It’s the 21st century. Yet companies still have to deal with lots of physical paper-documents. And when the time comes to store this data in the digital format, it wastes a lot of company’s time and money. And time, as they say, is money itself. Added to this woe is the fact that manual data entry will invariably include errors in data and duplication – no matter how efficient your employees are.
Here are some stats for you –
- The cost of manually processing a non-complex standard document is $6 to $8 per document. And when it comes to complex documents, the expense can rise as high as $40 to $50.
- Lawyers waster almost six hours in digitally processing and managing paper documents.
- Manual data entry can lead to life and death situations. In one research, the researchers observed that an NLP based data extraction system can be 15% to 18% more accurate than human data entry operators in the healthcare system. Errors in medical records can result in misdiagnosis of the patient’s ailments.
To mitigate all these serious issues with manual document processing, companies are turning towards Intelligent Document Processing or IDP.
With IDP, organisations can achieve 100% document processing accuracy and that too with little to no manual work. Furthermore, IDP drastically reduces the chance of data entry errors. So it can save companies from facing embarrassments and monetary loss.
What Is IDP
Intelligent Document Processing is the automatic, computer-led way of extracting valuable textual data from documents. The documents can be anything – from insurance forms to passports, from emails to medical records – any paper document you can think of. With IDP, you can automatically, accurately and quickly store the texts on the physical document digitally with desired format.
Without a comprehensive IDP system in place, a company can’t achieve Digital Transformation. With IDP, a company can ensure –
- Fast document processing
- Document Processing with no manual intervention
- Error free data entry
- Strict compliance by eliminating the need for people to look at sensitive data.
More importantly, with Intelligent Document Processing in place, you can free up the time of your employees. Hence they can focus on more productive and rewarding tasks.
IDP can’t perform efficiently without the support of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) or Intelligent Process Automation. This RPA makes sure that the IDP system can make sense of the extracted data so they can be entered with proper formatting. Otherwise the objective of the texts will get lost in transition.
Delving Deeper: The Key Elements Of Intelligent Document Processing
IDP is not a standalone system. It is based on three key systems. The first is the OCR or Optical Character Recognition. It ‘sees’ the texts that are to be extracted. Hence, it’s very often equated with the eye of IDP. OCR ingests the data into the IDP system. Once the ingestion is done, next comes the Machine Learning model that ‘makes sense’ of the ingested data based on the data sets it has been fed. The Machine Learning engine (or A.I) ensures proper formatting of the data based on the form and type of data ingested – just like our brains process information.
Now, document processing is not a one off process. It involves repeating the processing of the same kind of documents over and over again. For example, if you have a shipping and logistics company, chances are you have to deal with hundreds of manual invoices everyday. Suppose these invoices are mailed to your customers. It will be tiresome to digitally store these invoices in the proper format one by one – even though you have an IDP system. This is where Intelligent Process Automation comes into the scene. With IPA, you don’t have to manually wade through the emails to process the invoices. IPA will do that boring task for you. IPA is the hands and legs of Intelligent Document Processing.
So most Intelligent Document Processing systems leverage automation to make the system fast and automated.
How Does An IDP System Work?
To know how an IDP of an Intelligent Document Processing company works, you first have to understand that there are three types of documents as far as formatting is concerned –
- Structured Document
- Semi-structured Document
- Unstructured Document
Processing Structured Document With IDP
In a structured document, the area where a particular type of textual information is written is always defined. For example, if you look at your country’s tax form, there is a specified place where you must write your name. You can’t write your name elsewhere. This kind of textual data is called structured document.
Extracting data from a structured document is the easiest. More often than not, we use positional data extraction system. Here, we teach the system that a certain text will always be in a certain position on the document. So, for instance, we treat the heading “name” as an anchor point and then we define exactly where the value of that anchor point – the actual name of the person – is located. We can use this simple logic with every document of this kind. Since this is a rule based IDP, we don’t really need the brain – Machine Learning – here. However we need IPA to automate the process.
Processing Semi-structured Documents With IDP
Semi-structured documents are those documents where the texts are written in a standard format but they vary in length. In other words, the texts in these documents are organised but they don’t have any rigid structure. This makes it impossible to use rule-based techniques to extract data. For example, your Resume will differ from that of mine. Maybe, you have 10 lines of texts for the field marked as “Educational Qualification” while mine has 8 lines of texts for the same field. In fact, people can even name the fields differently which can make the same kinds of documents appear different from one another.
This is where we need Machine Learning along with OCR to extract textual data in a coherent manner. For example, we create an A.I model that will treat fields marked as ‘Educational Qualification,’ ‘Qualification,’ and Academic Qualification’ as one and the same. In the IDP lingo, we call it the Key/Value extraction. As always, we can use IPA to automate this process.
Processing Unstructured Documents With IDP
Unstructured documents do not have any standard format, order or schema whatsoever. Think of any observation written by a doctor. Usually, the observations are written in a paragraph form with no relational or positional data, or tables.
In this case IDP needs the highest form of A.I model to make sense of the document. A.I with the prowess of NLP is used for this kind of documents. Here the IDP model scans the entire document to find out the named entities. Then it tries to find values associated with the named entities.
Validation of Data
Even after the processing of information from a document, the extracted data needs to be checked for any nagging errors. This can be done by humans or this validation process can also be automated by using standard, correctly formatted documents as a benchmark.
Once the IDP finishes its work, the structured, digitised data is ultimately stored in a structured data storage. This process can easily be automated.
Use Cases Of IDP
Intelligent Document Processing is used in a variety of organisations involved in so many different kinds of works.
Digitally organising medical records of thousands of patients in any hospital would require more than just human data entry operators. On one hand, even a small error in a medical record can prove devastating to the concerned patient. Along with that handling such volumes of data can be overwhelming. IDP can accurately digitise the patient data within an unbelievably small period of time. This will ensure that patient data is always accessible to the doctors no matter where the doctors are.
Finance & Banking
Insurance claims and loan applications can be processed quickly with the help of IDP. These things generate a lot of paperwork that can be validated against benchmark documents and then sent to the respective departments in an organised manner – automatically. Banks can store customer information in desired formats from the KYC documents.
We can streamline the supply chain by automatically processing invoices, proof of delivery, purchase orders and other such documents that are manually written or edited. Other departments in an office like HR, security, accounts etc can benefit greatly from IDP.
Sometimes due to compliance reasons, employees can’t work with sensitive data directly. This adds more steps to manual document processing, like masking sensitive data, hiding names etc. WIth IDP, you can eliminate human intervention which will help your organization remain compliant without the need to increase steps.
The possibilities are endless.
What’s In It There For You?
You might be wondering, “Why should I replace my document processing system if everything is fine?” Everything is not fine. Manual document processing is like a heavy stone chained to your feet. No matter how hard you try to be agile, this manual way of processing data won’t allow you to do so. Along with that, you are wasting a lot of money and time by manually processing documents. In fact, you waste money twice if you use manual document processing – once during the processing itself and secondly because of the rework need thanks to data entry errors.
With IDP, save at least $10 per document processing. So even if your organisation processes just 100 documents per month, IDP will save you $1000 per month. Furthermore, you don’t need a huge manpower to process documents once you start using IDP.
Even till this date, 80% of enterprise data is in unstructured form. WIth IDP we can stop manual data entry once and for all. This is the 21st century. If not anything else, at least the documents should be processed automatically.
Automation Factory Is A Premier IDP Services Company That Is Equally Equipped With Automation Stack
Contact us for any Intelligent Document Processing requirement –