Friday, May 24, 2013

Beyond Paper: Info Insight Automates Processes

Multi-channel capture is certainly a hot topic. A couple weeks ago, we visited ibml and ReadSoft, who each discussed their expanded focus to include multi-channel capture. This week, we briefed with Kodak Document Imaging on its new Info Insight application, which was announced last week.

Info Insight is a Web-based IDR solution that is able to automate classification and capture of document from multiple inputs. Kodak is advertising it for use with scanned images, faxes, e-mail, and input from social media sources. So, from the capture side, which Kodak is calling its "integration platform edition," InfoInsight certainly has multiple channels covered.

From the output, or process standpoint, Info Insight also addresses many, what we'll call "avenues." Kodak calls this side of Info Insight its "solutions edition module." It includes assisting with both automated and manual responses to e-mails, social media input, and traditional paper correspondence. It also includes being able to track the "moods" on social media sites via a graphical screen.

No, I wouldn't say that Info Inight is deeply into what Forrester has defined as the Smart Process Application space, but it's clearly a step in that direction. Info Insight is designed to take input form multiple sources, apply technology like self-learning and artificial intelligence, as well as data aggregation, and produce some sort of response to the input. The main SPA element that I see it as missing is a true BPM engine for dynamically automating complex processes. (Yes, Kofax has trained me well in the use of the word "dynamic," but I think it makes sense here.)

All and all, it is interesting to see where the capture market is heading. I completely agree with Kodak and Kofax's and others' position that it is very important for capture companies to expand their front ends to embrace multiple channels, because clearly the generation currently going through higher education and those behind it have less use for paper than any generation in the past 100 years.

That said, the processes that paper has traditionally been a part of are not going away. So, it's very important for anyone in the capture market to realize that the future is about owning the process, not the paper, and Info Insight, and Kofax's SPA strategy, and quite a lot of what I'm starting to see show up on the market, seems to be taking this approach. Good work guys!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Andersson Spearheads ReadSoft Acquition Strategy

Since ReadSoft co-founder Jan Andersson stepped down as CEO in 2011 and joined its board of directors, one of his charters has been to guide the Swedish-based capture ISV's acquisition strategy.  Last year, we saw that strategy manifest itself in the acquisition of foxray, a German high-volume document capture specialist. Last week I was in New Orleans for a briefing on how ReadSoft is integrating the foxray capture framework into its business strategy.

foxray is a capture platform that kind of reminds me of a newer version of the InputAccel platform. It's designed to manage multiple capture workflows and can utilize best of breed components. Historically, it's integrated a lot of Kofax technology for example, but now that foxray is owned by ReadSoft, ReadSoft's capture platform will certainly be the first, but not only, option. foxray's Xbound platform also has cool features like the ability to re-use components across multiple workflows (which eases set-up) and the option to use a single verifier for multiple data capture processes. It also provides an end-to-end view of all a user's multi-channel capture processes.

foxray's Xbound system has historically been sold primarily in Germany, but ReadSoft has plans to bring it to North America targeting markets like service bureaus, healthcare, and financial services.

Last week, ReadSoft announced another acquisition that Andersson helped put together. That was of e-invoicing network provider Expert Systems. Based in Sweden, Expert Systems' hosted application is complementary to ReadSoft's thriving software business in extracting invoice information from paper. ReadSoft recently launched a new cloud version of its invoice capture software as well.

According to Bob Fresneda, president of ReadSoft North America, Expert Systems was doing between $1.5 million and $2 million in annual sales -all of which is counted as recurring revenue due to its subscription-based model. ReadSoft paid $6 million for the business.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Is ICR Technology Underutilized?

Don Dew of advanced document recognition ISV Parascript recently authored an article on the benefits of intelligent character recognition (IDR) technology that he has asked us to share with you. It discusses how ICR technology is underutilized on documents that include handprint and even cursive writing.

Here's an excerpt from Dew's article, "From name, address, social security number, phone number, or any other unconstrained or cursive information entered on a form, advanced ICR solutions can capture this data with a high degree of accuracy and make it available for use within the organization. Based on research performed by AIIM and Parascript last year, only 6% of organizations are automating this level of recognition. At the same time, survey participants estimated that they would achieve a considerable level of productivity savings if they were able to automate the recognition of hand-written text."

Here's the link to Dew's complete article on our DIR Web site.

Just for some background, Parascript develops advanced recognition technology that does both OCR and ICR. Historically, it has been best known for its cursive recognition, which is utilized by the USPS in their envelope and parcel sorting operations. Parascript also offers a document recognition-centric toolkit that includes both OCR and ICR. Parascript recently released a new version of this SDK, as well as a new version of its FormXtra Capture application, which it is moving through a recently revamped reseller program.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Harvey Spencer Associates Launches Voice Recognition Study Related to Dodd-Frank

Related to the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (commonly referred to as Dodd-Frank), Harvey Spencer Associates (HSA) has announced the launch of a new multi-client study to identify opportunities for the use of voice recognition technologies to reduce the costs associated with compliance discovery of trading records in the banking and financial services industries. Basically, Dodd-Frank requires that traders in stocks and bonds record all communication related to their business of trading. And those records have to be made available for audits for a year, and delivered fairly quickly when asked for. Deadline for complying with this is Dec. 31. Thus, the current opportunity for implementing voice recognition software.

Spencer is known to most of us for his work in the document capture software market. Here's how he describes his expansion into voice recognition (a move which capture software ISV Nuance actually made several years ago): "It is part of expanding HSA to defining capture as ‘capturing transactional information from unstructured big data elements,'" Spencer stated in an e-mail to DIR. "Defining the inputs as documents; voice; photographs; and video, the intent is to build expertise in these different underpinning technologies which all use pattern based understanding combined with business rules (it’s really forms processing with different inputs) to extract meaningful data.

:In the case of the Dodd-Frank compliance issues, it is a matter of being able to add enough metadata to the trader’s voice recordings in order to reduce the time spent on searching and discovery.  As with forms processing in the past, we do not expect that technology can deliver 100%, there will always be manual effort – what we want to do is identify the value of partial recognition/understanding and the supplements to voice recognition that can achieve this."