What are Open Platforms?
Open Platforms: Perceptions and Realities
What exactly does it mean to have an “open platform”? The perception is that an open platform has no restrictions or limitations; an open platform is agnostic. Yet reality is that there could be some limitations or restrictions. For example, there are ECM solutions that are built upon a proprietary database and are still considered to be “open”. The reason being they support a specific set of open standards for interoperability and integration. While the concept is sound, and many businesses look to a day where interoperability and integration across the enterprise is achieved, AIIM research finds that only 8% of organizations have accomplished this.
Capture and Open Platforms
The concept of open platforms and Interoperability in relation to capture can be viewed as the ability to incorporate 3rd party solutions and publishing APIs as part of an overarching information management strategy. Simply stated, it is the ability to add capture capabilities to an existing document or content management system. Pointing to a best-of-breed scenario, one might have an ECM solution from vendor A, a records management solution from vendor B, and a capture solution from vendor C. This approach allows organizations a level of flexibility, freeing them from being tied a single source provider. In many cases, it delivers a more agile, end-to-end, solution that dynamically adapts to business and technology shifts.
Expect Some Challenges
In today's capture market there are many application specific technologies, such as compression engines, OCR / ICR and mobile applications that are forced to run as stand alone apps. Oftentimes, these provide limited scalability and enterprise level integration. As the capture market continues to mature, consumers will expect application specific vendors to deliver stable capture platforms, that allow their solutions to scale and integrate in ways they can reach their full potential.
Organizations require an open platform that supports the mobile workforce by incorporating remote capture capabilities. The adoption of PDF as a standard format by businesses and governments, dictate the need for use of PDF and PDF compression for captured files. Mobile device use and in particular mobile capture along with digital signature use for automated authentication extends the corporate reach beyond the traditional corporate walls. Along with this, organizational demands are growing for ease of integration, support of best of breed niche apps, lowered cost of entry, and faster ROI.
Today’s ever changing technology and business landscapes demand that an open capture platform transcends traditional support for only ISIS and Twain scanners. Businesses require agility in the ways they integrate capture with their ECM solutions, and the ability to support a broad set of niche apps and market specific technologies. Use of mobile devices to not only access but also to serve as a capture device, mandates that support for full capture functionality is present.
A platform is a foundation upon which organizations can build and maintain their information infrastructure. Look for open platforms at all levels to ensure the infrastructure you build delivers not only the functionality you require, but also the flexibility. While no capture vendor would promote or advertise a "closed capture platform," many niche market vendors are being pushed to sell apps in absence of a platform. Look for vendors who offer open platforms with the ability to scale and add application specific technologies, as required, in order to ensure your success.
About Bob Larrivee
Bob is the President and Founder of Bob Larrivee Consultancy. An internationally recognized Subject Matter Expert and thought leader with over thirty years of experience in the fields of information and process management, Bob is an avid techie with a focus on the application of advanced technologies to enhance business operations.