Smartphones are great for taking selfies and photos of your kids, but the image quality of a mobile camera still isn’t clean enough to capture a clear image of a business document, let alone one that can be processed using technology such as OCR (optical character recognition).
Before we look at how mobile technology is changing the way we conduct business, let’s look at the flow of a standard business practice – forms management. To start with, a form is filled out either by hand or as a PDF. Once all of the data fields have been filled out and the form has been submitted for processing, an employee typically sifts through the information to make sure it is complete. The information is then manually classified and entered into the appropriate system of record.
However, when a mobile capture platform is introduced into the mix the entire process changes. With the aid of a mobile capture platform, suddenly a camera-equipped mobile device is turned into a powerful tool for data and document capture.
Consider the following example of a mobile capture platform’s engagement during a loan origination process. A borrower, who provided initial documentation when the loan origination process began, receives a notification that additional information is needed. Instead of mailing or emailing the documents, the borrower launches the lender’s mobile platform and uses the application’s camera feature to take a picture of the document(s). Next, specialized technology within the application cleans up the image and notifies the user if the image is acceptable or if another picture is needed. Once all of the correct documentation has been provided, the information is sent to the underwriter or processor for review and continues to the next step in the lending process.
Mobile capture technology can provide even more value by extracting information from documents. Say you need to submit a copy of your W-2 for filing taxes. First, you would launch your tax preparer’s mobile app, log in, and be prompted to snap a picture of your W-2. The mobile capture platform would then clean up the image, extract all of the key data from the document, and notify you of any fields that were unreadable or unconfident. Then, you’d be asked to verify or key in only the information in question.
With these examples, hopefully you’re starting to realize just how many advantages there are to mobile capture. And while we’ve mainly focused on financial services applications here, just about any industry is well suited to leverage this powerful technology. From a company’s perspective, mobile capture is huge in how much time it saves employees from manual scanning, review, classification, and data entry. However, just as powerful are the benefits from a customer service standpoint given that mobile capture promotes better engagement and allows for self-service. As part of a business’ mobile strategy, mobile capture is a great way to increase customer satisfaction and gain a competitive advantage.