What to Do About Data Chaos

Most people know Kodak Alaris as a scanner company. But on April 25, the company announced Alaris IN2 Ecosystem, their portfolio of scanners, software, services and partnerships. As the business environment continues to emphasize data, Kodak Alaris is maneuvering to help their customers deal with their rapidly changing environments and achieve their digital transformation initiatives. Perhaps the moniker “systems company” may be a more fitting description for Kodak Alaris now.

“A few years ago, it was enough to just capture images and deposit them into a repository,” said Kara Rayburn, Global Manager Portfolio Marketing, Kodak Alaris Information Management. But as other trends in the tech realm gain steam — namely big data and business process automation platforms — businesses will demand more than just a few high-speed scanners and digital workflows to transfer all of their emails, contracts, forms, applications, or any other document imaginable into all of their different repositories.  

In particular, companies understand that big data and analytics can be beneficial to their businesses, and there has been no shortage of customers lining up to invest. According to Forbes contributor Louis Columbus, big data and analytics software revenues will grow from $122 billion in 2015 to $187 billion in 2019.

However, many adopters are struggling to get the results they want because they can’t get their systems to work. A Gartner study reported that 85 percent of respondents said that their big data investments did not give them a competitive advantage, laying the blame on technology shortcomings, an internal knowledge and skills gap, and insufficient planning and strategy. And — perhaps a consequence of the Gartner findings — less than 0.5 percent of all data is ever analyzed or used, according to Forbes.

“Now we are in the era of data chaos,” said Rayburn. “Businesses have to grapple with data that is growing at exponential rates, coming at them from every direction in paper or digital form, and in new and complex formats.” 

He explained that for today’s businesses, the name of the game is capturing, extracting and integrating information — no matter where it comes from — into line-of-business software, big data applications, ECM systems, and automated business processes and workflow solutions. “You’ve got to do more than just scan data and put it somewhere — you’ve got to transform it into intelligent data and get it where it needs to be,” she said.  

What is IN2 Ecosystem?

The IN2 Ecosystem shows how Kodak Alaris’s existing portfolio is made up of more than just pieces to the puzzle – it’s about the entire package. The company says that its collection of scanners, software, partners, and services offer the right fit, experience, and results that will help customers “transform data chaos into information that will enhance business processes and differentiate themselves from their competitors.”

The ecosystem offers solutions for businesses of all shapes and sizes. The combination of hardware and software offerings can facilitate a business’s high-volume, desktop, web-based and mobile information capture needs. Kodak Alaris’s expansive hardware line — from desktop machines capturing a few hundred pages a day, to production-level units pumping through tens of thousands of pages a day — all offer the same interoperability with Kodak Alaris and third-party software.

The products of IN2 Ecosystem are designed to work together easily and reliably as part of one cohesive system. The UI from one device to another is largely the same, so users will be familiar with it no matter which device they use. Kodak Alaris’s Smart Touch technology allows employees to build customized scan profiles to streamline their frequently recurring scanning chores. These profiles can be stored and accessed on the device, enabling users to kick off business processes from the scanner with a touch of a button. Kodak Asset Management Software enables IT staff the ability to manage their entire fleet of scanners from a remote, central location, which can help save time, money, and resources and eliminate unnecessary downtime.

But perhaps the most important aspect of the ecosystem is Kodak Alaris’s network of partners. They can offer a helping hand should customers require some help making all of the pieces fit together just right, like integrating customized or incompatible applications into the ecosystem. In addition, they offer services that can help with everything from system design and workflow optimization to make sure that smart, efficient processes are in place, to support and training to ensure that end users and IT staff are all up to speed. “The partnership is very important,” said Rayburn.

Our Take

Kodak Alaris is in an excellent position. At a time when the marketplace demands robust hardware and capture software to get digital transformation initiatives off the ground, Kodak Alaris has an entire portfolio dedicated solely to that. The move highlights that data capture can require a multifaceted solution, and often a single device, software, or service can’t mitigate your capture pain points. Integrated ecosystems can resolve these issues. We may be in the age of data chaos, but the age of data clarity will hopefully soon follow.

is president and senior analyst for BPO Media, which publishes The Imaging Channel and Workflow magazines. As a market analyst and industry consultant, Ames has worked for prominent consulting firms including KPMG and has more than 15 years experience in the imaging industry covering technology and business sectors. Ames has lived and worked in the United States, Southeast Asia and Europe and enjoys being a part of a global industry and community.