Spescom Limited will be applying its research and development skills to its own document management and workflow system, eB, to include management of information from voice recordings. The company believes that this represents a quantum leap in thinking in the document management industry which has little understanding of voice technology and has hence focused its efforts solely on data and document management.
"We view the term 'document' as information from whatever media, be it a newspaper, an e-mail, video clip, drawing or recorded voice," says Johann Leitner, Spescom's Group Marketing Director. "From a document management point of view, any of these can be transformed into a digital file with a reference number - and from there can be stored and disseminated as usable information to wherever it is needed.
"We are in the unique position of having both voice transaction management technology from our Datavoice operation and document management technology from Altris. By integrating the two to form a single product offering we can provide advanced solutions that one of the traditional players can offer."
The introduction of voice technology into its eB knowledge management offering is a natural step for the company which is directing considerable focus and energy into the burgeoning field of voice and data convergence technology. Spescom's own knowledge management product, EMS2000, has undergone the first phase of integration into eB following Spescom's recent acquisition of US-based Altris Software, a global leader in integrated electronic document management software for enterprises and original developers of eB.
In South Africa, eB is being marketed by Spescom subsidiary, Spescom DataFusion, which among others, is responsible for marketing the Datavoice range of products.
The merging of EMS2000 into eB has already provided the system with a powerful competitive edge, says Leitner. "eB is now one of the few software solutions that bridges the gap between document management needs in companies with physical products or assets such as manufacturing and construction companies, and commercial services companies whose assets are intangible." Traditionally, he says, the management of technical documentation associated with manufacturing or production plants, such as product data and configuration management among others, has been excluded from document management systems for commercial business environments.
"Cohabiting with existing technical and business applications, eB now provides a knowledge base for structured and unstructured data with easy access, complete integrity management and efficient promulgation of knowledge in organisations of all types." According to Leitner, Spescom has identified the knowledge management industry as one of its key focus areas and its investments in eB will position the company as a leading technology supplier in this field, worldwide.
"Locally, the adoption of enterprise document management technology is still in its infancy. While there are no official statistics, it is estimated that barely 13% of South African organisations have incorporated this capability into their operations. This makes it a wide open attractive market, especially as more and more companies are cottoning on to the benefits of this technology, major ones being greater efficiency and reduced costs."
Another benefit is improved quality of service which makes it a useful tool in the customer relationship management (CRM) market or as Leitner prefers, technology enabled relationship management (TERM). "In fact, document management and workflow systems form the backbone for integration into a wide range of enterprise operations, including ERP, CRM and the supply chain, among others."
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