Information or data is considered the backbone of any business’ workflow; it is extremely important for the data to be processed, stored and shared efficiently. However, the rapid growth of technology and automation implementation in business sectors along with the changing regulations and increased pressure to satisfy customer demands has made business sectors look out for innovative ways to handle data efficiently and quickly. This is particularly true in the case of unstructured data like emails, documents, and images. Document conversion services help digitize unstructured documents and transform them into searchable, electronic files in the preferred format. As most companies tend to handle a huge volume of transactions on a daily basis, a number of paper documents are created within that period. Such massive volume of paperwork can significantly affect a firm’s resources and impact their bottom line. Intelligent document processing (IDP) is the practical option to consider at this point as it provides solutions to automate data extraction tasks that were previously difficult to solve. Implementing IDP will significantly ease data processing activities and help manage in-house information in a better manner. IDP comprises powerful software tools that charge the data supply chain with labeled data from any text-based source.
How Can Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) Benefit Businesses?
Intelligent document processing (IDP) has made a significant impact on business organizations. It has enabled employees to reduce their focus on manual and tedious work that required huge effort and time to achieve outstanding quality. Thanks to the intelligent, AI-based OCR (linked to machine learning) which is subjected to a constant data feedback loop, the human in the loop interventions are reduced to the minimum. If human validation is required, the points to be checked are clearly highlighted by the intelligent AI-based OCR for their verification. Here discussed are some top ways in which IDP benefits business organizations –
- Promotes Automation – End-to-end process automation is considered one of the significant benefits of IDP as it facilitates process improvement. It helps link various systems that go into automating complex business processes and achieving hyper automation. For instance, with automation –
- Records managers leverage a contactless experience when company documents reach the end of their retainment lifecycle.
- Mailroom clerks enjoy predefined sorting and forwarding of incoming correspondence.
IDP eliminates manual document processing and improves workflows by combining machine learning and rules-based logic, which automates information capture, conversion, sorting, indexing, and company records routing. With IDP’s intelligent and sophisticated approach, optimized processes are a reality. Automating data entry is quicker and less prone to errors than typing it out manually. It saves resources on data entry, makes critical information available faster, and helps businesses to build a digital workforce.
- Enhances Data Quality and Usabilityy – It is estimated that on an average, about 80 percent of an organization’s data is “dark data” – meaning it is locked in emails, text, PDFs and scanned documents. By utilizing RPA and AI-based tools, IDP unlocks the value of dark data by transforming it into high-quality, structured data that is primed for analysis. By combining the data derived from paper documents with the huge amount of digital data (already available), a comprehensive data landscape can be established, significantly enhancing data evaluation and analytics possibilities.
- Improves Compliance and Security – Generally, sorting out documents, data entry and validating information are some of the repetitive tasks that cost a company both time and money. With IDP, these processes can be easily automated, which in turn, simplifies compliance even with complex regulations. Data privacy is an important concern for organizations that adopt IDP. An intelligent document processing solution’s impressive accuracy rate makes it the ideal solution for handling any compliance-related document or those that include sensitive information such as personally identifiable information (PII) or health records. This in turn prevents data manipulation or misuse. In addition, the technology stores data or information in a secure location where only authorized individuals can access it. This can help streamline and maximize the accuracy of regulatory reporting.
- Improves Process Effectiveness – If a business organization relies more on paper documents or records, manual processes will remain the order of the day, which is again considered a time-consuming and laborious task. However, IDP reduces manual intervention in document-centric workflows. By automating office records via IDP, users need to click to capture, convert, sort, index and route data from a document to its right location. In such cases, data sorting occurs in a well- structured way. This results in increased efficiency in daily workflow operations.
- Attracts Cost Savings – Minimizing the human effort involved in document processing reduces staff costs and storing data digitally also reduces document printing, shipping, and storage costs. Thanks to IDP’s automated data processing, the company’s operational expenses will also be reduced which in turn allows completion of a substantial amount of work within a short span of time.
- Increases Data Processing Speed – One of the notable benefits of investing in IDP is the speed at which large volume of data is processed. The time, cost, effort and even risk that goes into manual management of paper documents creates errors that have a cost implication on the business organization. By implementing IDP, in-house document processing will deliver error-free results.
- Improves Customer Experience – Customer experience and satisfaction can directly impact the key operations of a business organization. For instance, when a person decides to buy a new home, they can apply for a mortgage loan. At that point, they need to fill out stacks of application paperwork for submission to a bank or mortgage lender, which is a requirement when applying for a new loan. After that, the mortgage company that handles such transactions sorts through the files manually – if an automation tool is not available. The company also verifies applicant data, keys in data point submissions to backend applications, and finally, double-checks the records for missing application details or mistyping errors. Automating all these repetitive tasks is possible through IDP. The company employees can easily access and search the customer data needed to process loan requests and solve issues quickly irrespective of the input channel, speeding up response times and increasing satisfaction and retention. This in turn helps eliminate the human element at the document processing, data entry, and information validation stages, which will minimize document processing time.
Here is a great example of how the RPA-based Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) technology was used for streamlining high-volume, manual invoicing and approvals.
- Case – A leading integrated fuel distributor company with more than 80 years experience in the field was continually exploring new ways to facilitate their core values. The company planned to practice Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to support employees by increasing operational efficiency and reducing mundane tasks. A high-quality business and technology services company whom they partnered with studied their processes and analyzed each of their stages in detail to understand the suitability of using Intelligent Document Processing (IDP), building upon RPA to reduce the amount of effort involved with document processing process. They focused on intelligently extracting data from invoices received from multiple vendors and streamlining the approval workflow.
- The Real Challenge – The fuel distributor manually processed more than 500 invoices each day – which they received from multiple vendors in different formats like PDFs and scanned graphic files. The accounts payable (AP) team downloaded and saved each invoice from various sources, including email and vendor portals. Although the client was using an existing application to extract metadata from invoices, it was not reliable. This caused the Accounts Payable team members to manually extract invoice data, enter that data into a database, and route the invoices to approvers, requiring manual verification of several documents. The whole process for finance to approve invoices, which required team members to compare data from multiple systems consumed lot of valuable time and resources and was also error prone.
- The Solution – The business and technology services company with whom the fuel distributor partnered, created an intelligent document processing and automation solution. The company by utilizing the RPA bots replaced the client’s existing system with an end-to-end solution, combining IDP with Microsoft’s Power apps capabilities. The intelligent RPA solution automatically carried out a series of steps like – reading each email, downloading and categorizing each invoice, extracting metadata from the invoice and validating the data. Once the data validation was completed, the digital assistant saved the data and documents to the database or network drive. Later, they send emails to the approver to approve it. The RPA solution integrated with Microsoft’s Power apps capabilities provide a seamless approval workflow. The approver finalizes the form that is pre-populated with values extracted by the digital assistant. The digital assistant notifies the corresponding AP team member if the invoice is approved or rejected. If the invoice is reassigned, however, the digital assistant notifies the corresponding approver and AP team member.
- The Final Result – The RPA-based solution combined IDP with Microsoft’s Power apps capabilities, provided an end-to-end solution to the client’s invoice processing and approval challenges. By applying the IDP technology, the client’s finance team was able to process and approve a high-volume of daily invoices much more quickly.
With novel digital technologies and applications being launched and implemented, it is time for businesses to change their reactive approach and shift to a more predictive mode. Documents are important for every business and extracting valuable data from them is critical to make valuable and informed decisions. The concept of Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) manages to create a clear balance between intelligent automation and intelligent people. The unique document processing technology opens up a whole new world of possibilities for companies of the present and future. In fact, AI-enabled assistance can lower the documentation time by as much as 80 percent for most businesses. Businesses need to create a unique balance between automation and human intervention by focusing more on value-based roles. Relying on the services of a reputable and experienced document scanning company can help business organizations to stay abreast with competitors.