Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Document Capture Software – How do I choose?

There are sooo many vendors that offer document capture software, you absolutely need to pick what is the right software for you. Below are some basic questions to get you started:
  1. Do you need scanning software, or capture software? This is the biggest question. I like to chop the scanning and capture landscape into these two buckets, and there really is a grey area in between. Scanning software provides you with a simple way to convert paper to digital format. These application are very simple, easy to use, with basic feature sets. Some examples are eCopy Desktop, Paperport, and manufacturer specific applications like Fujitsu ScanAll. Capture applications provide enhanced feature sets to simplify and add efficiency to the overall scanning and capture process. They utilize things like zone OCR, barcoding, OMR, ICR and also can provide full text OCR capabilities to give you more bang for your scanning buck. These include applications like, iCapture.
  2. Do you need full text OCR? Is the required end result a searchable document? Then you will need to choose a capture application that provides the speed and feature set required through Optical Character Recognition. Not all recognition engines are created equally, and you will need to make sure you find one that can provide the speed to keep up with your scanning volume, and the accuracy that you may require.
  3. What type of scanner driver will you use? This is a big one, and you need to make sure that your chosen scanning and capture software will support your hardware. There are typically 3 types of drivers out on the general scanner market: TWAIN, ISIS, and proprietary. TWAIN is the de facto standard in drivers, and just about everything is TWAIN driven. ISIS drivers are production level drivers, and typically seen as much faster and less error prone. Finally, proprietary drivers are those that don't comply with any industry standard interface, but are built by the manufacturer specifically for a certain piece of hardware (The Fujitsu ScanSnap uses this type, as an example).
  4. What is your end destination? Just about any scanning application today gives you the option of scanning to email, FTP and file folders. The industry is on the Microsoft SharePoint Scanning bandwagon, and will allow you to do scan to SharePoint. If you need to connect to other Document Management or ECM Systems, typically you will need to go with an advanced capture application, like PSIGEN PSI:Capture, that will provide you will the option to connect to over 35 different backend systems, or purchase some other type of file migration utility that can transfer your scans from a directory.


These are just a few, and I will post more as follow on posts.