Solution integrators and developers benefit from ML tools from aluma
By Kevin Craine
Pick any business process, in any organization, and you can bet that documents are at the heart of the workflow. Things like sales, finance, human resources and compliance are just a few of the many important activities that all rely on documents to power organizational performance.
There is great demand for document automation as a result, but getting the most out of burgeoning technologies like advanced data capture and Machine Learning requires a great deal of specialization and focus that not every solution provider has. Systems integrators and developers can benefit greatly from partnering with innovators that focus specifically on the integration of document automation into solutions, devices and workflows.
There is great demand for document automation, but getting the most out of burgeoning technologies requires a great deal of specialization and focus that not every solution provider has.
Innovators Provide Important Tools
One such innovator is aluma, a world-class team of software developers and engineers with a focus on advanced document processing technologies. The team at aluma describe themselves as disruptive, and mature in their capabilities. Most importantly, they know how to blend cutting-edge innovations in data capture, Machine Learning and information management into tools and technologies that improve the performance of any digital solution, system or device.
ML Thought Leader
I wanted to learn more, so I spoke recently with George Harpur, Co-Founder and CEO at aluma, to discuss how aluma applies Machine Learning to document automation. I started by asking him to describe his background in Machine Learning.
“Ever since I was a teenager I was fascinated by computers and by ways in which we can make them behave more like the human brain,” says George. “In particular, I wanted computers to have the ability to learn and solve problems rather than simply follow a fixed set of instructions. That ultimately is what led me to complete my PhD at Cambridge where I focused on techniques for Machine Learning. That was way back in the mid 90’s, so I like to say I was working in the field before it was trendy.”
From Neural Networks to Machines that Learn
Back then, the notion of what would become Machine Learning was typically referred to as neural networks, and even today, most Machine Learning models are inspired by the ways that neurons in the brain need to connect and adapt.
“I started initially applying the concepts of neural networks to areas like facial recognition, scene analysis, and fingerprint matching,” says George. “But quite quickly I became focused on document processing. Initially that was around character recognition, but also looking at higher levels of processing with things like document classification and understanding. So, now with aluma my entire professional career has been focused on the application of Machine Learning and other techniques to document automation.”
Making a Difference with Machine Learning
Aluma provides a blend of Machine Learning and automation technologies that capture, classify and manage information in new and more profitable ways. This allows system integrators and developers an easy way to extend the scope and value of solutions and platforms with the powerful tools to build business intelligence and boost process performance. But beyond the technology, George says that some additional factors must be in place for real success.
“It starts with a deep knowledge of Machine Learning as a discipline. There's a tendency for people to think of Machine Learning as a magic box kind of thing, but in reality, it's a collection of hundreds of different algorithms and techniques.” Providers and integrators find that aluma tools are ready to go and easily embedded into solutions, devices and workflows.
Tools from aluma provide a blend of ML and automation technologies that manage information in new and more profitable ways. It's easy to extend the scope and value of your solutions.
“You also need a degree of skill and an expertise to know how to pick the right technique and algorithm for the job,” says George. “For example, just the way in which you represent the inputs to a Machine Learning algorithm can have a massive effect on performance, speed, accuracy and the robustness of the solution.” Partnering with aluma ensures you have access to practical yet innovative technology that works, is reliable, and is scalable over time.
“It is important to recognize that the implementation, integration, and analytics tools that go around the effort are just as essential, and the ease-of-use required can only come from a mature and specialized product,” says George. “Many folks seem like they have a hammer and they’re running around looking for nails. You’ve got to know where and when machine learning is the right tool for the job.”
Document Classification is an Opportunity for Transformation
One place where Machine Learning can become a game-changing tool for digital transformation is document classification. With aluma, documents are automatically categorized using learn-by-example methods that, if desired, can continue learning dynamically from users’ actions as well. This type of automate on the fly capability is light years beyond the old-school scan-and-store approach to document management.
“Machine Learning is absolutely the best default approach to document classification because the problem itself is essentially probabilistic,” says George. “For example, you know that a solution requires careful weighing of various bits of data, but there's no rules that would capture that successfully. But the attractive part about Machine Learning is having a system that will learn by example. So no explicit instructions are required.”
Extend the Scope and Value of Solutions, Services and Devices
Aluma gives developers, integrators, and providers the ability to extend the scope and value of solutions and platforms with the latest in document management techniques that fuel business intelligence and organizational performance. You can bring a new level of intelligence to scanners and multifunction devices with advanced capabilities accessible directly from the device. Simplify and accelerate the integration of document automation into software solutions, document processing services or specific workflows. The tools are fast, accurate and reliable, and move the needle in terms of digital transformation and performance.
Kevin Craine is a technology writer, business analyst, and host of “The Digital Transformation Podcast.”