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TechBytes with Anthony Macciola, Chief Innovation Officer, ABBYY

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Tell us about your interaction with smart technologies like AI, Customer Data Analytics, and Intelligent Automation.

Working with AI-enabling technologies is an everyday occurrence at ABBYY. Since its inception 30 years ago, ABBYY has used AI technologies to solve document-related problems for enterprises using intelligent capture. Specifically, we work with Computer VisionMachine Learning, Natural Language Processing, and Cognitive Content IQ skills. Here’s how we use them.

Computer Vision: Focused on automatic extraction, analysis, and understanding of information from images, including scanned documents.

Machine Learning: Refers to software that enables machines to ‘learn’ in both a supervised and unsupervised way, improving accuracy and performance. In a process involving capturing documents and processing with RPA, Machine Learning and other AI technology learn from potentially thousands of variations of documents such as processing invoices or handling vendor orders.

Natural Language Processing: The understanding of human language that enables the software to read, interpret, and create structured data around unstructured content, such as emails and other communication messages.

Cognitive Content IQ Skill: A skill represents technology delivered as a service that provides the ability to carry out a task with determined results within a given amount of time, energy, and cost. An example of a cognitive skill would be classifying a document, extracting data, while using a cognitive learning service to improve over time.

How did you start in this space? What galvanized you to be part of ABBYY?

I first got started with Capture Technology in the early 1990s. We were using neural networks, support vector machines, and Machine Learning engines to build classification and extraction models – it was not called AI then, but we were using AI to solve document-related problems like accurately digitizing, classifying and extracting data from documents. Now, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon are looking for new opportunities to apply AI and realizing what we have known for ages.

AI can play a large role in transforming unstructured content into structured, actionable content. It is no surprise as content processing is a great area for AI, but we are the experts in applying AI for content-centric processes, and we totally understand the hype and promise vs. the reality of implementing and deploying solutions in the commercial market.

What are the various technologies and principles driving Content IQ Solutions?

Content IQ is defined as a class of enabling technologies that help Robotic Process Automation (RPA), digital robots understand and create meaning from enterprise content. It brings several technologies together including OCR, Machine Learning, and other Artificial Intelligence technology to create structured information from unstructured content using the metadata within the text, images, documents, and communications (e.g. email). The structure of the content and its data can then be easily connected to the robotic process and adapt to the many variations of a document.

ABBYY Content IQ technology automatically identifies the content, extracts and validates the data, and delivers the results to the digital robot for processing. Content IQ brings new meaning and opportunity for organizations to apply intelligence to their content and connect it to their business processes.

What is ABBYY’s vision into Intelligent Automation and how impacts Digital Transformation journeys for an organization?

ABBYY was recently recognized as a leader in intelligent document processing by Everest Group for our vision, impact on the market and our capabilities to innovate new solutions that accelerate enterprises at their various stages of Digital Transformation. Our vision sees two forces at work: organizations are ready for wide deployments of AI capabilities within their content-centric processes, while a shift in the way they are consuming technology is emerging.

We believe that the critical intelligence of the enterprise is locked in unstructured content. Each day, we strive to liberate the meaning and intelligence trapped behind enterprise content, so that our customers are better enabled to carry out their own respective missions.

Which industries would benefit from accessing your recent resources on Intelligent Content and Document Processing technologies?

Regardless of your industry or business process, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Content IQ can automate any business process you have – handling both structured and unstructured content. However, we see insurance, banking and transportation, and logistics industries more rapidly embracing content IQ.

In insurance, companies can take in content as part of insurance claims where documents are identified, and data is extracted and turned into meaningful information and connected into a robotic process for analysis and processing.

For banks, being able to understand the content can help deliver a seamless mobile customer experience as part of a lending process by capturing documents provided by the borrower – including pay stubs, utility bills, W3 and other supporting documentation, whether they are structured or unstructured forms.

Within the transportation and logistics industry, content IQ can deliver a new set of digital workers with the right skills to identify and process shipping instruction, waybills, proof of delivery, and invoices associated with a load providing transparency and awareness of when goods are delivered and accelerating the billing process.

Content IQ is also a cross-industry solution by helping all businesses in streamlining their accounting functions by automating and evaluating purchase orders, receipt of delivery documentation, payables, invoicing and receivables. This ability can save both corporations and government agencies both time and money when dealing with their back-office functions.

Tell us more about your vision into growing AI-driven revenue opportunities.

ABBYY’s strategy to give the new digital workforce, the skills to understand and extract enterprise content has resulted in achieving exceptional global revenue growth during the past few years and is expected to continue this year. In 2018, we achieved a 15% revenue growth by delivering content IQ skills for the new digital workforce. The enterprise segment was a significant growth driver with substantial wins in the financial services, insurance, transportation and logistics, and legal sectors. We grew in all regions with particularly strong performances recorded in the US, Europe, and the Asia Pacific.

How should Marketing and Sales organizations leverage Computer Vision, NLP, Voice and Deep Learning capabilities to extract better ROI from their data management investments?

Marketing and Sales organizations can leverage content IQ within their processes to deliver better customer experiences, and more opportunities for engagement and self-service capabilities. Additionally, they need to be able to take information from mobile devices and extract, validate and integrate that information in the same way you capture information from other sources to drive your business processes.

How should young technology professionals train themselves to work better with AI, Automation and Optimization techniques?

People think AI can do anything, but it has limitations. Young professionals coming up in their careers need to understand the technology and its limitations, yet look for opportunities where technology can optimize business applications. Understand your business and the business flows and see where you can design human touch with automation.

What technologies within AI/NLP and Cloud Analytics are you interested in?

I am most interested in looking at process intelligence and the ability to go through an organization and mine where process and data are flowing. I am also looking for constriction points, points of failure and areas where we can predict better automation paths to increase operational efficiency. Another area is identity management and biometrics to authenticate users. As organizations go through their Digital Transformation journey, onboarding needs to be quicker and better authenticated – businesses need to know if they are talking to the right person. This is a growing area of opportunity that we are exploring.

As a tech leader, what industries do you think would be the fastest to adopt Analytics and AI/ML with smooth efficiency? What are the new emerging markets for these technology markets?

Every organization in every industry has critical content running through their various business processes whether it is in banking, insurance, logistics, legal, healthcare or government – they all would benefit from adopting RPA, AI, and content IQ skills.

The US and European markets have been among the first to adopt these technologies, and we see the Asia Pacific market as one of the emerging markets this year.

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