ChatGPT Shines Light on the Need for Scanning Services and OCR Capabilities to Power Automation

April 25, 2023

Digitizing Paper-Based Documents Enhances Your Ability To Better Serve Customers And Constituents With Technology

For decades now, the major drivers for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) scanning projects have been to improve efficiency, lower costs, or enable disaster recovery. Recently, however, it has become clear that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) tools are emphasizing the importance and value of scanning paper, microfilm, and other legacy data.

BPO is when you hire an outside agency to complete work on your behalf. A few examples of BPO are:

  • Backfile scanning: Digitizing your paper-based and legacy files types to give you easier access to the information currently locked inside. Instead of searching through filing cabinets or boxes to find what you need, instead search a digital repository by using a few keystrokes – at any time from anywhere.
  • Invoice Capture as a Service (ICaaS): Simply send or upload your invoices to be processed by an outside agency. Software will extract, validate, and provide back to you the desired data in a secure batch file to be leveraged for each of the following steps of your core processes.
  • Digital Mail as a Service (DMaaS): Digitizing your physical mail for critical functions like claims processing or the intake of invoices so business units downstream can take action without delay.

Technologies like ChatGPT and Google Bard are part of a new generation of programs that can understand human language and generate responses that seem natural and human-like. These technologies use advanced algorithms and ML techniques to analyze vast amounts of data and learn how to respond to different questions and contexts.

  • According to TechTarget, Artificial Intelligence is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems. Specific applications of AI include expert systems, natural language processing, speech recognition and machine vision.
  • ChatGPT is an AI chatbot developed by OpenAI and is trained to follow an instruction in a prompt and provide a detailed response.
  • Google Bard is an experimental conversational AI service, powered by Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA). Bard seeks to combine the breadth of the world’s knowledge with the power, intelligence and creativity of our large language models. It draws on information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality responses.
  • Machine Learning is the use and development of computer systems that are able to learn and adapt without following explicit instructions, by using algorithms and statistical models to analyze and draw inferences from patterns in data.

In practical terms, this means that your staff, customers, prospects or constituents  can interact with computers in a more intuitive and conversational way. Instead of having to use rigid commands or search for information through menus and buttons, they can simply ask questions or make requests in a natural language, and the AI system will understand and respond appropriately. It’s almost like chatting with a human, but not quite…yet.

To put these advancements into context, it is perhaps best compared with the 2007 introduction of the iPhone. Although ChatGPT and the iPhone represent advancements in somewhat different domains, their impact on technology is similar. The iPhone revolutionized the mobile phone industry by introducing a new user interface, touch screen technology, and an ecosystem of apps that transformed how we interact with mobile devices. ChatGPT and similar AI systems are advancements in AI and natural language processing, enabling more intuitive and conversational interactions with computers and other devices. This technology can help to lead to more efficient back-office operations for your staff, better customer service, and so much more. Boiling it down to the basics, digital information is what can power these technologies to really work with and for you, and those you serve.

In the near future, websites will likely offer a more intuitive and conversational experience for users. For instance, after logging in to your account portal, you might be able to simply ask natural language questions such as “What was my house’s original tax assessment in 1993?” or “How much have I spent with your company since 2020?” without having to rely on custom applications.

With the help of advanced AI systems like ChatGPT and Google Bard, inquiries can be quickly and accurately processed and answered, making it easier to access the information without assistance from you or your staff. This approach can enhance the overall user experience and eliminate the need for users to navigate through confusing menus and search for answers using specific keywords. On the same note, your staff can leverage this technology to better find information they need for a project, or to complete a core task.

ChatGPT and similar technologies require vast amounts of digital text to work effectively and generate human-like language in response to questions. These AI systems use deep learning algorithms that learn from the text data and supply coherent responses, explanations and answers to different types of questions and prompts.

However, to make this a reality, your organization or the Government Agency you serve will need to convert your analog content to digital format since these technologies cannot read or “learn” from information that’s locked up in archive boxes or old storage media. Digitization is essential to leveraging this technology, so let’s see how to take advantage of the capabilities…Digitization can be done on an ad-hoc basis by your staff using a dedicated scanner or multifunction printer (MFP). For larger amounts of paper files, filing cabinets, or boxes, it can be quite an undertaking so many organizations choose to engage the services of a BPO provider. Analog formats such as paper, microfilm, microfiche, aperture cards, among other non-digital documents need to be carefully digitized to ensure readability and usefulness in subsequent steps of your process. What does that actually mean? Once you have a digital image, it’s essential that the image has a machine-readable text component associated with it. Optical Character Recognition (OCR), a technology commercially available since the 1970s, is a key component of this digital conversion process. OCR is a form of computer vision that allows computers to recognize and interpret printed, or sometimes written text – which can then be processed and analyzed by AI algorithms. Understanding the technology and providing what it needs to properly operate is why so many organizations choose to partner with a trusted advisor to get it done right, the first time.

As you can see, digitized data is essential for the development of these intelligent personal assistants that can understand natural language and respond to user questions in real time. Without machine-readable text, the AI and ML tools won’t be able to deliver on the user input – preventing the technology from generating meaningful responses and supplying personalized recommendations.

If your organization or agency relies on analog archives, it’s time to digitize, let human staff focus on what humans excel at, while equipping you to take advantage of the next generation of technological advancements. Digitizing your archives will not only help you leverage the benefits of a “paperless office,” it will also enable software to understand and interpret vast amounts of text-based data previously locked up on paper or other legacy formats. Digitization will make it easier for people to interact with AI-powered systems now and into the future. Scanning is no longer an option; it’s competitive table stakes in this bold new era.

Konica Minolta will meet you wherever you are on your digital transformation journey. Let’s work together to digitize your key documents so you can leverage modern day technologies to streamline your business processes and better serve your constituents or customers.

Learn how scanning and BPO services can help you to automate core processes and improve efficiency with modern technology here.

Michael Thomas
Sales Director

Michael Thomas is an IIM Sales Director at Konica Minolta, where he focuses on the State and Local Government as well as Education (SLED) sector. With more than 22 years of experience in the information management and process automation industry, Michael is focused on the intersection of Content Management, Intelligent Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) for customers in the public sector. When not working, he enjoys spending time with his wife Jennifer and their four children.