What is Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) and How Does it Help Businesses?

by | Published on Jul 30, 2021 | Business Process Outsourcing

Business data constitutes a large proportion of the data available today. Business data refers to business and personal information in electronic or other formats. The main challenge is that most of this information, which pertains to employees, customers, consumers, vendors or other persons/entities, is usually in formats that don’t have a set structure such as documents, PDFs, images, and emails. Document conversion services come to the rescue by digitizing unstructured documents and transforming them into searchable, electronic files in the preferred format. An advancement in the field of document conversion, Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) captures, extracts and processes data from different types of documents using state-of-the-art technologies such as natural language processing (NLP), Computer Vision, Optical Character Recognition (OCR), and machine learning (ML).

Data extraction and processing is particularly challenging for financial services organizations, healthcare and life sciences organizations, and public sector entities, according to a Forbes article. For instance, while evaluating loans or credit applications, financial entities need to maintain the highest accuracy when manually reviewing unstructured documents to get information on mortgage rates or credit scores. IDP is an advanced option that automates data extraction from complex, unstructured and semi-structured documents and converts it into structured data.

Applications of IDP

IDP pulls the required information from documents and is finding use in many fields such as:

  • Document digitization
  • Digital document retrieval, archiving and retention
  • Invoice processing
  • Streamlining of supply chain operations
  • Proof of delivery and order forms
  • Insurance Claims Processing
  • Fraud Detection
  • Case Reviews
  • Contract Administration
  • Mortgage Loan Application Processing
  • Customer and patient onboarding
  • Know-Your-Customer (KYC) information
  • Patient records

IDP can identify characters/ symbols and other text elements in documents that are difficult to read.

How IDP Works

IDP involves various stages to convert data in paper or digital documents into structured, usable information.

  • Processing of documents to improve their quality using techniques like noise reduction, binarization and de-skewing.
  • Leveraging OCR and other technologies to extract text from the documents.
  • After OCR pulls text from the documents, natural language processing (NLP) is used to understand and contextualize it.
  • The next step is validating the data extracted from documents. Data validation is critical to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the information.
  • The final step in IDP is integration of the validated data into all downstream applications and workflows.

Benefits of IDP

  • Improves Productivity and Efficiency: Manual document processing processes are time consuming and error-prone. Reports indicate that the error rate of standard invoice processing is 10% (www.docacquire.com). For banks and insurance agencies, which handle huge volumes of documents, manual processing of data is costly and risk prone. Digitization through IDP greatly increases the speed at which documents are processed and improves productivity and efficiency. Automating the loan application process has greatly helped to meet the unprecedented demand.
  • Boosts Document Processing Speed: Manually digitizing PDFs is an extremely challenging task as a PDF form has about 50 form fields. Forbes reports how Dropbox company HelloSign resolved the challenges of manually digitizing PDFs by introducing HelloWorks, a product that automatically converts PDFs documents into mobile friendly forms, saving customers a lot of valuable time.
  • Reduces Costs: According to infrrd.ai, IDP significantly reduces the costs of processing large volumes of data, that is, there is a 20%-50% reduction in cost per document processed. It is reported that IDP saved a financial services company by cutting staff needed for manual data extraction by 50%.

Documents are the foundation of every business and extracting valuable data from them is critical for businesses to make informed decisions. As Forbes points out, digitization and IDP are important considerations for all businesses, and the pandemic has drastically increased the urgency to adopt these solutions. A document scanning company with extensive experience in the field can provide intelligent document processing solutions such as OCR for all industries. OCR analyzes the structure of document images and finally presents the recognized text. Document scanning services are available to convert scanned paper documents, images captured digitally, and PDF files into searchable and editable data.

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