Unstructured Data and the Cloud: The Benefits of Capture as a Service

Document Capture & Analytics in the Cloud

We launched the first fully functional Capture as a Service (CaaS) offering in Microsoft Azure this week at the Microsoft Inspire Partner Conference.  We were helped along the way by one of our larger partners, that had high demand for Capture as a Service, and we were seeing more and more requests for the intelligent processing of unstructured data in the Cloud.   Below are some core benefits of our cloud offering:

Cloud OCR Services

Time to Value – On-premise software implementations can be a long-term journey and require additional budget for hardware, IT resource time and long budget cycles for capital expenditure approvals.  With the Ephesoft Transact Cloud, your time to value is minimized and your intelligent capture platform can be up and running in a fraction of the time.  Want to see how you can calculate a quick ROI on CaaS?  See our recorded webinar here: The Ephesoft Effect

 

Cloud Scanning Services

Cost of Ownership – Software as a Service (SaaS) reduces the overall solution cost of ownership by including support, and eliminating the need for hardware, backups, monitoring, dedicated administration and overall management.  By including these costs in one recurring fee, complexity and overhead are reduced, and IT spend becomes more predictable.

 

Competitiveness – No longer is intelligent document capture only for large organizations Cloud Document Data Extractionwith an army of IT folks.  Now smaller organizations can have access to enterprise-class technology, and glean the all the advantages and efficiency to stay competitive, and challenge their larger rivals.

 

Gartner estimates that the annual cost of owning and managing software applications can be as much as four times the cost of the initial purchase.

 

SDK and APIs For Cloud Scanning and CaptureAccess to Innovation – with SaaS, access to the latest and greatest software is included.  As Ephesoft improves its processing engine, you can immediately take advantage of the added efficiency.   Your subscription provides continuous value, and appreciates over time as more features and functionality are added.

 

Azure OCR ServicesScalability and Agility – the Ephesoft Transact Cloud is built for maximum scalability and agility.  You can easily add more cores, features and processing power, depending on your requirements and needs.  You can start small, and grow with our flexible subscription model.

 

Cloud Document AnalyticsCapture Anywhere – with the Ephesoft Cloud provides intelligent document capture anywhere, on any device.  You can automate document processes with a browser, a smart phone or a tablet.  This allows todays distributed workforce to access all the benefits Ephesoft can provide.

 

Read more on our offering in the Cloud here:  Unlocking Unstructured Data: Document Capture, OCR and Scanning in the Cloud

 

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

CIO Playbook: 6 Keys to Digital Transformation Success

Digital Transformation Paperless

6 Core Keys for Digital Transformation Journey Success

I finally built out my Digital Transformation presentation deck, and recorded the video overview below.   This is an extension of my initial post:  BofA and Digital Transformation

 

The Benefits of Invisible Capture

Web Services for OCR and Capture

Using Web Services as a Hidden Automation Layer

The benefits of intelligent document capture are well documented, and its impact on efficiency can be a quick win for any business processing a decent volume of documents.  Capture 2.0 adds a new dimension of automation, and provides capture functionality to any application or system.   So now, the ERP, CRM or Document Management System can be capture enabled through its own interface, without the need to switch windows, open a new application or “send files” to a processing location.  This “hidden” automation layer requires no end-user expertise, and as far as they know, they are doing business as usual.  Below are some core benefits to leveraging Capture 2.0 Web Services:

Minimal Impact to OperationsCurrent process: the end-user uploads a received file through the CRM interface, and then enters some notes and metadata about the file: customer name, date of contract, salesperson, and region.  Capture 2.0 enabled process: the end-user uses the same upload process, but in the background, the hidden capture automation layer classifies the document, extracts all the data and enters it into the CRM automatically.  This is the power of document capture web services.  With no impact to current process or operations, you gain efficiency and reduce errors, driving speed of transactions, reduced response times and the costly fixing of erroneous data.

CRM Salesforce Capture Automation
Salesforce Upload Classification and Extraction

Low to No Training – because end users are using the applications they use every day, there is almost zero training required.  That’s the beauty of the hidden capture layer.  If deployed correctly, users just perform their process the same way, and manual data entry and steps are eliminated.  The lack of a training requirement minimizes any lost work days spent on costly training, and provides value starting day one.

Solve the Plague of Windows – more and more, IT and Business staff alike are looking to streamline and consolidate, and reduce the number of applications required to do business.   Creating that single interactive interface, or that single source of truth, is the end goal.  And a web services automation layer can provide functionality that would normally require the addition of an interactive app.

Maximum Efficiency – it is said that 50% of document intensive process labor is spent on 5% of your documents.  Why?  The cost of problems and fixing errors.  Automating any data extraction and document classification process, coupled with data validation techniques, and reduce errors to almost 0, and drive the maximum efficiency possible in your organization.

Just a brief note on some thoughts and trends I am seeing in the marketplace.  Thoughts?  If you want to see Capture 2.0 Web Services in action, take a peek at Ephesoft Transact Web Services API.

 

 

Email to SharePoint Online: Intelligent Routing

Email Attachments to a SharePoint Library

Email Attachments to a SharePoint Online Document Library

This is a demo request I had from a partner to see the ability of Ephesoft to pickup email attachments, separate and classify, and then extract data.  The final resting place is a SharePoint Online document library.   This is a seamless Email to SharePoint Online solution.

Resuscitate Your Capture: Bringing New Life to Document Automation

Document Capture Automation

Adding The Next Generation of Document Capture Automation

Over the past decade, the document capture industry has become quite stagnant and ripe for disruption.   The acquisition of just about every capture company by larger, behemoth organizations has created a stagnation in innovation and a lack of modernization.   IT executives are yearning for a refresh to their legacy capture solutions, and they expect standards of the modern tech world:

  • Service/Platform based architecture
  • Web/browser-based user interfaces
  • Web services APIs
  • Cloud-enabled technologies

With that said, many organizations have made massive investments in document capture technology, and a “rip and replace” strategy comes with a serious impact to business operations.   But there can be exponential benefits to a modernization of document automation and capture technologies.  This comes from key new developments from innovative capture startups:

  • Machine Learning – in the legacy capture world, long expensive services engagements are the norm, with deep custom development and configuration.  Isn’t it 2016?  Aren’t computers supposed to take that pain away with intelligence?  In steps machine learning.  The modern capture platform provides a core learning engine that understands your documents, their layouts and data.  As you use the system, it gets smarter, improving accuracy and reducing user intervention, with a true end goal of autonomous operations.
  • Capture Web Services – providing capture functionality to any application in the organization can be a huge boost to efficiency and productivity.  Want a customer document upload page to validate the uploaded documents are of the correct type?  Need check the date of a document, or that it has been signed?  Document capture services can give your development teams a tool set they have never had in the past.
  • Document Analytics and Analysis – taking a holistic view of the whole document capture process is essential to the modern capture platform.  Seeing the document as pure words will not further understanding, nor provide additional benefit.  With a true Analytics/Analysis frame of mind, every single characteristic of the document becomes important: font, font size, location, surrounding words and overall layout (for a deep look at the facets of document analytics, see my previous post: Document Analytics and Capture ).
  • Open Architecture – Having a capture platform that has been built from the ground up with openness and extensibility  in my mind is absolutely critical.  Adding this as an afterthought creates a clunky difficult environment for developers, and leads to workarounds and lack of desired functionality.

The great benefit here, is that without a “rip and replace” event, modern capture platforms can be added as a non-disruptive, transparent automation and efficiency layer.

Capture Epi-center Solution
Modern Capture Adding Efficiency and Automation At the Epicenter

By adding a centralized capture engine, you can glean the following benefits:

  • Any scanning device becomes an input device
  • BPM and Workflow systems can take advantage of capture with minimal dev (See an example here: Notes From the Field)
  • Services like fax and email can easily be designated as a source for capture
  • Legacy capture processes with bar code sheets and manual data entry can be automated
  • Mobile devices can now leverage mobile capture SDKs and the centralized automation engine
  • Legacy ECM systems now have a new automation dimension
  • Cloud-based enterprise services can be capture-enabled

So a tech refresh on the capture front becomes a viable initial project, and current capture components can be left in place.  In this case, Ephesoft becomes a new layer of automation and a catalyst for process improvement and efficiency.

This has been a consistent theme in our experience out in the market, with existing legacy capture customers and new prospects looking for a minimal impact refresh for their ailing and aged capture infrastructures.  Thoughts?  Comments?