Partner deep dive: The future of OCR and machine learning

OCR market trends, newest developments and productive discussions

Last week OpenText once again welcomed its Partners to our annual deep dive workshop for OpenText Vendor Invoice Management® for SAP® Solutions (VIM) and OpenText Business Center for SAP Solutions (DCP), which traditionally takes place in the European HQ of OpenText in Munich, Germany.

The workshop is a busy event with a fully packed agenda, over 2 days. Originally, it was planned as a workshop to help partners discover which innovations and changes were added to Vendor Invoice Management and Business Center products during the year.

However, over the past 10 years this event has evolved into something larger than a simple technical seminar. In the course of this post, I’ll be happy to tell you why.

The future of OCR & the newest trends in capture

After the introduction, we kicked off with a workshop dedicated to the latest trends in the capture market, led by Matthias Niessen. The discussions were concentrated around the latest findings from the whitepaper, Effective Capture is the First Step in Digital Transformation.

We often hear from many sources that the age of OCR is over. However, the findings of the whitepaper challenge this argument. While it’s true that the need for OCR is declining, the reality is 80% or more of external B2B communications are still paper based. In the United States alone, there are more than 5 billion invoices printed on a yearly basis. This is predicted to remain consistent until 2023, to the tune of 4 billion invoices per year.

Nevertheless, one thing is certainly true – the age of traditional OCR systems is over. Customers are no longer looking to capture information, just for the sake of capturing it. We are moving to the age of information extraction – an age where content is captured and insights are used to fuel business processes, which is the essential first step to digital transformation.

This approach follows the methodology content in context, which is promoted by OpenText. The information that is captured, is passed to a leading business application, where value and insight can be added. One of the best examples here is the deep integration of VIM and Business Center with the SAP suite.

Are machine learning technologies capable of replacing humans?

After discussing latest trends and findings we moved to the actual technical overview part which was kicked-off by me, introducing our innovative product for digital content processing – Business Center.

During the presentation we discussed the newest trends in robotic process automation and the capabilities of current machine learning technologies. In fact, for many it was a surprise how far this area has advanced in recent years and how close to human (and even sometimes better) the machines have become.

Business Center is a relatively new product, with many partners seeing it for the first time. However one thing was clear – after the demonstration of the product, with its powerful machine learning capabilities drastically decreasing the time needed to setup and start using the application – we have received many requests for follow up training and enablement on the product.

All in all – it was a great start, a productive day, full of questions and powerful discussions, which I really enjoyed.

Cloud and a new generation of Vendor Invoice Management are knocking on the door

The next guest and the headliner of the partner deep dive was our product, OpenText Vendor Invoice Management for SAP Solutions. It is not only a high runner in OpenText, but also a product that is loved and well perceived by our Partners.

The session was led by our experienced colleague – Michael Feyhl, Director of Product Management for VIM and Business Center. The session was very interactive and packed with questions and discussions. The two hottest topics were cloud and SAP’s Fiori®. It is not a big secret that cloud is slowly but firmly taking the lead and that SAP has put a big bet on the cloud. The good news is OpenText is fully committed to supporting SAP on this initiative.

The first step that we took in this direction is a co-developed product for the public cloud – SAP S/4HANA Cloud for invoice processing, which was presented during the event.

Another key initiative is the newly introduced SAP Fiori Framework, which was presented by our colleague Christian Nicklas. This is an instrument to simplify custom development and minimize coding. Many customers are currently changing to Fiori or will be soon. The framework is the first step to simplifying projects for our customers and partners.

For example, using this framework allows for the decrease the administration efforts for the partner or even a customer. Now instead of coding when you need to change an approver in your system, you just need simple clicks in a modern and comfortable interface.

In summary

From the feedback we received at the event, and based on the number of requests of joint customer visits and additional enablement sessions, we can conclude that this event was a complete success! Once again, I want to take the opportunity to thank our great partner network. I’m really looking forward to a productive year together, and of course, to our next partner deep dive!

Partner deep dive taking full speed

Vladimir Shakhov

Vladimir is a Program Manager in the SAP Ecosystem with a primary responsibility for Business Center. Prior to OpenText, he worked as the deputy IT manager for the largest investment bank in Russia, and as a member of the SAP consulting department in Germany. Vladimir is a frequent speaker in major customer-facing events and holds an MBA degree with a major in business transformation.

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