Using Ephesoft to Add Intelligent Automation to Microsoft Technologies

OCR and Automation for SharePoint

Ephesoft Automation for SharePoint, Azure, BI, Flow and Dynamics

We are ramping up our team for the Microsoft Inspire Conference (Booth 1237) in Washington, DC in a few weeks (July 9-13), and I thought I would put together some ideas on Microsoft Classificationthe power of Ephesoft technology when combined with Microsoft technologies.  We have been working with several Microsoft Teams (Azure, SharePoint, Flow) to bring solutions to market, and provide extensive document-centric solutions to their partner and customer ecosystem.  So how do we fit?  I will outline a quick primer.

 

Just Who Is Ephesoft?

Ephesoft was founded in 2010 by leaders from the document capture industry that wanted to drive innovation and disrupt the legacy document automation space.  The company has shown explosive growth through its unique perspective on taming unstructured content using patented complex analytics and machine learning.   Its technology has garnered broad interest, and investment from top-tier firms like Fujitsu and In-Q-Tel.

Just What Does Ephesoft Technology Do?

At the heart of Ephesoft Technology is an engine that provides automated document classification and data extraction.  Feed it documents from any source (fax, scanners, copiers, folders, legacy ECM systems, mobile devices, repositories) and it will do all the heavy lifting –  sorting, separating, classifying and getting you the data you need to drive efficiency, productivity, automation and decision-making with minimal end-user intervention.  Providing SaaS and PaaS solutions, and available on premise or in the cloud, the Ephesoft platform can provide great value to any size organization.  Ephesoft has two products:

Ephesoft Transact – a transaction document capture platform for day-to-day document processing.

Ephesoft Insight – a document analytics platform for ingesting large volumes of existing unstructured content and extracting meaning.

How Does Ephesoft Fit With Microsoft?

Think of Ephesoft as an added intelligent document automation layer that can be placed on top of other technologies as a catalyst for automation.  Below is a list of core technologies from Microsoft, and how Ephesoft can fit from a business perspective.

Microsoft SharePoint and Ephesoft

With SharePoint, Ephesoft Transact can be an intelligent on ramp for documents into SharePoint libraries.   As a front end loader, Transact can auto-identify and route documents from just about any source, and make sure they wind up in the right library, as a searchable PDF, with all the important metadata extracted.   It provides a standardized, repeatable process for adding any type of document to Microsoft SharePoint.

With Ephesoft Insight, SharePoint libraries can now be consumed and leveraged for Document Analytics.  Insight provides the “document side” of the analytics equation.

You can get more information here:

Ephesoft/SharePoint Integration

Email Classification with SharePoint

Microsoft Flow and Ephesoft

Utilizing Ephesoft Web Services in the cloud, you can add intelligence to any Microsoft Flow workflow.   Using the classification or extraction services, you can use Ephesoft Transact technology to “open up” documents mid-process, and make workflow branching decisions based on what you find.   An example of a Flow use case here:

Ephesoft and Microsoft Flow with SharePoint Online

Scanning to Microsoft Flow

Microsoft Dynamics and Ephesoft

ERP and Accounting systems can leverage the power of Ephesoft in many different ways.  As a processing engine, Ephesoft Transact can extract information from critical documents, like invoices or sales orders, and pass the information on to Dynamics.  No longer will employees have to hand key information, and waste precious time.  Along with time savings, data entry errors can now be eliminated through Ephesoft Transact’s validation and exception processing capabilities.  More info:

Ephesoft Accounting ERP Solutions

Microsoft Azure and Ephesoft

Document capture and automation is a great fit for the cloud.  Ephesoft’s web-based technology and RESTful APIs are cloud ready, and are available in Microsoft Azure.  As a Cloud Infrastructure partner, Ephesoft has worked diligently to insure compatibility with Azure, and also to take advantage of all the cloud has to offer from a scalability and availability perspective.  Read more on Ephesoft’s cloud platform:

Ephesoft Capture in the Cloud

This is just a short list of possibilities.  Ephesoft’s products are built for partners, and have an open architecture to facilitate the building of portable solutions to add value and drive revenue.  Come see  us at Inspire (Booth 1237), or reach out to us directly for more information: Contact Us.

 

The Benefits of Modern Intelligent Capture

Digital Transformation Platform = True Value

Our marketing department has been putting together some great resources on the advantages of a true, modern digital transformation platform when it comes to document processing.  Below are some snapshots from the new collateral.

OCR web services and data extraction
Benefits of a Modern Capture and OCR Platform
Digital Web Services for Automation
Value of Ephesoft’s Digital Platform

Digital Transformation Platform: Accelerating Transformation with Web Services

OCR API Web Services

The Value of Document Capture Web Service APIs

The Ephesoft Web Service APIs provide a valuable set of document capture, classification, extraction and OCR micro-services to “capture enable”” any application.  Need a searchable PDF?  Want to identify a type of document?  Want to extract or validate metadata?

We are seeing a movement in the market where customers want to leverage these functions to provide an invisible automation layer that just happens, and is transparent to users.  You can read more on that phenomena here: The Benefits of Invisible Capture

Below are two videos by our professional services and tech teams that show the capabilities.

 

Healthcare and Fax Automation: Prior Authorizations

Healthcare scanning and capture

Automating Fax Processing in Healthcare

We recently built out a whole set of Healthcare Capture and Scanning Solutions for our partners.  Below is my contribution, and I focused on automating the Prior Authorization fax problem.

 

In the coming weeks I will post more of these capture, scanning and OCR solutions here.  Subscribe to get notified.

 

 

 

Invoice Scanning and Capture Software

Invoice Scanning Software

Using OCR Invoice Scanning Software

There are typically 3 types of invoice scanning software solutions that companies implement.  If you need a quick primer before you read on, see our terminology page here: Invoice Scanning Software.   Below are the 3 types of solutions:

  1.  Scan Invoices and Extract the Vendor and Total with OCR – As a baby-step solution, many Accounts Payable departments look to start with a minimal impact solution to add some level of automation and efficiency.  They scan their invoices with a copier or scanner, and pass it through an application like Ephesoft Transact for AP Invoices.   Users can either point and click in the interface to populate fields, manually type in information, use ERP or Accounting system lookups for their vendors, and output their scanned invoices to structured folders, an accounting Microsoft SharePoint Library, or another content management system like Alfresco.
  2. Capture All Invoice Header Information – the next step is usually to capture (with document analytics + OCR), all the scanned invoice header information.  Here is the typical information:
    1.  Invoice Number
    2. Invoice Date
    3. Invoice Vendor Name
    4. Invoice Total

This information can be extracted automatically through data extraction, and modern solutions use an analytics algorithm to improve accuracy and reduce end-user interaction with the invoice scanning process.   Once again, all accounts payable invoice information is sent to an end resting place, and typically in this level of solution, the information is sent to an accounting system automatically.

3.  Scan to Capture Invoice Header and Line Item Data – Top tier invoice scanning applications provide the ability to extract all the information on the invoice automatically.  They do all of the above, and also provide line item/table extraction of invoice data.  This extracted information can be used to compare the invoice to the purchase order, and provide line item matching capability.  In addition, all OCR invoice data can be routed to an ERP or accounting system for update.

There are tools, like Ephesoft Transact, that can provide all 3 invoice scanning solutions without the need to add additional modules or components.

 

Machine Learning and Distributed Document Capture and Scanning

Machine Learning for Copier Scanning

Using Copiers to Machine Learn Documents

I have been working with several of our MFP/Copier partners, and wanted to put together a video demo on how to use copiers to train Ephesoft when it comes to our machine learning engine.  This demo shows how you can use our document analytics engine and train HR documents.

 

Thoughts?

Microsoft Flow, Document Classification and Machine Learning

OCR for Microsoft Flow

Using Ephesoft Web Services with Microsoft Flow

This is part 2 of my video series on how to add intelligent capture automation to Microsoft Technologies with Ephesoft Transact.  The first video (Scanning to Microsoft SharePoint Online and Microsoft Flow) provides a way to front-end processes through web-based scanning for SharePoint.   This demo video below uses Ephesoft’s Web Services to auto-classify documents and add intelligence to workflow.

 

Scanning to SharePoint Online and Microsoft Flow

SharePoint Scanning Scanner

SharePoint Web Scanning and Microsoft Flow

So, I thought I would share some of the capabilities around scanning to SharePoint Online and using Ephesoft Transact as a front-end web scanning tool for Microsoft Flow.  In my post about the 3 areas of integration with BPM and workflow tools (BPM and Intelligent Document Capture) , I talk about using intelligent capture as an onramp for workflow tools, and using machine learning and classification to add an additional intelligence layer.  The video below shows this concept, and uses extracted data and information to make Microsoft tech “smarter”.

 

More to come on this topic.

Appian and Intelligent Capture: Onramping to Workflow

OCR and Extraction for BPM

OCR, Classification and Extraction for Appian

I spent this week at the AppianWorld Conference with one of our great partners, GxP Partners.  GxP has done some really cool things with Ephesoft Transact, through leveragingCapture and OCR for Appian our open capture platform and OCR & Extraction web services to create ApnCapture.   The solution is tightly tied to a previous article I wrote Document Capture+BPM, and below
is a quick summary of the value of using intelligent document capture with any workflow tool:

With the rise of Document Capture as a Platform (CaaP), there is an enormous opportunity for organizations to leverage the power of capture as an intelligent document automation component to any business process or workflow solution.  Here are the core use areas of document capture and automation with any Business Process Management System (BPMS):

  1. The “Pre” – The logical fit is to use document capture software to “feed the beast”, or in other terms, as a front-end processor for inbound documents destined for workflows.  You might ask, “Why?  My BPM/Workflow solution has the capability to import documents.”  Modern capture platforms add another dimension of automation through the use of several features like separation, document classification and automatic data extraction.  Imagine a mortgage banking process where a PDF document is sent inbound that houses  12 different document types in a single PDF file.  The power of capture is to auto-split the PDF, classify each document, extract information and then pass all of that in a neatly formatted packages to the workflow engine.   Now, the workflow has a second dimension of intelligence, and it can use that to branch, route and execute.  Platforms like Ephesoft Enterprise have the ability to ingest documents from email, folders, legacy document management systems, fax and also legacy capture (like Kofax and Captiva).

2.  Mid-stream –  What about activities during the workflow?  Ones that are necessary mid-process?  This is where the true power of a “platform” comes into play, and it requires a web services API (See other requirements of a Capture Platform in this article: 6 Key Components of a Document Capture Platform).   Some examples of activities that can be accomplished through a capture platform API in workflow:

  • Value Extraction – pass the engine a document and return extracted information.
  • Read Barcodes – pass the engine an image, and read and return the value of a barcode.
  • Classify a Document – pass a document and identify what it is
  • Create OCR – pass a non-searchable PDF and return a searchable file.

As you can imagine, this can provide extreme customization in any process that requires document automation, and can reduce end-user input, create added efficiency, and once again add that second dimension of intelligence after the workflow has begun.  You can see an extensive list of API operations here: Document Capture API Guide

3.  The “Post” – Depending on the process and requirements, a “post-process” capture may be in order.  Most capture platforms have extensive integrations with 3rd party ECM systems like SharePoint, Filebound and Onbase, and can be leveraged as an integration point to these systems.  In addition, there is a new wave in the big data and analytics world, with a focus on data contained within documents.   Routing documents and data to analytics repositories can help organizations glean important insight into their operations.   If you choose a capture platform with a tied-in document analytics component, this can be accomplished automatically.

ApnCapture: Capture and OCR for Appian

So, how did GxP implement ApnCapture and integrate with Appian?  Below is a series of screen shots as an overview from start to finish:

The capture process is initiated from any document source Ephesoft supports:

  • Web-browser scanning
  • Copiers/MFPs
  • Network folders
  • Email + Attachments
  • Mobile (Through our mobile client SnapDoc: Mobile OCR and Capture)
  • CMIS Based Repositories
  • Custom Code

Those documents are processed, and if there are no confidence issues, they pass right through the process.  If there are issues that require end-user correction or validation, users can access document batches through the ApnCapture Batch Report.

Appian Document Data Extraction and Classification OCR
Document Batches Are Queued for End User Review

Clicking any line in the Appian produced form interacts with Ephesoft Web Services to open a validation and review screen.

Appian Capture and OCR Review Screen
Documents Can Be Reviewed Through the ApnCapture Web Interface

Extracted data is then sent into Appian and can be used for all types of purposes: adding intelligence to workflows, enhancing business rules with data, and leveraging documents for approval and review.

AP Invoice Solution with OCR for Appian
Extracted Invoice Data is Presented in Appian for Approval

Finally, all the extracted data can provide a deeper view of any process that is capture enabled.

Accounts Payable Process in Appian Dashboards
Captured Invoice Data is Presented for a Deeper Look Into the AP Process

To find out more about Intelligent Capture and OCR for Appian, contact GxP Partners.

 

CIO Insight: How to Anticipate Your Digital Transformation Roadblocks

Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation (DX) Roadblocks: The Survey

This past week I was at Alfresco’s Sales Kickoff Event in Chicago, and there were some great presentations that tied into my recent theme of Digital Transformation.  In my recent post, CIO’s Digital Transformation Playbook, I outlined the 6 keys to a successful digital transformation.  We all know that road is plagued with pitfalls and detours.  Wouldn’t it be nice to tackle and plan for those roadblocks prior to starting your DX journey?   Here are the top pain points in order (as outlined by Alfresco/Forbes Survey):

  1. Technology (legacy issues/lack of integration) – As CIO’s prepare their vision for DX, they have to figure out their legacy impediments.  Are existing systems cloud ready and cloud adaptive?  How do you replace the laggard technology to enable transformation?
  2. Talent/capabilities/skills gaps – the lack of quality IT talent on the street is a definite issue when it comes to transforming business.  How do you find that Azure or AWS expert?  If you decide to move from an on-prem ERP, can you find an experienced project manager to move to your chosen SaaS vendor?
  3. Lack of collaboration between IT and LoB – ah, the same old story, the struggle between IT and the Business Users.  Cant we all just get along?  DX can be a painful and scary trip for the business, and moving to new technology or a new system can wreak havoc on operations.  Collaboration between tech and business can slow down the move, and may even bring it to a halt.
  4. Organizational Silos – digital transformation is broad and all-inclusive, and breaking down silos to enable a true digital “flow” between departments can be a heavy challenge.  This ties into #3, and now IT becomes a facilitator between departments internally.
  5. Disjointed processes across departments – recreating broken processes in the digital realm is a recipe for failure and challenges.  Process improvement efforts during DX can add layers of complexity, and also slow down efforts.
  6. Company Culture – I’ll never forget a conversation I had with a CEO in my past, we were discussing paperless technology, and he said, “I can see all the benefits and the cost savings, but my employees will never go for that.”  What?!?!  Company culture and attitudes can be a massive inhibitor when it comes to transformative technology.

Alfresco has some great posts on Digital Transformation here:

Digital Transformation: It’s all about the flow

Digital Transformation Isn’t a Goal.  It’s A Journey.