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4 roles of AI in content management systems

Enterprise content management systems employ AI in a number of ways, including chatbots, robotic process automation, enterprise search and content security.

Enterprise content management platforms enable businesses to organize and maintain their content, and many organizations are noticing an uptick in AI features within these systems.

By applying the different components of AI -- including machine learning, natural language processing and data mining -- ECM systems become smarter and provide end users with new capabilities that can make them more efficient.

Here are four roles of AI in content management systems:

1. Enterprise search

One of the most-used features in ECM platforms is the search function. This is a common starting point for anyone looking for specific content, whether it be a presentation file, policy, training guide or item within a catalog. But as the amount of data within ECM systems grows over the years, so, too, do the search results, forcing users to spend time sifting through the returns and making them less productive.

But with the help of AI in enterprise search, users can identify the information they seek using machine learning and data mining capabilities.

Microsoft announced AI capabilities in enterprise search with Project Cortex at Ignite 2019. This technology is able to analyze different types of content from various sources -- such as SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and OneDrive -- and organize it into shared topics such as projects, products, processes and customers to create a knowledge network for users to access as part of their search results.

2. Chatbot capabilities

Some ECM vendors -- such as Microsoft SharePoint -- have even added chatbot capabilities to their offerings. In Microsoft's case, Bot Framework V4 provides connectors to deliver fully-functioning chatbots to interact with SharePoint content.

By generating a chatbot using Bot Framework, designers can build the functionality to interact with the bot through web chat windows, Microsoft Team conversations, Skype conversations and voice by using Cortana.

Several real-life examples of queries that these chatbots can answer in an ECM system include:

  • "Bot, locate the latest sales presentation for ABC client," as a sales representative searches for a proposal or presentation;
  • "Bot, search for a legal document related to HIPAA cases," as an attorney searches for documents related to a specific case; and
  • "Bot, I am looking for training material on how to use our equipment AP-1023," as a field technician searches for machinery user guides.

3. Robotic process automation

The next capability that AI brings to the table in content management systems is robotic process automation (RPA), which is the ability for AI to handle high-volume, repetitive tasks. Today, many ECM platforms still rely on the use of traditional workflow engines to provide automation capabilities for approval processes, document routing based on categories, revision review and other commonly used workflows.

But the use of AI provides opportunities for more complex automations such as document routing based on content, classification of documents based on content, e-discovery searches, image classification and object recognition.

RPA can be of great use to businesses. For example, imagine an accounting department uses RPA to assist with invoicing. Using RPA, AI can analyze incoming documents that the accounting department scans -- such as invoices -- then perform text and pattern recognition to extract some of data elements. AI then routes the document to the appropriate individuals or teams who need to work on it. This takes humans out of the equation, freeing them up for other tasks.

4. Content security

AI is also helpful in securing content. For many companies, saving credit card or bank account numbers and other sensitive information within an ECM system is generally prohibited. But with increasing pressures on businesses to ensure they meet all the different compliance requirements that include HIPAA, GDPR, CCPA and others, relying on audits to find content that might violate company rules and polices can result in risks of noncompliance.

AI can detect in real time if content in an ECM platform is noncompliant by detecting abnormal behavior -- such as unusually large document downloads or a suspicious login from unfamiliar locations -- which helps organizations meet compliance requirements and reduce risks significantly.

Dig Deeper on Enterprise content management (ECM) technology

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