Software tells users where to file documents

A Singapore government agency begins trial of a new "intelligent" document filing system, touted to help improve productivity.

SINGAPORE--A government agency is trying out a new electronic filing system, which uses built-in artificial intelligence to help users categorize documents more quickly.

Starting this week, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) will conduct a six-month trial of the KRIS (Knowledge Repository Information System) Intelligent Filer, which was built by Singapore-based SQL View.

First developed in 1999, the software is able to predict user behavior and offer an opinion--suggesting which folder to place a document, for example--based on how the user filed previous document entries, explained Stephen Lim, CEO of SQL View.

According to Yeoh Chee Yan, deputy secretary of development at the Prime Minister's Office's (PMO) public service division, the KRIS software is likely to be implemented in other public agencies if the trial proves to be a success. It could potentially "reap huge cost savings for the government as a whole", she added.

The trial is funded to a tune of about S$260,700 (US$165,063) by The Enterprise Challenge, an initiative championed by the PMO to encourage innovation in the public service.

During the trial, between 20 and 50 URA employees will use the system to file documents relating to human resources, finance and planning, said Peter Quek, the agency's head of information systems. URA oversees planning of the country's land use.

He added that the Authority will use the funds to further refine the software, as well as integrate the application with URA's existing Electronic Development Application System, which allows for online submissions of land development applications.

Quek estimated that the new system could save each user around 30 seconds to file one document, with additional time savings to be gained through more efficient search and retrieval of documents.

Lim noted that over the last two years, his company has worked with Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research to refine the KRIS technology. However, he said that the process is still not complete--the company has plans to make the product "a little bit more intelligent" and more user-friendly. SQL View has to date invested some S$800,000 (US$506,600) in the software, added Lim.

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