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AI is Improving Document Management with No Signs of Stopping

We’ve witnessed many industries endure change over the past year and a half due to the pandemic. Especially in the general business sector, organizations ranging from small to large were tasked with rapidly accelerating their digital transformation efforts to improve operations for remote settings.

One component of any business that has remained important is the management and processing of documents. The pandemic made it more difficult to manage documents as people began working remotely and organizations couldn’t rely on the old ways of printing, copying, hand-editing, etc. They began using new tools like eSignature, which most of us are now well accustomed to, in order to keep their workflow moving.

Now, as we look toward a post-pandemic future, defined by remote work and digitally-driven business models, these new document management processes aren’t going away. They’re going to be critical to everyday work and to do the job we expect them to do, and they’re going to need help from technologies like AI, to allow companies to continue moving in a forward trajectory and create more efficient business processes.

eSignature is a major player with document processing

eSignature technology has been around since the early 2000’s, but its true value wasn’t widely realized until the beginning of the pandemic when it went from convenience to a necessity. As part of overall workflow automation efforts, eSignature can be the single factor that defines how quickly document processing takes place. This is due to the simple reason of eSignature skipping the ‘middleman’ step of a paper document being scanned into something digital and speeding up the overall process as a result.

A great example is contract management, which can be a burdensome process when it comes to paper-based contracts. Typically, a contract can take up to 30 hours to negotiate and modify, leaving aside any potential for inefficiencies that take place during the document’s lifespan. By leveraging automation technology, this timeline can be cut down drastically and ensure better business outcomes, such as avoiding loss of revenue, accurate information capturing, and making sure that compliance requirements are met.

Adding AI brings more speed and efficiency to document management

AI comes into play because it has the ability to recognize contractual content and apply it within an organization’s digital environment. This means a company that has thousands of digital contracts stored can easily extract metadata and group documents together based on key terms. Not only does this keep contract databases highly organized, but it drastically improves the speed in which an administrator can locate documents.

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Similar technology can also be applied to processes like employee onboarding, all the more important as companies continue to work remotely. First, applying workflow automation to this HR process can help speed up time spent on employee onboarding, tracking attendance, managing corporate data and analytics, and more. Then AI can be applied to digital resume tracking, with the ability to instantly recognize key terms within an application and organize it with other documents containing similar traits so HR administrators can have quicker access to a document, and better identify the best candidates for open roles.

It’s important to note AI can only be effectively applied to digital documents later in an organization’s digital transformation efforts. The first step is the digitization of documents, going from paper-based to digital. Once all documents are in a digital format, workflow automation comes into play as it can be applied to the grander scope of documents stored by a business. Lastly, with automation making data more accessible, AI can then be applied in an effective manner.

These kinds of improvements can be applied across any type of industry, from banking to insurance, and even healthcare. Although many enterprises likely have these kinds of solutions and systems already in place, SMBs shouldn’t shy away from adopting solutions to assist their document management efforts. There are permanent, lasting changes due to the events of the past year and a half, and the sooner SMBs can prioritize their digitization efforts, the quicker they’ll be set up for success and gain a competitive edge in the coming years.

AI adds more to workflow than just handling documents

Digital document processing is part of a bigger trend towards workflow automation efforts. Whether in finance, healthcare, insurance, or other highly regulated industries, businesses continue searching for ways to refine their workflow and allow employees to create the most impact on a daily basis. Specific technologies, like AI and Robotic Process Automation (RPA), are major players in these efforts by giving companies more insight into predicting, analyzing, aggregating, and integrating data.

For example, AI can be applied to no-code solutions, which allows someone with minimal technical experience the ability to refine their own processes, or those across an entire organization, without the help from IT resources. These solutions can be applied in different ways, such as document processing. In the case of a financial institution, rather than having critical paperwork filed by hand, a no-code solution can have a destination path already created for a specific type of document. After a digital document is received, the solution can automatically send it to the correct filing location keeping everyone highly organized while freeing up time for the administrator to focus on other, more critical tasks.

The strength of no-code solutions is how effective they can be with moving along the document processing chain while requiring little technical background to put into motion. Aside from document management, no-code developers can utilize these solutions for other operational improvements that can be felt across their entire organization. As remote work continues, these solutions will become invaluable to keep an efficient work pace and improve the organization of documents within any sized company.

There’s no question the business sector is now in the digital age. As emerging technology like AI continues to advance, the digital transformation experience will continue at a rapid pace. There are endless applications of how workflow automation can create significant positive shifts within an organization, but it’s up to leaders to give their employees the necessary tools to create this change. It’s been interesting to see how intuitive automation and digital document management has quickly become, and it’ll be even more interesting to see how this space develops in the near future.

[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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