Driving business success through intelligent automation

Organisational growth requires a tangible plan
Monique Williams, Hyland Southern Africa Regional Manager.
Driving business success through intelligent automation
Monique Williams, Hyland Southern Africa Regional Manager.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a part of our everyday conversation and lives. It is used when talking about smart and autonomous cars, in digital personal assistants like Siri and Alexa, and in video games. When it comes to incorporating AI into business technology there are obvious applications like business data analytics or customer service products.

According to Brian Burke, chief of research at Gartner, AI is a mega-trend that the industry will continue to talk about for the next 20 years. Speaking at the 2018 Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, he said that AI is going to underlie pretty much everything that we do in technology.

Going beyond the obvious applications, AI can be integrated into many aspects of business to fundamentally change the way we work. For instance, data capture solutions that leverage AI can take process automation to the next level.

Integrating AI into traditional software technology provides greater awareness or the ability for the technology to understand the context for the task or process being performed. AI-driven software will quickly pick up on contextual information within a process and learn to interpret patterns and features in different document types, e.g. invoices versus transcripts. As a result, the technology is able to perform both structured and unstructured tasks with limited to no human intervention, automating costly, error-prone and inefficient processes.

AI-driven software can recognise and sort a wide variety of documents quickly, and extract, interpret and rapidly validate document data on its own. It can then instantly transfer extracted information into content management, ERP and other business systems where that data can be searched, analysed, acted on and synchronised with existing information. This improves accuracy, supports reporting and analysis and helps ensure compliance.

AI employs machine learning to achieve better results over time. Machine learning uses sophisticated algorithms to eliminate the complex, rigid and time-consuming process of programming all the steps required to automate a business process, for example invoice data capture. The technology can “train” itself to recognise documents and to capture the necessary data based on their characteristics.

AI can also mine information to provide contextual insights for decision-making. For instance, the technology enables organisations to intelligently leverage data from millions of transactions stored in repositories or other systems to find information.

The primary benefit for employees is that by streamlining operations with AI technology, this frees employees to focus on higher-value tasks that challenge, engage and move the organisation forward. Documents and supporting material are also easily retrievable, enabling quick resolution of customer queries and simplified customer interactions. The automation of routine tasks and providing employees with timely access to information in context opens the door to more responsive and streamlined ways of working.

Incorporating AI and technology automation into processes helps organisations realise process efficiencies, gains in productivity, employee satisfaction and enhanced customer service. Improved process automation also provides business benefits such as quicker time to market, reduced lead and response times and greater customer insight. Ultimately, this will positively impact the bottom line.

Organisations might be concerned that automation will displace low skill and menial task jobs. However, AI is not there to replace jobs, but rather to enhance and elevate the work that employees perform. AI is not able to handle the exceptions; thus, people will always be needed for these processes. Reducing manual tasks is also a key driver of an economy’s productivity and elevates living standards for everyone.

By Monique Williams, Hyland Southern Africa Regional Manager