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When Purchasing a Data Capture System Focus on the Journey Rather Than the Destination

By Joe Hill

Here is an old but good philosophical question that is often asked: What is more important to you – the journey or the destination? Some people after thinking for a while will answer -- the destination, while others, after doing some pondering will answer -- the journey. I'm not sure that either answer is right or wrong, depending on your perspective, but in the data capture world it appears that too many people are worried about the destination rather than the journey and while both are important, I have always thought that concerning yourself more with the journey will lead you to the right destination. The analogy is that many organizations focus on the export of data and its resulting file format (the destination), rather than how that data is generated in the first place (the journey). This can be a dangerous proposition as it can result in too much focus on how the data will be formatted, instead of how accurate that formatted data is in the first place.

Here's the skinny. If your data is in the proper XML or text file format, it can usually be converted to another format. There are a few exceptions in the healthcare field that come to mind, especially when dealing with HL7 specifications, and maybe some Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) formats but by and large most data can be converted and integrated into another system rather readily, especially if your data capture system has a solid application programming interface (API) which allows for extensions, which many do these days. And if your data capture system does not have a good API then using a translation tool may be needed or doing some custom coding may be necessary. But all of these data export challenges can be overcome. What can't be overcome is using a data capture system that does not provide you with the recognition capabilities that you need or the image resolution you desire or the indexing that is needed? And that is where the rubber meets the road.


Over the years, we have given many data capture demos and it is always interesting to note how many people are mainly interested in the format of the exported data or how the data capture system will be integrated to a downstream application. Often times it is the first question that we are asked – "How will my data be integrated to my downstream application or system?" Now, granted, one of our strengths at UFC is integration, and we have no problem explaining how we can integrate captured data to a downstream content management system or some other application, but it is a little worrisome that prospects and clients are so focused on it. Honestly, we would rather hear questions about image resolution, or recognition accuracy, or indexing.
So our tip to you is that you are better off concentrating on the data capture processes on the front end and the middle, rather than the backend. Garbage in, and garbage processed, is still garbage out, no matter how good your integration is to your applications on the backend. If you concentrate on the data capture journey, mainly extraction, recognition, and validation, then you should end up with quality, accurate data that is integrated into your backend application and you will have reached your ultimate destination.

*Note: UFC has 20 years of implementing, customizing and integrating data capture systems. Give us a call (248-447-0100) or visit our website at www.ufcinc.com to learn more.


About UFC Inc.
UFC Inc is a consulting, integration and solutions firm preferred by clients in the Oil and Gas Industry for our quality, innovation and integration expertise. UFC provides data capture, enterprise content management software, support and integration services - based on a flexible architecture and common set of applications for collecting, classifying, retaining, migrating, securing and accessing information – all at the lowest cost of ownership.
Unlike vendors that deliver generalized ECM products with centralized or consolidated architectures, or support few applications and data types, UFC delivers the most comprehensive solution, specifically tailored for the customer. The distributed nature of the solution along with UFC's extensive expertise and unique approach makes it ideal for the Oil and Gas company with remote offices that have limited storage space, minimal IT infrastructure or technical support. Remote locations realize significant improvement in operational efficiencies, improved collaboration, a reduction in storage costs - without sacrificing centralized control or visibility of information. From capturing personnel information such as fuel cards and human resource forms to capturing and storing engineering drawings and correspondence, UFC provides the Oil and Gas industry the ability to reduce paper transaction costs while increasing their data processing efficiencies.
Call us today to find out how we can help your organization at (248) 447-0100 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Information about the Author
About Me
Joe is the chief technologist for UFC, Inc. He guides the decisions on which products UFC offers as well as research on new software applications under the Jovation and MuWave trademarks.