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A webinar with Mike Mahon

President and CEO of Zia Consulting, Mike Mahon, recently sponsored and recorded a webinar on disruptive innovation with the Association for Intelligent Information Management (AIIM). Kevin Craine – writer, producer, and influencer, interviewed Mike. He kicked off the conversation by asking Mike to describe the steps people can take to more effectively use data and automation to disrupt and innovate. Their conversation also addressed how hyperautomation, artificial intelligence (AI), and information management play an important role in this process.  One of Mike’s superpowers is building teams and managing change, things that are critical to disruptive innovation. This was especially evident when he led his team to 66% revenue growth during the first year of COVID, a time when many businesses suffered great loss. Since then, he has continued to be successful at using disruptive innovation to lead Zia into the future of automation. 

Mike shared that the concept of disruptive innovation was first coined in the mid-1990s by Dr. Clayton Christensen. This powerful way of thinking about innovation-driven growth is considered one of the most influential business ideas of the 21st century and many marketplace leaders praise it as their guiding star to success. But disruptive innovation is difficult to do if you struggle with your current systems and approaches to information management. Notably, nearly 25% of AIIM member organizations shared that digitizing, automating, and integrating data and systems is their top barrier to process improvement. Changing this requires rethinking the way they work.  

The need for disruption is coupled with the fact that customers have changing expectations, technologies evolve quickly, and business leaders are searching for new tools and techniques to remain competitive and relevant. Adopting a “disruptive innovation” mindset help companies transform their business, disrupt the marketplace, and outpace the competition.

During the interview, Mike provided this example to describe disruptive innovation. “The classic example is ‘to Uber an industry’. It’s a process that changes the way that you think about your business and focuses on often overlooked market segments that are lower end or lower cost, but not necessarily lower value.”  He went on to say, “You really should be focusing on a new business model that ends up driving a new market strategy.” Of course, this looks different across industries.

Hyperautomation is an important component of this strategy. Mike described hyperautomation as “the entire stack of things from capturing structured and unstructured data, turning that data into structured content, and then using that information downstream in business processes. Unstructured content, like the content in an email, a legal letter, or a contract, disrupts the ability to do end-to-end processing and achieve the benefits of full automation.” Full automation leads to greater customer and employee satisfaction, saves time and money, replaces unwanted jobs, and repurposes high value employees to do critical work that moves the business forward.” 

Automation takes the human being out of the equation. Zia uses tools that help companies classify their content, extract key information from it, and then use that information with a high level of competence. For example, these tools can discern if billing information on a document belongs to a company or a customer, and then route the bill to the correct place. Zia also uses AI tools to improve the classification and extraction process.

Mike provided a specific example from some work Zia has done for an insurance company. “This company had 15 people in their claims department that would physically route mail back and forth to different departments. The average time to deal with that took about two days. They’d scan something and hand deliver it. If there was an error, or if it was delivered to the wrong department, they’d have to go back downstairs and it would take another day or two. So, the turnaround time was two to four days just to get the mail to the right person to process a claim. What we were able to do is cut the processing time down to between 30-90 seconds. The financial turnaround for the company was tremendous, returning $150,000 a month from an initial $300,000 investment.”

AI and Information management are also critical to disruptive innovation. AI and generative AI are unavoidable today. Given that, Mike argues you may as well learn to use it effectively. One of the problems is that people live in fear of what these tools will do to existing jobs. Mike gave the following analogy to embrace the fear, saying “The analogy of horses was the best example that I heard during the Leadership Council at AIIM23. What happened to blacksmiths when the automobile came onto the market? They’re still blacksmiths, but now they put disks on drums for breaks, not shoes on horses.  So AI isn’t going to remove jobs from the economy; it’s going to create new jobs.”

He also stressed the need to create alignment in the information management industry. Doing that requires people to educate themselves and move toward the creation of best practices. He stressed that with the right perspective there is a tremendous opportunity to use AI to streamline problems that companies haven’t been able to solve.  

Mike ended the webinar sharing, “I think that change is going to drive dramatic new job growth and we’re going to have to get past the fear of it. That’s what big disruptions do. They push people out of their comfort zone and force them to make choices. We’re going to see the integration of artificial intelligence in the next five years. I hope that comes with regulations and best practices and a little bit of common sense. But ultimately, we need to move away from the fear of it and start embracing it.” 

You can click here to stream the entire conversation with Mike Mahon.  Of course, feel free to reach out to us anytime to discuss your specific goals around using hyperautomation, AI, and information management to disrupt and innovate. Embrace your fears and work with Zia to discover the opportunities available to your business.

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