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AI for Document Capture: How can it Simplify the Process

The typical organization sits on top of a vast amount of documents and data.

Extracting insights from this content can be time-consuming, error-prone, and resource-intensive.

That’s why more organizations are augmenting their document capture processes with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning – cognitive technology that streamlines document handling, enhances the accuracy of extracted data, and improves decision-making and enterprise agility.

This article shows you how AI can simplify the document capture process.

Biggest document capture challenges

Unlocking the data from documents is key to information processing and analysis.  But extracting data is not easy, especially when documents arrive as paper.  Here are some of the challenges:

  • Variety.  From purchase orders and invoices to contracts and correspondence, organizations typically manage a wide variety of document types, each with unique capture requirements.
  • Volume.  Many organizations receive a high volume of documents and data each day, and the volume of information that an organization receives typically grows with the organization.
  • Complexity.  Complex documents with multiple pages, columns, tables, and non-standard layouts and structures can make it hard to accurately locate and extract information.
  • Quality.  Organizations have little control over the condition of the documents that they receive.  Creases, stains, faded ink and smudges can make capturing data hard.
  • Handwriting.  Handwriting varies widely in style and legibility.  And some people have poor handwriting.  All this makes interpreting handwritten content complex and prone to error.
  • Connectivity.  Downstream systems such as customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications depend on accurate and timely data.  But getting captured data into those systems often requires manual keying or clunky file uploads.
  • Sensitivity.  Many documents contain sensitive information that must be handled securely during the capture process to prevent data breaches and compliance issues.

Traditional approaches to document capture are not up to the task of overcoming these challenges.  That’s why more organizations of all sizes are deploying AI-powered document capture solutions.

What is artificial intelligence?

Few technologies can match the level of excitement and fear generated by AI.

AI uses sophisticated algorithms and computational models to simulate human thought.

Unlike robotic process automation, which requires organizations to set rules for how processes should be completed, AI analyzes vast amounts of data to acquire information, learn the rules for processing and routing data, and predict outcomes based on historical data.  Machine learning, part of AI, learns from data without being explicitly programmed, delivering better results over time.

And AI can be used in any vertical industry, including healthcare, finance, and government.

From eliminating manual tasks to better decisions, AI is a game changer in document capture.

Benefits of AI document capture

AI delivers significant benefits in document capture.

  • Increased efficiency.  Few back-office tasks are as burdensome as processing inbound documents.  AI-powered document capture solutions eliminate the need to manually sort and classify sales orders, invoices, and other types of documents.  And the technology uses machine learning and deep learning algorithms to automatically extract relevant information from any document type, in any format.  AI algorithms can automatically extract data such as invoice numbers, dates, amounts, remittance addresses, and customer names, without the need for human operator intervention.  AI also can understand the meaning of text on a document.  By analyzing context, semantics, and syntax, AI delivers more accurate data extraction.  Together, these capabilities can significantly reduce manual effort, freeing staff to focus more time on fulfilling, higher-order activities such as data analysis and collaboration.
  • Better accuracy.  AI-powered document capture solutions combine technologies such as optical character recognition (OCR) and natural language processing (NLP) with advanced algorithms to extract text and data from documents with a high degree of accuracy.  This approach enables AI-powered solutions to deliver strong results even for unstructured documents such as invoices, receipts, and contracts.  AI also employs machine learning models to learn from user input.  Over time, AI-powered solutions adjust their processes to eliminate redundancies and reduce human intervention.  AI’s adaptive learning capability enables the technology to continually adapt to changing document formats and inputs.  As a result, data capture accuracy and quality improve significantly, especially in industries with high volumes of documents, such as finance, banking, healthcare, logistics, and insurance.
  • Adaptability.  Conventional approaches to document capture are limited by the need to define rules for how a document should be processed.  With this approach, document capture processes break down when documents change.  AI-powered document capture solutions analyze the visual elements of a document, such as layouts, fonts, and images, to identify document structures and extract relevant information.  AI models also can identify similarities between data to automatically sort and process documents and reduce effort.
  • Improved searchability and accessibility.  Imagine having smart insights at your fingertips.  AI-powered document capture solutions make that vision a reality.  NLP algorithms analyze and tag documents with metadata, streamlining document indexing and categorization and making it easier for users to retrieve documents.  AI-powered systems also can use semantic analysis to identify key concepts, relationships, and sections within documents.  Users can perform comprehensive searches based on keywords, phrases, or specific criteria, resulting in more precise retrieval results.  Some solutions even allow users to interact with documents using natural language, allowing for intuitive queries and a better retrieval experience.
  • Greater scalability.  AI-powered document capture solutions can efficiently handle large volumes of documents 24/7/365.  The technology also can seamlessly process increased workloads, without the need for the organization to hire additional staff.  And AI can easily be trained to adapt to new document formats and types as an organization’s needs expand.

These are some of the reasons that more organizations are deploying AI for document capture.

AI-powered document capture

Capturing documents is a huge burden for most organizations.  The higher the volume of documents that an organization manages, the bigger the document capture problems, in most cases.  AI-powered solutions enable organizations across industries to streamline document capture processes, increase the accuracy and timeliness of data, and improve the searchability and accessibility of documents.  The transformative impact of AI on document capture can help drive organizational success.

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