Solving Digital Invoice Processing With AI
Introducing CLIR Financials from PremiumMedia360.
Can digital invoice management ever be painless? It’s a question media buyers are keen to answer. In the otherwise cutting-edge digital realm, buyers are trapped spending countless hours reading and inputting invoice data within their media management or ERP system — just to have the right information available to get started on discrepancy resolution. The manual and labor-intensive process can occupy multiple full-time jobs across an agency. This represents a major drain on resources.
Now, PremiumMedia360 (PM360) is pleased to introduce a long-awaited answer to the problem: CLIR Financials, powered by machine learning and AI.
CLIR Financials is poised to create an automation revolution in digital media workflow. To understand why, let’s start with a look at the root of the problem: Industry standards.
Digital Invoice Standards: Ground Rules that Never Got Off the Ground
It’s hard to overstate how crucial standards have been to the growth of the media business. Decades ago, the 4As set clear rules of what linear TV and radio invoices and orders would look like. As those standards took hold, the industry benefited from near-universal uniformity around everything from shared formatting to minimum data requirements on every invoice.
More than just allowing for simpler operations, these standards gave software providers like CoreMedia and Mediaocean a solid foundation to create EDI. If you’re a media professional who benefits from automated workflow, you have standards to thank.
Unfortunately, digital media took a different turn. To be sure, the IAB advises on clear standards for invoicing, orders, and much more. But in the fast-growing and sprawling digital ecosystem, many of these standards never caught on. For instance, the same information routinely appears in different places on different publishers’ invoices; meanwhile, some vendors bill CTV and linear TV on a single invoice — and others send the bills separately.
Historically, software has been built around clear processes, so even seemingly minor variations across vendors’ invoices — like order numbers on the top right, others on the bottom left — add up to a system that’s too chaotic to automate.
The end result is a great irony of invoice workflow in the digital age. Buyers in so-called “traditional” channels get efficient EDI automation. Digital buyers, on the other hand, are left to sort through a patchwork of non-standardized PDFs and other file formats. Today, connected TV (CTV) is transacted in a very similar fashion as digital, and these invoicing problems look to only get worse.
Now for the good news: AI is changing the rules of the game.
What Standards Problem? Artificial Intelligence to the Rescue.
AI and machine learning applications are now able to “make sense” of less-than-specific information — allowing for automation of non-standardized information. It’s this AI-based breakthrough that forms the basis of CLIR Financials, PM360’s AI-based automation solution for invoice management.
With CLIR Financials, the publisher can send over invoices in any format, and the AI can “understand” and reformat the raw invoice data into an electronic format that’s readily ingested into agency systems. More than just looking at the invoice itself, CLIR Financials can also spot gaps in the invoice and fill them in with information from the seller’s email where relevant.
We’re excited to see the solution advance as we continue to train the AI model further, and we are confident in the benefits it will provide, because it’s built upon proven technologies. CLIR Financials is an adaptation of our publisher-side AI solution allowing sellers to convert information like traffic instructions from spreadsheets and PDFs into digital formats that are immediately usable by sell-side systems. More broadly, it’s built on the similar AI frameworks that are already transforming use cases in a host of industries.
We’ve rolled out CLIR Financials with an initial focus on digital and CTV because these are the channels with the least standards causing the most “pain” when it comes to agency workflow. However, this same technology can be used for any invoice type. CLIR Financials adds another automation solution to the PM360 suite, as we continue our focus on automating the gaps in media workflow processes.
Regardless of channel, CLIR Financials removes the drudgework of reviewing data with a fine-toothed comb and painstakingly keying it into media systems. More fundamentally, it eliminates a key workflow hurdle to fully engaging old and new channels alike as the media landscape rapidly evolves.
This is great news for media agencies looking to marry digitally forward media strategy with maximally efficient operations.
If you’re a media buyer looking to streamline resources spent on handling invoice data, reach out to Michelle Clayton of PM360 at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.