Mention robots in relation to office automation and an image of an R2-D2 like creature delivering coffee or working the photocopy machine springs to mind. Although office robotics has yet to reach this level, there have been giant strides made recently to successfully use robotic technology to remove manual and repetitive tasks from business operations. One area that has seen great progress is in financial management, particularly T&E expense audit – an area of personal interest to AppZen.
In a recent guest post for Corporate Compliance Insights, I discussed some of the significant business benefits that are emerging from advancements in artificial intelligence and NLP (natural language processing) technologies.
The article, “Exploring the Upside of Evolving AI Business Solutions”, addresses the fact that one of the biggest paybacks of incorporating leading-edge AI platforms into the workplace comes in the form of improved governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC). With timely and informed decisions lying at the heart of effective GRC measures, many companies are turning to ultra-fast and highly targeted back-office technology to not only enhance their decision-making processes, but to reduce expenses and expand productivity at the same time.
Recently, I had the honor of writing a guest post for Corporate Compliance Insights.
The article, “Artificial Intelligence - The New Superpower for Compliance,” describes how today’s systemized processes and automated ERP systems may be essential for streamlining most back-office business operations, but advances in robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) are what’s making these systems dramatically more effective – particularly where auditing, decision-making, and GRC (Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance) are concerned.
We all know the problem: even with the automation of basic business workflows, time is a luxury that high-level decision-makers simply can’t afford. Reviewing and understanding the full implication of every piece of information that crosses their desk isn’t feasible, and many a busy manager has inadvertently approved something they later came to regret.
In 2013, my friend Kunal and I founded AppZen, the first artificial intelligence (AI) solution for back office automation. At the time, personal assistants like Siri seemed to be the next frontier for enterprise applications. But we saw an opportunity to apply that idea to a conversational engine (what’s called a ‘chatbot’ today) for expenses and provide a ‘personal assistant’ experience for employers and employees. The conversational feature turned out to be very exciting to see, but unfortunately less relevant to use.
So after taking a step back, we thought, "What if business systems actually had the ability to read, think, research and then make decisions? What if those decisions were independent of an individual's knowledge, skills and biases?" Our answers led us to pivot toward the opportunity of using our AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology to automate the business back office. That’s what AppZen’s mission is — to reinvent and automate the back office with artificial intelligence, one process at a time.
Today we’re very excited to announce our next step toward that goal. We’ve closed a round of funding and brought on board top-notch investors to enable us to accelerate development and bring the AppZen AI solution to even more customers. For details on the funding check out the Wall Street Journal and our press release.
For more on what AppZen is up to, read on --
Back office processes include everything from human resources, finance, customer service, procurement, order processing and more. They’re the gears behind the scenes that keep a business running smoothly and ensure that company policies and government regulations are followed. Most back office processes are work-flow driven, moving information from one party to another where it’s reviewed, analyzed, and approved. Over the years, we’ve seen back office processes improve — for example, what was once paper-based moved to digital, then web-based, and is now accessible via smartphone. Workflows have improved from paper in-boxes to email and now mobile alerts on your smartphone.