Blog / Automation

Intelligent Document Processing 101: What It Is & How It Works

Employees reviewing and processing documents, showing what intelligent document automation solutions can do

In today’s digital world, organizations still handle enormous amounts of data and documents. Manually sorting and processing them can be time-consuming, error-prone, and costly. In fact, organizations in the United States collectively spend over $5 billion each year just to employ data entry keyers.

Intelligent document processing (IDP) has emerged as a way to not only eliminate manual tasks and minimize operating costs but also free up employees’ time, reduce errors, improve decision-making, ensure business continuity, and enable remote work.

What Is Intelligent Document Processing?

Intelligent document processing solutions combine document scanning services, optical character recognition (OCR) technology, content management systems, document workflow automation technology, and AI technologies like machine learning and natural language processing tools to convert unstructured and semi-structured data into structured, actionable information.

They “bridge the business operations gap between the analog and digital worlds,” according to a recent report by McKinsey & Company. “The technology not only digitizes analog documents but also allows computers to understand the data in documents,” the report says. That said, these solutions streamline the processing of a variety of documents, including invoices, claims, and incoming mail.

They automatically capture, classify, transform, and deliver data to the appropriate business systems, so it can be used for analysis, reporting, and, ultimately, effective decision-making. Automated document processing uses advanced algorithms and OCR technology to process files and identify information, including names, addresses, dates, and amounts – whether handwritten or typed.

And the cherry on top is that the technology can learn from past experiences, meaning it continuously improves the accuracy of the information extracted.

How Does Automated Document Processing Work?

  1. Document Retrieval: Top document processing automation partners retrieve both digital and physical files.
  2. Document Preparation & Digitization: Physical documents are prepared for digitization. This typically entails removing any staples, paper clips, or other obstructions. Documents are then scanned using OCR technology. At the same time, electronic files are converted into the appropriate format for processing.
  3. Indexing & Classification: Once the documents are digitized, intelligent document processing systems use various algorithms to identify and categorize the different types of documents. This can include classification based on content, layout, and format.
  4. Data Extraction & Validation: IDP systems can recognize specific fields, such as names, addresses and dates, and extract and validate them automatically.
  5. Data Verification: After the data has been extracted and validated, it is verified against existing databases or other sources of information to ensure accuracy and completeness.
  6. Data Delivery: Finally, the data is automatically delivered to the appropriate system, such as document management software or line-of-business (LOB) software, where it can be further processed and utilized.

What Are Common Intelligent Document Automation Use Cases?

According to Asana’s Anatomy of Work Global Index 2023, employees only spend 33% of their days on skilled work and believe they can save approximately 5 hours per week with improved processes.

That’s a main reason why more and more organizations – across a variety of industries – are leveraging intelligent document automation. With the right industry- or department-specific solution, you can eliminate repetitive, manual tasks, and significantly expedite document-centric processes.

Here are some common applications for intelligent document processing:

  • Invoices: Optimize invoice processing by reducing manual data entry and speeding up payments.
  • Contracts: Better manage contracts by extracting relevant information and storing it in a structured format.
  • Claims: Take insurance claims processing to the next level by reducing errors, enabling hybrid work, and improving turn times.
  • Employee Files: Efficiently process HR documents, such as resumes and job applications.
  • Incoming Mail: Replace your physical mailroom with a virtual one that digitizes physical mail and delivers it, along with emails, to the appropriate recipients.

MetaSource: Your Intelligent Document Processing Partner

As a leading provider of intelligent document processing solutions, MetaSource has extensive experience meeting the specific needs of organizations, regardless of their industry or size. From workflow automation to document capture to content management software to mailroom automation, our solutions can help your organization improve business processes, reduce costs, and enhance overall efficiency.

Ready to get started with intelligent document automation? Contact us today.

Contact us to learn more

Contact us today