In a rapidly evolving business landscape, it is essential for companies to remain agile. With the ever-increasing volume of data and documents to process, efficient document processes are essential to remain competitive. One widely praised tool for this in recent years is Intelligent Document Processing (IDP). However, you may be asking yourself, “What is IDP and, more importantly, what benefits will this solution really bring to our business?” Or, “Is IDP suitable when we need to process documents that are constantly changing in format and layout?”
The purpose of this article is exactly this: to answer the most frequently asked questions about Intelligent Document Processing.
Key takeaways: Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) is a key building block for automating document- and data-based business processes and an integral part of intelligent automation. The intelligent data capture system uses powerful technologies to extract unstructured data in documents and automatically pass this data in structured form to downstream processes and systems. With IDP, companies benefit from significantly improved process efficiency, reduced processing costs and newfound agility, among other advantages.
1. Intelligent Document Processing – the basics
Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) is a data capture software that combines a number of different powerful technologies in one system to enable efficient document processing in companies. But what technologies does IDP use exactly and, most importantly, what does this system do differently than traditional solutions when it comes to capturing and processing documents?
1.1 What is Intelligent Document Processing (IDP)?
With Intelligent Document Processing (IDP), companies can for the first time automatically capture structured, semi-structured and completely unstructured data from a large number of documents and output it in structured form to downstream systems. To this end, IDP leverages a combination of powerful artificial intelligence (AI) sub-technologies in addition to the base technology of Optical Character Recognition (OCR), including:
- Machine Learning (ML): Machine Learning is a subset of Artificial Intelligence. Machine learning algorithms play a central role in handling complex business documents. Through supervised learning, ML models are trained on a large amount of annotated data. In this way, ML models learn to recognize patterns and associations and are thus able to extract information from completely unknown documents in the future.
- Deep Learning: Deep Learning is a subset of Machine Learning and takes an important role in document understanding. With Deep Learning, artificial neural networks are used to model and learn complex patterns from data. In the context of Intelligent Document Processing, Deep Learning techniques such as Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) and Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs) contribute significantly to document understanding.
- Natural Language Processing (NLP): NLP enables IDP solutions to understand human language in documents and gain insights from text-based documents. Named Entity Recognition (NER) is an NLP technique that identifies and classifies named entities in a document. These can be amounts or names of people, for example. IDP solutions use NER to recognize these entities in context, making it easier to understand the roles and relationships of the various entities within the document.
- Computer Vision (CV): CV techniques are used in an IDP solution to analyze and extract information from scanned or image-based documents. Prior to the application of OCR, computer vision improves the quality of images and scans, reducing image noise and thereby increasing the accuracy of text extraction.
By combining these advanced AI technologies into one powerful solution, IDP is perfect for automating enterprise document processing – across all industries.
1.2 How does IDP differ from legacy solutions?
Intelligent Document Processing combines various subsets of artificial intelligence in one system. However, this intelligent approach is by no means the only difference when compared to traditional document processing solutions. Traditional OCR solutions have other clear limitations, because:
- they are only suitable for documents that are highly structured and do not change in layout,
- the smallest changes in the document drastically reduce the extraction rate,
- they can transform documents into a machine-readable structure, but they do not understand the context from the relevant information in the document,
- each new document type requires extensive and expensive configuration and training time,
- the maintenance of traditional OCR solutions (on-premises) is extremely time-consuming and cost-intensive.
2. Benefits for companies with Intelligent Document Processing
Intelligent Document Processing drives digital transformation and innovation in enterprises. How intelligent data capture software is doing this and what other benefits IDP brings to businesses (including handling different document types):
2.3 What are the biggest advantages of IDP?
Intelligent Document Processing offers companies a whole range of benefits with a single solution:
- Manual data entry is eliminated: With IDP, companies can finally free their employees from manual tasks such as typing data from documents. This reduces employee stress, which can have a positive impact on mental health. At the same time, IDP improves collaboration between teams and departments by providing a central repository for documents and data.
- Efficiency in business processes is improved: By automating document processing, turnaround times can be massively reduced and efficiency in business processes can be noticeably optimized.
- Costs can be reduced: By automating document processing, document-based business processes run much more smoothly, which can reduce costs.
- Errors are minimized and compliance improved: The accurate capture of critical data by IDP reduces errors to a minimum. IDP helps meet regulatory requirements and improves compliance and data security.
- Easily scales up: With Intelligent Document Processing, a large volume of documents can be processed without the need for additional resources. Thus, IDP easily meets the requirements for rapid scaling for companies in their growth phase.
- Customer satisfaction can be increased: With IDP, companies can respond faster to customer inquiries and requests. This helps to differentiate themselves from the competition
2.4 Can IDP handle different document types?
Many IDP vendors market their IDP solution as a one-stop shop for all documents that organizations need to process. Because we don’t want to dispute nor confirm the capabilities of other IDP solutions, here we specifically address Parashift’s Intelligent Document Processing solution. And can confirm:
Because the Parashift IDP platform is not a template-based extraction platform, handling diverse and ever-changing document layouts and formats is at the core of its capabilities. The Parashift platform supports any type of document type, either through preconfigured standard document types or as custom document types. If custom document types are needed in addition to the hundreds of standard document types, they can be easily clicked together by the users themselves. Why does it work so easily? The Parashift IDP platform is built on a no-code principle. This means that no programming knowledge is required to operate the platform.
Using the modern user interface of the no-code platform, document types can either be created from scratch or modified based on standard document types. This means that standard data points such as sender and recipient or document date can be easily configured via drag & drop to create a new, individual document type. This approach significantly reduces time-to-value and ensures a fast ROI.
Unlike traditional OCR solutions, the Parashift Intelligent Document Processing platform thus offers significantly more flexibility, requires no templates and hardly any configuration. In addition, the Parashift IDP platform is able to learn based on the data and thus continuously improve.
3. Technical aspects
Let’s take a brief look at the technical aspects of Intelligent Document Processing and what functions the system performs during capture, extraction and so on:
3.5 How does IDP extract and validate unstructured data from documents?
An Intelligent Document Processing solution performs the following functions when processing documents:
- Document capture: Even before documents are converted into machine-readable formats by Optical Character Recognition, IDP components reduce image noise and improve quality.
- Document classification: IDP solutions automatically distinguish between different documents thanks to machine learning algorithms. For example, the IDP solution can automatically differentiate between the layout of invoices, contracts, transport orders and delivery bills and classify the documents accordingly.
- Extraction of data: After recognizing the structure and layout of the document, IDP systems use machine learning algorithms to extract specific information such as names, addresses, dates, prices and other relevant data points from the documents. This enables the creation of structured data sets from previously unstructured documents.
- Validation of data: Before the structured datasets are passed on to downstream systems or workflow solutions, they are validated. This is done, for example, using business rules.
3.6 Is IDP compatible with existing applications and processes?
Companies today are looking for solutions that can be easily integrated into their application landscape. Compatibility of a new automation solution with existing systems, as well as seamless integration with existing applications, is critical. This is exactly what is easily achieved with the Parashift IDP platform. The solution can be integrated into existing application landscapes: either via pre-built integrations into ERP, DMS and workflow solutions or via a REST API directly into the application environment.
4. Security and compliance
Data security and compliance are of primary importance to companies. Depending on the industry in which a company operates, particularly strict requirements apply here. Even an innovative solution such as Parashift’s Intelligent Document Processing, which is operated in the cloud, must comply with strict guidelines:
4.7 How secure is data processing with an IDP solution?
Many companies need to process sensitive customer data from sensitive documents. It is therefore essential that a document processing automation solution meets the stringent requirements of the industry. Parashift works in compliance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR) and ensures that all data processing activities comply with the principles and requirements of the regulation. The Parashift IDP platform runs in ISO27001, ISO27017, ISO27110, ISO27018, SOC 1/2/3, PCI DSS, CSA STAR and HIPAA compliant data centers.
In addition, Parashift ensures the latest cloud security and EU GDPR compliance with its IDP platform. Parashift is specifically designed to enable organizations of any industry to process sensitive customer identification data (CID) in the cloud in a secure and privacy-compliant manner. To do this, Parashift has developed its own training data format that represents the training data, but no longer allows conclusions to be drawn about the original data. For this reason, documents containing customer identification data can be processed and learned from without leaving the data in the cloud for an unnecessarily long time.
Detailed information on product security, security of the Parashift IDP platform infrastructure, organizational security and data protection can be found here.
The top 7 questions once again in overview:
- IDP is an innovative solution for processing unstructured, semi-structured and structured data. IDP differs from traditional solutions in part because of its intelligence and ability to learn based on the data it processes.
- IDP brings numerous benefits to organizations, including accurate data extraction, efficient document processes, and cost reduction. In addition, the Parashift Intelligent Document Processing platform is versatile enough to handle all document formats and layouts.
- IDP uses powerful AI technologies to extract unstructured data from disparate documents. All this while the IDP solution remains compatible with existing applications and processes.
- Thanks to adherence to the highest InfoSec and compliance requirements, data processing with Parashift IDP is fully compliant and secure.
With Parashift, you have found the perfect partner for Intelligent Document Processing in your company. Talk to one of our experts today about your specific requirements and desires. Or get an idea of the user-friendly Intelligent Document Processing platform yourself right now and test Parashift for 14 days free of charge and without any obligation.
Frequently Asked Questions about Parashift Platform:
- Why is Parashift perfect for document processing automation. Is the Parashift IDP solution suitable for industries that handle sensitive customer data?
Because Parashift is the only cloud-native Intelligent Document Processing solution that meets all InfoSec and compliance requirements while being at the forefront of AI development. Parashift is specifically designed to enable banks and insurance, healthcare and public sector companies to process sensitive customer identification data (CID) in the cloud in a secure and privacy-compliant manner.
- Is the Parashift IDP platform fully EU GDPR compliant? Can documents and extracted data be deleted without losing training data?
EU GDPR is at the core of what Parashift does. Parashift is fully EU-DSGVO compliant, which allows companies in any industry to process sensitive customer data securely in the cloud. In addition, documents and data can be deleted immediately after the document has been processed, without losing any training data.
- What makes Parashift unique?
Parashift invented and developed Document Swarm Learning, a globally unique approach. With Document Swarm Learning, learning occurs across all use cases and all clients on the platform. This generates a massive network of learning data for document intelligence, always maintaining the highest InfoSec and compliance requirements. Parashift is thus built for true versatility.