Introduction to Context Driven Productivity and Ephesoft Semantik 

Today, I want to share with you some exciting new developments you may have seen in the media. This month, Ephesoft launched a new concept along with a beta of the first phase of a revolutionary product. We will introduce Context Driven Productivity and our new web-based, contextual productivity platform, Semantik.

To set the stage, it is core and central to understand what we mean by contextual data. The definition of context states the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed. How can we, as users, be more productive with contextual data?

We have all seen the statistics on the data growth problem in the enterprise, along with the impact it is having in many areas. CIOs and organizations understand that issue. But where does context come into play?

The Missing Piece: Context

In our ten years in providing document centered automation solutions, we noticed something.  Time and time again, users had just a piece of the puzzle. With data missing, they just didn’t have the context to get their jobs done effectively. How many tabs do you have open on your computer right now? Think about how many times per day you app or tab switch to get your job done. We have just accepted the fact that flipping from tab to tab, opening app to app, and copying data from here to there is just the way we do business.

I call it the “gathering.” Go to or use one system, get a data set or find a bit of information, then go to the next system, and use that data to find more data. And, on and on across systems. We as humans have this method on how to gather data for context wrapped in our heads as experience, and the application of this experience is complex. When organizations try and transfer this to bots or systems, it creates a whole new problem and requires constant exception processing. Too much time is wasted on these gathering efforts.

This problem is not isolated. Look across the organization and you will find the contextual data problem is blocking productivity across the organization: in accounting with invoices, in human resources with onboarding, in sales with order processing and in legal with contracts. This broad inefficiency when it comes to processes and context is pervasive in most organizations large and small.

It is this contextual problem that is one of the core reasons for broader failures. Without context, you are limited in what you can achieve and hinder your automation goals. There are some fairly disturbing numbers put out by McKinsey on the failure rates of both digital transformation projects and RPA projects. Automating a bad process or trying to transform a large department where users and systems don’t have all the data they need just doesn’t set you up for success.  It replicates what you have today, and moves it from a physical broken process to one that is now digital. There has to be a better way.

Examining the Problem

Is context really that critical? Is it worth the effort? In our processes, if we just take into account the flat, two-dimensional data that we have in hand, it not only affects our productivity but also will have us make decisions without the full 360-degree view. For example, let’s look at the hiring process. If you are involved with this process at any level, you know it can a massive time-consumer. Day-to-day, as you look at resumes, and think of the time you spend on interviews, only to find out later there are hidden issues or factors that rule out candidates, it is frustrating.

I receive a resume that looks fantastic. This individual checks all the boxes, but if all I have is this flat data and I am constrained to just the resume information, I lack enriched data from other sources that sit outside one document. I don’t know that her resume doesn’t match LinkedIn, that she is a frequent flyer when it comes to applying to our company, that we are bound by a hidden paragraph in our partnership agreement and we cannot hire her. She also has a legal history, her father is chairman of the board of our largest client, and that her passport has expired. This is for an international travel position! That context is all missing today.

If we examine the levels of enterprise autonomy and the journey to the highest level of automation, we’ve built a staged progression. Organizations and their different departments can be at any stage of the digital transformation journey, some doing some basic task and process automation, and others at advanced levels. But one thing is constant: there is a wall that prevents reaching higher levels if you lack context, and don’t have the enriched data and understanding to truly begin to learn all the data required for a task or process. This wall prevents access to knowledge for humans, digital workers and systems so they can make decisions in real-time and achieve the highest levels of productivity. If we can tear down this wall, it can free processes from human involvement, allowing workers to focus on higher-value tasks for the organization.

A New Discipline: Context Driven Productivity

How do we fix it? How can we apply a stronger methodology to process learning and autonomy to reach the highest levels on the autonomous journey? Ephesoft has introduced a new way of examining the context problem called Context Driven Productivity (CDP). Let’s take a look at what CDP means for the organization.

In our vision, the enterprise has the means to provide contextual data to all humans, digital workers and systems, removing the contextual wall. CDP takes a new and innovative approach to acquire data from existing processes, enrich that data and finally amplify the value of that data to increase productivity. It is not a product or a technology, but a framework to reach highly autonomous processes, with a focus on providing a 360-degree view of all the information to understand and make fully informed decisions through the presentation of timely data.

CDP consists of three core pillars that provide a foundation to understand a process or task, all its required data, and then leverage that info today, and use it for the future. Those pillars are: acquire, enrich and amplify.    

Let’s return to how do we build context? Is it just a matter of collecting data? The answer is “No,” because if that was the case, it would be easy. The best way to explain the required underlying technology is to think about a crime board. Everyone has seen a CSI show or one where they are trying to connect the dots to find a murderer or criminal. That crime board is a simple example of the complex technology behind the scenes and what the CDP methodology can build. Essentially it is a series of links and relationships between entities and their attributes.  In this case, we know where the murder weapon was found, its manufacturer and the DNA associated with it. We can start to gather how it all fits together. This physical crime board is what runs under the hood of our new platform that enables CDP.

To fully enable CDP, we need some new and innovative technology.

  • Semantic Acquisition Engine (enrichment-enabled data)
  • The ability to enrich data and create relationships and links (knowledge graph aka digital crime board)
  • Amplify the result (easy access to acquired knowledge through secure, shared services)

So, we’ve seen the problem, and talked about Context Driven Productivity. What is Ephesoft doing to solve this problem and improve productivity in organizations? I’ll now give you an overview of our new platform and vision to help customers drive deep knowledge of their core processes and improve user productivity.

The Solution: Semantik Platform

Semantik will address the key pillars in CDP through a robust set of tools directed at improving the acquisition and creation of semantic data, the enrichment of that data through internal and external sources and the means to leverage the data across the Enterprise. By providing enrichment-ready data at the front of the process, strong context can be built and saved into a knowledge graph to provide human and digital workers with an extensive means to complete tasks and processes quickly and automatically.

If we look under the hood, we have the technical infrastructure to create that digital crime board, and building context through AI using data entities, links and broad relationships. The end result is what is called an enterprise knowledge graph that contains a map providing a 360-degree view over time of anything the organization handles on a daily basis.

If we bring back our background check example that was hindered by the context barrier, we now have full access to the extended story of the resume example from before. We have a clear 360-degree view of all the data, how it is related and can create full context and understanding so effective decisions can be made quickly without the laborious gathering required.

Single Pane of Glass

The end result is to provide a single pane of glass view of compiled context that users can access, and that systems and digital workers have available in digital form. This pane is a visual looking glass into the entities, links and relationships that are formed through enriched data, providing all the information to complete a process or task.

At Ephesoft, we have mapped out a phased journey to support CDP initiatives worldwide, focused on the three pillars of CDP: acquire, enrich and amplify.

What Can Semantik Do Today?

We have started with a focus on acquisition, and taken our history in document capture as a focus for use cases and providing solutions. We have built a platform and all the components to look at document content in a new way through brand new machine learning models, and extract not only the data of interest but also to create a virtual semantic map of content that goes through the system. This digital fingerprint is enrichment-ready, semantic data set up for the next phase, but also has the ability to be leveraged today for specific acquisition point solutions. The first solution is Semantic Invoice and is currently in beta for those interested in testing. 

I want to emphasize this is not just another single solution we can provide to the market, but we have built a solid foundation to meet CDP acquire requirements as the phases develop. A foundation for future productivity solutions for almost instant ROI and automation. We’ve developed simple and easy to use screens, with the goal to have little to no training but high value.

We will also begin to integrate Ephesoft Transact into the phases of the Semantik Platform to provide extensive and enhanced capabilities in both the acquire and enrich phases. In the near future, we will leverage the Semantik stack and the benefits of this new technology. With our new CDP mindset, we also are starting to leverage our fuzzy DB, web services lookup and plugin architecture to provide enhanced enrichment of data during the content acquisition process. In addition, Transact can provide data labeling capabilities to enhance semantic models and provide clean accurate data sets to AI initiatives. If you aren’t familiar with our data labeling initiatives and the capabilities of Transact in this area, please contact us. It is a fast, emerging market for our technology.

View a recording of our session on our BrightTALK Channel