Meaning of Automatic Starting of a 'Data Entry Flow', Triggered by Document Scanning

Monday, August 11, 2014
Speaking of 'Electronic Appliance that transmits emails', it is the 'Smart Thermo Pot' which appeared in 2001. (the method of communication is unusual, though.)

Electric kettle that casually watches over aged parents who are living away, is something of a popular product in Japan. Now, it has equipped 'Outing Button' in the latest model, the kettle will send emails everyday with 'the time that water is poured' and 'the time power is turned on', as well as 'the time of going out and coming back'. (By the way, the name of the kettle is 'iPot', but it is not a product of Apple.)

And in 2014, when you look around, you'll see many instruments that transmits email in reasonable price... (You can say various things are connected to the Internet.) Among them, scanners and web cameras can be said fairly mature "Data Input device". The price is around 30000 jpy. You might call them that business improvement tool which very high return on investment.

The following Business Process definition is an Aggregation flow for questionnaire on paper.

It is a mechanism that the collected paper questionnaire such as Customer Satisfaction Survey of franchise restaurant chain or Contractor questionnaire of life insurance, is captured with scanner at each store, then the texting work will be started at the headquarter. That is, the Workflow of the headquarter is Started triggered by the 'Email sent from the Scanner', the personnel put them into data manually by looking the scanned image (PDF, JPG) on the monitor screen. Above all, it is great for grasping the progress of data working in real time. Yet, aggregating of the performance of workers is easier.

In addition, this sample model is capable of 'Double data entry'. As a matter of course, utilization of telecommuters and BPO service should be considered, if it is a Cloud-based Workflow.

[Questionnaire Aggregation flow]

[Questionnaire Aggregation flow; '1A. Data Entry' screen]

In this Business Process definition, there exists four points of auto-start by email receiving.

That is, it supports both of 'Double Data Entry flow' and 'Single Data entry flow', and the address for triggering is different. Furthermore, the triggering address for asking the supervisor on which Workflow to use, and even more the address for leaving that choice to the workers themselves, have been ready in this Process Model.

By the way, although data items in this sample are upon the theme of 'Scanning Paper questionnaire' (it is not even need to explain to sensible readers), this Business flow diagram is applicable to other business operation. That is, there is a lot of business operations which somebody must take some action on each and every scanned image, such as "Application form for the service", "Answer sheet of the test", "Business card that was acquired at the exhibition", "Documentation of Pension procedure", "Agreement of the Patients", etc.. (Lots of others. Brochure request, Point redemption claim, Contract cancellation request, Invoices, so on...)

(In addition incidentally, it doesn't matter, even email from Smartphone or email from the Internet FAX, instead of e-mail from the scanner, to be the trigger.

Extracting work that text data from the document image that is typed and printed, are being computerized by OCR technology (Optical Character Recognition technology). Google Drive does character recognition automatically. However, on the other hand, handwritten documents are hardly to be recognized even as a character in the current situation. For documents in the Chinese character cultural zone, it is almost 'a piece of Art'.

After all, there still are many processings that is weak in computers. In general terms, it may be said that "workflow that is forced to be dealt with human power", is the operation that must continue to be brushed up. (Automatic recognition of handwritten Japanese, it will take another 20 to 30 years, for diversity of types of character type of character, a combination of vertical writing, peculiarity of the writer, etc..)

P.S. 2
If you feel the difficulty in data transmission by e-mail protocol, then you should design a Business Process that replacing with "HTTP automatic start", instead of "e-mail auto-start". However, in this case, you may require an additional mechanism for making the scanned images REST communication.

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