In November, CivSource reported on an effort at the FDA to decrease the backlog of paper based applications by using a service provided by California-based company Captricity. Captricity is founded by former Code for America fellow Kuang Chen, and allows for data capture from paper-based forms. Now the company is working with the Georgia Government Transparency & Campaign Finance Commission on a similar effort capturing eFax financial disclosure forms. The effort builds on the company’s existing feature set and has given rise to the release of a new enterprise version of Captricity.
“The Georgia project is one of our first efforts working at the state government level. We have always had the goal of helping with open data and transparency efforts,” Chen tells CivSource. “The notable thing about Georgia is that they didn’t have a backlog yet when they started working with us, they were actually being proactive about what they needed to accomplish.”
The Georgia Government Transparency & Campaign Finance Commission is mandated to post the financial disclosure forms it receives online in a searchable database. State legislation currently requires that local candidates first file these documents with the local entity, and that entity then file with the Commission. In an effort to keep costs low and make the process easy for localities, filing by eFax emerged as a means of handling those reports. eFaxing allows candidates to file to a fax number online, and then that data is transmitted to the Commission accordingly. However, capturing handwritten information from faxed forms and making it searchable online presents a problem.
“We even received forms written in crayon,” noted Joel Perkins, CEO of Inserve360 one of the primary consultants on the efiling project. On top of the technical difficulties of capturing the data, the state had no budget to implement a capture solution. The Commission opted to implement Captricity’s services which recognize information presented on paper forms supported by an API to fully digitize that content.
“The issue with a lot of government work like this is that there is a need to offer both online and paper based solutions. Not everyone can readily interact with an application to meet government filing requirements. We’re offering a way to streamline handling those paper-based forms,” says Chen. To that end, the company has also announced the release of its enterprise solution which Chen says includes features that were created through the work at FDA and with Georgia. Chen sees the enterprise offering as an option for both public and private sector organizations that have multiple forms included in their online and offline workflows.
“We’ve seen a consistency in the need, and the features that enable this work so we’ve decided to formalize that in Captricity for Enterprise. We are also working through greater integration between online and paper based processes and a mobile solution. That effort is in the pipeline.”