Data Capture Solutions features on Document Boss
Document Boss is an independent body that keeps a close eye on the document management subsector. Mark Edward s CEO of Document Boss interviewed Kevin Ingram – the Managing Director of Data Capture Solutions (DCS) to understand the niche sector and how DCS has moved with the changing market conditions to create highly valuable business model.
1) Kevin perhaps we could start with a brief history of your background and a quick summary of your Business when you first started.
DCS was founded in the late 1990’s as a self-funded, start-up, limited company, focused mainly on drawing archive scanning. Previously, I was Sales Manager for the UK’s largest AutoCAD reseller, which I had come into from my Architectural CAD design background.
The CAD reseller at the time had just started to become involved in document/drawing management software to add on to their AutoCAD sales but, as it was a new market, I felt there was an opportunity to have a go myself.
2) What was the positioning for DCS when you first joined the company; what services / products did you provide and to whom?
Initially, we focused on drawing archive scanning from both paper and microfilm and the client base was quite varied but typically, was driven by drawing office managers and archive requirements.Over time, we added A4 scanning services and started to move into system/solution supply by reselling various products. Within 2 months of start-up we had won an MOD contract for site plan scanning and, within 6 months, a £250,000 open EU tender for the Prison Service, so fortunately, things took off quickly and we were amazed to win such high profile clients.
3) Your company has been through quite a metamorphosis over the last few years; what was behind your thinking in making such a dramatic change to your business?
Yes it has, especially over the last 2-3 years when we have made a conscious effort to move away from end of process scanning into front end capture and downstream process automation via cloud services.
The business has seen 3 general changes of focus since foundation:
Archive scanning services
Combined archive scanning + on-premise EDM system supply/resale (and eventual own IP development)
Transaction processing services & our own IP cloud business process automation
4) What were the major challenges facing you in bringing about that change?
The decline in archive scanning contracts and the shift to transaction based service provision has happened more quickly than expected and although new technologies like Kofax KTM, which we resell and also use in our own service provision, is improving, it is still costly to quickly implement for many smaller contracts.
Each customer’s requirements are different and so, a major challenge is in designing a standard service structure and template which can be duplicated, thereby reducing setup costs and transferring these as part of the on-going, per click charging to make the overall contract easy and cheap to implement for the customer ie: It becomes an operational cost rather than a ‘hard to authorise’ capital cost.
In addition to the commercial challenges, there have been significant technical challenges in deciding which technology to base our cloud platform on.
5) DCS has created an enviable reputation in a very exciting sub-sector of our industry; what are the main market drivers you have seen that you have managed to capitalise upon?
The recent recession has proved a significant impetus in changing our customers’ buying habits and the market in which we operate. Many organisations are now capital expenditure adverse but still want to invest in new technologies and process improvements. This then, favours SaaS/cloud and a per click/transaction engagement mode.
6) How have you managed to stand out from the pack with the services you offer?
We offer a full, end-to-end service from capture to downstream transaction management services, either as a cloud or on-premise, installed solution. There are very few competitors who can offer this breadth, depth and expertise in moving paper based business information to digital transactions.
Our cloud based solutions, own IP and proven, long term, existing contracts with global fortune 500 companies are also key to our success as they give us flexibility and a direct relationship between customer and originating service provider - and not just as a reseller.
7) What would you say to other solution providers who have been heard to say that SAAS / Cloud demand has been over-hyped and they are not seeing the demand or need?
All I can say is that over 50% of our business is now based on recurring contracts, which mainly use SaaS/Cloud delivery. Almost 80% of our own IP software delivery is now on a per click/SaaS model, with many customers now contracting for more than 5 years. Within our client base we can count the world’s largest company as well as major UK Government departments, each of which has thousands of users accessing our platform.
Our downtime and service reliability is excellent and we operate our own datacentre equipment and network, which is all UK located and backed between 2 remote sites. I think many solution providers don’t understand the effort required to change to a cloud model and the investment in robust, trusted service delivery that they need to undertake; they see it as difficult and costly.
8) You have managed to create a highly scalable and repeatable BPO solution service around document centric processes. Where have you seen the most demand recently and how do you keep these clients satisfied longer term? Your customer retention rate is impressive.
Recently, the areas of claim processing (personal injury, debt recovery and financial miss-selling), Cloud based HR employee record management and P2P are significant for us but the windows of opportunity have been open for quite a while now and are closing so we are already moving on to new solution/vertical areas where we can re-engineer solutions quickly around our standard platform.
There is also an increasing demand for mobile access to information for approvals on the move and our own technology helps greatly here, dovetailing neatly with Kofax’s own recent Mobile Capture products to give a full, end-to-end capture>manage>process mobile platform.
As Kofax’s largest Platinum reseller (by sales volume) in the UK we have also seen significant growth in these sales which are good for us as we then have opportunities to bolt on our own cloud platforms downstream as well as a significant number of professional services.
This F/Y year just ended in April, we have grown our business turnover by over +45% whilst still maintaining 15-20% pre-tax profits; much of this has been down to on-going sales to existing, major customers who recognise that they need to automate their paper based processes.
9) Are you seeing any early signs from your clients that give you insight as to what the future will bring over the next few years?
Businesses will continue to divest their paper processes to ‘on entry’ digitisation and follow on process automation. As paper declines, customers are also looking at how their systems and service providers can accommodate other input channels such as emails/attachments and we already have quite a few clients with an on-going conversion program in place from paper > Email.
We already have in place migration programs and our own IP in this area which can extract attachments and then classify and extract transaction information from a combination of the email and the attachment.
The iPad has taken the world by storm in the home market and is now increasingly being adopted by businesses, so human intervention into say, an approval process, can occur faster, giving better customer response times and lower per unit processing costs.
Buyers are moving away from large, monolithic, on-premise, CAPEX investments to lightweight, cloud based ‘mash ups’ of external services and offshore resourcing, blended with in -house data and line of business systems, all of which need to be able to integrate securely and seamlessly. The boundaries between where a business process starts and stops within internal/external systems & staffing provision is becoming progressively more blurred but there are great opportunities in helping major corporates move towards this model; this is where we intend to focus our efforts.