Does Your Paper Process Look Like This?

Young kids have great imaginations when it comes to building things like the ultimate clubhouse, snow fort, or whatever happens to be their interest at that moment. In the process, kids come up with a vision, put a plan in place, and create a design that represents what they intend to build.  That’s exactly what two of my sons (8 and 9 years old) did one night as they described in great detail the ultimate snow fort. Below are the detailed designs of their forts right down to the tunnels, all the rooms uniquely identified (movie room, snack room, fishing shop, etc) underground hideouts, and so on.  My favorite is the fishing shop room.  By the way I only scanned one section of the design. There are 3 others sketches that make up the entire design.

A design of the ultimate snow fort.

A design of the ultimate snow fort.

If you have gone through an exercise of mapping out a before and after business process, your design documents probably look something like my two sons snow fort design.  And in the process of understanding your business process you are likely to find that paper is at the center of that particular process and touches many individuals within your organization. The reality is  paper can be a tough element to deal with in any organization.

So what to do about the paper problem? Simple, digitize and store the paper content electronically so that you can manage the content more effectively.  The other aspect that organizations can do is utilize intelligent document and data capture technology that can not only convert paper into digital content, but automatically identify documents and extract the data (machine printed text, hand printed, barcodes, check boxes) from all type of document, with little or no human intervention! What that does is eliminates steps in a business process, so that your processes are more efficient and cost effective.

In these tough economic times, reducing costs and doing more with the same or less is what many organizations want to hear.  So go find out if you have a process that looks like my two sons snow fort design.


Got Paper? Get It into SharePoint with Automated Document Capture

I finished up a recent Webcast on capturing paper documents, digitizing the content,  and getting the information into SharePoint.  If you are looking to learn more about the EMC Captiva intelligent capture products and how they work with SharePoint, then you’ll want to listen to this Webcast recording. 

Click here to access the recording on


Q&A From Recent EMC Document Capture Webcast

In a previous post, I talked about the latest Captiva 6 release that EMC launched back in November 2008. As a follow up to that announcement, I spoke on a recent Webcast about the latest release, EMC Captiva InputAccel 6 and Dispatcher 6: Setting a New Standard for Enterprise Capture, and thought I’d share some of the questions that were asked. Not all these questions relate to new functionality found in version 6, but they are worth mentioning.

Q:  If I have a stack of similar forms, can the system automatically break them up into separate files, without using a separate sheet/bar code?

A: Yes, this is part of the Captiva Dispatcher application which automatically identifies documents using either image-based or text-based classification. Utilizing Captiva Dispatcher, organizations can significantly reduce costs associated with document preparation. Manual task like pre-sorting documents by type or inserting separator sheets between documents to indicate different document types is a very labor intensive task.

Q: Does Captiva InputAccel 6 support Microsoft Clustering? 

A: Yes. In earlier versions of InputAccel, Active/Passive was supported. In InputAccel 6, we have since added support for Active/Active clustering.  With Active/Active cluster support, existing cluster nodes can be used as a failover option. If the primary InputAccel Server fails, then the Active/Active cluster option moves that server instance to another available cluster node even if that node is already running another instance of the InputAccel Server. The Active/Active cluster option ensures that no server is idle while waiting for failover recovery.

Q: Does the new Captiva Index client support custom hot keys?

A: Yes, the latest InputAccel 6 release supports custom keyboard mapping. This enables operators to perform all actions directly from the keyboard without the use of a mouse.

Q: Could you explain how Captiva InputAccel integrates with Microsoft SharePoint?

A: Captiva InputAccel provides an open architecture that can essentially integrate with any content repository. EMC provides several ‘out of the box’ connectors to various backend repositories including Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.  The InputAccel Export to Microsoft SharePoint, supports exporting documents dynamically to different locations and folders, automatic file naming, mapping InputAccel values to metadata values in SharePoint document properties, exporting documents in various file formats, and more.

Q: You talked about Service based architecture. Does it allow a Captiva InputAccel process to call an outside web service?

A: Yes, InputAccel 6.0 includes new XML-based web services framework to support Service Oriented Architectures (SOA) that enable external systems to interact with InputAccel processes and enable InputAccel to interact with the workflows of external systems.

This architecture enables the InputAccel system to either be a consumer or provider of web services. The following modules support web service functionality:
– Web Services Input module: An InputAccel module that serves as a web services provider, processing SOA requests from external web services consumers.
– Web Services Output module: An InputAccel module that serves as a web services consumer, using Internet protocols to access the functionality of external SOA participants (web services providers).

Q: Do you have the ability to pull emails and their attachments into InputAccel?  Can it take any type of attachment into account (PDF, XLS, Word document, etc)?

A: Yes, InputAccel includes an email import service module that polls an email box, and parses the incoming email, enabling the various parts of the email (message body and attachments) to be imported as separate items into InputAccel and processes them accordingly. Furthermore, there is an optional module that will take non-image files and convert them into a readable image files (e.g. TIF).

Q: If I have a document type that has multi-pages can Captiva Dispatcher automatically identify this as a multi-page document?

A: Yes, Captiva Dispatcher can be configured to help sort and combine multi-page documents into one set.

Q: Can you develop client side scripting using C#?

A: Yes, the new Captiva InputAccel 6 client-side scripting is based on .NET and supports programming languages such as VB.NET and C#. These scripts direct document routing, handle exceptions, perform database lookups, perform field-level validations, and more.