Kofax 9.x – They’ve finally done it… Almost

I have been working with the Kofax Capture product for over ten years now. To prove that, let me tell you the configuration on one of my first installs. I remember setting up a Bell and Howell 3338 scanner (you know, the one that required a cherry picker to get out of the box and on to the desk) with the Kofax KF board and Kofax Capture version 2.x. Ah yes, I look back fondly on the old days of deploying a scanner with the Kofax card and software. I know it has been out for a while now, but I recently started working with version 9 of Kofax Capture and I am pleased to say that they have finally addressed some of the Kofax gotchas that have been plaguing us for years.

For starters, they made client deployment 100% easier by creating the MSI package. I can’t tell you how many conversation I have had with client admins that go like this:

Me: No we don’t have a SMS or other type deployment package you can use, but you can make your own.

Client Admin: (Furrows brow) Huh?

I will be much happier when those conversations are a little less embarrassing. Now the workstations can be deployed using Microsoft SMS, Group Policy, IBM Tivoli, Symantec Altiris, HP Openview, or whatever deployment suite you use. Kofax has only tested SMS, but with the MSI package it should work for any suite.

You are now allowed to have multiple instances of the Administration module in an environment at one time. They finally figured out how to manage their database and I am glad that they did. There are some caveats to this new functionality:

  • In a KCNS install the Administration module can only be opened at the Central Site.
  • Two users cannot be modifying the same object (Batch Class, Document Class, etc.) at the same time. This is a good thing, though.
  • If you deplore change, you can disable this new feature in the ACConfig.xml

You can now retroactively update a Batch Class. THIS IS BIG! If you have ever had to export out 50 batches and re-import them in all because a checkbox was inadvertently checked in the Release Script setup, you know what I mean. Basically you can make your change, publish the Batch Class, and then update the existing batches in Batch Manager. There are some caveats to this new functionality as well, but they had to start somewhere. Here are some of the things you can’t add/remove/update:

  • Queues
  • Form types
  • Folder classes
  • Batch fields
  • Document or folder index fields

Release Scripts are now known as Export Connectors. Sure it is still Release.exe, but I am much happier with the Export Connector name than I ever was saying ‘Release Script’.  This is especially true when we are selling productized versions. In addition to the out of the box Database and Text Export Connectors, we now have Email and Fax Export Connectors. The Email Connector works with Exchange and SMTP, while the Fax Connector works with Biscom, RightFax, and the Kofax Communication Server. Another nice thing that Kofax does is include the source code for all their Export Connectors. This way we can tweak and modify these things as needed.

One thing that Kofax has been sorely lacking is the Batch Workflow capabilities they have finally added. Nothing is out-of-the-box, but they give you the source code to a custom module called CMSplit that can split batches apart depending on the Form Type. Think of the possibilities. With Kofax Capture you can capture documents at one site, split the documents up into child batches depending on form type, and send the documents to different sites for processing. This workflow functionality has been lacking from Kofax Capture and I am glad they finally added it. It is just a framework and will require custom coding, but it is step in the right direction.

There are a number of other enhancements new to Kofax Capture with version 9, but I discussed above all the ones that actually made me say ‘Yes’ when I found out about them. Some of the other new or enhanced features are:

  • Limited their OCR engine to ABBYY only, but you can request a patch for the old engine if functionality you used is no longer available.
  • Enhanced .NET support for Validation scripting.
  • Centralized scanner profiles have been improved.
  • More options for PDF generation now.
  • Custom Modules can now be deployed centrally with the Kofax Capture Deployment Service. This is a must considering any workflow with be done with a custom module.

If you are on an older version of Kofax Capture, I encourage you to look at what improvements you could make to your processes or management with an upgrade to version 9.