Modern businesses deal with large volumes of data every single day. But when it comes to reporting and analytics, structured data available in spreadsheets and databases are generally the sole driver for business intelligence (BI).
This type of data is organized in pre-defined formats that are easily understood by external applications and, therefore, easier to process.
However, it accounts for less than 20% of the business data — while the majority of business information is trapped in unstructured documents, ranging from invoices and purchase orders to emails and log files and more.
Harnessing the power of unstructured data
Unstructured data is data with no pre-defined structure.
Although it has an internally consistent format, it doesn’t fit into the relational models used in most enterprise systems. However, integrating these sources into a BI architecture will lead to more complete and holistic business insights.
Therefore, businesses must look for ways to leverage the power of unstructured data, even if it demands an extra effort to extract data and convert it into an organized and structured format. This is where intelligent document processing (IDP) comes into the equation.
Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) technology, IDP solutions understand the layout of the unstructured document and extract relevant information. The captured data can then be cleansed, transformed, validated, and saved in a data repository for reporting and analytics.
Why intelligent document processing is essential for modern businesses
Businesses can rely on manual data entry, outsourcing, and OCR solutions to process documents, but these conventional approaches have various drawbacks. For instance, manual data entry can be costly, time-consuming, and prone to human errors.
These disadvantages may be dealt with to some extent by outsourcing data entry tasks, but they can lead to confidentiality and security issues.
Moreover, the OCR technology only works on simple documents and does not define relationships between datasets. Therefore, Intelligent document processing should be the preferred choice to access business insights trapped in unstructured data.
Here are some of the top benefits of intelligent document processing:
Cost-efficiency – IDP solutions significantly eliminate the need to hire extra employees or devote resources to data entry. They minimize the risk of errors and dramatically reduce time spent on document-related tasks, leading to substantial cost savings.
Faster processing – Intelligent document processing speeds up tedious and time-consuming data extraction processes. Using reusable extraction templates, companies can quickly capture data from large documents with similar formats.
Eliminate human errors – Human errors are inevitable during manual data entry and document processing. Replacing slow and error-prone manual document processing tasks with IDP solutions can result in more accurate, thus higher quality information.
Scalability – Enterprise-grade intelligent document processing solutions are easily scalable. Companies can purchase more servers to add more processing power and meet increasing document processing requirements.
Improved decision-making – Using IDP solutions, businesses can maintain an integrated data architecture that includes information from both structured and unstructured sources, leading to informed and timely business decisions.
Use Case: Automating Invoice Processing
Let’s talk about Invoices. They are among the most common business documents that don’t have a standardized format and differ in design, layout, and structure. Manually extracting data from every invoice is inefficient and time-consuming.
The solution? Business users can easily capture the important fields, including quantity, price, tax information, payment terms, etc., through an intelligent document processing solution and store the structured data in a data warehouse.
Modern IDP solutions allow businesses to create reusable templates and set up workflows. So when invoices are dropped in the system, the data is automatically extracted and stored in the data repository for reporting and analytics.
In a nutshell, automating invoice processing is more accurate, reliable, and quicker.
Intelligent document processing allows modern businesses to seamlessly perform unstructured data analytics. It can unravel a wealth of insights that help optimize processes, improve customer experiences, meet regulatory compliance, and gain a competitive advantage.