There seems to be no end to what artificial intelligence can do. After thrashing humans at sophisticated games like chess and go, AI’s next conquest appears to be the workplace. Many already hold jobs at forward-looking companies across industries. Some work as customer service reps, translators, and financial analysts. Others serve as lawyers, surgeons, and chefs. Given that astonishing range of capabilities, no one would be astonished if robots eventually run your enterprise back office, where the tasks are more often tedious than prestigious.
Large financial institutions, insurance companies, and government agencies certainly need to process huge volumes of paperwork. Insurance claims, medical forms, employee records, and compliance sheets are just some of the more common documents that need to be processed through data entry, auditing, or regulatory filing.
Startups focusing on AI, automation, and robotics are aggressively heeding the call. Given the strong business case, investors are rallying not far behind.
HyperScience, a provider of AI solutions for enterprises and government institutions, raised $18 million in series A funding late last year. The firm is working on back office automations using computer vision and image recognition technologies to process data. Their solutions can scan forms, recognize handwriting with higher-than-human accuracy, and fill in all the data fields into a company’s enterprise system.
Aside from significant reductions in time and energy costs, HyperScience’s solutions also raise the bar on data accuracy and analytical prowess. One of its solutions — called HS Evaluate — can analyze complex claims and applications such as those used in insurance companies and government agencies. As the name suggests, HS Evaluate can parse through the human language in a claim or application form, determine relevant and irrelevant information, then highlight all the information needed to make correct assessments and decisions.
HyperScience founder Peter Brodsky said that this capability delivers tremendous value for both service providers (health, medical, insurance) and their customers (patients, policyholders, applicants) by expediting the resolution period for insurance claims, medical treatment, and coverage applications.
Cutting back on expenses
AppZen, another player in the back office AI market, also uses computer vision and natural language processing (NLP) to automate and audit a firm’s expenses. In an interview with AI reseach firm TOPBOTS, AppZen founder and CTO Kunal Verma shared that the company started out as an expense app through Oracle. Along the way, key people realized that what customers really needed was something that automates and audits organizational expenses.
Large enterprises process thousands of expense reports daily, usually via a team of 10 or less T&E (travel and expense) professionals. In human terms, such volume of transactions is already overwhelming. Auditing each expense line item within reporting periods often borders on the impossible. Those factors — plus the compounded likelihood of human error, the strident regulatory environment, and the drive for faster and more efficient growth — made it easy to sell AppZen.
As a complete solution, AppZen automatically captures expenses and analyzes receipts, credit card transactions, and even travel bookings with internal and external sources. It then audits these data, ensures that everything complies with regulatory standards, and catches costly human error.
Giving AI the dirty jobs
Trimming your back office load is one thing. Meeting compliance standards is another. But you can do both with AI. A study conducted by CB Insights presents a market map of the nascent regulatory technology (regtech) industry. The number of players has mushroomed, many leveraging automated solutions and a few piloting strong AI initiatives. Here’s one of the findings mentioned in the report: “To maintain compliance with existing regulations and keep up with new ones, companies are increasingly looking to tech solutions that can help streamline and manage data, processes, filings, and more.”
The writing is on the wall. Many of the available solutions can be seamlessly integrated with larger enterprise systems like Oracle and NetSuite. This makes it easy and cost-effective for most companies to automate back office jobs. Doing so allows them to safely forget massive heaps of non-core data and focus on the ones that really propel business forward.
Marlene Jia is the Chief Revenue Officer at TOPBOTS, a strategy & research firm for artificial intelligence and bots.
This story originally appeared on Www.topbots.com. Copyright 2017