Saturday, September 8, 2007

Document Scanning and Automation

The Capture Applications on the market today are outstanding when it comes to automation. For any organization that has a large scanning project, or requires minimal time and maximum efficiency from its scan operators, some level of automation is a necessity. So what does automation mean when we are discussing capture applications? Below are some key feature that will minimize the time and effort required to scan and process documents:

Document Separators – with most scanners, if you have 10 documents to scan, you will need to run each set of pages through the document feeder, and save them off individually to your repository. Applications that allow document separators provide a means to place separator sheets between each of your document sets, place the entire pile into the document feeder, and let the software split the stack into individual files. This is a huge time saver, even with a small number of documents.

Intelligent Separators – these take the concept of the separator sheet a step further and add “intelligence”. For instance, a barcode separator could contain important information, such as a vendor code, invoice number, etc. This information is read by the system, and assigned to the document, and can be used in a number of ways: for search, in file naming or folder creation.

Database Lookup – Indexing, or data entry on documents can be a painstaking ordeal, especially if the information has already been entered into another system. The database lookup function provides the ability to retrieve information from another system based on some key value. So you could enter, say, an invoice number, and the application could go to your financial system and bring all the information associated with the document. This minimizes the data entry step, and provides consistency of data across applications.

Document Routing – There are applications on the market that will route documents based on coversheet information. Just scan the document with a barcode cover for a particular destination, and the system automatically routes the document to the right folder for let’s say, a particular customer.

Form Recognition – The ultimate in intelligent applications on the market today can recognize forms from a stack of paper that has been scanned, and intelligently process them according to features within each document. For example, an application form can be recognized, and the data harvested off the form for automatic entry into another system.

These are just a few of the automation features that can help with the efficiency of the scanning process. For a list of applications, go to The links section will give you additional info on scanning software.