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Intelligent document processing requires a platform approach, not point solutions

January 18, 2022 | Artificial Intelligence, Intelligent Document Processing, Unstructured Data

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As companies seek out document process automation solutions, it’s likely they will find a number of point solutions that address a specific use case. Don’t fall for it. While choosing a point product may address an immediate need, over time it will saddle you with a morass of products, increased costs, a support nightmare and a generally ineffective approach to enterprise intelligent document processing.

The problem with point solutions to intelligent automation

It’s tempting, of course, to grab at a solution that seems like an immediate fit for a given problem. Let’s say you’re managing a shared services center in a large company and are looking to improve productivity in handling the corporate email in-box. You’ll find no shortage of process automation solutions for email. You just need to vet the ones you like best, do a proof-of-concept (POC), and bring the winner in-house. Problem solved, right?

Perhaps. Until you decide you also want to automate invoice processing, another common shared services function. That’s a different animal from automating email processing, so now the search is on for another point solution. Here again, you’ll likely have no problem finding any number of vendors claiming to be able to help, but you will have to do more vetting and another POC to find the best fit. Then you’ve got to bring in the new tool, train relevant employees on how to use it, and probably get IT’s help with initial implementation and ongoing support.

Still, you’ve solved a couple of problems.

That is, until you decide you also need help in automating new employee onboarding. Now you need an intelligent automation solution that can process data including names, addresses, and phone numbers from a variety of forms, including W-9s, driver’s licenses, perhaps industry-specific licensing documents and more. The search goes on.

You get the picture. This song and dance can go on indefinitely as new business process automation use cases crop up. Now consider that shared services is just one group within the enterprise. Multiply this scenario across all your various departments – marketing & sales, accounting/finance, human resources, operations and the like – and it’s easy to see how the situation can get out of hand.

The end result will be myriad automation tools that have little to nothing in common. They likely have different user interfaces, which means employees have to be trained for each one. Separate solutions will need their own IT platforms, whether cloud or premises-based, driving up costs and creating IT headaches. Support is likewise fractured, keeping you (and/or IT) scrambling to determine who to call.

Artificial intelligence is required for effective process automation

A better approach is to use an intelligent document processing platform that is flexible enough to handle all the various use cases your company may have, now and into the future. That requires a platform built with artificial intelligence technologies such as machine learning, transfer learning and natural language processing.

Such technologies make the platform intelligent enough to deal with virtually any kind of content or data, including unstructured documents, images and audio and video files. An IDP platform with these kinds of capabilities can be trained to come up with models that handle most any document processing use case your company comes up with.

Such flexibility comes with a number of benefits that companies will appreciate, especially those with an automation Center for Excellence that serves the whole organization. For one, you don’t have to constantly vet vendors and conduct POCs every time a new automation use case crops up.

Additionally, once you get one or two projects under your belt, there’s far less of a learning curve involved in rolling out additional use cases. The same familiar user interface and model-building routines will apply to all of them. Those with experience can train others, so you can quickly scale up process automation capacity. Even better, with solutions such as the Indico Unstructured Data Platform, it’s the business people who are most familiar with the processes who use the tool to create automation models, turning them into “citizen data scientists.”

Indico Data platform provides maximum flexibility

Flexibility was one of the four criteria that the real estate giant Cushman & Wakefield had when it was searching for an intelligent document processing solution, according to Brandi Corbello, the former VP of Transformation for the firm. The company ultimately selected Indico Data.

As she said in this Indico Data case study on Cushman & Wakefield, “We have a breadth of use cases and document types that we need help with and Indico could take on most of them, which allows us to have a singular platform and brings consistency in the user experience and expectations.”

To learn more about how the Indico Data Unstructured Platform can handle your various document process automation requirements, check out our interactive demo. You can also schedule an in-depth demo or, to test with your actual documents, register for a free trial.

 

 

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