Contract Management: Ephesoft and SharePoint Online

SharePoint Contract Management

Capturing Contract Data for Analysis

We have had several requests recently to show how we can help in processing contracts and extracting metadata.  The below video uses Ephesoft Transact in two ways to process contracts:

  1.  Extracting historical contract data for analysis.  In example one, we utilize Ephesoft to import  contract PDFs, classify them, and then extract pertinent data for routing to a SharePoint Contract library.
  2.  Routing and archiving new, inbound contracts.  This example brings in contracts from email, folders and other sources and classifies them, the places the contracts and data within a SharePoint Contract library.

Here is the overall Contract Management Solution:

 

 

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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.

 

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.

SharePoint and OCR 2.0: Out with The Old

Sharepoint optical character recognition

Using Adaptive OCR Technology & Analytics to Drive SharePoint Efficiency and Adoption

Optical Character Recognition technology, or OCR, has been around for quite some time.  It really became mainstream back in the ’70s when a man named Ray Kurzweil developed a technology to help the visually impaired.    He quickly realized the broad commercial implications of his invention, and so did Xerox, who purchased his company.   From there, OCR experienced broad adoption across all types of use cases.

At its simplest,OCR is a means to take an image and convert recognized characters to text.  In the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) world, it’s this technology that provides a broad range of metadata and content collection methods as documents are scanned and processed.   Here are the basic legacy forms of OCR that can be leveraged with SharePoint:

  • Full Text OCR – converts the entire document image to text, allowing full text search capabilities.  Using this OCR with SharePoint, documents are typically converted to an Image+Text PDF, which can be crawled, and the content made fully searchable.
  • Zone OCR – Zoning provides the ability to extract text from a specific location on the page.  In this form of “templated” processing, specific OCR metadata can be extracted and mapped to a SharePoint column.  This method is appropriate for structured documents that have the data in the same location.
  • Pattern Matching OCR – pattern matching is purely a method to filter, or match patterns within OCR text.  This technique can provide some capabilities when it comes to extracting data from unstructured, or non-homogeneous documents.  For example, you could extract a Social Security Number pattern (XXX-XX-XXXX) from the OCR text and map it to a SharePoint column.

These forms of OCR are deemed as legacy methods of extraction, and although they can provide some value when utilized with any document process that involves SharePoint, they are purely data driven at the text level.

In steps OCR 2.0.  Today, innovators like Ephesoft leverage OCR as the very bottom of their document analytics and intelligence stack.   The OCR text is now pushed through algorithms that create meaning out of all types of dimensions: location, size, font, patterns, values, zones, numbers, and more (You can read about this patented technology here: Document Analytics and Why It Matters in Capture and OCR ).  So rather than just being completely data-centric, or functioning at the text layer, we now create a high-functioning intelligence layer that can be used beyond just text searching and metadata.  And the best part?  This technology has been extended to non-scanned files like Office documents.   Examples?  See below:

  • Multi-dimensional Classification – using that analysis capability (with OCR as algorithm input), and all the collected dimensions of the document, document type or content type can now be accurately identified.  As documents are fed into SharePoint, they can be intelligently classified, and that information is now actionable with workflows, retention policies, security restrictions and more.  You can see more on this topic in this video on Multi-dimensional Classification Technology: Machine Learning and Classification of Documents
  • Machine Learning – legacy OCR technology provided no means or method to “get smarter” as documents were processed.  Just looking at pure text, it either recognized it, or not.  With a machine learning layer, you now have a system that gets more efficient the more you use it.   The key here is that learned intelligence must span documents, it cannot be tied to any one item.  It’s this added efficiency that can drive SharePoint usage and adoption through ease of use.  You can see more on machine learning in the videos below:

Machine Learning and OCR Data Extraction

Machine Learning and External Data

  • Document Analytics, Accuracy  and Extraction – with legacy OCR, extracting the information you need can be problematic at best.  How do you raise confidence that the information you have is accurate?  With an analysis engine, we look not just at the text,  but where it sits, what surrounds it, and know patterns or libraries.  This added layer provides the ability to express higher confidence in data extraction, and makes sure you are putting the right data into SharePoint.

This was just a quick overview of the benefits from moving away from legacy OCR, and embracing OCR 2.0 for SharePoint. Thoughts?

 

 

 

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.

SharePoint Scanning, Capture & OCR With Web Services

Sharepoint scanning, ocr and capture

Document Capture Enabled SharePoint

Our SEs built out some really cool demos for our Innovate Conference in October.  One of our core focus areas was around Microsoft SharePoint Scanning and Capture, and enabling workflow processes with web services.  This video below shows our SharePoint integration, and integrates with Nintex workflow.

You can read about our Ephesoft Transact 4.1 release here:
Here is our Wiki article on our Office 365 SharePoint integration: