ImageSource Q&A with Director of Product Marketing Greg Council
By ImageSource Team on June 7, 2022
What will product marketing bring to ImageSource?
Product marketing collaborates with product development, sales, and general marketing to help bridge gaps between products and customers. Product marketing also works to clarify our main capabilities to have strong, valuable conversations with prospective customers. It’s helping them understand the problem scope and how our products are designed to solve those problems better than anyone else.
What was your career path before joining ImageSource?
I came up through product management and thought product management was the focal point. I found that product managers always seemed to be internally-focused – more like product stewards. I recently figured out that what I was doing was product marketing.
I have always been interested in technology but never enough to be a developer. I tried that and figured out that’s not me. I started in marketing at Electronic Data Systems (EDS). I navigated my way into product management, which meant something different in each role. I’ve had a product management title since 2001 and have grown my experience through several positions and areas of responsibility. I see my role as a product evangelist – the product champion.
What are you excited about in joining ImageSource?
I’ve worked with ImageSource as a customer and partner in optical character recognition (OCR) and other types of machine learning. I got to know members of the ImageSource executive team and really liked them. Apart from liking them as people, I saw the portfolio ImageSource built in the ILINX platform. ILINX is a high-value technology stack, from the advanced capture input side through the content repository. Ultimately that’s what appealed to me – a desire to build and be involved more directly with enterprises and deliver more value, not just in the document automation piece but also in the process automation piece. That’s super compelling to me.
What technology trends do you think are important to consider?
I’ve got my favorites. I just got introduced to one of the pillars ImageSource is building out, ILINX Engage, and it’s about making sure that we can use automation to help people do their work better and more efficiently. It all comes down to using automation as a system technology and not a reason to replace people entirely.
Most organizations that look at machine learning to replace a workforce are barking up the wrong tree. You can do a lot of automation of discrete tasks, but it’s a fool’s errand to look for machine learning to take care of a process from A to Z. From a trend perspective, it’s really about looking for a way to blend automation in an assistive manner to peoples’ work-life in specific processes; for example, taking a task that would typically take one or two hours and getting rid of most of the tedium involved to let people do what they do best. We’re moving to desire to automate in a way that makes our workdays a lot more pleasurable and enjoyable. And that’s a trend that I think fits well with ImageSource’s mission.
What technology trends do you think should be ignored or forgotten?
There’s a misconception in the marketplace right now: machine learning is magical and performs well with no effort involved. Machine learning has an advantage – it can take data and see things that would typically take humans a long time. Humans would have to build rules, which might be complex and brittle and always need to be maintained. Machine learning can be useful to automate a lot of that. What it can’t do is take leaps of faith.
You or I could look at three or four documents or processes and find a quick path. We could intuit that 80% of the time it would be great. Machine learning can’t do it like that. It needs a lot of data depending on the algorithm. So I think there’s a misunderstanding that you can use machine learning from day one and get great results. That’s not the case.
The other one is the trend of looking for a company that can be everything to everyone. You need to pick a partner that knows what they’re doing in a specific domain. That’s another thing about ImageSource that I think is pretty cool. The people here are experts in process engineering, where complex information is involved. Some organizations will go with the lowest bid rather than partner with a company that can deliver on what it says it can do. There’s a need within the marketplace to better vet a partner to do the job. A prospective customer often goes with the lowest-price option and then comes back six months later saying: “That was a mess. Can you help us now?”
From your perspective, what advantages does ILINX have as a platform for process automation?
The ILINX platform is a very thoughtfully-crafted set of capabilities with a high level of integration. Many vendors will build and build and build features that aren’t well thought-out in terms of how they relate to one another. For instance, process automation without the capability to process document-based information or complex information is a very difficult thing to adapt. Designing process with the native ability to deal with that type of information is critical.
There are a lot of vendors that have just built process workflows that don’t have information processing capabilities. It’s bolted on after the fact, but it’s not well-thought-out and poorly integrated. I think that is arguably the most attractive thing about ILINX. There are many benefits to that: ease of implementation, ease of use, and the ability to extract the optimal efficiency out of a process. All of which translates to assuredness of capabilities. People don’t want to buy software. They want to buy results. Our customer partners see that ILINX can meet their expectations – it’s a win-win.