What’s all the ballyhoo about AI?
The era of artificial intelligence has arrived, and, whether you realize it or not quite yet, AI has already started its ever expanding presence in our lives. Just think of all those lists of personalized suggestions of films, music and news tailored for you based on your preferences on Netflix, Spotify or your preferred local news portal, which make those selections using nothing else but AI technologies. Think even further about those amazing and sometimes hard-to-believe things like facial recognition, touch IDs, self-driving cars and talking documents that keep making our lives look and feel more and more like in sci-fi novel written some 20 years ago!
Businesses all over the planet are also exploring how AI super power can enhance production and services workflow and what potential opportunities it can bring. According to Tractica, AI-driven business applications are expected to reach $11.1 billion by 2024. With its compound annual growth rate of over 56%, AI is rightfully considered one of today’s fastest-growing market segments (https://www.tractica.com/newsroom/press-releases/artificial-intelligence-for-enterprise-applications-to-reach-11-1-billion-in-market-value-by-2024/).
How all this hype around AI can be explained? It actually stands to several reasons. Amount of all kinds of data has dramatically expanded over the last 5 years, forcing businesses seek for new efficient ways to manage, store and analyze their data for smarter decision-making. Another big part is that AI has become more practically achievable due to progress in the AI technologies and significant cost reduction of the computing power to process these intense AI calculations. Talking about AI immersing in document management, the most important factor was its transition from isolated tools and procedures into a comprehensive management platform. At the same time, enterprise search has evolved from 2D to 3D, replacing the old flat search through indexed data sources by an intelligent suggestive search taking context into account, such as user’s past searches, other users’ searches, the searcher’s role within the company, document history, etc.
All those important changes gave occasion to today’s situation where we can find AI embedded in vertical products for document review, contract analytical tools, expert systems, with new ones popping up almost every day. Indeed, the AI presence is now being felt in the area of document management, where cognitive computing is meant to revolutionize the ways we treat, archive, store and extract all kinds of our precious data.
How exactly AI can empower document management?
Document management systems are widely used in numerous business domains whether it be general purpose products like FreeDocs or Dropbox, or something really specific to answer the needs of the particular company. But, until recently, it took human intelligence to decode document contents, especially filled with unstructured information which is not deducible from character sentence. Now it’s time for AI to play this role. It can understand and extract the necessary data to launch further follow-up process on the basis of the information detected. Just imagine what amazing opportunities it can bring to document treatment that previously was restricted only to humans! Thanks to AI, document management becomes ten times smarter and transforms from simple document sharing and storage to supporting workflow assistant, delivering realtime contextual information, dramatically improving workflow efficiency, speed, quality, and cost.
Based on this smart text recognition talent, we can speak of 6 main ways AI can transform the existing document management level:
- Automatic classification and processing
Artificial intelligence concepts take the ordinary OCR one step further, where data scanning and classification occur simultaneously at a fraction of the human speed and without much human intervention. This helps identifying various document by recognizing their specific elements such as, for example invoice numbers; nevertheless they can vary by form or location within the document.
- Document clustering
AI can automatically create metadata for each piece of information to intelligently categorize and manage documents by their types or specific topics without any preliminary classification. This useful ability helps to determine the relation and hierarchy between different documents in a larger enterprise context.
- Data extraction
As Artificial Intelligence understands what is written in an unstructured document, it can immediately choose and extract the requested information which is more that vital in today’s world inundated with data.
- Data analytics
Probably the most precious ability of AI within the frame of document management, since the value of various data analysis cannot be overestimated in today’s business conditions. Cognitive platforms as a service (PaaS), such as Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services or IBM Watson take document management to a whole new level by using the collected data and applying machine learning, data visualization and predictive analytics technologies, which significantly optimizes business processes and improves decision-making.
- Advanced security
AI-powered document management systems enhance existing security solutions and protect customers’ data by identifying sensitive and personal information files and tagging them for special treatment. Any attempt of an authorized access to those files will be immediately detected. In addition, AI offers user access security and multi-layered file permissions, securing data from loss, damage and unauthorized modification.
- Paperless workflow
Thanks to a mobile app as a form, it is now possible to switch over to a true paperless workflow, as nothing ever becomes paper. The form is extracted of data, saved as a snapshot of a transaction in time and stored in the database as a PDF form. It is then forwarded to the main business application and if the form is a part of a decision process, a workflow is fed, followed by the next step. This helps to eliminate error-prone environment and brings all the advantages of distributed capture.
What to expect in the short run?
Undeniably, AI-based technologies offer exciting possibilities for document management improvement. AI is one of today’s greatest promises for creating a smart workplace by automating routine tasks, optimizing everyday workflows and reducing possible document processing errors. With the adoption of AI, document management systems are progressing at rapid-fire pace, and early adopters will be those to reap the rewards. Needless to say that by adopting AI-driven document management systems, companies can build upon enormous cost savings, as whenever we need unstructured data to be processed, AI pays for itself at no time. So, it is expected that the pioneers will come from the industries where efficient document management is critical to their business prosperity, such as financial sector, banks and insurance companies.