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Published on May 30th, 2017 | by Louella Fernandes

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Kodak Alaris expands information capture portfolio to drive digital transformation


By • on May 30th, 2017 • in Articles • 885 views • No Comments

Digital transformation is high on the agenda for many businesses that are looking to tackle the exponential increase in information – both paper and digital. Intelligent information capture is a key starting point for digital transformation, with leading vendors providing multichannel capture capabilities across structured and unstructured content. Kodak Alaris Information Management is placing its bets on its new Alaris IN2 Ecosystem to remove the complexity of information capture across disparate sources. Its integrated approach includes hardware, software and services, designed to address the needs of businesses of all sizes.

The value of information capture to digital transformation

Digital transformation is moving from a buzzword to reality, as organisations accumulate ever increasing volumes of data from a wide range of sources and in a growing array of formats. Industry statistics suggest that up to 90% of enterprise content is unstructured – such as email, video, digital documents, chat calls, SMS and more. This is in addition to the vast amounts of paper documents that contain business critical information. The reliance on paper-based processes can make day-to-day operations slow, costly and inefficient. The need to rein in this ‘data chaos’ across physical and digital channels is one of the greatest opportunities facing businesses and governments today.

A key starting point for such digital transformations is the digitisation of paper-based processes through information capture. This encompasses document scanning and data extraction, enabling information to be classified, stored and routed and triggering a range of potential processes and workflows. Effective information capture is key to better integration of paper and digital information and the foundation for any digital transformation initiative.

Organisations are making progress. According to Quocirca’s Digital Transformation Study, 79% of organisations report that digitisation of paper documents is very or extremely important to their overall information management strategy. The majority already operate paper-free processes and are planning more, with the top drivers for information capture cited as improved searchability (38%), reduced physical storage (26%) and improved shareability (34%). And those that are further along their digitisation journeys are outperforming their peers. Organisations that have digitised several business processes are already reaping the benefits in improved productivity, better customer retention, enhanced employee engagement and lower costs.

Beyond traditional information capture

Information capture has evolved far beyond its roots in document scanning. Today’s leading platforms are increasingly sophisticated, with the ability to capture, classify and extract information from virtually any source. Capture is no longer limited to centralised production scanning environments, but now often includes distributed and mobile capture from multifunction printers (MFPs) or desktop scanners across distributed locations. Integrating advanced document capture with key enterprise applications such as ECM, ERP or CRM drives business process efficiency, improves collaboration and ensures compliance.

However, information capture has its challenges – the top one being complexity, cited by 62% of respondents in the Quocirca research. This complexity arises from the need to capture a myriad of formats from disparate locations, and the need to identify and index captured information and route it to the appropriate workflows. In many cases organisations may deploy a range of disparate point solutions, for instance for batch or distributed scanning, leading to further complexity and an increased IT support burden.

Alaris IN2 Ecosystem

An integrated approach to information capture, such as the Kodak Alaris IN2 Ecosystem, can mitigate these challenges. It makes use of a broad hardware portfolio – from desktop to production scanners – along with intelligent information capture software, professional services and partnerships.

Its software offerings include Kodak Capture Pro and Info Input Software which offer new intelligent capture capabilities. Intelligent Exception Processing, for example, ensures immediate validation of forms by identifying and fixing missing information (such as a signature) at point of transaction, while Intelligent Barcode Reading provides highly accurate data extraction results.

The Alaris Information Management portfolio can be configured to optimise workflows for different business processes and a mobile workplace. It provides mailroom automation, automated routing and approvals for accounts payable processing and customer onboarding. Alaris Information Management is actively strengthening its unstructured capture capabilities. For instance, it often works together with AI Foundry, a Kodak Alaris business unit, to provide customised software integration. The same can be said about Alaris’s collaboration with its global partner network, which includes resellers, ISVs and Systems Integrators.

Alaris Information Management differentiates itself from its competitors based on its broad hardware portfolio and its third-party device support through its interoperable software. This enables a client to leverage existing investments in third party scanners or MFPs, and also take advantage of Alaris’s managed service offerings. The provider also uses managed service engagements as an opportunity to develop a longer term digital transformation strategy for its clients.

Quocirca opinion

Alaris Information Management certainly has the credentials to support digital transformation initiatives, by virtue of support for a broad hardware portfolio, a growing focus on software and services and the ability to leverage software expertise through AI Foundry.

However, it faces the same challenges as many other hardware-centric vendors – repositioning itself as a software and services led, hardware driven company, and also building its own unique brand identity distinct from that of the Eastman Kodak brand[1].

The market for intelligent capture software is relatively crowded, and capabilities vary significantly in how unstructured content is managed and processed. Alaris Information Management is one of the few suppliers to provide a complete portfolio of scanners, software and services. As such, the Alaris IN2 Ecosystem will appeal to organisations looking for an integrated and simplified approach to intelligent capture.

Given that the implementation of enterprise information capture can be a daunting prospect, Alaris also offers a managed service model (across a multivendor environment) which can lower cost and complexity. This could represent a strong opportunity for Alaris Information Management if it can also develop more strategic partnerships. Indeed, as over 90% of its business is conducted via resellers or distributors, partner engagement will be key to its success.

[1] Kodak Alaris is an independent, global technology company formed in 2013. It spun off from the Eastman Kodak Company and is now a standalone, privately held company. Kodak Alaris licenses the Kodak brand in its company name and its products, but is not a division of Eastman Kodak – it is a completely separate company.

 

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About the Author

With over 20 years’ experience in the print industry, Louella Fernandes is a respected and globally recognised analyst focusing on the evolution of business printing. Louella is currently Associate Director for Print Services and Solutions at Quocirca.



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