Down with paperwork! This start-up deploys AI for faster and more accurate document processing
Metamaze is a promising platform for Intelligent Document Processing or IDP based on artificial intelligence. Based on automatic data extraction and processing, the platform helps companies automate their document processing. "Intelligent Document Processing is actually a subdomain in the world of artificial intelligence," explains CEO Niels Van Weereld. "When people see a document in front of them, they start to mentally analyze the document: what is this document for, and what information can I get out of it? Our platform will do the same, but with artificial intelligence and machine learning."
According to Jo Cijnsmans, Business Development Manager, the benefits of such automation are many: "The main gain is obviously increased efficiency. Everyone is talking about digitalization and exchanging information digitally as much as possible. But in fact, there are numerous reasons why that is still not possible."
“Today, $400 billion is still spent worldwide on employees having to read documents, while technology such as ours can perfectly compensate for that.”
"Just think about regulation, about the fact that the government requires you to work with certain templates, or that you are required to have compliance traces. Or simply because certain target groups are still not that digitally savvy. Today, $400 billion is still spent worldwide on employees who have to read documents, while technology like ours can perfectly compensate for that."
Happy customers, better data
In addition to that efficiency, Van Weereld says there is an increasing focus on employee happiness. "Interpreting documents is not the core business of a company. It's not valuable work. Reading documents day in and day out and retyping the information in another system is no fun at all, nobody gets any satisfaction from that. It doesn't contribute to people's personal growth. But it has to be done."
"Besides increasing efficiency, improving employee satisfaction is one of our biggest drivers. By the way, customer experience also improves when you use Intelligent Document Processing, because our solution works much faster than human document processing. I don't have to tell you that today we are in a society where people demand instant feedback. When an end customer uploads documents to one of our customers, our solution processes them immediately in the backend and the end customer immediately gets partial feedback: we received your documents well, everything looks good."
Another big advantage, according to Van Weereld, lies in the additional data collection: "It has been estimated that by 2025 there will be about 175 zettabytes of unstructured data circulating within companies on a global level. These are also huge volumes on enterprise level. A company cannot possibly extract all data from all documents circulating within its organization. So that data remains hidden today, while it can often provide valuable insights on which to base strategic decisions."
""For example, we are currently working on a project for Kone. Thanks to IDP, they will not only be able to optimize their internal processes and make them more efficient, but they will also use our technology to spot new up-sell opportunities that they would otherwise probably miss. Bottom-line efficiency, combined with additional top-line revenue, thus, the dream of every organization."
Courtesy of a Belgian Retail Bank
Metamaze is a spin-off from the globally reputable AI expert Faktion, which previously incubated the successful AI chatbot platform Chatlayer. The spin-off came about as a result of an assignment for a bank, Van Weereld explains: "This bank wanted to free its teams from all the paperwork. Their core business is making credit decisions, not the paperwork coming with that."
"But with increasing regulation in the financial sector, paperwork actually increased. This increased the workload, and on top of that not very nice administrative work. This bank first tried to automate the paperwork itself with templates, but soon realized that this would not suffice. A credit process requires about twenty different document types that simply cannot be captured in a structure. No two compromises are the same, each social secretariat uses a different structure for its pay slips..."
“Following an assignment for a Belgian Retail Bank, we invested to turn this use case into a real product.”
"So they asked Faktion to develop a solution for Intelligent Document Processing because IDP is just right for automatically processing unstructured documents, or documents whose layout keeps changing. As with Chatlayer at the time, we then decided to productize that solution."
"In other words, we immediately developed a product that other companies could also use. Because if every company has to build such a solution from scratch with a whole army of data scientists, that costs too much money and above all a lot of time. By the time you have something you can use, years will have passed. That's why we invested in turning this use case into a real product."
60 to 70 % growth
Thus, Metamaze saw the light of day late last year. "In those few months we have already managed to attract about twenty major customers, including elevator manufacturer Kone, Borealis, P&V Insurance, Vandersanden, a party in Singapore Trade Flow Capital, etc.," lists Van Weereld with visible pride. "Demand is high, the market for IDP is growing at 60-70% per year. By the end of next year, we should be at a $2 billion market. The benefits are therefore obvious."
"The bank itself has published the results of the project, and they don't lie. Since using Metamaze, they need half the time to process the same number of loans and files. And that with an accuracy of 96%. In other words, all the data we find is 96% correct. In the world of artificial intelligence, that's a tremendously high figure."
"Moreover, you shouldn't forget that humans also make mistakes and therefore have a margin of error, although it is less easily measured. But the biggest advantage, of course, is that such an algorithm keeps working 24/7. It doesn't get tired, it doesn't have to go on vacation and it doesn't mind at all processing such documents. That's slightly different with humans."
The world turned upside down
Metamaze says it was able to snare those big names because their product is built on a reality of a customer. "You see startups very often start from an idea," Van Weereld explains.
"They first build something, then they bring it to market and then they fine-tune their idea. We started just the other way around. We started with a customer, a Belgian Retail Bank, and developed our product together with that customer. We really listened carefully to what exactly they needed. How should it be built according to them, what do they find user-friendly? So, our product is built from the market and not from ourselves."
"In addition, customers appreciate the fact that we don't use third-party elements, which is often the case with others. You could perfectly build an IDP solution based on components from Google, but then you're going to run into a wall with many large companies because of the security aspect and compliancy. Companies don't want to share their data with Google."
"Finally, we are a lot more mature than other solutions. We can handle all types of documents, without making it complicated for our customers. They don't even have to code anything. Before, such a project was stuck within IT or the Data Science team. Our technology is much more mature, so real laymen in artificial intelligence can use it too. All we need is historical data from the company with which we can train the artificial intelligence so that it learns about the company and its documents. That preliminary step only takes a few days. Moreover, it's literally just a push of a button, 'Train now,' and the AI goes to work on its own."
Have a drink with us
Curious about how Intelligent Document Processing can improve your organization’s efficiency but most importantly, your employees’ happiness? We're hosting a “Belgian beer Arena” at the ICT Spring event, on the 14th & 15th of September 2021. Feel free to come to our bar, drink a great Belgian beer, and have a chat with us.
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