by Robert Palmer | 6/17/15
Last Month, Kodak Alaris announced the latest version of its Web-based document capture solution: Info Input Version 3. The basic capabilities and functionality of Info Input remain unchanged. As a Web-based capture solution, Info Input was designed specifically for document-capture and it delivers key benefits over a broad range of metrics, specifically for those businesses that have already moved or are looking to move to decentralized scanning environments.
Bringing advanced scan & capture functionality to the individual desktop is one of the primary benefits of Web-based capture.
New capabilities for Info Input Version 3 include:
· Asynchronous batch downloading: helps improve operator productivity and reduce processing time delays. Users can begin to index scanned documents while a batch is still downloading, eliminating wait times and freeing up resources.
· Additional language support: In addition to English, simplified Chinese, French, German, Spanish and Arabic are now all supported.
· Delivers multi-language optical character recognition (OCR) support on the fly. This allows operators to quickly change languages using a simple drop down menu when using OCR to index documents. This new feature is ideal for customers such as business process outsourcers (BPOs) operating in regions where various languages are used.
It is Info Input’s design and open architecture that help to set it apart from other Web-based capture solutions. “The biggest thing that makes Info Input different is that it was architected with a clean slate,” explains Roger Markham, Future Products Marketing Manager at Kodak Alaris. “This solution was purpose-built for capture and to easily front end or embed into any other solution or infrastructure already out there.“
According to Markham, most other Web-based capture products on the market are designed either to connect to specific scanners or document management systems. In many cases, these are re-architected solutions, or perhaps bolt-ons to existing scan/capture software applications, which means the Web-based capture component cannot be separated from the main system. “You have to get everything else that comes along with it,” Markham says.
In contrast, Info Input is a standalone java-based solution designed with an open architecture, which allows businesses to easily deploy the software as a front end capture solution for just about any application and usage environment. At the same time, the open architecture design allows technically savvy customers, ISVs, or Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies to easily integrate the Info Input platform into other document management or ECM solutions. Because it is java-based, Info Input is basically software and platform agnostic.
Info Input’s Web-based architecture also helps to reduce implementation costs because it can be centrally managed. This means IT departments do not need to deploy, support, and update software on each individual desktop. Instead, all administrative and maintenance functions are performed on a central server and pushed out to clients. “You can make changes to forms and other components in a centralized way and push those out to users quickly and easily,” Markham adds.
Kodak Alaris offers Info Input in two distinct configurations: Batch Capture and Transactional Capture. Batch capture basically operates like most centrally managed scanning applications, with the ability to import documents (paper and digital files), sort, filter, and organize batches for delivery. The batch capture solution is server-based, and as explained can be tightly integrated with existing document infrastructure to share common processes, such as indexes and forms.
Perhaps more intriguing is the Transactional Capture configuration, which allows businesses to embed Info Input within a specific application to add web-based capture. Once installed, Info Input can be presented within a desired application, not requiring users to leave one application to capture and import documents, making it faster and simpler for users to capture information while providing easier access to information.
The ability to customize the solution is an important part of the overall value of Info Input. Indeed, customization and extended flexibility are key targets for Kodak Alaris in the future. According to Markham, the firm will announce the availability of a mobile application for Info Input in the coming months. “We also have customers that have added this to the front panel of an MFP,” he says.
For more on Kodak Alaris’s Info Input solution, see press release here.
Web-based capture is beginning to gain significant traction in the enterprise market. It is interesting when you consider the high percentage of business applications that have already moved to Web-based platforms today, primarily for the benefits of reduced implementation costs, increased flexibility, and better productivity. Nevertheless, only a small percentage of companies currently use Web-based technology for scanning. The same benefits achieved with other Web-based business processes would certainly apply to scanning and document capture.
One of the primary barriers is the perceived concern over disrupting existing processes and infrastructure. Many businesses have invested heavily to develop centralized scanning environments and the prospect of re-architecting those systems could seem unwieldy. Even so, the Info Input solution from Kodak Alaris appears to address many of the key elements needed to drive further acceptance and penetration. The open architecture should allow businesses to more easily port Info Input into existing document infrastructures and tie in with critical business processes.
The Transactional Configuration for Info Input is also quite intriguing. There are a number of centrally managed batch capture solutions on the market, but the ability to embed Info Input into existing software applications adds another level of advanced functionality—potentially improving usability and performance in a number of environments. Mobile capture, too, is another area where Kodak Alaris could set itself apart from competitors.
Meanwhile, it is interesting to see what Kodak Alaris is doing since its recent separation from Eastman Kodak. Formed in September 2013, Kodak Alaris was basically born out of the acquisition of the Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging businesses from Eastman Kodak Company. Markham says that Kodak Alaris is a fully independent company and is no longer associated with Eastman Kodak, but it retains the benefit of the Kodak heritage and brand equity that comes along with the name.
The Kodak Alaris Information Management business is geared toward helping organizations capture and manage information from both digital and paper sources, with a focus on artificial intelligence powered solutions that process high volumes of unstructured communications to drive better business outcomes. With a broad portfolio that includes scanners, software, and services, the firm’s current customer list represents a who’s who of high profile businesses across virtually every vertical sector.
Kodak Alaris had a record year in 2014, shipping over 200,000 scanners, gaining market share, and landing several high-profile software license and Info Insight platform deals. It will be interesting to see how the firm continues to grow and expand its capabilities over the coming years.
Robert Palmer is chief analyst and a managing partner for BPO Media, which publishes The Imaging Channel and Workflow magazines. He is an independent market analyst and industry consultant with more than 25 years experience in the printing industry covering technology and business sectors for prominent market research firms such as Lyra Research and InfoTrends. In December 2012 he formed Palmer Consulting as an independent consultancy focused on transformation, mobility, MPS, and the entire imaging market. Palmer is a popular speaker and presents regularly at industry conferences and trade events in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. He is also active in a variety of imaging industry forums and currently serves on the board of directors for the Managed Print Services Association (MPSA). Contact him at email@example.com.