Web Services for OCR, Data Extraction and Document Classification
Continuing on my themes of open, web service enabled document capture and analytics, as well as this notion of “In App” Document Capture through APIs, I thought I would share out a demo one of our fantastic SEs built to show the automation capabilities within Salesforce. This shows background document classification and extraction, all initiated through a file upload in Salesforce. This leverage OCR technology and our machine learning algorithms to auto-populate data in Salesforce.
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 Operations – Current 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 and OCR online 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.
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.
A couple of our executives were at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 8th Annual Technical Innovation Summit in Menlo Park, CA. They heard from head technology executives at the bank, which is in the midst of a broad digital transformation effort. The bank has tripled its digital budget in 2016, and is looking to become a digital-first organization, through a digital conversion of its business practices, and the way it communicates and services its customers.
“Our customers don’t benchmark us against banks,” said Hari Gopalkrishnan, CIO of client-facing platform technology, in an interview with InformationWeek. “They benchmark us against Uber and Amazon.”
Their CTO, David Reilly, gave some key requirements and characteristics of that are now required of vendors looking to do business with the bank, and core to bank strategy going forward. Here is a summary of his comments:
Open Interfaces Are Required – long gone are the days of the legacy “black box” applications that require costly vendor services for integration and extension. Reilly quoted, “Open, for us, isn’t defined as ‘your stuff works great with the rest of your stuff,'” said Reilly. “It means it has to work great with the rest of our stuff.” (Information Week). This focus on open, modular products is a key to the banks strategy.
Leverage Technology To Drive Consolidation – the Bank is focusing on consolidation of key customer assets and services, and any technology that can facilitate this move will be highly valued.
Subscriptions Are The New Licensing Model – moving away from legacy, standard licensing models that force a large capital expenditure is a big component of their plan. Subscription licensing agreements will now be the norm.
You Don’t Need To Customize Everything – the openness is required, but he focused on only customizing where it was absolutely required. He discussed that most technologists will never be satisfied with a 70% solution, they want perfection.
Rapid Scale-up and Scale-down – having the ability and flexibility to scale in both directions, both from an infrastructure and licensing perspective, is a core tenet of all solutions going forward.
Rapid Build and Deployment – any application that provides reduced time to market, will help them better serve both internal and external customers.
Our strategy has always been to drive value through an open, flexible web services API for document capture and analytics. So it was great to hear and see a complete presentation of the value we can bring to any organization from a leading CTO. Thoughts? Comments?