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Can the Best OCR Software for Your App Be Off-The-Shelf?

Off-the-shelf OCR

Receipts, forms, contracts, IDs, and invoices — most organizations still use a whole lot of paper. It’s why OCR (optical character recognition) is the de facto king of digital transformation technology. If you’re making document digitization a priority, finding the best OCR software for your use case is critical.

If you’re successful, you’ll be really successful. Deloitte estimates that “the right combination of digital transformation actions” could add up to $1.25 trillion in value across all Fortune 500 companies.

But there’s the catch: “the right combination of actions.” 

Most digital transformers are disappointed

In 2022, McKinsey reported, “Nine in ten C-level and senior leaders say their organizations have pursued at least one large-scale digital transformation in the past two years.”

The results, however, weren’t always so good.

“While many respondents say their companies haven’t seen the impact on revenue or costs that they expected, those working at ‘top economic performers’ are much more likely than their peers to report value from these efforts,” they said.

What are the “right actions” that “top performers” are taking when they’re digitally transforming? McKinsey tells us they’re hiring tech-savvy leaders, implementing bold strategies, and not relying on off-the-shelf tools

If you’ve read all about how SaaS is revolutionizing software development, then that last one might surprise you. The reality, though, is that using software your organization controls will always make it more agile and secure than using software it doesn’t.

When top economic performers digitally transform, what do they do differently?

The CEO of Ford, Jim Farley, got candid about using third-party software in an interview in 2023: “We’ve farmed out the software modules that control the vehicles to our suppliers because we could bid them against each other…the problem is the software is all written by 150 different companies, and they don’t talk to each other…we can’t even understand it all. Even though it says ‘Ford’ on the front, I actually have to go to Bosch to get permission to change their seat control software.”

And if you’re thinking about how to digitize your workflows and searching for things like “10 best OCR tools” or “top OCR vendors,” none of this is probably what you want to hear.

If you don’t have the in-house resources to spend on building a proprietary OCR solution or electronic document management system, what can you do?

Onymos DocKnow

When it comes to OCR, popular tools like Adobe Acrobat or ABBYY FineReader are great for less… proprietary use cases.

But if you’re building a web portal for telehealth patients to scan in medical records or a mobile app for credit analysts to perform data extraction on financial documents, then those don’t really work. To whatever degree they were retrofitted to be integrable with custom applications, they’re standalone products first, and it shows.

On the other hand, Onymos DocKnow was designed to work inside other apps from the start.

It uses a “no-data” architectural pattern that connects directly to your (or your customer’s) cloud. Onymos never even sees the data being extracted, let alone has any control over it.

That’s one of the reasons why CloudWave chose it to power their Doc Digitizer AI, a document-processing app for government workers that eliminates tedious manual data entry tasks.

“At CloudWave, we emphasize data security in all collaborations. When searching for an enhanced OCR technology for our solution, Onymos DocKnow stood out as the only product allowing our customers to operate it entirely within their own infrastructure,” said Prabhakar Ramakrishnan, CEO of CloudWave.

So — customers are in total control of the back-end part of things, but what about the front-end?

Onymos is the only company that licenses the actual source code for all of its software. It’s the opposite of vendor lock-in because your team can customize it at the code level.

Essentially, DocKnow is off-the-shelf software that acts like proprietary software. We built it that way, and it’s the difference between traditional Software-as-a-Service and Onymos Features-as-a-Service.

But what does it do “off the shelf”?

Onymos DocKnow includes pre-built functionality for document conversion, human-in-the-loop verification, and automating data entry.


DocKnow UI is the foundation of the University of Cincinnati’s new web app for capturing student health data. Incoming freshman Aishwarya Jawalkar told us using the app was simple and intuitive. “It was an easy-to-follow process with clear instructions given, and there was not even a single point of time where I felt I was stuck and needed help,” he said.

  • Provides ordered data fields to dynamically render your documents
  • Captures zoomed-in images of your document’s data fields for human-in-the-loop verification
  • Fully customizable UI (that’s fully optional)
  • Accepts multiple file formats

Device-side functionality

DEA Form 222 is essential for retail pharmacies to legally order and transfer controlled substances. CVS uses a DocKnow-powered mobile app to streamline the process. It transforms the handwritten dates, quantities, signatures, and serial numbers on a DEA Form 222 into digital documentation.

  • Transforms printed and handwritten text into structured data
  • Support for multiple data types: text, numbers, dates, and checkboxes
  • General text recognition can even parse text on untrained, unstructured documents
  • Local machine learning identifies any type of document

Server-side functionality

Albertsons Pharmacy turned to Onymos to help its technicians manage the thousands of paper vaccine consent forms they handled daily during the COVID-19 pandemic. Other solutions required visibility into sensitive patient data. That meant long approval processes — time Albertsons didn’t have to spare. Using DocKnow, Albertsons was able to build and release their VaxConsent app to the App Store in just 4 weeks.

  • Stores and manages your document templates
  • Remotely update your document templates — not your app’s UI
  • Images can be automatically cropped, skew-corrected, and enhanced to help them look like they came right from a high-resolution scanner

Can the best OCR software really be “off-the-shelf”? We think so. If you’re considering OCR or document management technologies to digitally transform your organization, contact the Onymos team to learn more about DocKnow (just one part of our digital transformation platform) and watch a live demo.

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