Whether you’re talking about the rate of change in technology today or how that change has affected businesses around the world, it’s safe to say that a lot has happened in a short span of time. We’re witnessing transformative change across many industries, including an expansion of capabilities in the information capture and automation technology space.
Document capture starts with high-quality imaging to ensure successful and accurate information — namely the high-end, dedicated document scanners that make it easy to digitize documents of diverse types and sizes.
Historically speaking, document capture has been successful for many businesses, but the technology plateaued and was restricted to areas of the enterprise where its business impact was easy to quantify. While the use of paper has declined, enterprises thought they could ride it out until all processes went digital, but that never happened. Despite the digital revolution, paper remains a persistent medium in many businesses today.
Then came the shift to intelligent document processing (IDP), an advanced technology approach that uses document AI services and pretrained document models to enable organizations to digitize and automatically process unstructured data in documents.
The transition to low code/no code
For years, optical character recognition (OCR) technology has been considered mature technology that has improved somewhat, but it hasn’t seen any major developments. That is, until recently. The democratization of AI has ushered in a completely new set of capabilities and use cases for IDP, and old legacy systems have given way to low-code/no-code applications.
With these new tools and integrations with AI platforms, it has quickly become clear that enterprises have only scratched the surface of intelligent automation and the business value it brings.
The transformation started with robotic process automation (RPA). Then, enterprises realized that 80% or more of the information they were processing included paper documents! An entirely new group of OCR and machine learning (ML) users appeared on the scene, mostly unfamiliar with intelligent document processing and its capabilities.
The traditional challenges of getting data out of documents and into business systems have been reborn under an innovative approach — IDP. How high is this wave? In the past few years alone, more than 200 new software vendors have emerged on the scene, vying to solve the persistent challenges of information capture and AI-assisted data processing.
IDP: The new wave of intelligent automation
IDP is simplifying complex document workflows, and this trend has successfully highlighted the many weaknesses of legacy document capture. It’s out with the old (templates, rules-based processing) and in with the new (general document models, specialized pretrained models, and custom models that fit the needs of enterprises). With the emergence of generative AI, enterprises are revisiting how work gets done for complex document-driven processes like insurance underwriting analysis, legal contract review, and financial statement analysis.
An “open intelligence” approach accelerates business outcomes
No single AI technology is the best at everything, and there’s no real need to make a bet on which AI company will emerge as the most powerful and effective platform. Enterprises should pursue a simple “open intelligence” approach to AI platform integration, to create business value without having to gamble on future “winners” or contemplate the technology behind these large language models.
The reality is that AI technology has been under development for many years by industry giants like Microsoft and Google. This isn’t a realm where small players and startups are likely to make sudden inroads that challenge the titans of tech. As a result, business leaders who choose software solutions that can integrate with document AI services from Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and others will put their enterprise in the fast lane of successful innovation.
This is how businesses should ride the AI wave. The open intelligence approach enables automatic scaling and broadening of capabilities and makes it easy to accelerate productivity with far less human effort. By embedding IDP into the customer experience, it’s much easier to onboard customers, process claims and invoices, and perform any other business function in which information is captured and delivered into various systems.
Align your focus on the customer experience
The adage “content is king” applies to your business in ways you might not expect. Taking a customer process-oriented view of your operations can reveal key details around how information gets into your business processes. You’ll find that a significant percentage of unstructured data contained in documents originates from an outside customer interaction, like opening a new account, updating a customer’s beneficiary information, filing a claim, or handling broker submissions for new policies.
Ready, set, go
You’ll have greater potential for success if you work with a tech partner to help bridge the gap between legacy solutions and modern intelligent process automation. With so much happening in the IDP and AI space, you might not even know where to start with a set of business requirements. I see this all the time. It’s absolutely critical to start the process with expert guidance and insights to get the most out of your business automation efforts and take advantage of the latest advances in AI technology.
Bill Galusha is a veteran Product Marketing and Product Management professional with over 20 years of experience in enterprise software. As the Global Portfolio Solution Leader at Kodak Alaris, Bill leads the intelligent document processing (IDP) solutions team with go-to-market strategies that create business value for enterprise organizations. He is a trusted advisor and thought leader in his field, guiding market awareness for Kodak Alaris technologies and services.