Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How to choose a Document Capture Software Solution?

Acquiring a  Document Capture Software solution is a decision in which different factors limit our options. Here we review some of these limitations: 

Support for document management software and content 

A capture software solves a very specific range of needs ranging from obtaining documents from different sources (paper, email, fax) to actually processing them to obtain certain information (extracting precise data from the documents and deducting document types). 

But solving those specific needs is not an end in itself, but a means. What do we do with the documents? Why did we wanted to get information in the first place? What I mean by this is that a capture system is a system dependent on others, at least, part of our platform for document management or enterprise content management. 

And this not only means that buying a capture software doesn't make much sense if there isn't a document management system in place, but also, that this system will determine the document capture software you will end up buying (as they need to be integrated).

The major vendors in the capture market have developed connectors for the most important ECM platforms and that means adding the connector price to the solution itself. In some cases, it's necessary paying for an integration, but even so, there are some cases of totally incompatible solutions.

Make sure your capture solution can integrate with your Sharepoint, Documentun, Alfresco, Nuxeo or whatever your ECM platform in place is, and how this will increase the final price of the solution. For Athento Capture, being a solution developed on Athento Platform, interoperability with other systems is guaranteed. 

Operating System Support 

Most capture software run on Windows environments. Until recently, this was not a limitation, but the percentage of market share as Linux systems continue to increase (1.19% in December 2012.) In the case of Linux, there are very few systems capable of running capture under this operating system. On the other side, in the desktop environment, there are many mac users (about 30% market share in the US and growing rapidly).  So we must consider multi-platform technologies such as Java.

Considering then the capture product compatibility with your operating system is essential. For Athento Capture, being a cross-platform solution, we can forget about this problem. 

Licensing and pricing

You'll pay for the number of documents, number of CPUs or simply for a subscription or support fee. Depending on your needs, technological structure, physical structure (capture from different geographical locations), a licensing model will come better or worse. Make calculations with a broad horizon, as many of these investments involve licensing systems beyond a year. 

The possibilities of the software and your needs 

Not all capture solutions withstand any workload. Kofax Capture in its basic version, for example, is recommended for a volume of 30,000 to 100,000 documents per year. Furthermore, what types of documents do you have? That's another important question to consider. Returning to the previous example, Kofax Capture supports only forms (structured documents). 

In conclusion, there are a variety of specifications to consider when you want to choose a capture solution and if these specifications are not observed with great care, we can end up buying a capture software that later becomes underused.

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