Author: Artur Mika, IT Delivery Manager, NBC IT Outsourcing
8 min read
Author: Artur Mika, IT Delivery Manager, NBC IT Outsourcing
8 min read
Data is the lifeblood of business. Companies produce a staggering amount of it every day. IDC predicts by 2025, the total volume of data will exceed 160 zettabytes (1021 bytes!), of which the majority will be created and managed by companies.
The ever-expanding amount of information means that every business, sooner or later, needs a Document Management System (DMS) to store, manage, and track its documents. A robust DMS helps to provide all employees with access to the company’s data whenever and wherever they need it. It also allows users to extract value from their data.
In theory, a document management system should support your business in everyday operations. In practice, many traditional DMS tools start to struggle when you handle large volumes of data and paper documents.
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to solve these challenges. It can also increase your business efficiency in new, innovative ways. Let’s outline the main areas in which AI is already revolutionising document management, and describe methods your company can use to take advantage of it.
Despite the galloping pace of digital transformation, research by InfoRouter finds that 95 percent of business information documentation is still paper-based.
This situation puts a strain on staff, who have to dedicate extra time to digitise the documents and file them into DMS. Such tasks are common in shared services centres or enterprise accounting and HR departments, where dozens of employees take care of scanning and filing invoices.
Prone to contain mistakes, manually tagged elements soon disappear in an ocean of other randomly archived data in a DMS. As a result, fishing out required items or extracting any value from them becomes hardly possible–hampering operations and often generating extra expenses.
Sounds familiar? Then you’re not alone. Eight in ten respondents in the 2019 Intelligent Information Management Benchmark Report admitted their productivity suffered due to issues with finding data.
Too much data can be an efficiency killer for a traditional DMS. This overload requires special measures in the form of Machine Learning algorithms.
Rather than choking on too much data, AI-powered DMS gets smarter when it feeds on more information. It studies data, finds patterns, and delivers insights that boost performance and frees your employees from tedious, repetitive tasks.
Instead of reproducing traditional DMS processes in a digital format, Artificial Intelligence makes all workflow steps efficient and faster – from processing and classifying documents to storage and the extraction of data.
Let’s have a look at the major ways in which AI is revolutionising document management.
There are five critical areas in which Artificial Intelligence is expanding the benefits of DMS.
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology has been around for a while, mainly facilitating text recognition. Artificial Intelligence has taken it a step further. AI enables DMS to automatically read, analyse, and correctly classify file content. All of this is done within a fraction of a second and with no human intervention.
Combining OCR with the power of AI, organisations can automate all the post-scanning character recognition and quality assurance using samples as training materials. Once trained, the OCR system can recognise scans faster and more accurately than a human.
As businesses continue drowning in more and more data, the ability to extract relevant pieces of information becomes essential.
An AI-powered DMS takes data extraction to new heights, by being able to read data and understand its context. All information gets analysed thoroughly to retrieve relevant pieces of information, even when hidden in individual documents or scattered around different locations.
The more documents AI reads, the better it gets at processing and classifying extracted data. For example, AI-powered DMS can automatically recognise invoices by spotting specific document items, such as dates or field labels. When exposed to various interactions by employees using said documents, it learns those patterns to automate relevant tasks.
This ability helps you save time, boosts productivity, and allows better decision-making.
An AI-powered DMS facilitates the assignment of vast libraries of documents to different groups without previous classification. This capability helps to understand and visualise how documents are related, and discovers the similarities between them. In turn, this makes it easier to categorise, organise, and search all business files, which would otherwise take real people a long time to go through.
Of course, the idea of performing a cluster analysis on a body of documents isn’t new–it’s been adapted to search engines for a while. Adding Artificial Intelligence to this task ensures a higher level of precision and accuracy. This is critical for businesses with voluminous documentation, like in the legal or financial sectors.
Analysts at Gartner estimate that 80 percent of enterprise data is unstructured, i.e., it consists of information scattered across emails, files, PDFs, or documents.
This situation can prove problematic, especially when it comes to enterprise security. Companies usually have little visibility into what’s happening in their unstructured data – and the majority of them admit to problems with managing and protecting it.
AI-powered DMS helps to address this issue. Machine Learning can scour emails, text messages, and other forms of customer communications to understand words and sentiments. It then connects that data to other sources of information for a clearer overview of assets.
One of the most powerful aspects of AI-powered DMS is the potential of Machine Learning to analyse data and deliver insights that optimise decision-making and business processes. This capability becomes particularly important to companies that collect and store increasing amounts of information.
From data discovery to real-time analytics, AI-powered DMS can help companies crunch historical data to predict outcomes. Such analyses would be far less reliable without Artificial Intelligence.
These attributes can feed into creating workflow automation capable of responding to the needs of the most complex corporate setups. As a result, an AI-powered DMS can save you both time and money.
Digital forms and approval flow serve as a great example. A user fills in an online form powered by DMS templates. The system does preliminary checks to reduce errors and then forwards the request to the correct approving supervisor. Once approved by the manager, it gets automatically routed to higher instances, such as the board of directors.
Once the workflow is completed, DMS automatically files both the form and supporting documentation into the relevant folders within the company for future reference.
Security has been on everyone’s lips, and there’s a reason. Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that by 2021, global annual cybercrime costs will grow to $6 trillion.
New international regulations, such as the European GDPR, are imposing stricter standards of data protection and privacy on businesses. The issue of security is particularly pressing when it comes to sensitive records in the finance or healthcare industries.
An AI-powered DMS is uniquely positioned to respond to these challenges at scale. Artificial Intelligence can learn to spot personally identifiable information (PII) in files and mark those items for special treatment.
Automatic classification and processing of data then rule out the odds of accidentally leaving any sensitive documents in unsecured folders. Anomaly detection can also identify and flag potentially fraudulent files.
Thanks to AI, DMS can easily identify which user has access to which assets. Machine Learning and Deep Learning can detect unusual activities and patterns and prevent unauthorised viewing and changes.
AI-powered DMS systems are already transforming how businesses operate. So how can you jump at this opportunity? One way is to find and migrate your documentation to a suitable off-the-shelf DMS, however, sooner or later the tool’s capacity will max out.
You can build your own solution, which can be tricky considering how shallow the global AI talent pool is. The Best Jobs in the US study found that between 2015 and 2018, Machine Learning engineer job openings grew 344% and reached a hefty average base salary of $146k.
Don’t let those conditions scare you. A growing number of companies use outsourcing services to gain access to qualified specialists, and to accelerate the delivery of strategic projects, without raising costs. Don’t hesitate to find a reliable IT outsourcing company that can help you now.
The immense volume of business data created every day leaves no doubt that traditional data management systems are no longer sufficient. The benefits of AI in DMS are evident – lower costs, higher productivity, more agile operations, and increased data security.
Take your DMS to the next level – get in touch with our team and discover what AI can do for your business.
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