Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Power of Advanced Capture

In any Document Management or Enterprise Content Management System, there are four basic components: Hardware, Capture, Archive and Search and Retrieve. So what is the most important piece? Everyone nowadays seems to have the hardware. All of the copiers today have scanning capability, with the newer ones scanning at 70 pages per minute. The simplest archive is a series of folders on your server or workstation. And with files on the network, Windows Search, or the search capabilities within Abode allow you to find what you are looking for quickly (sometimes).

For the more advanced organization, they may have a Document Management System, or utilize Microsoft SharePoint for their archive and search and retrieve functions. But what seems to be lacking in most organizations, is a structured, automated way of capturing files. The argument of this BLOG entry is that Capture is the most important piece to any ECM or DM System.

As mentioned before, when we look at just about any office or organization today, they are scanning with a copier or desktop scanner. But inevitably, they take their paper mess and recreate it digitally. Why? No standardization in the process. Joe scans his files to his email and stores them in Outlook folders, Betty scans to her My Documents on her laptop, and uses a convoluted naming scheme that only she can decipher. They take their paper problem, and create a huge problem for IT. Disparate archives now pose a disaster recovery problem, along with the issues of accessibility.

So what is the answer? Advanced Capture. Advanced Capture applications provide the ability to set structure, and harness the capabilities of all the scanning hardware within the organization. They can provide standardization and structure, along with fantastic efficiency improvements. Take for example, PSIGEN's PSI:Capture. With its Microsoft SharePoint Migration feature, and auto-import capability, you can set all your scanning copiers to scan to a processing folder. Utilizing the barcode routing capability, you can create cover sheets for each library within your SharePoint site. When you scan, the software will pick up, process, rename and folder files automatically. The end result is a standardized folder structure, standardized naming scheme, and a searchable PDF all within your SharePoint site.

The other major contributor to efficiency within Capture applications is the ability to use separation technology. I see it all the time...the office that has 20 documents to scan. They walk up to the copier, and scan them one by one; a very time consuming process. With document separators, you can scan the entire stack and let the software split the documents, rename and folder them. Let the technology do all the hard work!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

PSI:Capture 3.5 - The Killer App

Every now and then, a new version of software comes along that just amazes you. In selling Document Management and Capture applications, I am constantly looking for features to help my customers make their processes more efficient. PSIGEN's PSI:Capture 3.5 is packed with some phenomenal features to help make the scanning and capture process more streamlined, and reduce the time it takes to index scanned documents.

The new version includes OCR Assisted Indexing, or what I will call OAI. OAI allows the user to "point and click" at pertinent information on the scanned document, and automatically populates the index field. For example, a scanned invoice can be quickly indexed by just pointing at the invoice number, invoice date and typing necessary. The software takes this function a step further, and can auto-highlight specific information on a document based on a pattern of characters.

Feature detection is a powerful tool that allows the application to intelligently identify features on a page, like say, a logo. This detection allows the ability to separate documents based on certain features, so you can "tag" the first page of every document by the logo in the right corner. No more inserting separator sheets!!! Along the same lines, you can now separate based on zone OCR values, or particular words on the front pages of your documents.

The Zone OCR function in version 3.5 has now been greatly enhanced. The product now includes the ability to anchor, based on a barcode, patch code or from the left corner of the document. This ensures repeatable zoning across scanned documents. You can now images process individual zones to remove lines, and clean up the image before OCR. The image processing enhancements include line removal, autoinvert, and the ability to run them within the Quality Assurance module.

The product now includes Optical Mark Recognition. To give you an example, in playing with the software, I created a SharePoint Routing Sheet for an accounting department. On the routing sheet I have 4 boxes, one for invoice, po, contract and correspondence. When I scan the document, the application will read which box I have checked, and then autopopulate an index field, rename the file, and route it to the appropriate SharePoint Document Library and folder!!! Wow!!

This is just an overview of the high points, but the new version also includes the following: Separation Profiles, Device Profile import and export, PDF/A OCR output, new barcode types, and greatly improved database write/read performance.

I will be covering each of the features in a separate post with screenshots in the coming weeks. You can grab some more info from or on