Distributed Capture for the Enterprise

Distributed Capture (for Scanning and Indexing) has been gaining ground in the last several years.  Used to be that documents were sent to the basement where a dedicated scan operator “fed the dragon” by scanning hundreds if not thousands of documents a day.  This was known as “Centralized Capture”.  Problem was, how to relay the vital index information necessary for search and retrieval to the scan operator?

The last few years have seen technology leap forward with the advent of inexpensive “desktop scanners”, browser based software such as ImageSource’s ILINX Capture http://www.ilinxcapture.com/index.htm and integration tools that “image enable” or “document enable” the existing Line of Business Systems used by most all departments such as ImageSource’s ILINX AIK Toolkit.  Line of Business Systems are those account driven applications dedicated to the function of a department.  SAP, Oracle Financials and JD Edwards for Finance.  Salesforce.com, Great Plains and Siebel for Sales.  Peoplesoft for Human Resources… just to name a few.  Since these systems manage the events that create documents, why not enable them to manage the documents directly.  The productivity gain may not be so obvious.

Most of us associate document enablement with the immediate benefit of displaying a scanned image on the screen with the click of a button in their line of business application. Productivity gains result from not having to perform a secondary search in the document management system for the documents that match the record in their Line of Business application.  This in itself is a powerful capability.  But what gains can be realized on the capture side by reversing the process in a Distributed Capture solution that uses desktop scanners and Line of Business Applications to index the documents into the system?

Here’s some real benefits to distributed capture:

1.) Distributed Capture eliminates the need to transport documents from the cubicle farm to the basement.

2.) Distributed Capture eliminates barcodes/patchcodes necessary for the proper functioning of a “batch oriented” centralized scanning system.

3.) Distributed Capture eliminates the need for a dedicated scanner operator and/or scanning department.

4.) Distributed Capture can capitalize on SDK toolkits that integrate line of business applications for more accurate indexing.

5.) Scanner costs can be reduced by relying on inexpensive desktop scanners rather than “the big iron” in the basement.

Distributed Capture used to be an unrealized capability in the enterprise.  Today, with more advanced scanner hardware, more technologically “in-tune” workers and more advanced toolkits for document management……….. it can be a reality.