Swiss Post Solutions: Combining the physical with the digital world
Joerg Vollmer, CEO, Swiss Post Solutions
The prerequisite for straight through processing in operations is structured and digital data. You can get this by entering the data manually, or by using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to extract structured data from documents or templates. But by using artificial intelligence (AI), for the first time ever it is possible to extract data from unstructured freeform written documents. For instance, if someone sends an email requesting address changes to his or her bank, the AI software can read the content with 80 per cent probability. These so-called self-learning solutions are getting better day by day and they can provide you with the desired structured and digital data.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) copies exactly the steps a human operator takes. RPA software even uses the same user interface – you can see the cursor moving on the screen, for instance, when you open an Excel worksheet. A unique selling proposition of SPS is the ability to combine all existing OCR and AI technologies to capture the content, and to use RPA to process it. That said, there is always about 20 per cent of exception handling which needs to be done manually. We have an offshore centre in Vietnam with about 1,500 staff doing just that.
We expect that in five years time we will still live in a hybrid world of digital and paper documents – although perhaps with a ratio closer to 50 per cent rather than 80 per cent paper. But this does not matter because we will have capturing solutions available that can handle various input channels and structured and unstructured data.
At the same time the data processing volume will be significantly higher, and clients will likely be more demanding in terms of TAT and service quality. In fact, companies that start the transformation today will have a significant competitive advantage in five years from now.