AI tools, such as NLP and OCR software, can deliver a number of benefits to any business that adopts these new technologies.
In this post, we’ll learn what NLP and OCR software are and how they can help your company become more digitally mature.
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NLP and OCR Software: A 30-Second Introduction
NLP is short for “natural language processing.” This refers to a set of AI techniques, such as semantic analysis, OCR, and sentiment analysis.
OCR is short for “optical character recognition.”
It refers to AI’s ability to recognize letters from images, such as photographs. Users simply need to provide OCR software with an image. With that image in hand, the software can then turn that image into text.
OCR software can also “partner up” with other NLP-powered apps to perform more complex tasks.
Here are a few examples of how these can be used in a business setting:
- Creating text documents from images
- Translating images into other languages
- Categorizing the emotion, or sentiment, of text
- Reading text out loud from an image
At first glance, these use cases may not seem very exciting.
As we’ll see, though, automating these types of tasks represents a big shift that can benefit many different businesses.
Top 8 Business Benefits of Adopting NLP and OCR Software
Here are some of the biggest benefits that can come from investing in NLP and OCR software:
1. Increased business efficiency
Jobs that require transcription and data entry, such as administrative support positions, can spend a lot of time on reading and transcribing text.
Data entry, therefore, takes time and costs money.
NLP, OCR, and related AI software can improve efficiency, increase speed, reduce wasted effort, and more.
2. Newer, more composable workflows
Workflows change over time – this is a natural part of how businesses evolve.
Yet technology is accelerating the pace of change in the business world.
One example of this is the increased modularity of workflows. That is, workflows are becoming more “composable.”
In part, this is due to the digital adoption of new technology, such as NLP tools.
The more technology we implement, the more we can segment work tasks. And the more we segment work tasks, the more we can adjust workflows, redesign business processes, and adjust the business model.
3. Greater workforce productivity
AI saves time, as mentioned, which not only improves efficiency, it also improves employee productivity.
The faster employees can perform tasks that require reading, for example, the more time they can devote to other tasks.
Greater productivity, in turn, positively impacts the organization’s bottom line.
4. A more digitally mature workplace
Digital maturity refers to an organization’s digital capabilities.
NLP and OCR software in and of itself will not make the workplace more digitally mature. For instance, it won’t increase workers’ digital skills. And it won’t make the culture more digital-centric.
However, when employees learn new tools, they also must learn new ways of thinking. And when they do, their mindsets become more flexible, more digitally savvy, and more innovative.
5. Improved organizational agility
One outcome of adopting new technology is increased agility across the organization.
- Composable software can increase workflow flexibility and agility
- Increased workforce agility can boost flexibility within business processes, projects, and business functions
- Greater agility among projects and business units can improve organizational agility
Nimbleness and agility are not only competitive advantages, they are survival traits, according to firms such as McKinsey. In the years ahead, they claim, staying relevant will require an increased ability to adapt. Adopting technology such as NLP and AI, therefore, should become a top priority for most businesses.
6. New products, services, and product features
NLP, OCR, and related AI technologies can create new forms of value for customers.
As we saw earlier, stitching together several component technologies can result in completely new products and services.
A few examples include:
- Using OCR to extract text from legal documents, then using NLP to summarize the contents of that text
- “Reading” text with OCR, translating that into another language, then reading that text aloud in a foreign language
- Extracting text from documents and entering that data into forms, databases, and so forth
In short, these capabilities can be composed into completely new products and services. Not only can these types of AI-powered capabilities improve business performance, as noted earlier, they can also be used to develop new customer-facing products.
7. A competitive advantage
According to some, AI approaches such as deep learning could create more value than the internet did.
Early technology adopters will stand to reap substantial rewards. The advantages covered above, for example, can accumulate and ultimately generate a competitive edge in the marketplace.
On the other hand, laggards – those who are slow to adopt AI – will suffer, fall behind, and they could even lose major market share in tomorrow’s economy.
8. A culture of innovation
A complement of agility is innovation and creativity.
Both are essential in today’s business landscape. Agility can help companies respond to change and innovation can help them lead change.
Adopting new AI tools early can not only foster a more flexible workplace, it can increase employees’ ability to think outside the box, create innovative products, and be more creative.