I'll have full coverage of the event in my next premium issue of DIR, coming out next week, but I wanted to go over one thought I had, which was re-enforced by a podcast I happened to be listening to on the way home. That thought is that we in the technology industry often get way ahead of the end users. No, this is not anything strikingly new, but I think we all need a little reminding now and then.
For example, I attended a roundtable on high-volume scanner. Mark Brousseau (a former DIR editor many moons ago) was the host and, as always, he did a great job encouraging audience participation. In other words, he called people out and demanded to know why they were there. Anyhow, the biggest problem among the end users at the roundtable was manual sorting of documents. One user specifically complained about having to print and insert bar-coded separator sheets before scanning, even though they were licensing capture software from a vendor who has an auto-classification option. Heck, there are multiple auto-classification products on the market. I've seen the demos and they seem to work well enough, but as usual, in many cases the users seem to be too heads down with their operations to want to try anything new. Based on my experience covering capture technologies like OCR and IDR, I'm convinced that it's just a matter of time before auto-classification is widely adopted - it's just that that time is not here as fast as many vendors want it to be.
In addition, I heard more than one comment about the lack of technological savvy of many of the conference attendees. I think they may have felt they were talking over the attendees' heads-which they may have been. But, this is a good reality check. It helps everyone realize that the buyers are not as sophisticated as we often want them to be. After all, these attendees each spent probably a couple grand to come to the event, so they weren't there to fool around. They were looking for something - but maybe it wasn't quite the advanced something that many vendors were pitching - at least not yet. Remember, it takes an acorn to grow an oak.
Finally, all of this was re-enforced on my ride home when listening a recent Freakonomics podcast. It is titled "It's Fun to Smoke Marijuana,"and no , that's not the title of an old Cheech & Chong album (well, maybe it is too), but in this case it is referring to what is supposedly being said by Queen when you play their hit single "Another One Bites the Dust" backwards. Basically, if you don't know they are supposed to be saying that, it sounds like gibberish, but if you are listening for it, it's like how could you miss it?
The podcast is about how people's perspectives are skewed by their own knowledge. Because we know so much about advanced capture, we naturally think others should too. This podcast explains that this is not a character flaw - it's really just natural. Anyhow, just something to keep in mind when marketing to all those luddites out there.