IBM Datacap Review

It reduces human error and saves time


What is our primary use case?

Most of the algorithms in IBM Datacap are for capturing information on physical, tangible pieces of paper or documents, allowing them to be scanned, and associating them with an automated workflow.

Datacap can work in conjunction with FileNet most of the time. However, Datacap allows companies or government municipalities to take in information, scan it, and have it in a centralized database, so you can have an automated workflow structure for it. It speeds up a lot of internal processes, reduces human error, etc.

How has it helped my organization?

We use a lot of in-house ECM solutions and a lot of different technology solutions. We have our own CRM system. As far as Datacap and FileNet go, we scan in a lot of our documentation and have a lot of automated workflow structures for building RFPs in the government sector. Therefore, we can take a lot of information and scan it in, then it can tell us the differentiation in documents, etc. We try to be as paperless as possible. It's mostly digital these days. 

I'm working with the Connecticut State Troopers right now. We're implementing a Datacap and FileNet system for them. Their goal is to have their sex offender registry unit:

  • They have about 120 to 150 mailed letters that come in every month or within a cycle of three months (90 days). 
  • They have to tell people the location of theses individuals, where they are, what they're doing, and if they're still in the same location.
  • They have to track and make sure that no one is being harmed by these individuals who have committed crimes.

Thus, we have integrated a system, which should be going live in the next few weeks for them. The Datacap and FileNet systems will work in tandem together to pull the information from the letters, mailing, and forms which have been sent out for the sex offenders into the system. Everything will be an automated workflow structure so they don't have to hire ten people to sit there and type in all the information or scan the information in and still have to type it. It should automatically pick up a lot of the details which are already on the documents, then be able to flag specific individuals, and tell the people who are working at the state trooper facility, "We need to check up on this person. This person moved."

This is one specific example that I could give you as far as the benefits go. It's a lot of time and money saved, and ultimately, it protects more people, because there is less human error. If someone is typing in the information and they screw up, it could be detrimental and somebody could end up getting hurt in the process. So, there are a lot of different perks to it.

What is most valuable?

  • It reduces human error. 
  • It saves time.

Automation is all about eliminating human error and saving time. Time is a way more valuable resource than money. You can take out loans and receive money from anywhere. Thus, time is a much more valuable resource.

The overall issue is the amount of money that you pay workers every year to spend time filing paperwork or sticking with a manual process. An example: In the state of Connecticut, we implemented a solution which was forms based, but inspired by IBM technology. We were able to eliminate a process which normally took 60 days and cut it down to six hours.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see integration of Watson AI technology into Datacap. AI could play a huge, pivotal role as far as where IBM technology's heading. Not only that, but where the world's technology is heading, as well.

We have been seeing all these different competitive uses and different, softer technologies along with a lot of copycats who have popped up. IBM is fantastic and phenomenal at being a differentiator. As time has moved forward, there has been less focus on the Datacap and the FileNet side, and there has been more focus on the next generation of technology, like AI.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

IBM works in both the private and public sectors. 

As you're implementing the system correctly and you have the right people able to run and support the system, you will rarely ever see issues. When you compare that to a manual process, it's uncanny the amount of benefits that you can get from such a stable system.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is very scalable.

How is customer service and technical support?

The biggest thing that IBM has going for it on the customer service side is their ability that they have to create relationships.

Which solutions did we use previously?

My company adopted the technology in the mid-2000s because they wanted to make things faster, better, stronger, and more efficient. They also wanted to stay ahead of the competition and kept information secure.

How was the initial setup?

It can take some time to implement. As long as the customer understands that they have to be patient with the entire process, it's very easy to work with people and have the level of the technology they want to work. However, everybody has to be onboard with it.

What was our ROI?

It is wonderful when you compare it to something like a Datacap or FileNet system, then to a manual process. For example, when you have to bring in more people to do a job, it takes training, time, knowledge transfer, money, etc.

The difference when you have a system that's already set in place with automated workflow structure, you can just bring people on, show them how to use this system, then they can work the system for 10, 20, or 30 years. What I have heard from IBM is, "If a job is replaced with automation technology, you increase newer jobs to be able to run automated systems."

So, you save a lot of time and money, but the benefit is you have people who are able to run the systems, check to see if there are any errors at all, and there are a lot less errors than a human system.

What other advice do I have?

I do a lot of the business analysis or project management in our company. I have seen the difference that it makes to our customers to implement a technology like Datacap or FileNet.

I would definitely recommend this solution depending on the need and situation. If they need help with sales, or something along those lines, Datacap is not the first thing that I would think of. That would be more of a CRM tool. When it comes to wanting to eliminate a lot of human error, wanting to streamline a lot of internal processes, or even if it's just cutting expenses, increasing cashflow, and revenue overall for the business, then I would recommend Datacap, and additionally FileNet.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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