When technology leaders and visionaries talk about the Internet of Things (IoT), they are generally referring to an interconnect system of data sources out in the real world that can help to create real time visibility and understanding about the health and performance of a given system or process.
The definition of the Internet of things has evolved as new technologies such as real-time analytics, machine learning, robotic process automation and AI have emerged. In general, though, when we thing of IoT, home and building automation and manufacturing automation are using the first things that come to mind.
But consider the back office for a moment, and common processes like vendor invoice management or customer sales order handling. In these processes, the primary sources of data are typically digital or paper documents. In other words, a physical thing that, when treated as a dumb, disconnected object or “device,” creates a process bottleneck and a blind spot when it comes to achieving timely access to information. Without automation, these “things” have to be manually transformed into structured, actionable data by a manual laborer, using a computer keyboard and mouse as the interface.
Looking at a process like accounts payable from an Internet of Things perspective, POs, invoices and receipts are “things” that can be transformed into data sources that can inform and power process automation.
IoT technology that can transform documents into data already exists and is relatively easy and cost effective to deploy. That same technology can intelligently flag process exceptions, assign them to human process owners, and learn from that interaction to turn those exceptions into rules the next time around.
Intelligent process automation solutions like Artsyl’s docAlpha does exactly that. By transforming unstructured data trapped inside paper and digital documents into information in a way that is flexible, accurate and timely, docAlpha does for paper what IoT does for themometers, cameras, scanners and other sensors. The end result is the same: shorter cycle times, greater process control and transparency and more timely access to data.
Best of all, turning things like documents into data and manual processes like AP invoice handling into fully automated ones, is generally quick, painless and easy to cost justify, with ROI measured in months rather than years.
Intelligent AP process automation solutions, like InvoiceAction from Artsyl Technologies, are centered around solving the fundamental problem of dealing with unstructured data trapped in paper or digital documents like invoices and orders. They apply robotic process automation (RPA) and machine learning to the process of identifying invoices to be processed from streams of emails, batch scans of vendor documents, FTP sites, fax inboxes and any other data source, then to intelligently extracting information like invoice/PO numbers, vendor information and line item details.
In the past, the process for configuring data capture systems to handle invoices required creating definitions based on the various layouts of vendor invoices. Once defined, the systems could extract relevant information, but in a way that was inflexible and often required human input.
Today, these solutions still depend on some human input to deal with identified exceptions. But here is the key: by relying on machine learning, today’s intelligent systems record and learn from interaction from the AP staff. The result: a flexible, self-learning system that relieves the burden from AP as well as from IT.
If you’re ready to go beyond point solutions and isolated applications, systems, tools and best practices have already been established to get you to an interconnected, automated future quickly and cost effectively. Visit our resource site to learn from the experiences of Artsyl customers from a wide range of industries, relying on a wide range or ERP and ECM systems, interconnected leveraging docAlpha. For a demo or discovery call, contact Artsyl and speak to one of our account specialists.