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evan.herndon asked a question on 22 Mar 2014 2:15 PM

I’ve looked around the boards here and it seems all the discussions on OCR (optical character recognition) are pretty old. I was wondering if anyone here could tell me their experience with OCR. Our AP department is currently evaluating OCR vendors like Kofax and Bottomline.  But would a broader ISV like Axtension which has some OCR be preferable.

Another non finance department is currently using Alfresca but I’m not sure if Alfresca’s OCR add-ons are the right way to go. It doesn't seem like they are necessarily configured to integrate into Microsoft AX’s Purchasing or AP. 

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Verified Answer
André Arnaud de Calavon responded on 23 Mar 2014 1:52 PM

Hi Evan,

I love your reaction. I would appreciate if you donate your smile to everyone around the world!

With the building logic outsite of AX, I mean that you should try to prevent to build too many integrations so the capture software will replace your complete invoice matching. I will explain in detail:

An invoice contains some header data like, vendor, invoice number, amounts. But it also contains line data. These line details can be really anything:

- Invoicing of received products

- Project (item) expenses

- Various costs not known on purchase orders, like water or electricity.

- Aqcuisition of an asset.

OCR Software can read all the data. Some programs do also have a function for approval and matching.

I think you only need header data and when possible or required only the raw data of the lines. Try to do the matching in AX, or the integration must be already perfect.

When the matching is in the third party software, from AX you have to provide:

- Vendors

- Sales Tax data

- Open purchase orders

- Project data

- Asset data

- Main accounts

- Dimensions

and some more.

The logic how to apply and all valid combinations is in AX. If you e.g. want to provide a valid combination of main account, business unit, department and cost center, this logic needs to be rebuild in the third party software.

Also how to apply the Sales Tax logic? The invoice contains probably only one amount. AX needs to have a Sales Tax Group, Item Sales Tax Group preferrably per line if the combination on one invoice is different.

Then when all information is matched, you overlooked some combinations and the data cannot be processed by AX... This is a common scenario.

From my experience rebuilding this kind of logic in third party applications is insane. I have seen many issues when trying this.

So I would advice to look at getting the data in AX and let AX apply all logic.

If you have some new questions, do not hesitate to ask them here.

kind regards,

André Arnaud de Calavon  |  Microsoft Dynamics AX Solution architect  |  My blog  |  My company

This post is my own opinion and does not necessarily reflect the opinion or view of my company, Microsoft, both its employees, or other MVPs.

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Suggested Answer
André Arnaud de Calavon responded on 22 Mar 2014 3:09 PM

Hi Evan,

Nice question. It is not only about the OCR itself, but also how the technique is used to have a smooth integration with the incoming invoices processed in AX.

I have seen software from Readsoft, Kofax and  Basware for integrations with AX.

For each solution you have to prevent trying to build the AX logic into the scan software too much. My personal preference is to have only the invoice coming in into AX, and not let the scansoftware take care of all posting and matching details. It is insane and almost impossible to rebuild all AX logic into a third party scan solution. I have seen many attempts but it did cost a lot of investments and at it did not have the integration a was hoped for. There is too much to take care of when trying to have all matching details in an invoice scanning solution.

I would advice to also look at Readsoft for evaluation. They have a global presence with local offices and a good solution. But at the end it would be your decision which product will most suitable for your organization.

kind regards,

André Arnaud de Calavon  |  Microsoft Dynamics AX Solution architect  |  My blog  |  My company

This post is my own opinion and does not necessarily reflect the opinion or view of my company, Microsoft, both its employees, or other MVPs.

Reply
Suggested Answer
André Arnaud de Calavon responded on 22 Mar 2014 3:09 PM

Hi Evan,

Nice question. It is not only about the OCR itself, but also how the technique is used to have a smooth integration with the incoming invoices processed in AX.

I have seen software from Readsoft, Kofax and  Basware for integrations with AX.

For each solution you have to prevent trying to build the AX logic into the scan software too much. My personal preference is to have only the invoice coming in into AX, and not let the scansoftware take care of all posting and matching details. It is insane and almost impossible to rebuild all AX logic into a third party scan solution. I have seen many attempts but it did cost a lot of investments and at it did not have the integration a was hoped for. There is too much to take care of when trying to have all matching details in an invoice scanning solution.

I would advice to also look at Readsoft for evaluation. They have a global presence with local offices and a good solution. But at the end it would be your decision which product will most suitable for your organization.

kind regards,

André Arnaud de Calavon  |  Microsoft Dynamics AX Solution architect  |  My blog  |  My company

This post is my own opinion and does not necessarily reflect the opinion or view of my company, Microsoft, both its employees, or other MVPs.

Reply
evan.herndon responded on 23 Mar 2014 9:42 AM

Thanks André. i have a few follow up questions if you don't mind.

first: Who is your favorite charity? I'll make a donation in appreciation for your help.

second: what do you mean about building the logic outside of AX? Are you talking about how Tags on the invoices like vendor Name, invoice number, amount, transfer to columns in the SQL tables? I Thought that the OCR software would create the table and then that table would be uploaded into AX.

Reply
Verified Answer
André Arnaud de Calavon responded on 23 Mar 2014 1:52 PM

Hi Evan,

I love your reaction. I would appreciate if you donate your smile to everyone around the world!

With the building logic outsite of AX, I mean that you should try to prevent to build too many integrations so the capture software will replace your complete invoice matching. I will explain in detail:

An invoice contains some header data like, vendor, invoice number, amounts. But it also contains line data. These line details can be really anything:

- Invoicing of received products

- Project (item) expenses

- Various costs not known on purchase orders, like water or electricity.

- Aqcuisition of an asset.

OCR Software can read all the data. Some programs do also have a function for approval and matching.

I think you only need header data and when possible or required only the raw data of the lines. Try to do the matching in AX, or the integration must be already perfect.

When the matching is in the third party software, from AX you have to provide:

- Vendors

- Sales Tax data

- Open purchase orders

- Project data

- Asset data

- Main accounts

- Dimensions

and some more.

The logic how to apply and all valid combinations is in AX. If you e.g. want to provide a valid combination of main account, business unit, department and cost center, this logic needs to be rebuild in the third party software.

Also how to apply the Sales Tax logic? The invoice contains probably only one amount. AX needs to have a Sales Tax Group, Item Sales Tax Group preferrably per line if the combination on one invoice is different.

Then when all information is matched, you overlooked some combinations and the data cannot be processed by AX... This is a common scenario.

From my experience rebuilding this kind of logic in third party applications is insane. I have seen many issues when trying this.

So I would advice to look at getting the data in AX and let AX apply all logic.

If you have some new questions, do not hesitate to ask them here.

kind regards,

André Arnaud de Calavon  |  Microsoft Dynamics AX Solution architect  |  My blog  |  My company

This post is my own opinion and does not necessarily reflect the opinion or view of my company, Microsoft, both its employees, or other MVPs.

Reply