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The Pressing Need For Enhanced Document Intelligence

IDP is a pioneering technology representing a needed shift from tedious manual processing to on-demand data accessibility.

A fully functioning business like yours might generate, store, and process hundreds of important documents - contracts, offer memoranda, and client reports at any given time. Often, the data extracted from these documents feeds the strategic decisions your business takes in order to maximize revenue generation and serve clients better. 

Recent trends have given rise to AI-driven automation. Increasing competition, talent shortages, and customer demands for immediate service have encouraged businesses to lean in on technology that will speed up, streamline and improve business processes. In this environment Intelligent Document Processing or IDP software has started to emerge, capable of parsing through large numbers of documents and performing data extraction of thousands of datapoints in real-time.

IDP or Intelligent Document Processing is a pioneering technology that represents a much-needed shift from tedious manual processing to on-demand data accessibility. IDP software doesn't just support intelligent automation, which means that tasks get done quicker and more efficiently with little to no room for error. These platforms allow businesses to automate document workflows for a fraction of the cost of traditional data extraction and data entry. For modern businesses, data is an invaluable resource and IDP is key to ensuring that it is used in the most time and cost-efficient manner possible.

However, the average document automation software on the market might not be able to provide you with everything your business needs to completely automate manual document processes, despite what it promises. To understand what a truly intelligent IDP tool can do, you need to understand what your current one can’t. 

Today, most IDP software handles largely homogeneous documents from single sources.  However, most companies need to handle documents that do not have an expected format and come from various sources (both internal and external). This requires more powerful Intelligent Document Processing or IDP software that is capable of parsing through large numbers of unstructured documents and performing data extraction processes in real-time. 

Gaps in document automation 

Let’s go over 5 shortcomings that the average document automation solution might be prone to: 

  1. The solution cannot interpret documents that are not consistent

The biggest problem with current document automation solutions is that they can’t understand and interpret the content in a way that a human can. Documents may arrive in unpredictable formats and without the structure that makes it easier for existing solutions to interpret and extract relevant datapoints.

Document automation adds value when it can quickly and accurately retrieve relevant datapoints faster and more consistently than a human. Content aware platforms automatically create content maps from within a document and across sets of documents (because they are also context aware), allow deeper interpretation and understanding which leads to deeper, faster, more complete document processing.

The applications that achieve this harness the power of intelligent, Natural Language Processing (NLP) enabled AI algorithms that are capable of creating faster, more actionable insights from the given data. More powerful platforms also come with libraries pre-trained models, which makes the process of training the platform to accurately process documents specific to your business much easier and faster. Most average document automation solutions do not provide this functionality. Systems that handle a broader range of documents will provide more complete document automation in the long run.

  1. Need for manual assistance 

Given that many documents do not follow a consistent format, this is arguably the most pressing drawback of current document automation platforms. Due to poor content awareness and lack of ability to handle less structured documents, most IDPs need to be extensively trained to attain the processing completeness, accuracy, and efficiency of a human. 

Without training, the system might not be able to accurately review and categorize the documents that are fed to it. This incomplete/inaccurate automation warrants human assistance, making the process more tedious and inefficient than an automated business process is expected to. 

In order to successfully parse through and classify relevant documents for most businesses (which are often varied and unstructured), software platforms that are already ‘trained’ with the help of hundreds of thousands of data points on relevant documents will deliver accurate results more quickly, and are better poised to replace manual processes faster and more completely.

  1. Inability to interface well with other software

Document automation is not an isolated business process. It usually requires help from various other software programs (primarily those that receive or feed it data) in order to perform the required tasks. One of the biggest problems with average document automation solutions is that they’re propritary “closed systems” and hence, do not interface well with your existing applications without manual assistance or custom programming. For instance, the autofill feature on a document template fetches the required data from connected CRMs, but the CRM you use isn’t supported on the application. This means that your employees will end up manually entering the data, making the process much slower than necessary. 

Document automation platforms with open APIs, or those that are designed with well documented “portals” that any system can use to easily pass data to and from your existing software systems are ideal. In addition, IDPsolutions with modular components that can easily plug into end systems without extensive coding will make the automation setup and integration processes seamless and easy to accomplish.

  1. Requires manual document handling

Today, documents can be stored on hard drives, emails, or any number of cloud drives – Google, Box, Dropbox, Sharepoint, etc. Even if a company’s policies restrict the drives that can be used by employees, files can come in from vendors, clients, partners, and more. Employees have to spend time retrieving relevant docs from multiple sources repeatedly unless document automation is able to access these docs from multiple sources without manual intervention.

Intelligent document management systems that are context aware not only gather and organize your documents in a way that automation platforms and end systems can retrieve them, but they can also handle document classification, tagging, and verification – learning from just a few uploaded documents.  Further, this software can automatically extract important documents from email inboxes and other important sources, eliminating the need for manual search and retrieval. 

What’s even better is having a document management system that is both context and content aware — understanding your documents and extracting relevant data points from even the most unstructured, hard-to-read (even handwritten!) document types. You’ll get more automation out of a single system without having to integrate another software tool.

  1. Wastes time trying to find information later

 According to a 2001 white paper by IDC, workers who manage, create, or edit documents for a company were spending up to 2.5 hours per day searching for what they needed. That’s a loss of a day and a half of productivity over the course of a week.

Automated document management (classifying, organizing, storing, and retrieving documents) depends on a program’s ability to identify the content within the documents and determine the context that will enable the system to group documents accordingly. Content aware intelligent document processing platforms can do this, but when an IDP solution isn’t also context aware, there is a lost opportunity to automatically provide “smarter” organization that will save employees time searching for relevant documents later.

Intelligent document processing platforms that are context aware generally do a better job at auto-organizing all documents so that they become much easier to access whenever needed. Without software that organizes documents as you process them, you’ll need a separate tool (content management system) to do this for you, or you and your employees will spend hours later on, searching for documents or related documents.

How improved document intelligence software can help

Better document intelligence can automate a wider range of documents, extract a greater number of datapoints to eliminate manual processing, provide better document organization and feed a broader range of end systems and analysis processes. Platforms that offer easy integration with other software, enhanced context awareness, and libraries of pre-trained data points can reduce the time it takes to setup automation to handle your business needs, leading to better, faster ROI on your AI software investments. This helps businesses fast-track their process improvements and channel valuable staff towards more important higher value tasks. 

Click here to learn more about how ADEx can help make your document automation more intelligent.

Arian Nemati

Co-Founder & CEO

Arian Nemati is a serial entrepreneur and investor for the proptech and real estate industry. Currently CEO of ADEx and active member of YPO.