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Document handling automation as key enabler for digitalization

15 September 2020

Disruptive conditions, due to external circumstances, require a fundamental digital change. In our  #AENextNormal blog series Stef Devos talked about Accelerating Digital Business with Human Technology, or how people and society will seek a new equilibrium that will be created by a shift towards human technology. To create this shift, data science and artificial intelligence will play a crucial role in automating complex interactions.

Human(e) AI

Artificial intelligence should not be a magic black box, but explainable, allowing humans to not just understand and follow the learning, reasoning, and planning process of AI systems (being explainable and accountable), but also to be able to seamlessly interact with it. AI algorithms should assist operators to reduce repetitive and labor intensive tasks, enhancing human abilities and empowering people. This vision on AI is called Human(e) AI. Document handling as part of our ADORE – AI Powered Data Intelligenge Engine solution answers to this vision by giving the right level of insights combined with the latest novel AI tools.

Document Handling Challenges

Let’s take a look at how our document handling solution can help you with your business challenges. In a traditional environment, scanning documents and manual input of data in systems and applications is not uncommon. Manual document handling is an error sensitive, labor intensive process that prevents employees from focusing on the tasks that really matter and add value. Furthermore, the workload is heavily depending on the amount of documents your employees have to handle at a certain moment in time. There are scalability issues if you want to process more documents at the same time.

Let’s zoom into the technical complexity of document processing. Firstly, we see a large variety in document types and quality. Documents are regularly manual scans and often contain personal notes, signs or remarks, which cannot been recognized by existing OCR frameworks. Secondly, document layouts and contexts are vendor dependent, just think of invoices; where every brand uses its own template, styling and even different terminology. Standard rule based systems will fail in these contexts.

We ADORE Tackling Challenges

To tackle the above challenges, we propose ADORE – Document Handling Automation. It is AE’s automated document handling solution with custom data validation to transform complex documents into a digital format. At the core of our solution, we use state-of-the-art Computer Vision (Text block detection, scan enhancement, OCR) and Natural Language Processing techniques (Keyword Extraction, Named Entity Recognition,…).

The system we built can be easily integrated within your existing architecture through a robust API delivering structured output from your unstructured documents. Furthermore, we can read different document file types (e.g., pdf, word, images), determine the document type (e.g., invoice, bill-of-lading, notes, allotment) and identify the different information elements (e.g., brand, VAT, price, address) in the document. Moreover, our technology supports different languages and can be configured to extract specific information elements and perform different types of validations for your specific needs.

Subsequently, due to the validation mechanisms we built in, it is not a black box artificial system. The user can easily see which elements are detected and (s)he can conveniently adapt the detections. Finally, with a self-learning algorithm in place, the system gets smarter every time the user validates the output.

Let’s take a close look at an example.

Adore Animation - Invoice

The system detects the invoice document type and creates a notification warning for the notify party. In this example, this is 'AE nv' and simultaneously the address of the notifier is recognized. In the second step, the receipt and billing data are extracted and structured. Finally, the signature is recognized and validated.

A summary of the building blocks we can offer:

  • AI component to extract information from emails and attachments
  • Integration and data validation with internal & external sources
  • Integration in existing application landscape
  • Self-learning
  • Operational follow-up
  • Seamless integration with data platform kuori

As you can see, document handling is not a standalone offering, but is an integral part of our ADORE solution. It is not uncommon that your documents are part of an attachment that was send via mail. Therefore customer care, automated mail classification and prioritization and GDPR insurance, can be seen as extensions to our document handling solution.

Business Impact

Implementing automated document handling increases business productivity and reduces costs. Human involvement, in terms of manual processing and verification is drastically reduced and the human satisfaction is increased considerably. Subsequently, the extracted information can be easily validated through anomaly detection or by business validation engines. This reduces critical errors and avoids high claims from your vendors.

Feel free to contact us if you want to find out more!

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