As a wholesale conversion bureau, Penny Imaging Exchange (PIE) empowers imaging outsource professionals with capabilities they otherwise could not afford to offer their customers – including huge batch scans of microfilm and microfiche, often on a rush basis. But the rise of cloud storage and digital archiving means customers need fully searchable digital files. And to meet this demand, PIE needed highly accurate OCR suitable for high volume scanning – which it now does with ease thanks to ABBYY Recognition Server.
Penny Imaging Exchange (PIE) has achieved a unique status within the document imaging and management industry. Their clients are imaging professional outsourcers who scan and digitize files of all kinds – including paper, microfiche and microfilm – for organizations. “We’re an ally and resource provider – not a competitor,” explains Matthew Jackson, Project Manager at PIE. “We don’t work with end-users. Instead, we enable bureaus to cut costs, increase profits and offer services that they don’t have the time or resources to provide.”
And in tight times, such help can prove transformative. “Bureaus can’t do it all,” says Jackson. “Budgets restrict what they can buy and limit their human resources. We transformed the way they outsource, enabling them to achieve their full business potential.” And demand began to skyrocket. “With the rise of the Cloud and digital storage, customers increasingly want content converted into files supporting full text search,” says Jackson. “And the scale of large projects required an automated OCR solution supporting very high levels of accuracy.”
“Our mission is to add value to our customers’ services,” states PIE’s President Hellman Chica. “So to bring OCR into our workflow, it was paramount to find the right technology partner.” And as Chica confirms, the ability to handle high volume batch scanning was critical. “Since our customers are in the business of high volume scanning, we needed to be able to convert large-scale batches of documents accurately and reliably.”
Fortunately, PIE’s search for the right partner was a very short one. As imaging leaders in their own right and active members of AIIM, PIE’s team enjoyed the benefit of deep industry knowledge. Plus, they were well acquainted with a leading solution provider: “ABBYY is the gold standard for OCR accuracy,” asserts Jackson. “We had already been using ABBYY FineReader® for smaller jobs and with excellent results. Now that we were anticipating far larger batches, with many thousands of images in each, we decided once again to engage with ABBYY.”
The PIE team contacted ABBYY and was quickly guided to a solution by Jennifer Pomeroy, Sr. Business Development Manager. “Jennifer identified ABBYY Recognition Server™ as best suited to our needs,” says Jackson, “so we were able to get moving fast. Even better, implementation was fast, too – we were done in under two weeks.”
Chica and Jackson recall few incidents during installation. “There was a little trial and error,” says Chica. “But the ABBYY Team was always there when we had questions. They even worked with us one-on-one remotely to resolve issues and were extremely supportive and helpful. They made sure we were able to deliver our jobs on time.”
PIE runs Recognition Server on three dedicated servers and six processing stations. The solution can handle high volume conversion jobs consisting of thousands of microfilm rolls and fiche – providing indexing services when required. Each job is organized and managed by a project manager who oversees the scanning, quality control and image processing teams. Once all images have been captured and verified they are sent on for OCR.
With the option of adding high-volume OCR to their services, PIE customers can offer conversion of content from virtually any media – including paper, fiche, microfilm and image-only digital files. And according to Jackson, the results are outstanding:
“The results with ABBYY only get better and better as we move up the product line. Right now, with Recognition Server, the quality is excellent. For example, we can scan grayscale, color and bitonal images and get great accuracy across all three platforms – so we don’t have to worry if a client wants to do something in grayscale or color. It will be just as accurate as if we did it in bitonal.”
Jackson also points out that many jobs are “rush basis.” Scanning, quality control, OCR and re-checking all have to be done in the space of a few weeks. Yet Recognition Server allows PIE to deliver on time and with near-perfection. Plus, according to Chica, ABBYY’s reputation is important to PIE from another perspective:
And for the future? “We’re looking to deploy a Cloud solution,” says Chica, “and looking to ABBYY for help with making it enterprise-worthy. ABBYY has allowed us to extend our current offerings and enable our resellers to provide the benefits to their customers. In times of economic stress, having a solution like ABBYY’s really helps them prosper.”