Presented By O'Reilly and Cloudera
Make Data Work
Feb 17–20, 2015 • San Jose, CA

Unlocking the Data in Paper: A Case Study of New York Life

Kuang Chen (Captricity)
4:45pm–5:00pm Wednesday, 02/18/2015
Data-Driven Business Day
Location: LL20 A.
Average rating: ****.
(4.50, 2 ratings)

Enterprise data grows over 65% a year. Last year, non-productive information work—reformatting, data entry, and so on—consumed more than US$1.5 Trillion. Yet companies continue to pour billions into human-driven paper-to-digital processes.

The reason is simple: paper works. It’s simple, and it carries most of an organization’s data. Yet fast, correct extraction of data from paper is essential, particularly for heavily regulated industries such as insurance or government.

We’ll consider two examples of paper-to-digital initiatives: New York Life’s work to better scale digitization across its forms while improving data quality and turnaround times; and the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) decision to deliver candidate financial statements for public consumption. We’ll also look at some of the biggest—and most unexpected—obstacles encountered in rolling out these initiatives.

Kuang Chen


The idea for Captricity came from Kuang’s PhD dissertation at UC Berkeley. His research focused on data-centric approaches to increase the efficiency of low-resource organizations, so they can better serve their disadvantaged clients. While doing research in Tanzania and Uganda, he experienced firsthand the importance and difficulty of transforming data from paper forms to computable formats. Captricity now provides its solution and services to organizations like the U.S. Government (FDA) and New York Life – along with hundreds of non-profits – to solve the paper-to-digital divide. Kuang holds a PhD in Computer Science from UC Berkeley, a BS in Computer Science and a BA in the Comparative History of Ideas from the University of Washington.