Boldly going where no one has gone before: working at the edge of ML and AI
Pushing the AI/ML state-of-the-art in 5 generations to fundamentally rethink the audit function, resulting in continuous automated auditing
01. THE QUESTION
One of the Flemish Government’s departments checks to see if European funds give their grant money to legitimate projects. They verify projects before approval of subsidies and do follow-ups to ensure everything runs according to regulations.
This has always been a manual, slow process, carried out by a team of auditors. Tedious—until the head of the department wondered if a big part of this monitoring could be done by Artificial Intelligence to speed things up. To find out if AI could indeed help transform the auditing process and offer continuous and deep insights, they turned to us. The customer didn’t want us to just automate their current processes, but also to find a new way to handle them through AI. Exactly our kind of challenge.
02. THE PROCESS
We first analysed the department’s tasks and looked for opportunities to transform their process. Next, we looked at their goals and how we could approach them differently using AI. We then scoured the AI market looking for the world’s most prominent players and examined in depth the expected future development in the years to come.
In our quest, we hit the limits of today’s technology and realised it was too soon for this type of project. A typical example of this is the lack of NLP capabilities for legal texts written in Dutch. With today’s technology and the way it’s evolving, we wouldn’t be able to implement our customer’s ideas for another five or so years.
We’re not the kind to give up that fast, however. Even though the right technology to help make our customer’s vision come true doesn’t exist yet, we soldiered on. Our team set up an innovative partnership with the customer and wrote a transformation plan, working with five generations of ML and AI technology. This plan will take us to the finish line, generation by generation, by implementing new state of the art functionalities as soon as they’re available.
03. THE RESULT
We are currently assessing some of the best technology suppliers to see which one of them can follow our vision and deliver tools that match our customer’s plans. Together with our customer, we are basically “boldly going where no one has gone before”, so we need a supplier who can keep up. Needless to say, this comes with an extensive vetting process.
With this project, we’re working on the edge of technological evolution. But the impact of what we want to accomplish could be quite extraordinary. What we’re making would help our customer reduce the chances of non-compliance, reduce the processing time and limit financial risks for these funds. Ultimately, the cost per audit should drop by 80%– that’s why the government agreed with about 10M€ funding to realize these ambitions during the pilot and implementation phase.