.

According to the press release, "Joachim Froning, Senior Vice President of Hardware Distribution Sales at Kofax and the anticipated Chief Executive Officer of Dicom International AG." The deal was mainly financed by Hannover Finanz, "a private equity firm headquartered in Germany." We wish the new owners the best of luck and hope they will be able to reverse the trend of declining profits.

There was also this interesting quote in the press release (from Kofax CEO Reynold Bish): “The proceeds from this transaction and the planned restructuring will better position us to focus on and further grow our software business revenues and earnings both organically and via our acquisition strategy. This is particularly timely as we recently concluded a successful half year that is materially better than the expectations previously conveyed in our Interim Management Statement dated November 4, 2010. We look forward to announcing these results on February 7.”

As of this posting, Kofax's stock shot up almost 5% following this morning's (London time) announcement of the deal. I guess for Kofax this equals addition by subtraction.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

SaaS-Based Capture

One of our predictions for 2011 was an increasing availability and use of Cloud-based capture applications. Well, a couple days after our predictions came out, ABBYY announced a new portal to make its OCR and translation technology available on the cloud. In addition, we received a follow-up e-mail from CAPSYS with a link to this video on Ty, Inc., the Beanie Baby makers, discussing their SaaS-based capture and document image management implementation.

Early returns indicuate that this prediction is on target.

Oh yes, finally we will have a feature in our next premium issue on DocSolid, which is launching a cloud-based MFP-capture solution designed to be bundled with mangaed print services implementations.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Kofax Stock on the Rise

Not sure what is going on at the Kofax's European user/reseller event being held this week in Barcelona, but since Friday the company's stock value has risen more than 12%. Kofax, which is based in Irvine, CA, but traded on the London Stock Exchange due to its roots as a European hardware distributor (Dicom, which bought U.S.-based ISV Kofax in 1999), closed today with a value of 325 British pounds per share and a market cap of close to $440 million US dollars (up more than 20% from when current Kofax CEO Reynolds Bish was hired in late 2007.)

There was this announcement, which sums up some of the improvements made in various Kofax products like VRS, the KTM modules, and the MarkView for Accounts Payable software acquired with 170 Systems, but it doesn't seem like anything major. We'll look forward to catching up with Kofax execs at next week's North American Transform event. Hopefully we'll have better luck getting there than we did this week, when editor Ralph Gammon was grounded in Erie, PA on his way to the Laserfiche Institute event in LAX.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Cost of SharePoint

Spealking of the Real Story Group, parusing their blog, I came across this post from Alan Pelz-Sharpe, discussing some of the expenses associated with SharePoint implementations. Here's an excerpt that I found interesting: "The truth is that SharePoint is not a cheap option, no more so than any other document management or ECM system....What surprises both us and our customers is that SharePoint can sometimes present the most expensive shortlisted ECM option after a full cost analysis is undertaken."

This is not something I have heard many other places, but something I've always suspected. I think we need more cost analysis on SharePoint implementations in the transactional content management world.

ECM/DM Split

Received an interesting update from the Real Story Group regarding their observed split of the document management and ECM market. Real Story is a Boston-based analyst firm, formerly known as CMS Watch. It's contention is that the "ECM)technology marketplace has split into two distinct and separate segments:
1. ECM Infrastructure Vendors, that position their platforms as a set of lower-level technology services to manage high-volume, process-centric needs, such as processing insurance claims

2. Document Management Application Vendors, that configure their products to accommodate specific needs

I'm not sure I agree 100% with definition, as I think processing insurance claims is a document management funtion, but I get the gist of what they are tyring to say. It's the enterprise platform vs. line-of-business positioning. I think I would say that document management applications like insurance claims processing can be built on top of ECM platforms.

Here's the vendor positioning chart that Real Story came up with. Here's the text they included along with it:

"ECM infrastructure deals are large, but less common, as complexity and cost limit their appeal and usefulness. ECM infrastructure vendors Autonomy, Oracle, OpenText, IBM, and EMC have been acquisitive and are likely to remain so in 2011. As a result, these vendors often represent a relatively higher risk to buyers.


"In contrast, the marketplace for departmental and process-specific Document Management products is a blend of a diverse set of players, ranging from vertical and horizontal options (e.g., patient billing in healthcare), to broader, open source and low-cost cloud offerings. Example vendors include Hyland in the US....and Fabasoft in Germany. With mature product and service offerings and strong vertical expertise, these vendors often represent a relatively lower risk for buyers."




Monday, January 03, 2011

Does EMR Work?

Here's an interesting article, which the TAWPI Link-in Forum originally linked me to. It's on a study by UC-Davis about the effect of electronic medical records (EMR) on physician productivity. The bottom line seems to be that the increase in data entry required by new EMR implementations is often a hindrance to medical personnel getting their jobs done. Clearly, there is some ramp-up period, and in many cases, the systems to seem to help productivity slightly in the long-run, but not in call cases. Definitely sounds like an opportunity for better capture technology.

It's probably important to note that this study only looks at physicians productivity and not back-office administrative/billing stuff, where imaging has certainly been proven to increase productivity.