Celebrating 30 Years of Excellence: An Interview with Annemarie Pucher, CEO of ISIS Papyrus
Spring 2018 marks the 30th anniversary of ISIS Papyrus, an innovative company that has been changing the face of corporate software solutions ever since. Great offers are available similar to the Sugarhouse sign-up offer. Corporate LiveWire recently spoke with CEO Annemarie Pucher to discover how the industry has changed over the years, discuss their more recent successes and find out more about their upcoming Open House & User Conference event taking place in Kingsclere (Hampshire, UK) on 27 September 2018, please see the registration information below.
Can you start by telling us about the upcoming Open House & User Conference?
It is a very important event that we have every year for our customers and for our prospects who are interested in what our customers do with our software. They want to network but they also want to see our latest capabilities. We do a lot of demos and discussions. We bring the best people because we are a very professional company so we have different experts in different countries. We bring everyone together, including our CTO. It’s essentially a conference that has presentations, demos and roundtable discussions, and workshops for more technical people who would like to sit down and discuss. It’s a knowledge-sharing, information-sharing conference. It’s not a marketing conference – we don’t sell anything there. It’s really just to show our latest technology; to show how machine learning works. We typically have analysts speaking, it depends on which country we are having the conference in.
Who attends and what do they expect to learn from the event?
Customers like to see what has changed, what is new, where we are going, and learn about certain trends and case studies. We talk about case studies, we talk about what customers used and in what way, and whether they had benefits. We typically have case study presentations there. Prospects, I would say, also come to hear that and to talk to others. Customers like to talk to other customers about their experience, to share and to learn from other people’s experience, something you cannot get from a website. It’s not possible to find all of this information written down somewhere or in a video. I think people really benefit from coming. It’s a different kind of event – you can interact and ask questions.
I would like to congratulate ISIS Papyrus on its 30th anniversary. Can you explain how the industry has changed during this period of time and outline how ISIS Papyrus has ensured it remains at the forefront of corporate software solutions?
Well, 30 years is a long time. When we launched in 1988, that’s when the PC came out. In those days we just had the mainframe. Having a graphical user interface was very important for organisations when they wanted to give some work to the business people rather than having everything programmed. That’s how we started out. We are in customer communications, and electronic forms of data are very important. What you coded at first was suddenly possible to do on a PC, and now on a mobile device. Over the years, we have developed many inventions and have always been many years ahead with our platform. This is why we have succeeded for so long. In software, you always have to be at the forefront. You cannot be behind.
How has machine learning transformed the way businesses operate?
Everyone is trying to automate, mainly because it’s a huge effort to have lots of manual processes going on. However, there can also be a very negative side to it. You could just be a client and not get any special service because a machine only knows a hard-coded process. We believe the area where machine learning is very good is in the field of incoming mail. It can help users understand what has been received and track data. In areas such as business process management, we believe it should also be adaptive so you can be responsive to customers’ enquiries or requirements. Other areas can be straight through processing.
It is a user trained agent, a machine trained by a knowledgeable worker. The machine learns from a person who has knowledge and expertise. After learning, the user trained agent can make suggestions, it can maybe tell someone in the call centre “the last five times this is what we did and this is what the decision was.” The software does that. This is where I think machine learning can help. It’s similar to when you buy a book on Amazon and you get suggestions for other books. Our customers can benefit from machine learning by understanding incoming emails, pdfs and paper and automatically classifying them and performing data extraction. This can be done by a machine rather than a human. In this area you can get up to 80-90% automation. It’s much more effective and less error-prone because when you are typing you can make mistakes. We have actually published case studies that show the customer gains with machine learning. One man used to need four days to classify and validate 10,000 incoming email a day. Now he does that in four hours.
How can a business effectively engage with both traditional and digital clients on one digital platform?
The platform needs to support an omnichannel environment and then it can be very efficient. Omnichannel means having all digital channels and physical channels in one platform where the user has a complete view of the channels and what the communication was all about. All of that is collected in one case and there you have your 360-degree view of all the on-going communication and processes related to the communication. Just imagine: you have claims processing and you have emails coming in, paper coming in and maybe you have some phone conversations. It needs to be integrated. This can be made possible with an omnichannel environment. You might also need a report on the communication – outlining and understanding what has already happened, what still needs to be done, what needs to be sent out. This is only possible if you have an environment that allows for an omnichannel encompassing digital and physical communications going inbound and outbound.
Would that require extensive training?
No, not really. It would actually be very easy. First of all, you have a very nice user interface; a simple web interface where specific users with their specific role and privilege can see what they need to see. They don’t get spammed with all the other stuff. The point is, when they need to look into a claim case, for example, they can also see what the customer has sent to them. They can work with that and they can maybe send out a request for another signature that is missing. They can work much more efficiently and faster because they have all the information that they need at hand. It’s very straightforward. Mobile interfaces are so simple and user-friendly and so is the browser side. I don’t think much learning would be required.
How else has ISIS Papyrus incorporated new technologies into its products and services?
I would say we had to empower the platform with new technology over time. Especially on the user front, with the user interfaces, this has been demanding. When you look back over the years there have been a lot of different ways to generate a user interface. Nowadays, we have a desktop, we have a browser, and we have a mobile that we need to support.
It also came in in terms of output management and business process management. Where in the old days you had a lot of printing output management; today you have digital output management through a portal, an SMS, an email. That’s where the problem starts, with understanding who received what and when and did the person see it.
To what extent do you take current trends and strategies into consideration when adapting your services?
We always look a little bit ahead. We don’t often look so much at what is happening right now. If we go back to the machine learning and artificial intelligence, we patented our trained agent software in 2008. We anticipated the technology in 2008, so we were 10 years ahead of current plans. Machine learning is very current; a lot of the discussions around it have been in the last two years. We have led the way and received much recognition for Papyrus Capture for a long time. We have enhanced it, its algorithm, and we have extended it so that business users could define what shall be extracted, that the system would learn from the user in terms of extraction and so on.
How do you ensure you remain 10 years ahead of the curve?
We have a very powerful and great person here. We have our chief architect and he has always been 10 years ahead. He always feels that nobody understands what he is saying. He typically defines, with his team, what we’re going to develop in the core systems and this user trained agent and this patent. This was all his thinking: integrating inbound communications with outbound. We patented that solution in 2004. Everyone said “What for? Nobody needs this.” Now it is commonplace.
Of course, he also has an academy team, we have the Papyrus Academy in-house, and they do a lot of research. They also work with universities and they have common projects with the Vienna universities. They also write books and scripts together to be published. That is how we are so far ahead, which is sometimes a problem because customers are not ready for this kind of technology. Conversely, the product which we launched this year is a little bit ahead too. It was so difficult for people to understand that this technology was even possible.
What are the main benefits ISIS Papyrus can offer to its clients?
I would say, first of all, they can be very efficient. Users would save a lot of time and effort because of this consolidated work environment in which they can see everything and don’t have to search different systems for information. They have it all integrated in one solution; one user interface.
From a service perspective, I think they can deliver a much better service by providing the customer with the option of “how do you want to talk to us? You can use these three, four, five channels if you like. We can handle that.” That’s a plus if you can open it up to a client. They can be faster in responding, and will make fewer mistakes because they can see and understand what’s going on. They have a very integrated way of working. They can basically be on the road and have the same apps available as when they are in the office. So the benefits are efficiency, doing things faster, and making fewer mistakes.
The other area is that with our platform, we can integrate with anything the client already has. It’s such a powerful integration and such an adapting capability. We have tendered software that allows us to drastically simplify the integration effort with legacy and with databases, and with any other application that the client might have. Or maybe the mainframe or whatever they are running. That’s important to device integration and data integration. That can be done efficiently in a very short time, and we focus on empowering the business user. Nobody will come to us and say we need to start from scratch. Everybody has an existing environment and they all need to see how we can actually continue operating what they are using if they need to do that. There might be some they don’t wish to keep operating their existing system. These clients can use Papyrus.
Which industries or sectors benefit most from your services?
On one side, communication intensive industries, like insurance or healthcare companies or a bank. On the other side, companies that have a strong workforce. For example, one of our biggest projects is in facility management where you have thousands of workers, all with mobile devices and business processes behind. We have clients that have 15-30,000 users and all of them manage from a central point of control. Those with human resource management needs for manufacturing for on-boarding of services would benefit.
What are your current goals and objectives?
Based on our adaptive case management, our current goal is to make Papyrus Converse software that the world will use. This is what we focus on. We launched Adaptive Case Management (“ACM”) years ago and we built Papyrus Converse on top of that. We’re going to make it the standard for business application development in the market. That is our objective.
Can you tell me a bit more about ACM?
Adaptive case management is a solution that is integrating. Think of a claims case or a sales case again where you have collaborative work. You have knowledge workers and different people working on different tasks and activities, duties they have to perform over time. Anything can be a case. You open a case or the system opens the case and then in the case you have processes and rules, you have different people joining to perform these tasks and work over time. You also need communication. Typically, you have people you link to by email, you have customers who send you a bill that you need to pay and you need to sign it off first. If you think of someone who died, you have a lot of pay out claims. All of that is case management and this is what ACM does. We have received many awards for ACM. To make this even easier and accessible to business people, we are providing a designer and composer on top of ACM. That is what Converse is.
The ISIS Papyrus Open House & User Conference is taking place in Kingsclere (Hampshire) on 27 September 2018. For more information, visit https://www.isis-papyrus.com/UK or call +44 (0) 1635 299 849.