Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Today's Financial Services Market Demands Innovative, Stable Capture Solutions

Dell EMC’s Enterprise Content Division (ECD) has been a long-time leader in the document capture software market. It is probably best known for high-volume, back-office implementations, but like everyone else trying to stay competitive in the market, ECD has done a lot to address more modern capture initiatives. This includes the introduction of Web services, cloud, and mobile technology.

Following is a piece I developed with input from ECD, discussing how its software addresses the evolving requirements of today’s financial services organizations:

I recently had the opportunity to attend to a presentation by Chris Surdak, the author of a book titled “Jerk” with the subtitle, “Twelve Steps to Rule the World.” It’s about how to thrive in the emerging era of digital transformation. One of his main premises is that “information is the new wealth,” which he attempted to demonstrate through a slide showing that the three most highly valued public companies in the world today—Apple, Google, and Microsoft—are in the information management business.

Financial services companies, of course, are involved in managing traditional wealth, but that doesn’t mean information management is not important to them. The current movement of big banks toward partnering with Fintech start-ups or launching their own Fintech spin-offs, is an example of this.

Document capture is another area where financial services organizations must stay current if they want to keep pace. Banks and other organizations specializing in wealth management have been long-time users of document capture technologies. But, as the technology continues to evolve, and innovations like agile deployment and mobile capture are introduced, many financial services providers have not fully embraced these advancements. Rather, they continue to operate their capture operations like monolithic, hard-coded silos.

In his presentation, Surdak noted that three pillars for success in this era of information management include immediacy, quality, and intimacy. A modern document capture platform can help a financial services organization build all three. It can help them more quickly turn around customer submissions with more accurate and targeted responses, which will in turn increase their levels of intimacy.
Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics financial services organizations should be looking for in their capture platform:

Openness
It was an ancient Greek philosopher who first came up with the idea that “the only constant is change.” In today’s world of constant information flow, change comes even faster. And customers don’t care if back-end systems can keep up with this change, they just want results. (This attitude was defined by Surdak as “disengagement,” which is another user characteristic in the information economy.)

If a financial services organization needs to make a change, such as adding a capability or workflow to their capture process, they better be able to do it fast. Unfortunately, according to a 2015 World Retail Banking Report by Capgemini, less than 15% of banking executives rate their back-office digital capabilities as “advanced.”

One characteristic of an advanced back-office system would be openness. In other words, how easy is it to integrate a new capability like an OCR engine to handle a different language or to integrate to a different repository to quickly onboard an ECM system that might have been part of an acquisition?

One example of an open capture platform is ECD's Captiva. From its early days, the software has been designed to accommodate third-party services, and over the years the APIs have matured and become even more accessible. Captiva offers its own set of services that can be inserted where needed and its platform can also leverage third-party software to add capabilities like handwriting recognition, foreign language OCR, specialized PDF processing, advanced forms recognition, and more.

Cloud
To complement its on-premises Captiva application, earlier this year Dell EMC’s Enterprise Content Division (ECD) announced Snap as part of its new LEAP cloud ECM platform [a brief video presentation on Snap]. Optimized for lower volume distributed capture applications, like account opening at a branch office, Snap doesn’t offer Captiva’s complete breadth of capabilities. But it’s designed to be very easy to deploy—with a target time of five minutes to configure a new document type. To assist with set-up, ECD is offering an option of outsourced document capture design available through the Snap interface.

The simple and fast set-up of Snap has two big advantages in today’s information age. If everything works well, an organization will have improved both accuracy and the turnaround time compared to manual capture operations. If it does not work out, which we all know is the case all too often with capture, the user finds out quickly and can try again. The concept of reducing time to failure is gaining traction in this age where there is so much pressure to reduce turnaround times in all areas.

The bottom line is that Snap offers a relatively inexpensive and quick way to launch multiple document capture workflows. This enables a financial services organization to keep up with business models that also need to be able to change rapidly based on intelligence being gained from an ever-increasing influx of information.

Mobile
As the volume of transactions completed over mobile devices continues to gain momentum, mobile document capture can’t be far behind. After all, the primary reason people implement document capture is typically related to some sort of business transaction. For a financial services organization this might be new account opening, a money transfer, or applying for a loan. Well, guess what? As more users embrace mobile banking (According to the Federal Reserve’s 2016 Consumers and Mobile Financial Services Report, 43% of adults that have both mobile phones and bank accounts reported using mobile banking—up from 39% a year earlier ), more financial services transactions are also going to move to mobile.

Users have already proven they are comfortable depositing checks into their accounts utilizing their smartphones. According to the 2016 Mobile Deposit Benchmark Report, about 41% of banking customers have used a mobile deposit service. Because of their small size and relatively simple and consistent layout, checks were a natural place to start with mobile capture. Technology has now advanced to the point where automating capture of data from larger and more complex documents is also possible.

What if a customer is applying for a loan through their smartphone, for example, and the bank requires copies of W-2s and recent pay check stubs? Or what if an insurance company is asking for proof-of-loss documentation to settle a property damage claim? There is technology, like Captiva Mobile Capture, that can enable users to easily and successfully capture high quality images of these types of documents. Captiva Mobile Capture can be integrated with Captiva’s RESTful services or with an automated data extraction application on a server to complete the transaction processing. This type of integrated system can be configured to provide an end user with immediate feedback on if their document was received, if it included the appropriate information, and whether or not their submission can be moved along to the next step. This is the type of turnaround that people are seeking in today’s world.

ECD Capture – innovative yet mature
A lot of what we are talking about is cutting edge and modern technology. As a long-time capture market leader, ECD might not be the first vendor you think of as developing next-generation technology. ECD’s duplicity, however, is one of the advantages to working with them. They not only can address and understand high-volume traditional back-office capture applications, they can also help organizations move forward with their cloud and mobile initiatives. As so often happens during a period of transition, there will also be instances where legacy applications and modern initiatives will need to be weaved together. As one of the few vendors with interests on both sides, ECD can be counted on not only to provide expertise across the board, but also to be impartial with respect to the type of technology being deployed.

So, if you are a financial services organization looking to move your capture technology to the next generation, don’t look at ECD as purely a legacy vendor. Yes, their history in the market guarantees they are that, but their introduction of a modern architecture, as well as cloud and mobile capabilities, demonstrates that proven technology vendors can also drive innovation.


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