Why one cloud doesn't necessarily fit all when it comes to document scanning

Why one cloud doesn’t necessarily fit all when it comes to document scanning


We are living in an era that is dominated by Web-based applications in our consumer and, increasingly, our business lives. There’s an app for almost everything: from consumer apps to order a taxi to in-house business apps to file expenses.

These apps continue to drive demand for cloud IT infrastructure, which has fundamentally changed the computing model for businesses and will continue to do so in the coming years ahead, according to IDC.

The research firm recently forecasted the worldwide cloud IT infrastructure market to grow by 24 percent year-on-year, reaching $32.6 billion in 2015, while spending on non-cloud infrastructure will decline -1.7 percent CAGR. This is backed by IDC surveys, which have indicated growing interest among enterprise customers driven by agility of IT infrastructure and economic reasons.

The app that cloud forgot

Despite this, the cloud has eluded one key business process to date: document scanning.

Analyst firm Kollabria Research revealed that just 2 percent of businesses use Web-based technology for document scanning, despite the fact that an estimated 87 percent of business applications on the market today are Web-based.

So why is this?

Breaking down barriers to Web capture

One of the main barriers to Web capture in the enterprise is that many thin-client and browser-enabled capture solutions were built to fit into existing systems or for specific hardware environments. In order to overcome this barrier, organizations need to take a web-centric approach. Take Kodak Info Input for example: it runs on Apache Web server, which is used by major websites worldwide.

However, the ‘perceived’ disruption to existing processes and infrastructure is still preventing businesses from implementing Web-based technology. But it shouldn’t be. Kodak Info Input is designed with an open architecture framework, making it easier for businesses to port the solution into existing document infrastructures and tie into critical business processes, according to BPO research chief analyst, Robert Palmer.

The lure of Web capture

What organizations want is something that has a light footprint, is integrated fully into their applications, and that is accessible everywhere and to anyone, particularly as many of the users who need to scan and access the data are increasingly going to be on mobile devices such as smart phones or tablets.

Web-based scanning is a solution that will allow everybody from mobile to end-users to input paper-based documents directly into their line of business applications and to do it without the need for dedicated scanner software, high-end devices, or the need to compromise your security by moving to a business model like the cloud where your data is stored outside of the firewall.  

With Web-based scanning you can integrate your scanning directly into your application – there’s no need to fire-up a separate scanning app, scan in a document and attach it. You can also grab the data within the application, and that can be done using a dedicated scanner, or an end-user can scan in a document on their home scanner and import that into the application.  

Lastly Web-based solutions are future-proofed because the solution is Web-based, it’s always up-to-date and patched against any new threats and will be guaranteed to work.

Why not Web-based document capture?

However, for all the benefits of Web-based scanning, there are still reasons why many businesses haven’t embraced scanning to the cloud. In addition to legacy technology issues mentioned earlier in this post and the costs and support challenges that go along with that, security issues are also another large barrier for many organizations when it comes to Web-based capture.

Another AIIM survey revealed in The future of intelligent document capture white paper (see graphic below) shows that for business processes such as loan origination or case management, the sort of distributed scanning described above is often a better fit.


The future of intelligent document capture final-6_2


There may also be instances such as filing expenses where organizations don’t want certain documents such as invoices to be out there in the cloud, potentially accessible to hackers who are able to break into the network.

The debate shouldn’t be so much whether or not to implement Web capture versus distributed scanning but rather to determine the scenario and which solution will suit it best for that organization at that time in their business.