Modified by Scott Blau email@example.com
It's time to start planning your agenda for Information On Demand 2013 - aka "IOD," in Las Vegas. Whether you are in IT, Operations, or Finance, IOD is a great networking opportunity: meet with peers, industry experts, and influence the architects of your current solutions. Choose between business, technical, and leadership training sessions, or use the event to expand your understanding of Business Analytics, other Enterprise Content Management (ECM) technologies, and Information Management. There are also special events with todays thought leaders. You will be encouraged to “Think Big,” but maybe just as important, you can also learn how to “Think Fast.”
The main reason to go to IOD? Capture, of course! We're putting the focus on capture in the context of "real-time imaging." What's real-time? That's the time you - and your customers - expect things to happen when they have a smartphone in their hands. Mobile is coming to capture very quickly now. Don't believe me, then come to IOD to see for yourself. We'll be showing that and related distributed/branch capture capabilities and solutions. You'll see what is available today... and if you pay close attention, we'll give you a sneak peak at the future!
Here are some specific real-time imaging sessions to pencil into your agenda... and there are more to come!
EIC-3440A: Time is Money: Coca-Cola Realizes Process Improvements with IBM Datacap, Speaker: Thomas Fantroy, Coca Cola Refreshments, Manager Imaging & Workflow Solutions\Monday, Nov. 4, 10:15 – 11:15 AM, Lagoon U
EIC-1815A: Mobile and Multifunction Peripheral Transactional Capture to IBM Datacap and Enterprise Content Management, Speakers: Anthony Vigliotti, Notable Solutions, Date: 6th November, 2013, 4:30 PM-5:45 PM| Location: Lagoon IJ
EIC-1667A: What's New with Mobile Capture, Speaker: Mattias Marder, IBM, IBM Research - Image Processing and Computer Vision, Thursday, Nov. 7, 10 -11 AM, Lagoon GH
ECG-2224B: Content Integration: A Success Story (Mobile mortgage capture at National Bank of Canada) Speaker: Alain Foisy, National Bank of Canada, ECCM Practice Leader, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 3:00 – 4:00 PM, Lagoon F
Also, be sure to take advantage of the once-a-year opportunity to meet 1:1 with IBM executives, subject matter experts and innovative IBM Business Partners. I'll be there, but you an also talk strategy with other ECM imaging business leaders, such as Brent Bussell, Feri Clayton,Brian Phelps, and Rick Gawronski. Or take a deep dive in to Document Imaging and Capture with experts from our product and technical teams, including Tom Stuart, Ben Antin, Jim Reimer, Charles Wiecha, Bud Paton and Noel Kropf.
Learn more about Information On Demand
For ongoing IOD updates, follow me on Twitter @CaptureGuru.
Modified by Scott Blau firstname.lastname@example.org
4 Non-Trivial Questions to Ask before Committing to Production Document Capture
In late 2009 and I got a call from the brother of a good friend. He was a researcher at IBM's Watson Labs - soon to became famous for the "Watson" artificial intelligence engine that spectacularly beat the top humans on the trivia game-show, Jeopardy!
My friend was trying to solve a problem and thought that my company, Datacap (the acquisition of Datacap by IBM was not even on the horizon at this point), could help, since we specialized in optical character recognition (OCR) and related document capture technologies.
I said, "great, let me ask you 3 or 4 questions about what you are trying to do:
1) What is the volume of documents/pages/images you need to process per day, week, month, or year?
2) What data do you need to extract from those pages, any special considerations to take into account?
3) Are the pages consistent in format, variable, something in between?"
He said he had 5000 pages. Clearly to him that was a big number, but he was a bit deflated when I asked, "is that per day?" In the production document capture business, it is definitely common that a volume like that may be literally processed "before breakfast."
But 5000 pages were all he had. Not every day or week, or even every month, just once. I was a little skeptical, but I wanted to learn more.
He needed to extract information from an English language pronunciation guide. He wanted to read the word to be pronounced, and then the linguistically precise definition of the pronunciation, including diacritical marks (accents) commonly used in those definitions. In other words, this was not just straight English language OCR. My skepticism increased.
I wasn't surprised when I next learned that the pages were not at all consistent, that the definitions for a specific word could wrap from one page to the next, or that the pages to be scanned were in bound books...
That was it. Did he really expect to use a production capture product to process - one time - 5000 pages with specialized text and words on them and no fixed format? Well, yes, he did. He had a real challenge and his expectation was not unreasonable... it just is not what production document capture is about.
Those three questions can help anyone quickly assess a document capture problem. In this case, the answer was simple, but perhaps wrong. I advised him that it would not be economically feasible for him to invest in production document capture, but in giving that answer I missed a great opportunity.
Turns out I should have asked a 4th question, "why do you need to read a pronunciation guide?"
I learned later that my friend was working on a major artificial intelligence project, one that would need a computer capable of blurting out words under extreme time pressure. He was, in fact, working on giving "Watson" a voice. It was that voice, having been trained to enunciate thousands of words, that went on prime time to beat the best human players at a live game of Jeopardy!
He eventually used a desktop OCR program and a lot of patience to translate the pronunciation guide from paper to something Watson could understand. Although my 3 questions helped me quickly assess the value of the opportunity, by skipping the 4th question, I missed the opportunity to brag how Datacap helped to give Watson a voice!
Is production document capture and imaging right for you? Click here to learn more on using capture solutions.
Deidre Paknad – Vice President, Information Lifecycle Governance Solutions, IBM
Many organizations recognize intuitively the qualitative
benefits of improving how they govern information but have a difficult time
quantifying these benefits or galvanizing their organizations forward. I’ve recently worked with a number of large
organizations to go beyond Information Governance to improving Information Economics. This involves many of the concepts of governance
but puts a focus on the economics – the value and the cost – of
information. I use the term Information Economics to refer
to understanding and extracting value, knowing and controlling cost, and, most
importantly, aligning cost to value; an Information Economics practice can
improve the profit margin on information.
This is both challenging and important because the value of
information declines over time while the cost is constant and information risk
rises over time. The widening gap
between the value of the information and its cost and risk create a negative
economic impact on any organization – the cost of information and the risk it
poses exceed its value.
Certain types of retain or lose value faster than others and
the value lifetime varies by industry as well.
For example, the duration of time that product development information
is valuable is a function of product lifecycles and the R&D cycle time to
invent and bring a product to market.
In the fast-paced consumer electronic segment where a new model comes
out every 10 months and consumers replace their devices just as often,
6-year-old product design information is of little value as it is far outdated
and the unlikely source of new innovation.
On the other hand, aircraft lifespans of 30 years and the very slow
customer turnover make 6-year-old product data of value to both the business
and of interest to the regulators of the industry. In either company, the duration of time that
back office information is of value is likely similar.
In many business functions and industries, regulators and
government agencies require companies to keep data after it has lost its
business value. In fact, the law was
written to force organizations to act against their own interest to ensure that
information the company would otherwise dispose is available for investigation
or litigation. This regulatory requirement
is a tax on the business – it is a cost without an offsetting benefit or
value. Of course, companies have other duties to
produce information in the event of investigation and litigation that apply to
the total universe of potentially relevant information they have on hand when
the investigation or litigation is anticipated or occurs (the duty to preserve
evidence). As data ages, it is
phenomenally expensive to gather, process, restore and review this information
because the technology to restore and read it has long-since decayed, the
location and nature of the data is difficult to distinguish without restoring
it, and the context for understanding it completely absent. Gartner estimates the cost at $18,000 per
gigabyte! Data that neither the business
nor the regulators need is pure risk to the organization with tremendous cost
exposure. At IBM, we are helping our
customers improve information economics through continuous alignment of cost to
information value. When orchestrated
under a strategic program and sequenced by information economics principles, many
of the activities traditionally associated with information and lifecycle governance
are levers to ensure that the cost of information aligns with its value, that
its full value is realized and that the risks information poses are managed
There are three important inflection points over the value
1. Analytics – Even when information has value to the business, if
business stakeholders aren’t able to extract and apply that value in the
decisions they make, the value is lost (and it represents only cost to the
organization). Most of us, however,
lose the context of information we created ourselves very quickly and we lack
context on information our colleagues may have gathered or generated that is of
value in our decisions. Content
analytics and big data analytics help organizations maximize value during the window
of time in which it exists – this is essential to improving economics.
2. Cost and Volume Compression – As data ages out and loses value or
the frequency of its relevance to the business, it’s important to compress its
cost in parallel. This is particularly important when there is
no business value and only a regulatory need to keep the data. As individuals most of us never consider
over-paying our taxes, but organizations that over retain or over-spend on storing
data for regulators are over paying their taxes! In other cases, data without value is
inappropriately stored as if it is premium value such as test data and
non-production instances, which clearly lack the same business value as their
production counterparts. Archiving
data to reduce its footprint and cost keeps the ratio of cost to value in line
and tiering data to an appropriate cost point also drive information
3. Defensible Disposal – When neither the business nor regulators need
information any longer, dispose of it.
Retaining it longer at any cost point is waste, unnecessary cost and
risk. Over paying for useless data
actually reduces the capital and resources companies can invest in maximizing
information of value.
In the next blog, we will discuss the four building blocks for improving information economics. In the meantime, consider whether your organization can quantify true information cost and whether the cost to value ratio can be improved!
About the Author – Deidre is widely credited with having
launched the first commercial applications for legal holds, collections and
retention management and is a recognized thought leader in legal and
information governance with numerous patents in the field. In 2004, she founded
the CGOC (Compliance, Governance and Oversight Council), a professional
community with over 2000 corporate members, to advance practices for
governance, retention and eDiscovery. Deidre has authored many papers in the
eDiscovery and governance field. She has been a member of several Sedona
working groups since 2005 and co-leads the EDRM IGRM Initiative. She is a
seasoned entrepreneur and executive with 25 years’ experience applying
technology to inefficient business processes to reduce cost and risk. Deidre
was inducted into the Smithsonian Institution for innovation in 1999 and again
in 2000. Today, she leads IBM’s Information Lifecycle Governance business,
which includes its eDiscovery, records and retention, archiving and defensible
Follow Deidre on Twitter @day_dree
Modified by Scott Blau email@example.com
I recently had the occasion to meet with several banks who are contemplating, in the course of implementing, or have gone live with the capture of documents in their branches. For reference, in a recent Celent survey, the number of banks indicating they were highly likely to replace/refresh core system over the next 3-5 years jumped from 17% in 2010 to 24% in 2012. Credit unions responded similarly, nearly doubling from 13% to 24%. Each of these implementations is unique, as they reflect the different cultures of the banks involved, as well as specific business and IT issues.
Nevertheless, the migration of document capture from central locations to branches has some universal themes tying all these implementations together. Compared to "traditional," high-volume, centralized scanning, branch capture may herald the future. Here's why I think that and what the implications of the transition are...
20+ years ago when the document capture business got started - it wasn't even called "document capture" then, "forms processing" was the preferred name - it was all about bulk processing. Documents were being brought together anyway, so instead of keying data from them, we helped customers scan them and use recognition to automate the keying of data, or capture of data (as in "Datacap").
The focus of centralized scanning is batch efficiency. Larger batches means less overhead between batches. Some customers take this to the natural extreme of "continuous scanning." In that scenario, fast, high-volume scanners are kept working constantly. Rather than having an operator scan a batch, then stop and put it to the side while loading a new batch in the scanner, multiple batches are loaded together with only a batch separator sheet between them. The software takes care of the details in the background.
Branches don't have the kind of volume that necessitates continuous scanning, or even necessarily have "batches" that consist of many pages. Typically in a branch a "batch" is just a single transaction with a customer, perhaps an account application form, ID card, or other documents that are associated with one customer. And, of course, there may be lots of these batches, not necessarily at any one location, but from all the branch locations of a bank.
So one characteristic of branch capture is small batches, but lots of them!
Not only are the batches small, but there is a completely different dynamic associated with processing them. After all, the customer is waiting for the teller or bank officer to respond to what they just submitted to them. In contrast to most bulk scanning operations where processing times of a few hours are considered not only acceptable, but big steps forward in efficiency, with a customer drumming their fingers on the counter, branch capture has a near real-time requirement. 30 seconds, a minute, maybe two, but longer than that and people start to get impatient.
Branch capture systems have to be tuned for very snappy turnaround. Reduce the already short time to process a document and the branch quickly acquires a new customer or retains an existing one with higher satisfaction. Make them wait, and... the negative consequences are immediate!
Capturing lots of small batches remotely with minimum latency puts new demands on a capture system, including the time it takes to transfer images for centralized processing and then to make them available to the branch user to complete a transaction.
But I don't think this is something that is going to be limited to the branch banking. By processing customer documents, while the customer is there in person, any business can improve customer acquisition, retention, and satisfaction. You can never get enough of those metrics!
" Lets continue the conversation connect with me on Twitter @captureguru "
Modified by Sanjay Kupae firstname.lastname@example.org
What many folks value about Information On Demand 2013 is that it’s a User Conference, which provides an opportunity to hear firsthand from IBM clients what they’ve managed to accomplish with IBM solutions. There are many client-lead sessions this year that offer users of Business Analytics, Enterprise Content Management and Information Management a chance to show off what they’ve done. Within ECM, Document Imaging and Capture is well represented with some familiar names which have used IBM’s capture and report management solutions to achieve new insight and better business outcomes.
Here’s five capture-related customer sessions to flag for attending:
EIC-3440A: Time is Money: Coca-Cola Realizes Process Improvements with IBM Datacap, Speaker: Thomas Fantroy, Coca Cola Refreshments, Manager Imaging & Workflow Solutions, Monday, Nov. 4, 10:15 – 11:15 AM, Lagoon U
EIC-2795A: Business Empowerment Through Enterprise Intelligent Capture Using Datacap at New York Life Insurance Company, Speaker: Asif Rajab Ali, New York Life, Corporate Vice President, Tues. Nov 5, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM, Lagoon U
EIC-3348A: How Union Bank Implemented Time and Production Efficiencies Using IBM Datacap, Speakers: Albert Pena, Union Bank, Vice President/Bank Operations Admin; Maureen Kennedy, Union Bank, VP, Sr. Systems Manager, Wed. Nov. 6, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM, Lagoon AB
EIC-1388A: Improving Bank Account Opening Processes at Bii Maybank Through IBM Datacap Imaging Capabilities, Speaker: Toto Prasetio, PT. Bank Internasional Indonesia, Head of Front end Application, Thurs. Nov. 7, 08:15 AM - 09:30 AM, Lagoon GH
ECG-3024A: Serasa-Experian: Supporting Non-Stop Six Million Daily Inquiries at the Largest Latin America Credit Bureau With CMOD, Speaker: Luciano Franklin, Serasa-Experian, ECM Leader, Wed. Nov. 6, 01:45 PM - 02:45 PM, Lagoon U
Also, don’t miss the opportunity to take advantage of a unique opportunity to meet 1:1 with IBM executives, subject matter experts and innovative IBM Business Partners. Talk strategy with ECM business leaders, such as Scott Blau, Brent Bussell, Brian Phelps, and Rick Gawronski. Or arrange a technical briefing with Doc Imaging and Capture experts from our product and technical teams, including Tom Stuart, Ben Antin, Jim Reimer, Charles Wiecha, Bud Paton and Noel Kropf.
Learn more about Information On Demand
Modified by Scott Blau email@example.com
As a continuation from my previous post, here are some fundamental questions to ask yourself - and others - as you embark on a distributed capture endeavor:
Is it “Usable?”
An intuitive user-interface is essential to facilitate distributed capture. Typically, the people receiving documents are customer-facing, not dedicated and trained capture operators. The solution should provide a clear and simple series of steps to that assure a legible document image…
Can it be “Read?”
A poor image quality or, worse, partially-captured document, will quickly undermine the benefits of distributed capture, especially downstream when it comes time to extract data with optical character recognition (OCR). This is where most mobile telephone cameras struggle to create high enough quality images to avoid laborious manual effort later in the process. For a step up in quality, select a portable scanner – some are no larger than a thick ruler – that attaches to a laptop or mobile device.
What document is it?
The first, most important, piece of information about any scan, is the identity of the document itself. Is it an application, a claim, a change-of-address, etc? That question might be answered by manual input from the person who scanned or took the picture of the document, but it also might be automated through automatic document classification. Remember, your mobile and distributed workforce are not trained capture professionals, so take a belt and suspenders strategy on this one…
Is it Accurate?
Determining the accuracy of content extracted from a document is of prime importance. Whether the extraction is manual, or automated with OCR, you need a set of checks and balances to assure users that the solution can be relied upon. For example, if the software is uncertain, how does it notify a user, and which user is it that gets notified?
Is it Safe?
The security of data is essential to consider, especially when handling customer or other sensitive data. Distributed capture must be considered moving capture into high-risk environments. Make sure you understand what the risk exposure is if a mobile device is lost or stolen in the field.
Is it Faster?
The speed at which the captured document is transferred from the mobile device to your repository or LOB system determines the speed at which it can be processed by the application. The old saying, “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link,” comes into play here. If there is, in fact, a bandwidth limitation for remote users, then the advantages of capturing remotely may be lost in the transfer.
Is it Capable of Handling Anything a User Throws at it?
There are always exceptions and how you manage them is the test of a capture system. Can you add attachments? Can you add a new document you weren’t expecting? Can you annotate a document or route it to a supervisor for review? The closer you are to the customer, the more exceptions you will encounter, so make sure you have the flexibility to handle the unexpected.
Will it work for me?
In most cases, a mobile capture solution will both archive the document images, and route them into a line of business system – as fast as possible for customer satisfaction. For example, an invoice, resume, or contract will be sent to the ERP system. An insurance claim will be forwarded for adjudication. A loan application may link to a case management system, where underwriters will review. A medical document will be appended to the patient’s electronic health record. Make sure your distributed capture system can connect to your business systems and deliver image and data seamlessly.
After all these years in the capture business, I thought things had settled down. People have been saying that document capture is a “mature” technology. And, of course, it is, but the world is changing around us, creating new opportunities. So don’t be shy: if you see a way to shorten the cycles, to deliver better customer service, to improve vendor relations, or to change just about any existing process by capturing documents sooner at distributed/remote locations, then take advantage of the opportunity. Just ask the right questions - and get credible answers – as you navigate to a successful implementation.
Note: An earlier version of this post appeared in April 2013 on John Mancini's Digital Landfill blog.
Follow me on Twitter @CaptureGuru
Craig Hayman, GM Industry Solutions, IBM Software Group
In his book, Physics of the
Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year
2100, Michio Kaku writes that the average cell phone today boasts more
computational power than all of NASA in 1969, the year that it sent Armstrong to
the moon. It’s Moore’s
Law in action and it’s happening all around us.
Now consider the
growth of computational power and the accompanying explosion of data from the
perspective of a corporation. Data volume growth today far exceeds budget and
revenue growth rates for many organizations. Big Data can become a Big Problem for
Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and Chief Legal Officers alike. It can easily
overwhelm IT budgets and current processes for e-discovery, records and
retention management, archiving and leveraging information assets. As a result, companies are investing in
software that can help them dig out of this data hoarding hole and automate defensible
disposal of debris.
So today we’re announcing that we’ve entered into a definitive agreement to acquire StoredIQ
Inc., a privately held company based in Austin,
Texas. With this agreement, IBM adds to its prior
investments in Information Lifecycle Governance (ILG) by adding StoredIQ
capabilities to rapidly find and use unstructured information of value, respond
more efficiently to litigation and regulatory events, lower information cost as
data ages, and dispose of data that has outlived its purpose to lower cost and
risk. Think of the StoredIQ agreement as the latest example of how IBM is
bringing an unparalleled commitment to the science of information economics to
shape the daily lives of CIOs, legal teams, and line of business staff.
In fact, IBM’s
Information Lifecycle Governance suite improves information economics by
helping companies lower the total cost of managing data while increasing the
value derived from it by:
unnecessary cost and risk with defensible disposal of data debris
- Aligning cost to
the value of information
information risk by instrumenting privacy, e-discovery, and regulatory policy
across the data environment
business to realize full information value as its context erodes with in-place
analytics, content management and collaboration
StoredIQ software provides highly scalable analysis and in-place
governance of disparate and distributed email, files, and other content
repositories. This includes the ability to discover, analyze, monitor, retain,
collect, de-duplicate and dispose of data. Organizations can now more
efficiently use and govern their unstructured data wherever it resides to
increase its value and eliminate unnecessary cost, risk and data.
the acquisition is completed, StoredIQ will add to IBM’s ILG portfolio and bolsters
its advantage in improving information economics by enabling customers to
rapidly achieve defensible disposal and related cost and risk takeout. We
intend to expand the existing integration with StoredIQ and IBM ILG products to
deepen cost-savings and total cost of ownership benefits for customers. We
further plan to incorporate StoredIQ into our ILG business in Enterprise
Content Management, which is part of IBM’s Software Group. Building on prior
acquisitions of PSS Systems in 2010 and Vivisimo in 2012, IBM adds to its
strength in rapid discovery, effective governance and timely disposal of data.
transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close
in the first quarter of 2013.
information, see http://www.ibm.com/software/ecm/storediq/index.html.
Guest blog by Deepthi Nagarajan, Document Imaging & Capture, Social Content Management
The long-standing Lotusphere and
last year's Connect conferences have become one this year as IBM Connect 2013! Connect
2013 comprises three work streams(Creating a Smarter Workforce, Exceptional
Customer Experiences and Lotusphere Technical Programs) designed for Business
leaders and functional managers across all disciplines of business, including
human resource professionals, hiring managers, sales leaders, offering
development and operations professionals.
The ECM team will be leading
seven sessions (listed below) that focus on how ECM can help you to Connect
People with Smarter Content in Context for Better Business Outcomes. With today’s
business users expecting to consume, create and manage content from anywhere,
anytime, social collaboration, communication and interaction in and around
content have become the norm. Are you
eager to know what’s next and how you can take this social content to a new
level? If yes, make sure you attend the following sessions to see how ECM is helping
your Social Business Strategy.
INV105: Content and Social Ignites Context:
IBM's Content Platform of Engagement
Hunt, IBM; Ken
January, 2013, 1:30 PM-2:30 PM| Location: Dolphin S. Hem IV-V
SW106: Genworth Financial: Work Smarter Not
Speakers: Timothy Perry, Genworth; Cengiz Satir, IBM
January, 2013, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM| Location: Swan SW 1 - 2
ECE212: Slumberland Furniture: Delivering
Consistently Superior Customer Experiences
Speakers: Jamie Page, Slumberland
January, 2013, 10:00 AM-11:00 AM| Location: Swan SW 9 -10
SPN103: Living Social, It's Not Just About
the Conversations & Topics
Speakers: Joe Shepley, Doculabs; Larry Hawes, Dow Brook Advisory; Cengiz Satir, IBM
January, 2013, 11:15 AM-12:15 PM| Location: Swan Pelican 1 & 2
SPN113: Improving your Information
Economics with Complete Lifecycle Governance
Speakers: Mark Martin, IBM
30th January, 2013, 1:30-2:30 PM| Location: Swan Mockingbird 1 & 2
SPN105: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
January, 2013, 10:00-11:00 AM| Location: Swan SW 3-4
INV309: Ignite Business Performance in
Real-Time with Social Collaboration, Mobile and Content
Speakers: Ian Story, IBM; Steve Studer, IBM
January, 2013, 5:30 PM-6:30 PM |Location: Dolphin S.Hem
BOF307: Archiving and De-duplicating Email, Files and Social Content
Speakers: Cengiz Satir, IBM
Date: 31st January, 2013, 7:00 AM-8:00 AM| Location: Swan Toucan 1
here and start planning your sessions on the IBM
Connect 2013 Session Preview tool and get ready to enjoy the Orlando
Get Social. Do Business.
Modified by Scott Blau firstname.lastname@example.org
I have been involved in document capture for 26 years - since well before it was even called "capture." I am often asked about how I came to found Datacap. So taking advantage of my impending exit from the stage (read on for more!), I thought I would share some background on the founding of Datacap as the first true document capture software company.
The microprocessor revolution was in full swing in the mid-1980s when I joined a hospital information systems startup. We concentrated on data collection in operating rooms using what was then cutting edge: IBM PCs networked directly together with TCP/IP. We got sterilized computers into the operating rooms... but we struggled to get nurses to use them.
Turns out that not only was the nursing staff more comfortable working with pen and paper (usually on a clipboard), but they resented having to literally turn their backs on the patient - particularly when they were being asked to enter what was essentially inventory data for billing purposes (the materials and instruments being used during the course of the operation). We also had a back up system in case the PCs or the network didn't work (which was often). It used... paper.
It was in this context that I was struck down with a very nasty virus: chicken pox. You may think of chicken pox as a childhood disease with some discomfort - or even as a great opportunity to play hooky from school - but adult chicken pox, as I quickly learned, is an entirely different beast. I ran a high fever, and for several days I literally could not raise my head off the pillow.
At times I became delirious. And it was in a delirium that Datacap was born. I had visions of paper forms filled in by nurses in the OR dancing around... but, more interestingly, of the data on the pages coming unstuck from the paper and floating off. I saw individual characters very clearly and how they could be segmented to be understood by the computer as data.
Once the fever had burned itself out, I got back to work. One day not long after, a guy I had brought in to help us with some of our tougher user interface challenges showed off an early document scanner. He was building a driver to run the scanner from a Mac for another client of his. It seemed an amazing piece of equipment... and it struck me right there that if we could scan the nurses' sheets, then we could segment the characters and turn paper into data!
Once the wheels started spinning, there was no turning back. Along with Noel Kropf, the guy with the scanner, we founded Datacap and we set to work building our first product, Paper Keyboard, releasing it in 1989. It all seems so inevitable now, but at the time there were nothing but hurdles to overcome: porting to Windows 3.0, adding machine-print OCR, tying multiple machines together to distribute the work, etc., etc.. It kept a growing team of developers busy for the next two and a half decades.
And, of course, we faced increasing competition as the "forms processing" business became a recognized speciality in the quickly gowing document imaging industry. Some vendors edged into scanning and data entry automation from related areas like manual data entry (Textware, later Captiva), while some started the long transition from hardware to software (Kofax).
Eventually, Datacap became part of IBM in 2010, giving us the opportunity to put down a global footprint. What started off literally as a “vision” in a fever, has become a global reality, used by customers worldwide to ingest millions of pages each day. In some ways, for me, that fever never passed. It has energized me for years – and I like to think I have “infected” a few others. If so, then maybe my job is done. I can let a new generation of visionaries take what we have done with IBM Datacap to a new level. That's part of the reason why I decided to step aside from my current role into retirement at the end of this month, not long after I push the "Publish" button on this blog.
I still have a vision for the future of document capture, one that is increasingly mobile and distributed, and one that will make the steady transition from "on-premise" to SaaS for many customers. But I'm sharing it with you now so that you can help make it a reality while I spend some more time on my bike and doing the many things that I haven't had the opportunity to do since I first caught the Datacap bug!
Whatever I’ve done, I’d like to thank the hundreds, and probably thousands of individuals that have made the document capture space a thriving business arena. Whether you were with Datacap, with IBM, with one of our many partners, or even with a competitor (ha, I know you are reading this!), without all of you, we would not have such a vibrant and successful capture community!
Scott - @CaptureGuru
Modified by Scott Blau email@example.com
It's that time of year - beautiful days in New York, flowers, clear skies… and Smarter Commerce in the air. A year ago I was in Madrid at the IBM Smarter Commerce Summit - I haven't been the same since! It wasn't the protesters teaming in the streets calling out the effects of austerity on youth unemployment, or the luxurious resort (in fact, just another airport hotel) setting for the Summit. It was the conference content...
The keynote was the most interesting presentation I've ever seen at a technology conference (and I have been to many over the past 25 years)! To signal something special was coming, the lights in the large auditorium were turned down. A hush fell over the otherwise bustling room as two people gingerly made their way up onto the stage. One was clearly bind and it felt a bit awkward to watch him feel his way up multiple steps and across the open space. This was clearly not going to be a standard set of Powerpoints...
Over the next half hour the blind presenter on stage held the audience spellbound. His role concerned customer experience management at ING, the Dutch bank. He started off with a simple statement of the problem he faced: since the financial crisis started in 2008, customer trust of banks had hit an all-time low. But without trust, how can you have active, and growing, banking relationships?
It was not the blind leading the blind. This fellow could see clearly that for businesses to thrive, to acquire new customers, to retain existing customers, business didn't need technology that could reach further into a customer's wallet, but a perspective on the customer which focused on creating an individual customer experience... for every customer. Although this was a technology conference, he hardly spent a minute, and not a single slide, on technology.
The focus was on the customer… The presenter told the story of a customer who gets distracted by a phone call while withdrawing cash from an ATM - and walks away leaving the cash in the machine. Apparently, this happens thousands of times a year. As the presenter pointed out, this aborted transaction leaves a lot of anxiety behind. When the customer finally realizes what they have done, a minute, an hour, or a day later, the first thing they want to know is, "where is my money?" Of course, the bank knows: for years cash machines have sucked the money back in and re-deposited it. But the customer doesn’t know that and is left in the dark.
The solution - the customer-centric solution - to this problem was easy: send the customer a text: "Sorry you missed withdrawing €150 from our ATM at X branch - come back again when you can, as we have safely re-deposited it into your acct."
"Easy" conceptually, but monumental for the bank. Why? Because branch and ATM services, although they have access to account information, do not have access to customer contact details squirrelled away in account management and customer service systems. Addressing this challenge requires a willingness to break down long-standing barriers between data silos in the bank.
As I listened to the presentation, it dawned on me what Smarter Commerce was all about. It means engaging with customers in a way that makes the customer feel special, because they are individuals, rather than just a number or one of many.
My head was swimming by the time I walked out of the auditorium. After so many years of focusing on document imaging and capture, I could now see that the value we are offering our customers is not just improved productivity, but the opportunity to help our customers serve their customers better!
I'll share more on this topic soon, but for the time-being, the 2013 version of the Smarter Commerce Summit just finished last week in Monaco. You can follow @IBMSmarterCommerce. And here's a perspective on the conference from someone who started thinking about these things a long time before I did - Buy Sell Market Service - When did ECM become a Monte Carlo Celeb?
When we talk about Social uses of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions, I immediately am reminded of Len Schlessinger. Back in the late 1980s, I was writing speeches for corporate CEOs. It forced me to stay very current on business theory and practices. For one assignment, the CEO of Arrow Electronics, a highly intelligent fellow with degrees from Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School, lent me a cassette tape of a lecture he had attended at Harvard. I popped the tape in and I haven’t thought about customer service in the same way since.
Leonard (Len) Schlessinger was the professor and his topic was customer service and he began by telling stories of good and bad customer experiences. Before joining the faculty at Harvard, he had been the CEO of an American coffee and pastry chain called Au Bon Pain. His stories came from his experiences as CEO and later as a consultant to many organizations in the fast food business.
In story after story, he portrayed the “moments of truth” between customer and customer-facing employee, driving home the point that the long term success of a brand hinges on the quality of the interaction at the “counter.” At Au Bon Pain, Schlessinger began to educate employees on the “value of the customer.” A woman may stop in for coffee and pastry on the way to work and spend $4. Yet if that woman returns 3 days a week, she spends $12. Over 50 weeks in a year, she’ll spend $600. And over 5 years, her loyalty will add up to $3,000. Schlessinger encouraged his employees to look at customers as a long term revenue stream.
Then he discovered something that seemed to contradict the philosophy of every fast food chain.
While most fast food restaurants are designed for interchangeable minimum wage employees, Schlessinger discovered that customer service levels went up when he rewarded employees with responsibility, provided a great work environment, and tools that empowered them to deliver customer satisfaction. When employees like a company, they stay longer, learn more about the products and services, and have a personal stake in making the customer happy. Schlessinger’s revelation is spelled out in the book he co-authored, “The Service Profit Chain.”
Of course, there’s a lot of moving parts in a program to deliver service excellence. A key part of it is providing tools that enable employees to work together better and that's where ECM comes in. Schlessinger emphasized the importance of giving customer-facing employees capabilities to help them anticipate and deliver satisfying responses to customers. This is something that IBM has put a lot of thought into as well. One of the tools that IBM has been providing for 20 years is IBM Content Manager OnDemand, a platform for managing customer inquiries on the invoices and statements they receive.
At IBM’s Information On Demand (IOD) conference (Nov. 4-7), you can attend sessions on Content Manager OnDemand, which gives Customer Service Reps (CSRs) in the call center access to images of the invoices and statements that customers most often call about at a single click. Now customers and CSRs are looking at the same documents. For example, attend session ECG-1518A – “Optimizing Customer Communications and Self-Service With High Performance” and make sure that your organization has the Social tools to deliver real customer service excellence.
If you have already signed up for IOD, use the IOD Agenda Builder.
If you haven’t signed up to attend yet, visit the IOD registration page and I hope to see you there!
Blog post by Scott Blau, WW Director of Document Capture, ECM, IBM
Admittedly, capturing invoices
automatically is not as exciting as riding Disneyworld’s Space Mountain roller
coaster ride, but it’s not as scary either. Why? Because you have more control. When you ride Space Mountain, you are
strapped in like a piece of luggage and you spend half the time in the
dark. IBM Datacap Taskmaster Accounts Payable
puts the operator in the driver’s seat with lots of tools – available at a
single click – and you’re never in the dark.
Leveraging IBM’s Intelligent
imaging approach, Datacap enables operators to view scans, faxes, emails and
email attachments all in the same format, so it doesn’t matter how your
department receives invoices. As you can
see in this quick demo, Taskmaster extracts data automatically, applies the
vendor ID, and enables matching against purchase order line items, so you can
help facilitate a three-way match in SAP or Oracle. And watch how easy it is to receive a new
invoice and set it up – without building templates or programming.
So here’s a proposal: automate
invoice processing with Datacap to cut your invoice processing time and cost in
half, and then, with the extra time you have back, you can make plans to fly to
Orlando and wait in line for Space Mountain.
View the demo on the IBM
ECM You Tube Channel and for more information click
post by Campbell Robertson, Program Director Industry Strategy and
Market Development - Public Sector, IBM Enterprise Content Management
Post 2008, governments across the world are
forced to re-prioritize their focus and are under severe pressures to do ever
more with ever less; while expectations continue to increase. This mandate is
especially true for Public Safety organizations.
With rising population in cities,
shifting demographics, technological developments and accelerating
globalization there are increasing social and commercial risks of crime. Public
safety organizations across the globe are looking at adopting transformative
technologies to make smarter decisions, deliver results and demonstrate
Be it traditional crimes like burglary,
vandalism or mail fraud to difficult-to-trace crimes such as terrorism, money
laundering and hate crime- investigative work is highly information driven.
Traditionally, crime Investigation meant manually sifting through multiple
reports and documents scattered across multiple structured and unstructured
sources. The manual intelligence access and analysis meant a typical successful
case taking weeks or months; and public safety agencies know that time is
detrimental to success.
Combining technology and information is key to
successful crime and threat investigations, law enforcement agencies need
technology that can speed up the process of discovering, analyzing and linking
information. Content Analytics provides the capability to extract, search and
analyze crucial information from disparate sources and improve the speed and
quality of intelligence gathering. By using content analytics tools, agencies
can not only solve cases more quickly but also identify non-obvious
relationships within data that could possibly prevent a crime from happening in
the first place.
A UK law enforcement agency used IBM Content
Analytics to perform high-precision text analytics to identify phone numbers
from investigative reports which was then used to cross-reference all of the
phone numbers so that when a new document arrived, the analyst was presented
with a list of all phone numbers and for each number, a list of previous
references to that phone number. This solution would reduce analyst’s efforts
by 6 hours, which meant faster analysis of information and in the long run more
To know more about how IBM address
investigation challenges of Public Safety agencies, attend the Building an IBM i2 and
Case Manager Solution for Public Safety and Commercial Fraud and Future
Analytics Platform for Law Enforcement and Public Safety sessions at
Information OnDemand 2012 Global Conference at Las Vegas in October 2012.
Guest blog by Scott Blau
, WW Director of Document Capture, IBM Enterprise Content Management
When I think about what Smarter Commerce can mean to a
customer, I think of all the reasons I love shopping on Main Street. I don’t do a lot of shopping in person, but
when I do, I have pretty high expectations. The places I go to – and return to
– all share some common characteristics:
me. I can tell because when I walk
in the door, someone smiles at me like a friend!
remember me. At my café, I don’t
need to ask each time for skim milk in my coffee.
care of me. When I have a question about
my bill, they look over my shoulder at it and we go line-by-line to sort out
These days most of my shopping is actually done online. It’s a very different experience from
shopping in a store. When I go into an
online shop nobody smiles at me. They
rarely remember much about me. And when
I have a question about the bill… ouch!
The out-of-touch call center can’t really take care of me and rarely can
even look at the same bill I’m looking at.
There is very little that is “smart” about this commerce.
Sure, eCommerce has changed the way I shop and my
expectations on the speed of transactions, but I still miss the human touch
from the era of Main Street shopping. It’s
harder than ever to satisfy me as a consumer, because now I want the best of
eCommerce married to the best of Main Street.
I want truly smarter commerce!
To get instant – and accurate – feedback on my
transactions based on my input
To have a personalized experience where “the system”
knows me and remembers my preferences, “anticipating” my next move
And when I speak to someone on the phone – I
really expect them to take care of me
as a valuable customer!
full of systems that don’t speak to each other
To meet these high expectations requires a concerted (some
may say monumental) effort to break down the barriers between systems. If I’m calling Customer Service, I don’t want
to explain what products I have purchased from the company. If I am disputing a
charge on a bill that I have in my hand, I expect the person on the other end
of the phone to be able to see exactly the same bill I am looking at.
Being able to meet my Main Street expectations in the
eCommerce world is where smarter commerce started at IBM twenty years ago, long
before the term “Smarter Commerce” was coined.
A product now called Content Manager On Demand (CMOD) made it easy to
efficiently store images of bills being printed before they were sent to
customers. So when I call the company to
sort out a billing issue, the customer service rep can easily pull up my bill
and see exactly what I am seeing. That’s
a good place to start to deliver excellent customer service.
ECM bridges the gap
between siloed systems
ECM is good at this because it represents a set of
technologies that often are used to span otherwise rigidly siloed systems
within an organization. Document imaging
often does exactly that – making documents that originate in one area of the
business, say orders, available in other areas, such as Customer Service. This is important when customer service wants
to see, for example, a customer’s original purchase order.
Case Management – another ECM technology – is great at managing
customer interactions in Support or Customer Service. It excels because it avoids using rigid
process management. Instead, case
management offers the ability to deal with the ‘randomness’ of customers who
don’t always fit into pre-defined patterns of interaction. Turns out that when your customers are people
they tend to behave like people!! And
people don’t tend to follow pre-defined patterns of interaction.
Paper documents continue to challenge organizations that have
otherwise committed to electronic commerce.
They have paper order forms that won’t go away and paper invoices. Document capture technologies – like OCR and
ICR – turn paper into an electronic, “p2e,” compliment to eCommerce. And these ECM staples are at their best when
they dovetail with an organization’s existing electronic systems.
ECM: Turning eCommerce
into Smarter Commerce
Commerce gets smarter, a step at a time, by using
technologies that help hide “systems” and instead present a personal face to
our customers, our suppliers, and even our employees. I see IBM ECM as a good place to start transforming
your eCommerce into something as pleasurable as Main Street shopping – that’s
when commerce really gets smarter!
To know more about how ECM drives Smarter Commerce, attend our sessions on Smarter Processes for Smarter Commerce
and Find the Voice of Customer
at IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit, Orlando 2012 from September 5th to 7th. To know more about the sessions and register to attend the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit 2012 visit the micro-site
Guest Blog by David Yockelson, Program Director, Product Marketing for ACM/BPM
Fraudsters continue to invest in new tricks to cheat
commercial enterprises, and many organizations are finding it hard to keep
up. But now we’re introducing an
integrated capability that matches the best fraud analysis and visualization
capability on the market with the most flexible and comprehensive case management
platform, a pairing designed to beat the fraudsters now and allow organizations
the flexibility to defeat them into the future.
I2, an IBM acquisition, provides leading technology to
amass, analyze, and visualize wide varieties of data indicating potential
fraudulent activities. It’s been implemented
not only to combat commercial and public sector fraud, but also trusted by law
enforcement and public safety organizations world wide for crime
Currently in its second release, IBM Case Manager (ICM) has
been implemented world wide in solutions across industries including insurance,
banking, manufacturing, public sector, healthcare, and others. ICM’s persistent case object model maintains
critical information of all types in context throughout a case’s lifecycle. ICM’s dynamic tasking enables it to easily
address the widest variety of unpredictable business use cases; and its
business analyst-friendly design facilities speed time to value for
Together, I2 and ICM can provide organizations the ability
to detect, analyze, and investigate potential criminal activity, leveraging a flexible
platform that can address not only current needs related to fraud but can also
keep pace with anything those nasty fraudsters can cook up.
To know more about how i2 and IBM Case Manager work together to manage fraud investigations attend the EAC4127A session at IOD2012. Bookmark session on http://iodsmartsite.com/