Enterprise and cognitive search technology has been taking the legal industry by storm of late, largely due to its ability to dramatically increase the speed, accuracy and scope of traditionally labour-intensive processes like due diligence. The competitive edge provided by these capabilities is such that few major law firms have been able to justify delaying their adoption of the technology – a trend that may well be expanding into other sectors like financial services very soon.
“Enterprise and cognitive search and the legal industry is an obvious fit,” says Chris Hathaway, Founder and Director of Soarsoft International, “since it translates directly into how competitive and profitable a firm can be, and has a huge influence on traditionally time-intensive tasks.”
Hathaway cites a particular case where the predicted 8.5-year-long due diligence process was reduced to a mere 2 weeks using cognitive search technology.
“Given the choice, what client is going to choose a firm that’s going to take eight years to do what could be done in a matter of days,” he says, “particularly when you can avoid the risks of human error and inaccuracy at the same time?”
While the benefits of cognitive and enterprise search are more finessed for financial services, Hathaway believes the technology will soon be driving similar adoption trends in this industry.
“Enterprise search, in particular, is valuable for the financial services industry because of its ability to find, collate, and intelligently interpret data from across a whole network of disparate systems,” he explains. “That includes document management, SharePoint, CRMs, CMSs, billing and file shares from any number of connected networks.
“This can be particularly enlightening for institutions with sub-brands whose client bases may overlap,” he continues. “The ability to get a consolidated view of a customer profile across all his or her financial products within your entire organisation can be very powerful.”
Perhaps even more powerful, however, is the ability to find links between data and to suggest relevant content connected to a search that the user might never have thought to seek out.
“A tool like RAVN Connect Enterprise is far more than just a classic enterprise search platform,” says Hathaway. “It’s a flexible, adaptable and intelligent interface that is capable of interpreting search requests and prompting the user to traverse and refine search results, visually, from almost any starting point.”
It’s not only the inter-relationships of data that are taken into account, either. RAVN can also apply its search technology simultaneously to the human element of operations, showing an individual’s expertise in an area or connection to a project by assessing the data objects that have passed through their hands, or even referencing skills on external platforms like LinkedIn.
“This can be extremely valuable when putting together teams, or assigning responsibilities,” says Hathaway, “letting you leverage your workforce’s skills to maximum advantage.”
Access to these capabilities is likely to give many organisations a competitive advantage similar to that experienced by law firms already using the same technology. But is using this technology – for any industry – a realistic option in South Africa?
“These kinds of platforms used to be priced out of reach for all but the biggest players,” says Hathaway, “but RAVN has made things much more accessible for a wider range of businesses, including South Africa’s medium to large enterprises. Soarsoft is already in discussions around facilitating the adoption of RAVN by a number of highly-respected local companies, and we’ve had interest from financial and insurance services enterprises as well as local legal firms.”
With more DIY-friendly options in the works at RAVN, this market may be expanding even further in the near future.
“Invariably, there are some data science requirements in these projects. This adds to the cost for South Africans, because they’re paying international rates. With the new DIY options, however, local enterprises will be able to hire in-house data scientists, or outsource that functionality to an existing technology partner like Soarsoft International.”
For more information on cognitive and enterprise search technology available in South Africa, contact Soarsoft International.