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    What major changes happening now will transform the document management landscape over the coming years? Over time, products improve through innovation, but it can be tough to understand which innovation trends to watch—to know which changes will move a class of product forward in such a way that the entire industry follows. A host of industry leaders have explained that to be considered “innovative,” a new technology should also add significant value for customers; it can’t be a simple, incremental change.

    Three critical market dynamics are currently signaling the next big trend to watch for software development—the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms into business applications, and it will be a long-term trend that impacts document management technologies as well.

    What’s the big deal with AI?
    According to Tractica, the market opportunity for AI-enabled business applications will grow from $202.5 million in 2015 to $11.1 billion by 2024, a compound annual growth rate of more than 56%. AI is one of the fastest-growing market segments overall.

    What’s driving this interest in AI research and technologies? First, the explosion of data in all its forms has consumers and businesses scrambling to find cost-effective solutions that enable them to intelligently find the critical data they need to make smart decisions. IDC estimates that between 2009 and 2020, the amount of data requiring management will grow by 44 times.

    Second, recent tough economic times have taught organizations to run leaner and to seek out process improvements and innovative technologies that minimize delays and streamline information security. Consumers demand ever-greater process efficiency and cost savings in an environment in which there are fewer bodies to do the work and more intense security standards prevail.

    Third, the computational power needed for AI algorithms is significant, and computers have only recently become capable of processing these intense AI calculations. AI systems churn through lots of information to recognize patterns and categories in the data. Quite simply, though we’ve been able to theorize AI processes in the past, these market developments are now allowing AI experts to build and test their ideas in the real world.

    How will AI impact document management technologies?
    Over the last year, big data analytics companies have begun writing AI algorithms into their applications to help businesses sort through mountains of data in order to understand critical trends and patterns. In addition, an AI engine now drives at least one scanning and forms processing application, allowing the software to recognize categories of documents as they are scanned and to extract the index values automatically. This simplifies the conversion from paper documents to digital files by virtually eliminating the need to manually sort documents and hand-key index information.

    For example, AI is helping a company to reduce the time and cost of invoices. Each month, this organization receives about 1,200 invoices. To help automate accounts payable processes, they implemented a document management system, which included an AI engine to classify invoices by type and extract important data for their accounting system. As a result, they have shortened invoice processing time by more than 45 minutes per invoice. In addition, they lowered their cost per invoice by almost $50. These improvements resulted in total annual savings of $676,000.

    AI-based technologies offer exciting possibilities for businesses to improve process efficiencies, boost control of information, and save money.

    Christina Robbins is the Marketing Manager at Digitech Systems. With almost 20 years of technology marketing management experience, Christina has unique insight into the technology changes affecting information management. For more information, visit