Back to Customer stories

BPO and Shared Services | Digital Archiving

Benefits of ABBYY Recognition Server Patently Clear to RWS

pathner logo

Benefits of ABBYY Recognition Server Patently Clear to RWS

Other | Digital Archiving

Customer Overview

Name RWS
Headquarters Bucks, UK

Find an efficient solution for the digital archiving of millions of documents.


Automated document conversion to searchable PDF with meta data to EMC Documentum.

  • Fast ROI in under 12 months
  • Cost savings of £100.000
  • Improved customer service

RWS is recognised as one of the world's leading patent translation and search companies. It performs this work primarily for clients in the chemical, engineering, pharmaceutical and legal fields. Today the group employs over 350 staff with operating companies in the UK, USA, Japan and Germany, and sales offices in France and Switzerland.



OCR functions available to all employees

28 million pages

converted in only 7 months


saved on reduced labour costs and licensing expenses


RWS' business is a document-intensive operation, producing millions of pages per year in translation work for its customers. In addition to the patent translation service RWS performs, in recent years it has seen a rapid expansion of its business in the commercial translation field. Specifically, the business has grown to include the translation of larger documents such as instruction manuals, company brochures and web sites.

Traditionally RWS stored documents as multi-page TIF images. In 2007, RWS decided that this method of storage was no longer sufficient. In order to get a better handle on these documents, RWS needed a solution that could convert scans of newly translated documents into searchable PDF format and then deposit the output in a digital archive. RWS has always put a strong emphasis on finding technological solutions for its everyday business needs and set out to find the best solution to help with the large scale conversion of its documents.


After thorough discussions of the challenges facing RWS, ABBYY recommended Recognition Server as the most appropriate solution. Recognition Server is a robust and powerful server-based solution, designed for mid- to high-volume document processing across large departments and enterprises. It can be deployed as both a standalone program and an integral part of a third-party system such as DMS, RMS and electronic archiving system. Routine document conversion processing occurs automatically and unattended.

Recognition Server is ideal for use as a centralised service for the everyday OCR needs of company employees who need to process printed documents to searchable formats such as PDF and PDF/A for digitising archives or records creation. Once installed on a server in the organisation's headquarters, the program will deliver OCR functions 24/7 to all employees, including those in the remote branches or working at home over an intranet connection. Powered by ABBYY's award-winning OCR technology, Recognition Server is particularly adept at working in international environments delivering unprecedented recognition accuracy in more than 190 languages.

"We needed an OCR solution that would comfortably handle a multitude of file types. ABBYY was compared to our incumbent OCR product, as well as alternatives from competing vendors that we had not tested before. ABBYY was found to be head and shoulders above the competition in terms of ease of use, accuracy and conversion and processing speed. Affordability was also an important part of the equation and ABBYY was clearly ahead of the pack in this respect. The ability to build language-specific workflows was also a deciding factor. Recognition Server was the only product that could process double-byte characters, such as those used by Japanese and Korean, correctly and in a cost effective and timely manner."
Alan Price, RWS Group Technical Manager

Recognition Server is integrated into RWS' systems via a bespoke application that RWS developed in-house. A user simply scans a document with a barcode on RWS' existing multi-function copiers. The application then drops the files to be converted into a hot folder that the Recognition Server is monitoring and the rest of the system is automated. In typical usage scenarios processing demand runs at roughly 5000 pages per day.

Recognition Server processes each image file according to a workflow - a set of processing parameters predefined by the administrator. Recognition Server can handle several workflows with different parameters, with each corresponding to a unique input source (a folder or a mailbox). All images that appear in the source folder/mailbox are processed using the parameters of the associated workflow. If several workflows are set up, ABBYY Recognition Server will process files from all the workflows simultaneously, according to their creation time and priority levels.

Although RWS initially purchased Recognition Server to convert newly created documents, the demands changed because the company decided to convert its entire collection of archived/ searchable documents into a new format. For RWS this most recent large scale conversion project was a one-off to move from their legacy TIF storage method. The plan was to convert all existing documents to searchable PDF, and then store the resulting file with meta-data in EMC Documentum. In total, 28 million pages from document types such as Word, PDF, TIFF, HTML, JPG, XLS and CSV were converted in only seven months. In order to achieve this goal in the allotted time, RWS processed just over 3500 multi-page documents, or a total of one hundred thousand pages, per day.

"The project successfully reached the final stages and we were very pleased with the ability of Recognition Server to keep up with such a large volume, and with how flexible the ABBYY licensing has been. When we needed to do a high volume of conversion in a hurry, ABBYY was very accommodating in offering a special temporary license that we could use to increase the processing power for the project."
Alan Price, RWS Group Technical Manager


The benefits to RWS of deploying Recognition Server have been numerous. Recognition Server allows RWS to store all of its documents as PDFs, with each document available to the user in a consistent manner. Storing the files in searchable PDF format allows RWS to index each document in a document management system and make it available for internal search.

"The installation process was straight-forward and quick with no dependency issues or headaches," notes Alan Price from RWS. "Best of all, there was virtually no user training necessary, which meant employees were able to change over to the new system in no time at all."

ROI on the first rollout of Recognition Server was achieved within a 12 month period. Additionally, RWS estimated an initial savings totalling approximately £100,000, half of which was from labour savings alone, and the rest from a combination of factors including reduced licensing expenses. The level of scalability of Recognition Server has allowed RWS to expand the scope of its document conversion process. The solution adapts to the growing business, providing an automated process as demand increases.

"Our documents have always been in a fully searchable format, but having PDF with searchable text is far more convenient than multi-page TIFs. Because we can archive the documents as PDF, we now have more confidence in the long range storage of our files. We have streamlined our internal processes and this enables us to provide better and faster service to our clients. Recognition Server has been a consistent win for us over time."
Alan Price, RWS Group Technical Manager
Like, share or repost

Ready to talk to an expert?

We'd love to help you along your automation journey.