Capture is an area of the ECM spectrum that often falls under the radar, despite the huge advances made in this area of technology over the past few years. Nowadays, capture accuracy rates are regularly in the high 90s percentagewise, while form recognition and consequent processing has become incredibly fast and accurate. Straight-through processing (fully automated forms capture and rules-driven activity throughout) has become a standard goal and priority in many organizations -- usually an achievable one.
Despite this, many organizations are still running first-generation capture and workflow systems. Systems that are really very dated, difficult to administer and with capture elements that perform poorly. In short, systems that are really in need of a major overhaul and upgrade. I am all for running the bejeepers out of incumbent technology (too many buyers waste good money on unnecessary upgrades and new products), but capture is the exception to my general rule.
And just to be clear here, we are not taking about scanners. We are talking about state-of-the-art software that processes captured images by extracting data, creating metadata, applying rules, reading content, and triggering workflows. Some of that source information may come via a scanner and hard copy or fax, but more commonly these days via eForms.
Suppliers we evaluate in our ECM research such as EMC Captiva, Kofax, Readsoft, Autonomy, Abbyy, and Brainware (among others) all offer distinctly different enterprise solutions that need to be carefully assessed and tested in your environment to ensure you get the right fit for your needs. You need to assess these services just as thoroughly as any other enterprise software, by going through a strong, scenario-driven RFP process.
All too often people perceive capture software as an incidental add-on feature to an ECM system. In my book it's the key element that drives big ECM implementations. Get it right and it's clear sailing; get it wrong and you pay a very heavy price.