Evaluating Options in the 2020 Intelligent Capture Marketplace

In the last three years, enterprise capture has been undergoing a transformation, incorporating greater amounts of artificial intelligence to birth what’s now often called “intelligent capture.” Even the traditional capture platform vendors -- IBM (Datacap), Kofax, and OpenText (Captiva) -- are joining the next-gen technology vendors (e.g. HyperScience, and even Amazon and Google) to address intractable problems, such as handwriting recognition and complex exception handling, to eliminate labor from capture processes.

Most of our clients—particularly large financial services firms, insurance companies and utilities—are rethinking their enterprise capture strategies. Most of our clients are not just kicking the tires of the new document automation tools. They are trying to do proofs of concept or bake-offs between a few of these tools and typically their incumbent capture platforms or other tools. We think this definitely the way to go.

The first step, then, is to assess whether any of the intelligent capture tools may fit your enterprise’s needs.

Deployment Readiness and Performance Capabilities are Key Dimensions for Evaluation of Intelligent Capture Solutions

When you think about what products and vendors to assess, it’s useful to categorize by two dimensions: deployment readiness and performance. Deployment readiness is how easily the technology can be inserted into a production capture environment. Performance is how well the technology can solve certain document processing automation problems, particularly document classification, extraction, and validation. Products tend to fall in one of four groups when assessed by these dimensions.

  • Group #1: Mature Platform Vendors – Deployment readiness is very good and performance is fair to good.
  • Group #2: Mature Solution Vendors with innovative offerings – Deployment readiness is good and performance is good.
  • Group #3: New Solution Vendors with innovative offerings – Deployment readiness is fair and performance is good.
  • Group #4: New Engine/Tool Vendors with innovative offerings – Deployment readiness is poor but performance is good.

Choose a product that lines up with the relative importance your organization has assigned to both deployment readiness and performance capabilities.

If you’re more interested in near-term production deployment you should choose products closer to Group #1. If you’re more interested in learning about innovative approaches and don’t need to deploy in the near-term then choose products closer to Group #4.

Group #1 – Deployment readiness is very good and performance is fair to good.

The products in this group tend to be market-leading capture platforms. If you already have a major capture platform deployed, you can use it to establish a baseline for comparison to other platforms you are considering.

Group #2 – Deployment readiness is good and performance is good.

Products from these “legacy” vendors focus on document processing automation and can supplement the core platforms in Group #1 or be used separately. These vendors have been around since the 1990s but they’ve also been trying to innovate in document processing automation using AI, machine learning, NLP, etc.

Group #3 – Deployment readiness is fair and performance is good.

Products from these so-called “next-gen” vendors have innovative document processing automation capabilities. As a category, the next-gen products aren’t great at being “deployment ready.” But this group contains the most deployable of the next-gen group.

Group #4 – Deployment readiness is poor but performance is good.

These next-gen products are not deployable out of the box and require effort and expertise, from both your organization and from the vendor’s professional services team or a partner. But they are noteworthy for their approaches, or for the types of problems they solve. For example, they are typically more advanced in artificial intelligence (AI) than the other approaches. Some handle more languages and more difficult, unstructured document layouts than Group #3. And in fact, some of the products in Groups 1-3 use these Group 4 technologies under the hood.

Note that some of these products are SaaS-based magical black boxes. You provide them with the images and they do the classification, extraction, and validation. This approach can have significant advantages in offloading some of the cost and pain. But it might be a drawback or a non-starter for some enterprise organizations, who want greater visibility and control, or require the documents or data to stay in a home country.

Intelligent Capture Solution Evaluation Model

Approach Vendors and Characteristics Deployment Readiness Performance
1. Mature "platform" vendors
  • Includes Kofax, IBM, OpenText, Hyland
  • Provides scan/input, workflow, comprehensive reporting
Good Fair to Good
2. Mature intelligent capture "solution" vendors with innovative offerings
  • Includes ABBYY, Adlib, Mitek/A2ia, Parascript
  • Provides mature and next gen capabilities; some workflow and reporting, inherent or integrated IPA
Good Fair
New intelligent capture "solution" vendors with innovative offerings
  • Includes Antworks, Ephesoft, HyperScience, Vidado
  • Provides next gen capabilities, some workflow and reporting, inherent or integrated IPA
Fair Good
New "engine/tool" vendors with innovative offerings
  • Includes AWS, Google Infrrd, Nuveo
  • Consists of AI generalists who have a focus on intelligent capture and provide individual engines or tools that can be developed or OEMed
Poor Good

 

Intelligent Capture Vendors – a Short List

Rather than present an exhaustive list, we focus on a short list of vendors that we’ve evaluated or seen in successful production within our client base.

  • A2ia
  • ABBYY
  • Adlib
  • AntWorks
  • AWS (Textract, Comprehend)
  • Ephesoft
  • Google (Cloud Vision)
  • HyperScience
  • IBM (Datacap)
  • Infrrd
  • Kofax
  • Nuveo
  • OpenText
  • Parascript
  • Vidado

Conclusion

There are a lot of great opportunities on the market now to increase your use of intelligent capture, but given the significant investment in time, resources and cost, you need to thoroughly evaluate your options. Doculabs is uniquely positioned to provide the guidance you need, with decades of experience conducting technology evaluations and proofs-of-concept for document capture in particular. A great place to start is with a Doculabs briefing on some of our short-listed intelligent capture vendors. Please reach out if you would like to schedule a complimentary briefing.

How to Select Enterprise Software

Rich Medina
Rich Medina
I’m a Principal Consultant and co-founder of Doculabs, and the resident expert in using ECM for information lifecycle management.