Why intelligent document processing is critical for intelligent automation workflows

Mar 09, 2022 by Automation Hero

Why intelligent automation is critical for workflow processes

When business culture changes for the better, it’s not long before we forget what things used to be like.

At the turn of the millennium, software developers used the insights they gleaned from business process management (BPM) to start deploying automation. The earliest form, robotic process automation (RPA), entered the market in the early 2000s and gave organizations a “digital workforce” that could drastically scale up productivity. RPA could automate repetitive tasks performed on a computer as long as it didn’t require complex decision making. It eliminated much repetitive work but had limited capabilities and was complex to implement.

In the 2010s, artificial intelligence advances helped create intelligent document processing (IDP) technology, which can automate much of the work of data extraction and classification. Previously, workers could only automate simple, mundane actions — with workers needing to complete the initial data input. IDP let organizations use machine learning to read and understand documents, automating the “pre-work” needed for RPA to take action on.

Now in the 2020s, another revolution in automation and business processes is underway.

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A new era

Intelligent automation, sometimes referred to as intelligent process automation (IPA), is the next phase of business automation. IPA unites the capabilities of RPA, IDP, and AI to streamline and scale decision-making across entire organizations, simplifying processes, freeing mental and physical labor and improving agility.

With intelligent automation, organizations deploy RPA and IDP to automate the most mundane business processes. Artificial intelligence and machine learning technology ensure accurate extraction and even analyze operational data to find more opportunities for efficiency.

How does intelligent document processing (IDP) factor in?

Intelligent document processing has emerged as a crucial element within the wider automation landscape. In essence, IDP leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to effectively handle and oversee document-centric business processes. Through the adoption of IDP, organizations can optimize business processes involving a large volume of documents to reduce manual effort, enhance precision, and reach their digital transformation goals.

A notable advantage of IDP is its seamless integration capability with other automation tools like RPA. This compatibility with existing technologies enables companies to enhance their current automation strategies, leading to improved overall efficiency and expanded operational scope.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

Intelligent document processing also plays nicely with other technologies such as OCR. OCR (optical character recognition) is the technology that can read text within documents the same way humans do. However, unlike humans, OCR can recognize characters, numbers, letters, and words — in any font or language.

As you might expect, the most significant impact of OCR is on manual data entry tasks. OCR speeds up this essential business process and makes it convenient to turn words from scanned PDFs or images into text that can be edited or copied without manual retyping.

Even with the limitations of legacy OCR technology, it can help organizations streamline the digitalization of structured documents. According to performance benchmarks, Automation Hero’s patent-pending Context-aware OCR is 68% more accurate than ABBY’s Flexicapture and delivers 281% greater accuracy in terms of handwriting recognition.

How intelligent automation improves document processing

Regardless of a particular implementation, organization, or industry, intelligent automation transforms each process it impacts. Sometimes, it even changes the nature of work that employees are expected to do. Here are a few ways intelligent automation can improve an organization’s document processing:

Tighter compliance and security

The volume of documents organizations need to process is increasing right alongside the number of regulations they’re expected to follow. Especially in the finance and health care industries, users must follow rigid procedures to prevent compliance and data breaches that expose them to penalties and liabilities.

Automation minimizes risk by handling strict procedures humans are prone to deviate from. Even better, it minimizes human error, even when compliance isn’t an issue. 

Greater scalability

In the past, business growth hinged on labor availability. A sudden influx of customers could cause delays while more workers were hired to handle increased volume, slowing down or capping growth in the process. Now, automation systems can handle virtually any increase in work without the need to hire more employees to keep up with demand. This allows organizations to undergo incredible growth without major resource crunches. 

Happier workers

Many pre-automation business processes and tasks required people to act like machines. Freeing them of those burdens lets them focus on more satisfying tasks, and provide greater benefit to the company. In fact, a 2021 Salesforce survey found that 89% of workers are more satisfied with their jobs as a result of automation.

More satisfied customers

In our convenience-driven digital economy, consumers prize speed and accuracy in the companies they do business with. Implementing intelligent automation can drastically improve response times to customer support queries, application processing, approvals, refunds, and virtually any task that involves processing documents.

Organizations that implement intelligent automation now are poised with incredible efficiency to stand heads and shoulders above the competition in their fields. As the technology is more widely adopted, intelligent automation may soon be a requirement to remain competitive at all. Implementing now is critical to improve existing workflows, as well as to future-proof operations.

Unlock the intelligence in your documents with our AI-driven automation today

Learn how we helped Markerstudy reduce its claims processing time by 40%. Additionally, learn how we reduced total claim processing time by 80% for another multinational insurance partner — cutting down manual tasks from 10 minutes to just two minutes per claim.


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