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The following transcript is taken from our recent podcast episode with Mike Fernandes and Mary Miller of KwikTag by enChoice on AP automation trends in the Dynamics ERP ecosystem.
JASON GUMPERT 00:02
Welcome to the MSDW Podcast. I’m Jason Gumpert, editor at msdynamicsworld.com. On this episode, we are talking AI, cloud software, procure-to-pay, and AP automation for the BIN market. My guests are Mike Fernandes, VP of Product, and Mary Miller, Director of Marketing and Channels at KwikTag by enChoice. We begin the conversation by looking at some of the very real benefits that AI is bringing to AP automation today, and specifically, what KwikTag has been seeing as a result in the last year. We hear about the continuing growth of cloud based accelerated deployments, a trend that Mike and Mary say has only increased since 2020. We also look at what makes investments in the procure-to-pay process so attractive to companies right now and how AP automation fits in. And Mike and Mary share some insights into their product roadmap in areas like payment automation and new solutions for dynamics products. All right, well, I’m here with Mary Miller and Mike Fernandez. Hi Mary. Hi Mike. Welcome to the podcast. Why don’t we start with some introductions? Mary, do you want to go first?
MARY MILLER 01:03
Sure. Thanks for having us. Jason. This is Mary Miller. I’m the Director of Marketing and Channel with KwikTag by enChoice. Happy to be here.
JASON GUMPERT 01:10
Glad to have you. And hi Mike.
MIKE FERNANDES 01:11
Hi. Thanks for having us as well. I’m Mike Fernandes And I’m VP of Products at KwikTag.
JASON GUMPERT 01:17
Well, I want to get right into it because you work in an area that has been one of the real points of discussion in the last year and a half. Automation, document management, getting away from paper has been such a common trait. When I think about where the market is going when it comes to documents and invoices, one of the really hot topics is AI. So, I thought we’d just jump in there in the conversation. How has AI realistically fit into AP automation in your view? What parts of a system can it improve on?
MIKE FERNANDES 01:47
Yeah, sure. That’s a really great question. As you mentioned, I think a big part of what businesses are trying to do is to try to reduce or get rid of as much paper as possible. And when you look at AP automation, a big part of that is taking documents and being able to look at those documents and extract certain information off those documents, off those invoices, and then being able to make some decision on it. So, what we’re seeing in terms of real impact in a lot of automation where it’s realistically adding value is around the capturing of those invoices and don’t be able to do OCR with it. When you look traditionally to traditional OCR systems, they’re very complex to set up, they’re not very accurate. And as soon as a vendor changes, their invoice format, what ends up happening is they now need to go and set it up or retrain or set up another profile for another template for that vendor. So, what we’re seeing is in terms of we released a product called ktIQ, that is based on an AI, that removes a lot of those challenges and improves the accuracy because we’re using AI machine learning in it. So, instead of looking at templates, which basically a specific field of that we’re looking for located on a specific document that we’re OCR-ing. With AI machine learning, it’s kind of like you and I are looking at a document and we’re saying, “Okay, here’s invoice number, because it says invoice number on it. So, that must imply that’s invoice number.” So, what we’re seeing is that the accuracy is so much higher as a result of it. The time to set up and launching with this type of solution is much faster as well, because now there’s not this high complex, high cost for professional services to work with the customer to do all this, it’s already there. Our ktIQ is based in the cloud. So, even from that perspective, there’s nothing customer really needs to set up on premise to do any of this. You set up our quick tag AP automation solution, it sends it to the cloud, we do everything in the cloud, and we send everything back associated with that invoice back to the customer. So, we really have seen a tremendous improvement in the accuracy providing real outcomes for customer as results of it because it improves as soon as it’s deployed.
JASON GUMPERT 04:02
That’s really interesting. So, this is out there, this is already serving your customers and saving time on things that had previously been more manual or more human intervention.
MIKE FERNANDES 04:11
Yes, it’s been out there for about a year and we’re seeing even the automation that it provides, because for example, if we can identify there’s a purchase order that’s been extracted, now we’re adding another level of automation intelligence because now we can pull certain information and validate certain information from the ERP system and provide a high level of automation because now, we can say, “Okay. If this is a purchase order, we validated with the ERP system, we can even retrieve some of those line items from the ERP system related to purchase orders and have that process now be different than if it’s one that’s not related to a purchase order, maybe where it requires more indexing, more validation. Whereas with a purchase order, we can retrieve things, we can automatically have that information present it to the user. And then from that point, they can just send it right back into the ERP system for that invoice to be paid. So, a lot more automation as a result of it as well.
MARY MILLER 05:09
And, Mike, if I could just add to that, your comment about the whole indexing step is really enhanced by this, especially as people have claimed, according to recent research studies that about 74% of people say their number one challenge with their current AP process is that manual data entry and the indexing step. So, the fact that we’re automating that with an intelligent system, like you’re describing, is really taking that number one pain away from them. So, I think we’re definitely headed in the right direction there.
JASON GUMPERT 05:42
I want to ask more generally about cloud as well. I was recently looking at a report on this. I mean, most of the interest today is in cloud, right, Mary? But can you talk any more about sort of how specifically it’s changing the value proposition for AP automation solutions when companies are thinking cloud first?
MARY MILLER 05:59