Thursday, December 27, 2012

Understanding Documents

Like every company, Athento has a mission, sort of a reason to exist.
"Understanding Documents" would be the match for Nokia's "Connecting People" has. In order to "understand documents", state of the art technologies are being used, which are discussed later in this post.

But first, let's understand the problem in depth: Why do we need to understand documents automatically? To gain control and efficiency over information, but also because understanding documents is the begining of building business knowledge.

In this way, information is like a full 500 Horsepower car. It's powerful, yet if you can't control this power it will surely control you and your life. Same applies to technology, wich by the way is always referred as being power  " Knowledge is Power " .

If you control information, you can increase efficiency managing CVs and reduce time from 8 minutes to 5 seconds, or reduce times in classification and manage of health documents by more than 90%.

And the best is that this new approach and enhancement over traditional document management software (which all compare with similar strengths) can be applied to many thriving scenarios. And with astonishing results in all of them.
So let's take a look now into the "How" this gets done, with a summary of State of the Art technologies that provide this type of breakthrough technology, inside areas of tremendous work such as machine learning and artificial intelligence (IA):


  • OCR: This technology has been widely used. Its its origins date back to 1914, but since that time, many improvements have been achieved in Optical Character Recognition technologies. Although its main goal remain converting images of printed text into machine readable text, developers have worked to improve the way we use OCR engines. At the beginning OCR helped the blind, today, OCR engines help another kind of blind: machines. Computers by themselves are unable to read images.  Assisted by OCR technologies, computers and ECM software are able to index content in PDFs documents (and other images) , and also, are able to find data within document contents. Lately, developers are working to find ways humans can interact with OCR engines, one of  their achievements is for example, visual template builders that enable users to design templates to extract data using zonal OCR. Athento Capture can provide this feature that makes incredibly easy to work with structured documents.

  • Semantic Technology: The goal of Semantics is to understand the meaning of words. If computers are able to understand words, they can build relations between them. This mean more capabilities when searching documents. Semantics makes it similar the way humans and machines do searches, and this is critical when having tons of information. Athento is using Semantics for its self-labeling feature called Autotagging. Thanks to Semantics, Athento is able to recognize relevant words within document content (terms which describe the document content) and turns them into labels that connect to other documents which include the same terms. This makes possible to find related documents very quick.

  • Machine Learning: This is a branch of Artificial Intelligence. Its main goal is that computers can act without tell them what to do explicitly. Developers are trying to get computers learning in the same way we do: practicing. Software which uses ML processes are able to improve their results by training. For example, Athento Capture compares documents using Neural Networks (Artificial Neural Networks -ANN), each time it receive a document type it improves its capabilities to recognize that kind of document. This is possible because  ANN technology finds patters within documents.  That explains why Athento Capture has the most high accuracy rate in document recognition in the market (98%). Another Machine Learning applications are Natural Language Processing (which Athento uses also), Search Engines, Speech recognition, etc.

  • Color Comparison: Besides other image analysis technologies, as ANN, Color Comparison is gaining ground as a technique of Image Processing. Particularly,  Color Histograms are making the difference in Color comparison methods. Its benefits are speed, and insensitivity to changes in camera viewpoint. We use CH to represent the distribution of colors in an image. In Document Recognition, if two images have a very similar color distribution, it is very probable that we are talking about the same kind of document. However, Color Histograms have its limitations. At Athento, we are using CH combined with other Image Processing techniques to improve the accuracy of document recognition feature.



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Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Today we want to wish you and your family a merry Christmas and all the best in the coming year.  Thanks for your continued support and for reading us in 2012. We hope we can continue counting on you in 2013.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!







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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Autotagging, giving context to our documents

In previous post we have told the pluging of Athento, Autotagging or self-labeling of documents, and how this plugin uses Semantics to find key terms in documents and turn them into labels that connect to other documents which include the same terms.

Semantic technology is based on the use of ontologies, which are nothing more than sets of definitions or concepts and relationships between them (a structured collection of information) that we use to describe things (domains).
Basically, what we do is put autotagging marks (labels) within documents that correspond to categories included in an ontology to improve access and retrieval of documentation (search).



As I have said before, the power is in identifying which terms are relevant and defining whether it is worth to convert them into tags. With very global ontologies or generic terms, the result might not be entirely  relevant to our context. As we saw in the resume example, a proposed tag was "Europass", but maybe, what we really wanted to know was which candidates had certain knowledge about computer technology, so "Europass" told us nothing. It is necessary, therefore, that we describe a domain or a narrow spectrum.

This is precisely one of the improvements that have been made ​​in the latest version of Autotagging. Today it is possible to ask Athento to label with the categories defined in our ontology, we only need to load the new ontology in the manager.

On the other hand, it has been added the ability to send label proposals to  a "blacklist", which indicates to Athento not to use those terms as labels. It is also possible to indicate  "synonyms" which should be replaced by a term when it is found, so that we ensure we keep under the same category terms that mean the same thing.

Lastly, but not less important, another improvement is the possibility of constructing document types using labels. A document is recognized under certain type when it has been tagged with a particular set of labels. This new categorization of documents allows us a new formula for virtual navigation of documents. Althoug those documents are stored in different locations, we see them grouped under the same type of document.
DOWNLOADSWe explain how Athento helped Crisa manage technical documents.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

ECM software market 2012-2016

During the second quarter of this year, The Radicati Group carried out a research about ECM market tendencies from 2012 to 2016.

According to this research, the ECM market reached $4.4 billion of size in 2012 and it is expected to grow to over $7.5 billion in 2016. We are talking about a 15% growth rate.



But these are not the only conclusions of this study. The research throws another striking forecasts:

  • The Radicati Group recommends the use of Sharepoint, but only as an underlaying platform. Companies should integrate third-party solutions on top of it, in order to get advanced features in all the ECM system's components. Trying to develop apps on top of Sharepoint is expensive (in time and money terms) to solve all the ECM issues. So, purchasing ECM solutions that are able to integrate with Sharepoint, it's definitely a better option. A good example for this is to integrate Athento Capture with Sharepoint 2013 for document capturing, instead of developing a new app on top of Sharepoint. 
  • On-premise deployments continue gaining the upper hand to Cloud based ECM services. Despite of the good acceptation of cloud technologies, regarding to ECM solutions, companies are still wary and distrustful. They are not willing to keep unprotected their critical business information. 
  • Companies are not longer buying all their ECM solutions to only one provider. For this reason, ECM software integration capabilities will be decisive when buying Enterprise Content Management products.


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Monday, December 10, 2012

One Day, One Gift

Christmas is here! And we want to celebrate it with you. From December 11, 2012 to December 21, 2012 we will be almost giving away our products. Everyday you will be able to buy a product with up to 99% discount in our Athento Marketplace. But don't rest on your laurels, each offer last only 24 hours.

If you want to know what's the day's product, you can subscribe to the Athento Marketplace news (Subscribe to Athento Marketplace news). In this case, you will receive the day offer by e-mail. Anyway, you always can come around our market and see what we have for you every day.

For Nuxeo 5.4.2 users or Athento's, it is easy to buy new features for your DMS. You only have to download and install our Marketplace plug-in. From that moment, you will be able to buy within Nuxeo platform, and the best thing is that next purchased plug-ins will be automatically installed. Other platform's users can contact us, or buy from our website and follow the install guide for each product they buy.

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

ECM & Social Management Software

Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase
Why should ECM software consider Social Management? 

We are going to explain why it is important to consider social interactions as content that needs to be controlled, archived and preserved.  We will explore some of the reasons why ECM software must provide features for the treatment of this type of content. 

  • Control on Corporate Reputation: Years ago it was complicated to seek references before buying a software product. In fact, it was the seller who provided those references, with the difficulty that, as the seller, references were always about happy customers. Today, using tools like Twitter, it is easy to monitor what is said about a product or company, including bad references!
  • Control on support activities: There are companies that are conducting support responses using Twitter. The response of a client with problems should be recorded somewhere as customer care.
  • Control on new potential clients: For companies that sell products or provide services to other businesses, social networks like LinkedIn are beginning to be vital in finding new business opportunities and prospective customers. Although this seems more related to CRM software, it is important that we can access  the conversations of our Sales, Marketing and Community Manager (which are open to be viewed by countless people) whenever we want.
  • Possibilities for collaborative work: Social networks are making it easier to exchange ideas  and keep the connection between teams and departments within an organization. Furthermore, the use of other tools that not qualify as social networks allow collaborative work on enterprise content and have a broad social / web 2.0 background (like GoogleDocs , Doodle, etc).





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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Document Management in EADS Astrium Crisa: Success Story

"We managed to increase the control of documents in circulation, besides the economic benefits of not printing on paper." 

This is how the people at CRISA, one of the most important Spanish companies in the aerospace engineering field describe the help Athento has provided them. 

CRISA group is part of Astrium Ltd., a subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) which employs over 15,000 people at its headquarters in France, Germany, UK, Netherlands and Spain and has a turnover of 4.8 billion euros, over $ 6.5 billion. 

To produce all kinds of aeronautical equipment, such as satellites, CRISA needs to comply during all their manufacturing processes to strict security. This control goes through the review and approval of technical documents such as technical drawing designs and other. 

By 2011, this revision was done on paper. The technical documentation was printed, reviewed and then signed with manually stamped signatures of those responsible for approving these documents. Once signed, the first page is scanned and attached to the original digital document. 

This process was error-prone, and it also also meant printing paper costs that could be eliminated. That's what ​​Athento achieved. 

Review and approval workflows for technical documentation were created in Athento. At the end of these workflows, documents could be completely digitally signed. 

What did CRISA gain with Athento? 

  • Greater control over technical documentation
  • More efficient and automated processes
  • Savings of more than € 14,000 in paper printing each year
If you want to know all the details of this project, you can download the case study for free, from here or from our website. 


Discover how Athento helped the arospace industry gain control over their tech documents.DOWNLOADS
















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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

ECM Software: Cost Reduction, the fundamental reason for acquisition

In 2011 according to AIIM, the top 5 reasons that led a company to invest in ECM software were: 

  1. Improved efficiency
  2. Optimization of business processes
  3. Legislation compliance
  4. Cost reduction
  5. Risk Mitigation
The following graph shows the order of importance of these factors for 650 members of the AIIM in 2011. 


However the picture, having almost ended 2012, seems to have changed. According to recent studies, the cost reduction has become the most crucial factor in deciding whether to invest in software for enterprise content management. 

This market shift is easily explained if we consider the global situation we are facing. In times of crisis, making our company more profitable by reducing costs is an important driver in making these decisions. 

It is quite likely that throughout 2013, cost reduction will continue to be among the most important reasons to start an ECM project. 


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Monday, December 3, 2012

Was that Document Management System worth it?

This past year, I have been in contact with many business or IT executives, asking them to tell me their experience with Athento and other solutions in the same sector, asking what had led them to acquire a solution for document management or ECM . 

I would say that for 99% of them a document management system is clearly needed, and no matter if the outcome of this experience has been good or bad with the acquired solutions, the path will always be to look forward, no one thinks of ruling out ECM software. By contrast, those who had a bad experience, seek another provider (which is why I have the opportunity to meet them) and those who have done well, look for ways to further expand and improve their solution. 

These managers do not find any difficulty enumerating the advantages of implementing a document management system in their organizations. 90% of them mention these advantages without hesitation "cost savings". The problem is when you ask them how much. How much money have you saved using a Document Management System? At least 40% of them can not answer this question. 

Then is when we show them how much time their processes have reduced or can be reduced, how much spending they've saved or will save printing paper, storing it and archiving it. The numbers are surprising, for me and for the client. Because they were convinced that there had to be some savings, believing that a DMS makes work more efficient, but they were not able to quantify savings figures.
Content Lifecycle / Document Lifecycle
Content Lifecycle / Document Lifecycle (Photo credit: Saad Faruque)

Faith and certainty that technology makes better business processes have long guided the technological investment decisions in many companies, but increasingly, directives wonder about quantifiable results from the beginning. 

And I see it well, in fact, I see excellent. Before you pay money you have to see clearly if the costs of the tool are just an expense or a huge investment. Objectively, my experience shows that it is an investment, but how much savings can be achieved is something that varies from client to client and from solution to solution. Knowing exactly who you'll give your money is about previously knowing who will be the first to give it back. 



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Top 5 reasons to digitize by UNESCO

As time passes, companies and organizations accumulate lots of different types of documents that were just becoming a problem when organizing tasks and carrying out the work.

Making processes faster and less expensive is very difficult working with paper documents.

Therefore, it is essential to digitize, scan all those paper mountains.

Today we will share the top 5 reasons why UNESCO recommends scanning:


Español: Edificio sede del Banco Bilbao Vizcay...
Headquarters of BBVA in Spain.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Discover our success case with BBVA!
  1. Increasing access: In digital format you can share documents as much as you want, a physical (paper) document can only be accessed by one person at a time.
  2. Reducing the manipulation and deterioration of the original document: Important documents that need to be preserved over time are used very often. When they're digital, they can be accessed time and again and they won't get damaged over time because of the daily use.
  3. Backup: Digitization creates a "backup" of damaged or worn out resources.
  4. Financial Opportunity: If we invest in digitization, we are able to produce quantifiable benefits of efficiency improvements in processes.
  5. Improvement of technical infrastructure and personnel: The use of technology brings value to companies and pushes the staff to get trained and educated on software products, something that will also make them increasingly better qualified. Using a document management software system can be a bonus to anyone's resume!
In short, the technological barrier that sometimes separates successful organizations and business growth must be overcome.
We should dive in, finally, to the digital swimming pool, which only brings benefits.


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