IBM Acquires Datacap

IBM has announced its acquisition of Datacap, a provider of software that enables enterprises to improve the way they capture, manage and automate the flow of business information. IBM will integrate the company into IBM's Enterprise Content Management (ECM) business.

IBM has announced its acquisition of Datacap, a provider of software that enables enterprises to improve the way they capture, manage and automate the flow of business information.

IBM officials said IBM intends to integrate Datacap within the IBM ECM (Enterprise Content Management) business, which is part of IBM's Software Solutions Group. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Datacap helps organizations to improve business processes, reduce paper costs or manual errors and meet compliance mandates, IBM said. Moreover, this acquisition strengthens IBM's ability to help organizations digitize, manage and automate their information assets, particularly in paper-intensive industries such as health care, insurance, government and finance. Additionally, regulations such as the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and Sarbanes-Oxley have demanded new standards and now legislation is encouraging the adoption of new records management solutions, including scanning and capture to increase accuracy, lower costs and speed business processes to meet these regulations, IBM said.

"Transforming the way organizations do business requires not only a powerful and flexible technology platform to accommodate the wide range of business requirements, challenges and goals, but also a deep understanding of the processes of the industries in which our clients operate," said Ron Ercanbrack, vice president of Enterprise Content Management for IBM, in a statement. "We've chosen to make Datacap's approach the foundation of IBM's document capture strategy. Datacap's approach to image capture, using sophisticated business rules management, sets it above the rest in the industry and provides the most complementary capabilities for IBM."

In a press release about the acquisition, IBM said more than 200 customers across a variety of industries are using Datacap software to help capture and manage their data. These include the Chicago Department of Public Health, Virginia Department of Taxation, BlueCross BlueShield of Arizona, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, The Dutch Tax Office, Dow Jones & Company, California's Orange County Superior Courts, Hawaii Department of Taxation, and St. Vincent Hospital and Health Care Center.

Meanwhile, companies today are grappling with managing unstructured data while trying to reduce costs at the same time. Industry analysts estimate that 15 petabytes of new information is being generated daily, and 80 percent of this new information is unstructured content. Recognizing this challenge, Datacap software supports image and data entry automation for most types of documents and forms, including medical claims, tax returns and highly variable documents such as invoices and shipping documents for more precise business outcomes.

As businesses seek to transform and simplify their business processes, extracting meaningful information from unstructured content - both paper and electronic - is critical, IBM said. For its part, Datacap speeds up this process by automating the conversion of both structured and highly variable formats - e-mail files, JPEG and GIF image files, and PowerPoint presentations - into actionable insight in seconds. This capability, which accelerates the dissemination of information throughout an organization by helping to eliminate the physical handling of information, makes it easier for SMBs (small and midsize businesses), small departments or global organizations to extract analytics faster and transform their business processes, the company said.

For example, said IBM, an increasing number of accounts payable departments are receiving invoices not just on paper, but also via fax or as e-mail attachments. Now they can quickly and reliably apply data extraction without the cost and labor of printing and scanning documents. Additionally, health care providers looking to implement an EHR (electronic health record) system can replace inefficient manual processes for capturing images of medical claims, correspondence, medical reviews and enrollment forms with an automated input system that improves accuracy, while reducing manual labor. The ability to capture and store medical records, encounter forms and lab results in electronic form is a key factor in the modernization of health care.