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Intelligent Document Processing: The Beginner's Guide

Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) minimises human errors by automating data entry. Please continue reading to learn more about what IDP is, how it works and its benefits for modern enterprises.

Intelligent Document Processing: The Beginner's Guide


We live in a digital world where businesses depend on data to effectively run business operations, such as delivering products and services to their clients. Unfortunately, data exists in various formats and is often trapped in documents, necessitating time-consuming and error-prone manual extraction and conversion methods.

Some enterprises have successfully automated and simplified these processes using traditional solutions. But that doesn't change the fact that these outdated techniques and systems pose a significant threat to customer-driven innovations. Luckily, advancement in technology has given birth to various innovative solutions, such as Intelligent Document processing (IDP), that offer many benefits in document processing.

What is Intelligent Document Processing?

In the most basic dictionary definition, Intelligent Document Processing is a software solution that employs various technologies to automate document processing. Basically, an IDP solution extracts unstructured & semi-structured data and converts it into structured data.

Since it does not have a pre-defined model or structure, unstructured data can be challenging to store or index. Consequently, the unclear structure poses a myriad of data extraction challenges for users. Luckily, a reliable, intelligent document processing solution can automate data processing, making information extraction easier.

IDP solutions share a few similarities with Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR) and Optical Character Recognition (OCR), which are used to capture text from scanned images. However, IDP is slightly different from these two solutions since it captures, extracts, indexes and processes the data using various intelligent technologies.

Modern businesses use IDP solutions for wide range of use-cases. These include automation of:

  • Customer service

  • Contract management

  • Data extraction

  • Document processing

How Does Intelligent Document Processing Work?

As we already mentioned, Intelligent Document Processing uses several artificial intelligence technologies to automate document processing. These technologies include:

  • Deep Learning (DL)

  • Natural Language Processing (NLP)

  • Computer Vision and Machine Learning

Data processing using an IDP solution follows several stages consisting of various components. Also, each of the technologies mentioned above features in different stages and serves specific functions.

Stages Involved in Intelligent Document Processing

Stage 1: Document Pre-Processing

As the name suggests, the pre-processing stage involves preparing documents for processing. It involves maximizing the quality of documents using methods such as de-skewing, binarization, and noise reduction.

Stage 2: Processing Stage

Once IDP maximizes the document's quality, it proceeds to the next step. In this stage, the solution utilizes computer vision to identify the contents of the documents (including text, images, and charts). It can also leverage traditional technologies such as ICR and OCR software to extract text from the document. Essentially, the image processing stage is where the documents undergo a digital transformation, which primes them for machine learning.

Stage 3: Data Classification and Extraction

Once the digital twin of the document is complete, the IDP solution proceeds to data classification and extraction. In this stage, the solution employs the help of Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand the meaning of the text. 

After identifying the contents of each document, IDP uses machine learning to place each document in a class. For example, a business report might include accounting documents, such as bank statements, invoices, receipts, etc. Using a classification engine, an intelligent document processing solution parses out the components of the report, indexes and forwards them to their respective destinations.

Stage 4: Data Validation

The integrity and accuracy of processed data is paramount. For that reason, intelligent document processing solutions have a data validation stage where they validate the quality of data extracted from the documents. These solutions leverage HITL machine learning framework technology that allows humans to inspect and correct any mismatching data.

Stage 5: Integration

After the data is validated, the next step is integration into various systems and workflows across the company.

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Intelligent Document Processing Benefits

Without any doubt, an intelligent document processing solution would be a great addition to your organization. Here are a few of the benefits it has in store for your enterprise and employees.

Improves Efficiency and Effectiveness

With their amazing tools and technologies, intelligent document processing solutions reduce the need for human intervention in document-centric workflows. You can only intervene in the process when it comes to inspecting and fixing issues that the IDP solution cannot correct.

By reducing the need for human intervention, IDPs can significantly reduce the risk of errors, thus improving the effectiveness of document processing processes.

IDPs also enhance document processing efficiency since it takes a few seconds to extract, process, extract, classify and validate data. Today, big enterprises combine IDP with RPA to further improve the speed and precision of document processing.

Saves Your Money

Every enterprise aims to save money by cutting costs and maintaining a tight budget for its expenditures. And implementing an intelligent document processing solution can help you get closer to achieving that goal.

As we mentioned earlier, intelligent document processing solutions reduce the need for human intervention. For that reason, they eliminate the need to hire additional staff. Additionally, they process documents faster, meaning you'll get more work done within a short period.

Enhances Compliance and Security

In the digital world, people are becoming increasingly concerned about how their data is used. For that reason, compliance with the set data protection regulations has never been more important for enterprises.

Luckily, by automating tasks and reducing human error risk, IDPs enhance data security and make you more compliant. The solutions also come with top-tier cybersecurity features that protect data within by allowing access by authorized personnel only.

In a Nutshell

Modern enterprises are increasingly aiming to automate the majority of their employee's monotonous tasks. That is the reason behind the recent increase in the use of intelligent solutions, such as knowledge management, intelligent search and intelligent document processing.

It takes a significant amount of time for an employee to retrieve essential data from an array of documents. Unfortunately, relying on outdated software, such as OCR, has proven ineffective in processing unstructured documents. That's where intelligent document solutions come in. Intelligent document processing statistics indicate they have the ability to enhance efficiency and productivity through automation. So, it might be time to implement one of these solutions for your enterprise.

With the intelligent document processing market flooding with vendors, it is crucial to be a little more careful when choosing a solution for your business. It is advisable to only buy from top intelligent document processing vendors to ensure you get a solution that suits the needs of your enterprise.

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