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Single-Platform Capture in Content Management

This article is part of the Best Practices White Paper Enterprise Content Management [March 2004]

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Content management systems bring the promise of increased organizational efficiency, but they are only as good as the information they contain. Documents and files that are initially saved within the system are easy to handle. But organizations also handle an enormous amount of incoming information that arrives in paper documents, paper forms and a variety of electronic formats. The more of this information you can deliver into your CM system—and the higher the quality and consistency of that information—the better the benefits.

That’s where information capture systems come in. These systems automatically capture the incoming information and deliver it into your CM system to feed business processes and archives.

But while it is easy to justify the purchase of a capture solution, it is also easy to choose a capture solution for one department and then find you cannot easily extend it to other departments or locations. Or to choose a system that is good at capturing paper documents but not electronic files. Or select a system that can process forms but not unstructured documents like correspondence.

What you need is a single platform that can easily grow to handle more documents, different kinds of information, multiple formats and even multiple locations.

Decision Factors for Capture Systems

  • Ability to handle multiple types/formats of information: In the past, an organization that wanted to capture both documents and forms had to maintain two systems. Likewise, electronic information was processed through a different system than paper information. But that leads to significantly higher costs, not only to buy the systems in the first place, but also to run and maintain them. Today, you can eliminate the considerable expense of maintaining multiple applications by implementing a single capture system that can handle both paper and electronic information, and both documents and forms;

  • Ability to grow beyond a single, central installation: A central capture system accelerates processes, but organizations with multiple locations still need to get their information into the process. You can avoid the costly and time-consuming shipping and copying of documents by making sure your system can capture information directly at the remote offices, without sending the physical paper anywhere;

  • Compatibility with capture devices: Your system might start with one scanner and expand to many more, including a mix of high-volume production scanners and low-volume desktop scanners. Make sure your capture system can easily accommodate a wide variety of document scanners;

  • Compatibility with CM and other business systems: Your captured information needs to be delivered into some kind of business system, such as a content management system, workflow system, database or archive. So what happens if you replace that business system, or if you want your capture solution to support more business processes? Make sure your capture system has strong connectivity to a wide variety of business systems, and can deliver information into multiple systems;

  • Maximum automation: One of the biggest steps in minimizing the cost of a capture system is to maximize the amount of the process that is handled automatically. If your system can adjust for different types of documents and forms, you avoid the time and cost of pre-sorting them. If your system can enhance scanned documents so you always get high-quality images, you avoid the hassle, expense and delays of rescanning. If your system can automatically extract information from forms, you avoid expensive and error-prone manual data entry; and

  • Ability to handle upgrades/maintenance: The closer a capture system is to a “toolkit solution,” the harder it is to maintain over time. Make sure your capture system is easy to upgrade and expand without significant recoding.

The World’s Most Popular Capture Solution

Kofax has become the world’s leading provider of information capture solutions by addressing all these needs. The Ascent platform is the most popular capture application worldwide, and VRS (VirtualReScan) is the industry standard for producing high-quality scans without pre-sorting or rescanning.

Ascent collects paper and e-documents, transforms them into retrievable information, and delivers it into your content management system. It can be easily deployed in a single department or support the capture needs of an entire enterprise, including remote locations. Ascent Capture can address many information capture needs right out of the box. And as a modular application, it can be extended to meet the needs of more-demanding environments.

The Ascent Xtrata plug-in dramatically reduces the cost and effort required to set up and operate a forms processing system. And by providing a single capture platform, Ascent eliminates the duplicate coding, maintenance and processing required when you have multiple capture systems.

Kofax has formed strong partnerships with hardware manufacturers and application vendors, ensuring solid compatibility with capture devices such as scanners, digital copiers, multifunctional peripherals, and fax servers, plus the ability to deliver multiple data formats to hundreds of content management and other business systems.

Anthony Macciola joined Kofax in 1990 and is currently Vice President of Marketing. He oversees product development, product management, product marketing, and corporate communications. To learn more about how Kofax makes the most of your business information processes, call 949-727-1733, send e-mail to, or visit

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