First off, ABBYY means “keen eye”, an apt name for a product that dynamically and automatically captures and processes widely disparate documents. Powerful document recognition separates and classifies docs, and state-of-the art optical character recognition rips the data from the images. I like the motto that pops up on screen – “take the data, leave the paper”. I love doing just that, sending paper briskly off to start its next recycled life. It’s the greenest thing to do, especially when compared to filling endless cabinets and long-term off-site storage facilities.
When you want to recommend, sell, support, and solve major customer problems with ECM software at ImageSource, due diligence mandates a thorough feature review and testing. I’ll describe some of the steps I was involved with in this process for ABBYY FlexiCapture – but mine is but a single slice of the vet team pie. Development teams and other engineering teams performed specific examinations to answer questions about integration, APIs, and more narrow capabilities to solve unique problems faced by eager customers. Also, ImageSource staff with a variety of titles took a week-long training course with intensive labs. Unfortunately I missed the class but was given the opportunity to spin up for a pre-sales demo last year, which was a lot of fun.
So here’s a peek at our process:
First things first! I like to be able to run new software on my laptop whenever possible. This frees me from all bandwidth and location constraints. I can easily focus on the vet effort on a plane, down by the river, wherever and whenever. ABBYY FlexiCapture has a convenient ‘Standalone Installation’ which gives you access to all the key components on one box.
Obtain Sample Images from Client
In this case we gathered dozens of hardcopy invoices from a large international corporation. The images were not pretty and included originals, copies, printed faxes, you name it.
Ascertain Server Needs
After reviewing the ABBYY documentation we set the requirements for our labs – memory per server, disk space, software required, scan station requirements, scanner requirements, and required operating systems.
Spin Up VMs
Thanks to Mike Peterson we had three servers up in no time.
Convening the Team , Locking Down the ‘War Room’
Gene Eckhart, Jeff Doyle and I met in our Olympia office for a week. Gene secured the war room where we periodically met with developers, project managers, engineers, and principals. Most of the time it was the three of us banging away. Continue reading