Cardiff’s TeleForm V10

I had a discussion last week with Mark Seamans, the general manager of Cardiff, about their V10 release of TeleForm and where it plays in the BPM market (you can find the full press release here).

They’re really a content capture company, both from paper and e-forms, and they do that well — I’m familiar with them from years ago when workflow always involved imaging, and Cardiff was used for both intelligent paper document capture and e-forms in order to greatly improve productivity — I’ve written before about the powerful combination of BPM and e-forms. However, Autonomy/Cardiff now seems to be lumped into the ever-expanding BPM space and it might be hard for them to get the attention that they deserve in such a diverse market, most of which does not compete with them at all.

Gartner’s latest report on BPM classifies them in the “Vendors That Warrant Special Mention”, which sounds a bit like getting the congeniality award at a beauty pageant, but qualifies that by saying that BPM specialists like Cardiff have some capabilities that could compete with true BPMS vendors but that they’re focussed on a specific use case. For Cardiff, that use case is as a lightweight, forms-centric, document-processing flow that provides intelligent/automated data entry to back-office systems such as SAP. Typically, this might include hybrid processes such as printing barcoded forms, then the subsequent rendezvous of the scanned form when it returns to the data entry flow, or purely electronic e-forms data entry. Their focus is on “scan to process” rather than “scan to capture”, where the scanned image is not necessarily required for processing once the data has been captured from it, and may even be discarded. Cardiff can use the IWay adapters for connecting to various systems, or invoke web services, or take advantage of what their partner channel has built for integration where the former two methods fail.

I still think that this is a case of a vendor in a niche market — albeit a successful niche — getting swamped by the Tower of Babel effect from an overly-wide range of products all being classified as BPM. Cardiff holds an important piece of the puzzle for some customers, especially in highly-regulated industries with strict compliance rules, and it would be good if the customers could figure out which pieces to fit together.

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