CloudTrade Podcast - Episode 1 - The automation agenda

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Watch the podcast here, if you’d prefer to read about what was discussed, please read on.

David Cocks, CloudTrade CEO and Founder, talks with Steve Britton, Director of Sales, about why Executives have an automation agenda and how to overcome some of the challenges when it comes to document processing.

Steve: Good morning. Welcome to the first CloudTrade podcast, where we are talking about industry topics. I am Steve Britton, CloudTrade Director of EMEA Sales, and I am talking with David Cocks, CloudTrade CEO.

I would like to kick off this podcast talking about the automation agenda. This is something we hear a lot about from many companies, who are looking to see what they can do to automate business processes. You have been involved in the AP and AR data-capture industry for some time. What do executives want to receive from automation in the context of business-document processing?

David: This is a very interesting question. I might rephrase it as simply: Why automate? We all have our own understanding of why we should. Typically, there are 3 very prosaic reasons why companies want to automate:

Firstly, their manual data-capture system may be broken or cause trouble. It may be that they are trying to do capture documents that are just too complex to do reliably, manually and at scale.

Secondly, the company is growing, and they have trouble scaling their current manual processes.

Thirdly, they may want to automate for reasons of continuity of business. Especially through lockdown having manual processes in fixed physical locations can cause loss of business services.

Steve: Very interesting. Yes, we have all heard of difficulties, especially in the current climate. For example, I know that physical mailrooms have been closed. Historically, documents can be outsourced to different, very capable data-capture providers, but this system does not work now. So moving to digital solutions makes sense. There has been technology around for years – for example OCR and other technologies that have claimed to be able to automate business processes such as receiving an invoice or customer order. The question is “Why are these technologies today not rising to the challenge, why do these companies need to change?”

David: I think there has always been a bit of spin and misinformation about this. Historically, these systems you refer to, Steve, have not tried to automate end to end. These technologies have focussed on improving specific manual steps in a business process, often leaving other perhaps more difficult steps for manual intervention. Automation is not really about removing a bit of manual intervention in one aspect of a process and leaving problems in place downstream. Our system is about taking out all the manual processes. And that is where CloudTrade is leading the world.

Steve: Interesting, so the CloudTrade solution is not just about capturing data from that inbound document, it’s about understanding the end-to-end business process. Tell me about the importance of understanding document content and context. Where is the documents’ data going to go? Are there specific business rules required?

David: Absolutely. Yes this is absolutely the point. Delivering a point solution, which improves the manual processing of one part of the business process, does not give you automation. You have to understand the data requirement of the receiving systems, and what they are going to do with the data so that the document data can be prepared, validated, even augmented with additional data, so that the document is ready for that full touchless automation.

Steve: Fantastic. Thank you. I’d like to ask one last quick question. One thing I have noticed about CloudTrade is how passionate you are as a company about having developed a technology, a platform, and a methodology that is very different to everyone else in the market. I’d love to know what drove you, David, to set up the new business 10 years ago? What is the differentiator in your view about CloudTrade compared to all the other technologies that operate in this space?

David: I was working in Accounts Payable automation and was frustrated with the IT industry peddling solutions that were convenient for them rather than actually meeting the needs of the customer. I always say if you give the IT guys a difficult problem, their immediate reaction is to ”cut the scope”. This is why the classic scan-OCR solutions are not built for the automation agenda. They do half the solution, and then leave the customer on the receiving end to finish the job. It was my belief that that was not good enough and that it was possible to build a better solution. That’s how CloudTrade began. Hopefully people will have a look at the website which explains how the company has taken that leap forward.

Steve: Absolutely David, thank you so much for your time this morning. I really appreciate it. This is the first in a series of weekly podcasts that CloudTrade is going to be launching. Hopefully our listeners have enjoyed what we have talked about this morning. And I look forward to talking to you again soon.

Watch the latest podcast episode in full below: