Debunking 9 Intelligent Document Processing Myths

Introduce new technology and along with trepidation, fantastic theories emerge. Cloud computing stores your data in the sky, and a storm can be catastrophic! The Internet is vulnerable to shark attacks! Automation brought many benefits and… buckets of hogwash. Time to shoot those buckets full of holes. I’m going to debunk 9 intelligent document processing myths…

Intelligent document processing. AI document processing. Document automation. Transactional document automation. RPA. OCR. Intelligent automation…

A keyword dump? Nope. Just some of the terms used to describe a software that automates your document processes.

BTW… if you’re stumped by all the acronyms, initialisms, and technical blah, blah, I’ve an IDP glossary coming soon. I’ll be back to share the link once it’s live. Stay tuned!

And, here it is… Intelligent Document Processing Definition Glossary.

Call it what you will, it’s a digital process that helps you streamline your document processing. Technologies include machine learning, robotic process automation, natural language processing, optical character recognition… 

By streamlining, I mean processing document workflows with reduced, or in some cases, no human intervention needed. Manual data entry tasks that are repetitive can easily be done by automation. It’ll be faster, more efficient, and fat finger episodes will be eliminated. An intelligent document processing solution is able to perform data capture from business-critical documents, categorize, and extract data for further processing. 

While document automation software has been advancing rapidly, many businesses are struggling to separate the wheat from the chaff with regard to the facts and fiction. Leading to them ignoring automation or wasting money on inferior solutions that have promised the moon, and failed.

Let’s clear this mess up. Check out 9 of the biggest myths surrounding intelligent document processing. Then you’ll be able to make an informed decision based on facts… 

Debunking 9 intelligent document processing myths

Transactional documents are a rich source of hidden data and insights. Businesses recognizing this are searching for a solution that can accurately and efficiently extract and process this information. But we’re overwhelmed with inaccuracies and misconceptions. IDP myths.

Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to cut through this noise and debunk the top IDP myths so you can say NO, when you’re told fairytales…

100% document accuracy delivered!

A bold claim. And untrue.

The AI may well be excellent, but it won’t be 100% accurate. The algorithm must be trained, with humans stepping in for exceptions or low confidence results. The AI will learn from the corrections and improve over time.

But…

Introduce complex layouts, variations in language, non-conforming or poor quality documents and 100% accuracy is not so easily reached. 

Misleading marketing messages hit all industries. For example, trainers that burn calories, unfounded weight-loss claims, cosmetics that prevent skin aging. Blah, blah, blah.

When speaking with an intelligent document processing vendor, be sure to ask the size of the sample set the AI was trained on. Too small, and the 100% accuracy claim is discredited. Plus, the solution won’t scale as your business grows.

Listen to a document processing automation vendor that focuses on cost savings, increased efficiency and productivity. That talks about advanced AI that learns from user feedback so it’s able to adapt to new document types and custom fields. A human – AI collaboration that reaches higher accuracy levels in fewer documents. An document processing vendor that invites you to put its AI to the test with your own documents.

My business is way too small for automated document processing

Poppycock!

Sure, large companies tackling mountains of paperwork will feel the most benefit from automation. But, any size business will benefit.

Size doesn’t matter…

The decision to automate your document processes has more to do with your journey toward digitalization and the projected growth of your business

Streamlined processes will improve efficiency and productivity. Whether you’re dealing with invoices, customs clearance documents, bank transactions, etc., fast and accurate processes must be your end goal.

I can scan my documents and then digitize them, right?

You could try. But…

Taking what amounts to a photograph of a document and saving them in a folder on your computer saves you buying more storage space. With a standardized naming convention, your documents will be easier to find. But that’s it. 

Intelligent document processing does more than digitize your documents. It turns your paper documents into machine readable documents

  • You can capture documents from anywhere in the world, then upload that data to your business system automatically. 
  • You can identify insights that will help you optimize your processes. You can scale… without the need for new filing cabinets.

IDP must be delivered via an on-prem solution

This used to be true, but now it’s a myth. 

With the huge advancements in cloud-based solutions and SaaS – software as a service – models, AI document processing can now be delivered not only on premises but also via the cloud with your data stored off site in a secure data center

Cloud-native AI document processing like Rossum brings multiple benefits…

  • Scalability – additional features can be provided on-demand without needing to spend a fortune on hardware.
  • Updates & maintenance – your vendor will handle any software updates, maintenance, or security issues. Meaning no disruption for your IT team.
  • Accessibility – cloud-native solutions allow your team to access from anywhere on any device. 
  • Cost-efficiency – some document processing vendors offer a pay-as-you-go model so you only pay for the resources you use.
  • Flexibility – you can choose whether to have a cloud-native solution that’s private, public, or hybrid, according to your business and security requirements.

Your IT team will have to manage your IDP solution

Only if you buy the wrong one.

If you need constant help from your IT department for onboarding, integrating, updates, support issues, you’ve been sold a dead duck. 

An AI-powered document processing solution like Rossum is low code with a user-friendly interface. Designed to be managed by business users, not your IT team. Being a cloud-native solution, implementation can be performed with minimal disruption to your team and your existing workflows.

While IT should be involved initially, a successful automation strategy needs a cross-functional team to identify pain points, map existing processes, list business requirements, research IDP solutions, and create workflows.

To understand how to map your existing processes, check out How to do Workflow Process Mapping.

Intelligent document processing only works on simple documents

Only if you choose a template-based document processing solution.

Intelligent document processing solutions use machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing (NL), and robotic process automation (RPA) to pre-process, extract, process, validate, and segregate documents.

Unlike other IDP platforms, Rossum automates the entire transactional document process end to end. From reading and answering emails to document approvals. Our platform is document agnostic, eliminating the need to create new templates for different documents.

Advanced AI is able to extract data from an invoice. It understands each field – the transaction amount, invoice number, tax number, etc. This means that the AI is able to tackle documents with complex tables and unstructured data.

Learn more about the ongoing discussion, RPA vs IDP | When Intelligent Document Processing Falls Short.

OCR is the same as intelligent document processing

Wrong. So, so wrong.

OCR – optical character recognition – was developed for simple and unstructured data. OCR technology scans documents and matches the text with templates of characters. For documents with static information, it ticks the box.

While OCR is an integral part, intelligent document processing is way more advanced than OCR document processing. Going beyond text recognition. Using technologies that include machine learning, natural language processing, and data extraction to understand the context, identify strategic insights, eliminate errors, and learn.

Don’t fall foul of the IDP vs OCR confusion. They’re not the same thing. Take a look at this post – Is OCR Really What You’re Looking For? – for more deets.

IDP solutions are difficult to integrate

Used to be the case, but technology moves on.

Yes, when the only document processing solutions available were on-prem, it was hard to integrate with your existing systems. But, with the rise in cloud-native software, it can now be integrated in several ways. Including a REST API, working with a no-code solution which can build an automated workflow, or capturing and uploading documents into the interface.

If I automate my document processing, I’ll have to lay people off

Nope. 

Artificial intelligence is a vital part of our daily lives. A critical tool in many industries. This has raised concerns about job security. 

But AI and humans have different abilities and qualities. AI is fast and accurate. But there’s no emotions, cultural sensitivity, or intuition. While there’s no denying its intelligence, it copies our behavior, decision making, and communication. Limited to the data on which it’s trained. 

Humans are way more versatile. We can empathize, dream, feel. We have common sense. 

While AI document processing solutions will step up to the plate and perform the mundane, repetitive tasks your teams are currently performing, those same people will then be free to focus on high value tasks. Their versatility allows them to be creative.

IDP does automate routine tasks, but when faced with challenges such as complex decision making or nuanced contexts, it needs human assistance. For handling exceptions, ensuring accuracy, and making strategic decisions, you need human intelligence.

AI won’t replace humans. It’ll work alongside humans. Be your teammate.

According to McKinsey, effective automation brings valuable benefits. Faster delivery, improved accuracy, flexibility, scalability, and increased productivity. This has led to a 20%+ increase in labor savings.

Intelligent document processing myths – fact vs fiction

The world of automation is overpopulated with myths, hogwash, half-truths, and dodgy opinions. But, most are easily debunked.

Will automation remodel the future of global industries? 

Yes. If you trust it. Understand it. Work with it. Digital transformation is the future.

The cost of doing nothing is high. Stubbornly sticking with manual document processing will burn out your team and increase churn, reduce productivity, and damage customer relationships. The money you save in the short term, will restrict your business’ growth in the long term.

You need to understand the difference between intelligent document processing myths and reality. Ignore the prophets of doom and the multitude of myths. Thanks to the impressive advances in artificial intelligence and cloud technology, finding the best document automation solution is easier. 

We’re seeing many industries automating their transactional document workflows and benefiting from increased accuracy, efficiency, and productivity. Customer onboarding is streamlined, operational costs are reduced. Employees are happy.

Whether it’s invoices, bills of lading, purchase orders, customs clearance paperwork, etc., AI document processing can automate any transactional business process

Understanding the truth behind intelligent document processing myths will help you make more informed decisions when splashing the cash on automation. If your potential document automation vendor won’t answer your questions… walk away. If they want to work for you rather than with you… run away.

Like to see intelligent document processing in action?

Rossum's transactional document automation platform can automate your document workflows end to end. Take a look!