“Even when a fax is delivered in electronic format it’s still just a graphic image; a lot of manual work needs to be done to add meta-data if you ever want to be able to find it again. But now we are able to convert these images to meaningful, searchable text.”
Freer says RightFax 10, the latest version of the world leading fax server system, includes the ability to read incoming faxes using Optical Character Recognition (OCR), and convert them to PDF text readable documents. “It’s always been possible to store a fax as a PDF, but it’s the OCR that makes all the difference,” he says. “It makes all the text in a fax searchable, including message content, customer names and reference numbers,” says Freer.
“Fax is a critical part of the workflow in many organisations,” he adds. “Almost invariably a fax initiates a business process like taking on a new customer, issuing a purchase order, processing a claim or paying an invoice. Because faxes play such a central role most organisations archive them in terms of their document retention policies – but finding the faxes again is not so easy.”
Freer explains that fax images have traditionally been stored with only a limited set of metadata such as the date, time and the name of the recipient. “That gives you very limited searchability, and tends to create large efficiency and productivity challenges if you ever need to find a fax by more subtle criteria. But with OCR, every word in the file is indexed; that’s why this is such a huge step forward for the industry.”
“With RightFax Searchable PDF it becomes easy to share and search for fax documents across network folders, email archives and Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems,” he says. “Sending faxes in the form of searchable pdfs is equally easy.”
“Organisations can now cut down radically on the amount of time they spend managing documents and content because content within their faxes can now be found in seconds using desktop or email search engines,” he says. “This is a significant step forward in the document management process.”