Even as businesses are increasingly making sense of heaps of digital information using analytics tools, many often forget about the value of good old paper.
Paper documents contain useful information too, but they are usually neglected in disaster recovery, customer relationship management (CRM) and data analytics strategies.
Since September 2013, Kodak Alaris — a company born out of the acquisition of document imaging businesses from Eastman Kodak Company by the UK Kodak Pension Plan — has been helping companies automate their information workflows.
Through a combination of document scanners and software, Kodak Alaris’ document imaging products will extract information from say, a paper invoice before passing it through a procurement process.
“We automatically understand what the content is and push it to different business processes,” says Susheel John, Kodak Alaris’ business director for the Asia-Pacific region.
While there are similar document imaging products in the market, Kodak Alaris stands out in its ability to make sense of not just physical documents, but also conversations between an organisation and different parties.
“If a customer sends an e-mail regarding a product issue, we’ll direct him to the service department, but if someone is applying for a job with his resume, we’ll point him to the HR department,” John says.
Kodak Alaris’ technology, which is smart enough to pick up nuances in human conversations and classify information using “semantic understanding”, can also help to improve customer service using multiple data sources.
John cited a hypothetical example of a customer who sends an e-mail to complain about a product issue. The customer’s name shows up in the company’s CRM system, which also indicates that he has bought the product in question. A service staff could look up the product database to identify a product manager who can resolve the issue.
John says this addresses the familiar problem of customers being taken in circles when they call a service centre.
“People interact with businesses across multiple channels such as phone, web chat, social media and SMS,” says John, “but most companies don’t have a unified way of looking at customer conversations”.
“They have separate groups of people dealing with phone calls and e-mail messages, but they don’t have a view of who this person is and who’s the best person to help him,” he adds.
As with any content recognition system, there’s bound to be errors in recognising documents and information.
John says Kodak Alaris’ machine learning capabilities powered by multiple engines will ensure errors are not repeated, adding that most organisations can expect a recognition accuracy rate of between 80 to 95 per cent.
“A lower error rate and the ability to automatically put information through a business process is a tremendous gain in productivity for businesses,” he says.