mitigating risk in a changing market

Mitigating Risk in a Changing Market

Sweeping regulatory changes impact companies in every industry. A modification to a records management policy, new requirements for reporting and updated security or data compliance mandates can derail daily business operations and add to IT’s ever-growing list of projects. However, companies can get ahead of regulatory change to mitigate risk in our evolving, global financial market through document intelligence.

Unstructured content is often overlooked when operational projects are prioritized or company IT strategy is planned and budgeted. Documents are rarely seen as a new, shiny object that companies are excited to invest in, so the mountains of data locked away in invoices, contracts, memos and HR files are only considered or reviewed when absolutely necessary. However, regulations for data and information management will inevitably shift, and organizations that proactively tackle document data can turn a liability into a competitive edge.

Let’s look at a few examples of changing industry standards that have the potential to impact every aspect of organizational management of documents and data.

GDPR

GDPR is a European data regulation established to protect the privacy of EU citizens. It went into effect approximately one year ago, and since that time, many companies globally have been fined for data breaches. Compliance with the policies and regulations of the mandate required comprehensive changes to business practices. Leading up to the GDPR “go live” date last May, companies around the world scrambled to refine procedures, implement data management solutions and appoint protection officers. Most organizations, especially those that didn’t specifically focus on data mining or social media data collection, had never implemented comparable levels of privacy procedures.

The result of noncompliance to the regulation is a steep fine for a company’s failure to remove or purge customer information after a direct request. Organizations with multiple document repositories and file shares might not even be aware of all the network and cloud locations where customer data exists. In this case, document data is a risk. An intelligent capture tool that provides companies with the ability to uncover hidden data and identify key values – like customer information or constituent PII – minimizes the risk of unknown data violations and offsets the burden of manual document review by employees or contractors.

LIBOR

Per Investopedia, LIBOR or the London Interbank Offered Rate “is a benchmark interest rate at which major global banks lend to one another […] for short-term loans.” Though UK-derived, this interest rate is the basis for most adjustable-rate mortgage loans in the United States. To frame this in monetary terms, roughly $1.2 trillion in outstanding mortgages are based on LIBOR, and it is being phased out of global use. The end of LIBOR is on the horizon, with a complete elimination goal of 2022.

This means all banks and financial institutions with open mortgage contracts that reference LIBOR will be affected. To address the day-forward contracts, lenders are now including language in mortgages that state the benchmark rate is subject to change. However, in existing contracts “fall back” terms will need to be enacted. The new terms will necessitate review and analysis of mortgage documentation, and with millions of mortgages impacted, the work required is intimidating.

Companies will have to choose whether to take on additional headcount to identify, read through and update client documents and payment terms or to embrace Smart Capture® technology that can automate this monumental content analysis and data extraction task.

IFRS & GAAP

IFRS or the International Financial Reporting Standard is a globally defined set of standards for accounting representation, reporting and comparison. GAAP stands for Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. In the United States, it is an accounting standard for recording and reporting information adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Each of these sets of standards is subject to change to ensure organizations maintain accounting records and report financial activity in line with modern audit expectations. As such, if a new or modified reporting requirement is announced, all companies subject to these accounting criteria would need to adapt their practices and procedures to meet the new standards.

As is the case with our GDPR and LIBOR examples, the inaccessible data that exists in unstructured documents and records sits front and center in the roadblock of process automation. For companies that have already implemented document intelligence tools, an updated standard might require a slight tweak in contract processing as opposed to a sweeping overhaul of how an accounting department tracks and manages open contracts.

Don’t let document data be the weak link in your chain of organizational information. Instead of scrambling to react to the latest data management mandate or adopt a new reporting requirement, proactively tackle unstructured content with document intelligence technology.

To learn more about Ephesoft’s approach to machine learning powered content analysis and document processing, contact us.


Robot-Assisted Intelligent Capture

When we talk about Intelligent Process Automation (IPA), we’re typically referring to the methods in which the Ephesoft Transact can augment Robotic Process Automation (RPA) systems.

There are two main use cases where intelligent capture can enhance business processes: (1) as a mechanism to identify and extract actionable business information that is used to initiate a business process, providing the initial data payload, and (2) and as document intelligence tool to be accessed from within a process via API calls.

 

 

However, a third and rarely discussed use case is the relationship between intelligent capture and workflow automation is the case where an RPA system extends the capabilities of Ephesoft Transact’s document process. In this case, information or data that is not present on the document and records analyzed by Ephesoft Transact could be pulled from external sources and then incorporated into the workflow.

Many RPA systems, such as UiPath or BluePrism, have rich user interfaces that provide end users with a low code option for building process automation workflows. This type of tool allows organizations to replace complex or manually-driven processes that would typically be accomplished by a worker. Take, for example, background research or information validation as a part of application review.

In this use case, we can assign Ephesoft Transact the task of document identification and data gathering. Working in tandem, the RPA system performs due diligence on applicant submitted information. Let’s break down the steps of this workflow:

  1. An applicant submits their document package for company consideration via email.
  2. Ephesoft Transact monitors the specified inbox for new submissions and ingests the email attachments upon arrival.
  3. The documents are categorized by type, and key metadata is extracted through a combination of rules-based logic and supervised machine learning.
  4. In order to confirm or vet applicant-submitted data, Ephesoft Transact calls the RPA system to validate the information. For example, a robot could check a third-party website such as LinkedIn to verify that the job title listed in the application packet matches the position detailed online.
  5. Any data returned from the robotic process that does not match the data in the application packet will be flagged for review.

Comparing document information to structured data sources such as an external database is a simple task and easily configured (and automated) in a capture tool like Ephesoft Transact. However, making that same comparison with unstructured third-party data – like text embedded in a LinkedIn profile – is highly complex. Without the use of an RPA tool to augment this document-centric workflow, a human employee would be tasked with much of this laborious fact checking.

It is difficult to imagine the ability of an RPA system to perform without a document intelligence tool. The ways in which the artificial intelligence of robots can augment smart capture workflows will undoubtedly boost straight-through processing and minimize required human “touches” in document-centric operations.

Interested in learning more? Check out our demonstration video library on YouTube.


Repository Migration: Content Capture and Information Management in the Cloud

Document repository migration and backfile conversion projects often fall under the umbrella of digital transformation initiatives. Within the grand scheme of digital transformation, this is a simple concept: move paper documents and electronic files from various locations into a centralized content repository.

Searching digital files

Complex and Time-consuming Processes

The practice, however, is fraught with complex and time-consuming processes. Paper and static electronic documents must be rendered text-searchable to be able to use the data. Files must be sorted and organized or tagged according to the document taxonomy established in the new centralized content management system. Index fields must be populated to enable easy searchability and reporting. Document data must be captured, and every action must be auditable. Without a capture and content migration tool like Ephesoft Transact to automate these processes, a seemingly simple repository migration project will be lengthy and require an overwhelming amount of manual data entry.

Selecting and installing a capture tool to facilitate a content consolidation project isn’t a simple task. When adopting a capture tool for digital transformation, you should consider the organization’s day-to-day document processing requirements as well as overall project goals. Although you may only need to capture a set number – say 500 or 5,000 – of invoices, applications or claim files per day, the one-time repository migration project might involve the processing thousands or millions of documents on a short timeline. This initial high-volume requirement can mislead buyers into acquiring an over-sized capture product that requires large servers and costly application licensing.

Hybrid Cloud: Bridging the Gap

Situations like these started the push for IT and Innovation departments to take their organizations core operational processes to the cloud. Cloud-based applications can take advantage of the limitless compute and storage capacity of cloud processing. However, transitioning all operational processes to the cloud has proved challenging for many organizations. This is where a hybrid cloud capture solution can bridge the gap between on-premise and cloud by taking the most resource intensive processes into the cloud. Companies that experience peaks in document processing activity – like the one-time migration project – are ideal candidates for a hybrid cloud approach to content capture and intelligent document processing.

Ephesoft Cloud HyperExtender

Ephesoft Cloud HyperExtender is a document processing engine hosted in the cloud. Used in conjunction with an on-premise or hosted instance of Ephesoft Transact, this tool enables scalable and accelerated document throughput by off-loading the burden of image processing and OCR conversion to the cloud. This means your organization can take the daily document throughput requirements of your business processes as the benchmark for implementing a smart capture tool, not the peak demand associated with migration projects. With Ephesoft Cloud HyperExtender, there is no need to procure large servers or spin up multiple virtual server clusters that will only be used for a short period of time or infrequently.

Organizations with digital transformation initiatives that start with repository migration will benefit from Ephesoft’s hybrid approach to capture in the cloud. For the initial document consolidation project as well as ongoing or daily capture projects, Ephesoft Transact will automate image conversion, classification and data extraction to minimize the amount of human interaction required document onboarding.

Ensure Consistent Performance

Regardless of whether Ephesoft Transact is installed on-premise or hosted in the cloud, the Ephesoft Cloud HyperExtender can ensure a consistent level of performance regardless of fluctuating demand.

For example, when processing large batch imports from paper documents scanned in bulk, this won’t negatively impact the throughput of day-to-day document capture workflows. Moreover, a “pay for use” licensing model to the Cloud HyperExtender ensures your organization isn’t over-paying for a needlessly large server configuration.

Interested in learning more about Ephesoft’s market-leading hybrid cloud capture solution?

Read more:

Smart Content Capture and Hybrid Cloud: Taking Advantage of Cloud Power


Top 5 Reasons to Automate Accounts Payable with Ephesoft Transact

Accounts Payable (AP) represents more than a revolving door where invoices flow in and checks flow out. AP is a liability on the company balance sheet. It is money owed for goods or services rendered. The process of ensuring that balance sheet is even can be complex and time-consuming, if seemingly simple in concept. Fortunately, there are commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) applications available to help the accounting team process invoices in a more accurate, timely and efficient manner.

Let’s take a look at the top five reasons your organization should automate its manual AP capture workflow with Ephesoft Transact, a leading enterprise content capture and data discovery tool.

1. Exceptions: The Bane of a Timely Processed Invoice

According to the Aberdeen Group, 8 out of every 10 invoices a company processes has at least one exception. This can come in the form of an incorrect amount for a line item, total due, discount level or vendor company detail. And no one knows better than the accounting team that bad data can lead to disaster.

With technology that automates the ingestion and capture of invoices and other AP document types, exceptions can be identified before a clerk even looks at the document. While analyzing the textual content of a document during the data extraction step of a capture workflow, Ephesoft Transact incorporates a fuzzy database look up to ensure that vendor information such as address, ID or account number is correctly populated.

This means the accounting team can rely on technology to verify that the details provided in the invoice match the vendor’s information stored in the backend ERP system, or other similar application, instead of manually comparing the two disparate sources of information and potentially overlooking mistakes.

2. Slow Document Routing

Companies are often at the mercy of their vendors where invoices are concerned. The standardized or templated invoice is the unicorn of the AP world. And this lack of uniformity applies to not only the document itself, but also the delivery methods. Electronic delivery – email or vendor portal – allows for the most expedient processing of invoices, as the accounting department can simply open an email attachment or download a document from a queue directly. Physical delivery – snail mail or fax – leads to delays in process turnaround time.

An AP benchmark report states that it can take up to 5 or more days for the accounting department to even receive the invoice after it arrives. Despite the cross-industry effort for digital transformation of standard accounting processes, many invoices are still submitted on paper.

When you consider enterprise organizations that receive large volumes of paper documents and correspondence, delays in mailroom processing, document sorting and scanning are understandable. Fortunately, Ephesoft has an answer to the mailroom bottleneck. With Ephesoft’s platform, manual organizational processes like incoming document sorting, scanning and routing can be accelerated through automation. By performing a comprehensive analysis on the full document rather than relying on document templates or textual pattern matching, Ephesoft Transact automatically identifies the type of document (such as invoice, credit memo or purchase order), regardless of how the vendor formats their information.

Once the document type is identified, the file can be renamed and routed to the appropriate department’s folder or line of business application for processing. This means the AP team has more immediate access to invoices and related documents for review, approval and payment.

3. The Overworked AP Clerk

According to a 2017 AP report from the Institute of Finance and Management (IOFM), automation makes all the difference. Industry studies show that with little-to-no automation in the accounting department, the average full-time employee could process 1,350 invoices each year. However, with a significant amount of process automation (like machine-assisted capture and document routing), a full-time employee could process nearly 23,000 invoices annually. In fact, one of Ephesoft’s customers is able to process 135,000 invoices per year with two employees in the AP department.

With an intelligent capture tool like Ephesoft Transact, many of the time-consuming manual tasks associated with invoice receipt and processing are automated, allowing the average employee to improve their performance throughput.

For example, the process for reviewing, approving and submitting payment on an invoice may begin with a mailroom clerk or accounting employee scanning a paper document, naming the file, uploading the document to an ERP system, and then keying in index fields for document values such as “Total Due.” Only then, can all other payable activities, such as special discount validation or payment method approval, take place.

Ephesoft Transact executes these manual tasks automatically with little to no interaction required from the employee. Moreover, organizations are able to embed this intelligent capture workflow into an existing process by utilizing Ephesoft Web Services or through one of the out-of-the-box application connectors for exporting content to 3rd party applications.

4. The cost of an invoice is more than the Total Due field.

An industry survey by IOFM found that the cost of processing an invoice ranges from  $1.77 to $8.78, depending on how much or how little of that process has been automated. Considering the time spent capturing, reviewing, double-checking, and routing each invoice, it’s no surprise that the cost to process can be as high as nearly nine dollars. Or looking at the big picture, that’s nearly $90,000 for every 10,000 invoices your organization receives. Another source, Levvel Research (previously PayStream Advisors), reports that on average, invoices range from $15 for novice companies to $2.36 for innovative companies.

Therefore, it’s common sense to eliminate those repetitive capture tasks with automation tools. The less time your high-salaried AP employees spend performing manual activities like data entry and document separation, the less expensive it will be to pay your vendors. Moreover, unlike many capture tools in the industry, Ephesoft Transact is licensed by server core, not by page count. If the invoice and purchase order (PO) volume processed or generated by the AP team increases, your calculated “per page” cost of automatically capturing, categorizing and extracting data from each document will decrease.

5. Capturing Accuracy

In addition to the time spent addressing mistakes, a misplaced decimal or mistyped sum while processing invoices or – in the realm of accounts receivable – purchase orders can lead to accounting imbalances. Financial repercussions, as well as damaged customer or partner relationships, is also a common result. These are just some of the reasons your accounting team spends so much time checking and re-checking every detail of an invoice and why the cost to process each statement can be so high.

Ephesoft Transact helps minimize this risk by reducing the potential for human error during the document capture, classification and data extraction portion of the AP workflow. Machine assisted capture mechanisms like key-value extraction, pattern matching and content analysis allows for the automated indexing of invoice values. These values can then be used in downstream processes or simply displayed as metadata alongside the document in your organization’s ERP system.

There are many reasons to automate your AP process, and the Ephesoft platform can help your organization achieve those digital transformation goals to expedite and improve invoice processing. Interested in learning more? Contact us with questions or to request a quick demonstration of Ephesoft Transact classifying and extracting invoice data.

Learn more:

The ABC's of Invoice Processing

Infographic: The Hero's Guide to Overcoming AP Chaos

Ephesoft Transact for Accounts Payable

5 Simple Tips for Getting Started with Smart Document Capture Software

 


Insurance Claim Processing with RPA and Smart Capture

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Ephesoft Smart Capture® can positively impact claim processing for the insurance industry, particularly in conjunction with an automation platform like an RPA system. According to the National Association for Insurance Commissioners, last year written insurance premiums in the US came to $1.15 trillion dollars. With nearly every person in America purchasing at least one insurance policy, competition for business is incredibly intense.

There are approximately 6,000 domestic insurance companies in the US that employ 2.6 million people. This means that now more than ever, it’s crucial for insurers to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction to sustain recurring business as well as attract new policyholders. Unfortunately for these company stakeholders, profit margins on policies are razor thin. As such, it’s natural for business owners to look for areas of the operation where costs may be saved without sacrificing the quality of the customer’s experience. The actual paper-based process of the insurance claim workflow is an ideal candidate for efficiency gains and cost savings.

For example, let’s consider home or renters insurance. Making a claim against a homeowners’ insurance policy typically occurs at a time of great stress for the policyholder. Damage to your residence causes at the very least inconvenience and at worst temporary relocation while home repairs are made. It follows that the more quickly a claim is processed – decisions finalized, payments made, funds transferred – the better for the homeowner and insurance customer. All of this translates to higher customer satisfaction ratings.

Automating Workflow with AI-based Tools Drives Customer Satisfaction

With Ephesoft Transact, our Smart Capture platform, insurance companies can automate the document workflow of claim ingestion and review by providing more immediate access to claim-related documents and customer correspondence. Through a combination of supervised machine learning and rules-based logic, Ephesoft Transact automatically categorizes, separates and extracts data from insurance documents however they’re sent to the agency’s intake site. No need for barcode application, document preparation or manual data entry. And we’ve found that implementing intelligent capture software improves processing performance specifically in the insurance industry by about 80%.

We know that a major part of the business of insurance revolves around document processes and the data that lies within those documents, all of which is highly repeatable and therefore has a huge potential for automation. Working seamlessly with RPA systems, Ephesoft Transact aims to reduce processing time, increase efficiency and eliminate errors in this document-centric industry. Therefore, digging into the actual technology behind Ephesoft Transact, let’s understand the method of how the application handles unstructured documents in this type of workflow.

Step-by-Step Claim Processing

Creating document-aware workflows with front-end Smart Capture

The first step in a claim processing workflow is kicking off a Batch process in Ephesoft Transact, which is how Ephesoft refers to electronic documents working their way through classification and extraction projects. This can be represented by a few different actions. For one, Ephesoft Transact can act as the point of document on-ramping for downstream workflows. Maybe we’re monitoring a hot folder where digital claim forms are routed after being scanned in bulk at the mailroom. Or, we could be monitoring an email inbox or a fax server folder for new and incoming claims. Ephesoft Transact can also operate as an activity within a robotic process. As in the case of the demonstration I’m going to show you, the first step of this document processing workflow could be an API call to a Transact server from an RPA system like UiPath or Blue Prism. This Web Services call could send documents used in that workflow from the RPA server to the Transact server to run through the pre-configured project.

Next, we move on to image processing where basic image enhancements are applied to the claim file pages and the document is rendered fully text searchable through an embedded OCR engine.

After that, the Ephesoft Smart Capture platform assembles the pages into single documents and categorizes the documents according to full content analysis. We use unique classification algorithms that don’t require the creation of rigid document templates for highly accurate categorization.

When the claim documents are sorted, Ephesoft Transact utilizes a combination of preconfigured rules-based logic and supervised machine learning to identify and extract key pieces of metadata. These pre-defined extraction methods include capture mechanisms, such as key value pair extraction where the application searches for anchor values near a desired field, pattern matching utilizing regular expressions, fuzzy database lookups and tabular extraction.

Once Ephesoft Transact has analyzed the content and completed the data extraction step, the documents may be routed to a validation queue for verification or remediation of machine extracted index fields. Fields may be highlighted in a validation User Interface based on the confidence score (or certainty of correct information) determined by the application. For example, if after this text analysis, Ephesoft Transact’s output for the field policy number or claim number falls below the designated confidence value, Ephesoft Transact’s built-in document processing workflow will trigger that document (and that specific field) to be flagged for review by an end-user. And unless validation is required, an end user of an assisted or monitored robot may never even interact with the Transact server that’s processing the documents.

The final step in the claims document processing workflow will depend on how this project has been configured. In a stand-alone capacity, Ephesoft Transact may simply export the content – represented by the sorted documents and their associated data files – to their final location. This can be a records management system, content repository like Box, or it can simply mean sending the document to a hot folder for a down-stream system to pick up and use. When used in conjunction with an RPA system, however, this export routing step is replaced by the API call to a Transact server to have a batch of documents processed. In this case, the metadata and/or documents are automatically available for the robotic process as soon as the batch is complete.

Watch the Demo

Watch the on-demand webinar below to see a live example of how Ephesoft Transact and UiPath work together seamlessly for claims processing workflows.

 

 

Learn more:

Insurance Case Study: Baldwin and Lyons

Insurance Solutions

Insurance eBook: How to Improve Claims Data Collection

Schedule a Demo


Three Cheers for the Citizen Developer

Gartner describes a citizen developer as “a user who creates new business applications for consumption by others using development and runtime environments sanctioned by corporate IT.” But this dry definition doesn’t encapsulate the enormity and importance of the acts of these self-starters. A citizen developer discovers a need and takes action, often without pay, to create a shortcut, resolve an inefficient process, or simplify an unnecessarily complex workflow. They are the unsung heroes of the workplace, operating on the fringe of the IT department and occasionally in a rogue capacity.

The prevalence of low-code and no-code applications and OpenAPI Specification may even be contributed in part to the rise of the citizen developer. This realization of the value of in-house customization has pushed software companies to build products that enable shared services and offer visual models for building processes. Now, software companies strive for ease of interoperability, open connectivity and simpler REST-based communications through web APIs.

OpenAPI Specification, or OAS, “defines a standard, language-agnostic interface to RESTful APIs.” In lay terms, OAS is essentially the explanation and description of an API. This allows people like citizen developers to discover and understand the capabilities of Web Services without needing to access the source code or product documentation. When a Web Service call is properly defined per OAS standards, the user can understand and interact with the remote service with a minimal amount of implementation logic.

Where does Ephesoft fit in the era of the citizen developer? Ephesoft helps make applications like RPA systems and BPM solutions document-aware through Ephesoft Transact’s OpenAPI-Compliant Web Services. With an easy-to-configure API call, Ephesoft allows citizen developers to configure a real-time smart capture integration transparent to the end-user. A well-documented OAS landing page for the Ephesoft Transact platform allows the user to review detailed information about Web Services that are available. Specifics on the scope, tasks and activities of the many Web Services can be found by clicking through the list of services within the explorer. With each new version release of our Smart Capture® platform, Ephesoft aims to improve not only the coder or implementer’s experience, but to facilitate the interaction of those rogue, non-technical developers looking to improve their everyday document workflows.


Improving the Insurance Customer Experience with Smart Capture®

In 2017, written premiums for the insurance industry in the United States totaled $1.15 trillion (source: Insurance Information Institute). With over 2.6 Million people employed in the insurance sector, competition for business is intense. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, there are approximately 6,000 domestic-US insurance companies in business. With today’s ever more discerning consumer, it is critical for insurers to provide a high level of customer satisfaction to ensure a high level of customer retention as well as attract new policyholders.

In insurance, like many industries today, it is almost impossible to differentiate on price. The total customer experience is something that insurance companies do consistently cite as a key differentiator to the existing and prospective customers.

With competitive landscape cutting premiums to the bone, insurance companies are seeking other areas of the business where costs may be saved without compromising the total customer experience. The operational aspect of insurance claims processing makes insurance companies ideal candidates for efficiency gains and cost savings through Smart Capture®. Let’s look at three ways Ephesoft Transact can positively impact claim processing within different sectors of the insurance industry.

Pay Claims Faster At A Stressful Time

Making a claim against a homeowners’ insurance policy is a stressful experience for the policyholder. Flood, fire or wind damage, cause (at the very least) inconvenience and (at worst) temporary relocation and loss of articles while home repairs are made. It follows that the faster a claim is processed – decisions finalized, payments made and funds transferred – the better for the policyholder.

House damaged in landslide after floodWith Ephesoft Transact, insurance companies can automate content process of claim ingestion and review, by accelerating the access to claim-related documents and customer correspondence. Through a combination of supervised machine learning and rules-based logic, Ephesoft Transact automatically categorizes, separates and extracts data from insurance documents, whether they are emailed, faxed or mailed and scanned to the agency’s intake site.

Insurance companies that adopt a Smart Capture® solution can eliminate the need for barcode application, document preparation and manual data entry. On average, the implementation of intelligent capture software improves processing performance by 80%, thereby decreasing the time taken to process a claim, just when the customer needs it the most.

Empowering Customers To Submit Claim Documentation Anywhere

Hundreds of thousands of auto insurance policyholders elect to include roadside assistance with their insurance contracts. If you’re one of the lucky few that haven’t had a car towed after a blown tire, stalled engine or traffic collision, you may not realize that the resulting bill from a tow is typically printed or written on the spot and handed to the driver.

Towing Car

To make a claim for roadside assistance or car towing reimbursement, the automobile owner often must scan, email, fax or physically mail the paper bill to their local agency. It is a tedious process that has the potential to delay claim processing.

Ephesoft Transact improves this claim submission process by providing a capture tool for auto insurance companies that enables their customers to capture images of bills or receipts with their smartphone and immediately submit the documentation as addendums to claims against their insurance policy.

Removing manual paper form submission from the claim process empowers policyholders, reduce the risk of frustration over lost or misplaced receipts, and expedites process for the insurance company. Ephesoft’s mobile SDK for embedding mobile capture capabilities into an organization’s existing app – can save insurance companies time as well as increase policyholder and app user satisfaction.

Reduce Rework By Getting It Right the First Time

In the healthcare industry, insurance claims against a policy can be approved, denied or rejected. A rejected claim is one which contains errors and is returned to the biller (the medical provider) or to the policyholder (the customer) for correction. Similarly, denied claims often contain errors and incorrect information which are overlooked in the claims review and data entry process.

When a denied claim is challenged due to error, the claim may be appealed and sent back to the insurance company for re-review. It is a time-consuming process – causing frustration for the customer, delayed reimbursement for the medical provider and adding cost to the operation of processing that claim. As such, collecting and processing a “clean” claim – one without error or missing information – is of crucial importance for the insurer.

Clinical AdministrationDeployed at the point of claim capture, Ephesoft Transact can help eradicate unnecessarily rejected or denied claims. Ephesoft Transact automatically classifies all the claim-related documentation, extracting vital information on forms such as insurance ID number, provider address, name and ICD codes and makes this raw data available for downstream processing.

Ephesoft Transact performs database lookups to validate the policy holder’s place of residence against company records and match policy numbers to names through dynamic database lookups. If the text on a claim does not match data located in the company’s system of record, the document may be flagged for further review to verify the claim is being made against the appropriate policy.

Whether the claims are submitted via paper or electronically, the ability to rapidly verify the information, identifying errors, minimizes the delay and expense associated with re-submitting claims later in the process with the correct information.

Furthermore, the removal of previously manually performed tasks, such as keyed data entry and document separation, ensures that this critical step is performed accurately, rapidly and cost-effectively.

Expediting Processing Across the Board

No matter the sub-industry, claim type, submission process or size of insurer, Ephesoft Transact provides insurance companies with the tools to decrease claim processing time, increase customer satisfaction, and improved information accuracy through intelligent content capture.

Contact us for a live demonstration or to learn more about how Ephesoft can positively impact your organization.

Click here to read case studies on how these insurance customers benefited from Ephesoft:

Washington State Health Care Authority

Protective Insurance

Centers Medicare & Medicaid Services

RC McLean


Enabling Smart Capture in a Microsoft World

Discover the synergy of Ephesoft Transact and Microsoft enterprise applications

Microsoft product offerings are so pervasive, it would be difficult to find an organization not using some component of their enterprise suite. Companies of all sizes and industries manage content, maintain documents and work through business processes in Microsoft applications. Let’s look at the benefits of using supervised machine learning capture technology with Microsoft products, Ephesoft’s OpenAPI library for integration with the Microsoft enterprise suite and third-party applications, and demonstrate a content capture, processing and routing workflow.

If you work in an office, odds are, you’re interacting with Microsoft at some point in your day. Think about some of the applications in their product suite – Dynamics as a Customer Relationship Management or CRM tool, Azure for cloud storage and infrastructure, SharePoint for document and records management, Flow for business process management and basic workflow automation and Outlook for email communication. All of these applications or services have content processes in common: usage, storage, maintenance and process control of organizational content. Examples are office documents and records, application forms, customer email correspondence, vendor orders, sales contracts and internal memos.

According to a recent study, 57% of Fortune 500 companies utilize Azure and 80% of those same companies employ SharePoint for content management and storage. And nearly 50,000 organizations use Outlook for email correspondence. So how can a smart capture tool touch all parts of this ubiquitous office work platform while supporting the common organizational goals of automation and workplace digitization?

If we can assume that the core of any business is its documents and the data those documents represent, then the Ephesoft’s Smart Capture® platform gives you access to the unstructured content that lies within them. Our supervised machine learning and analytics engine can help classify documents and extract data, minimizing manual data entry and giving you structured data from unstructured content. Whether you’re scanning sales contracts into your client repository in SharePoint or using classification Web Services in Flow, Ephesoft can address nearly any document automation need.

6 Steps in Processing Document Content

Ephesoft Smart Capture aims to reduce processing time, increase efficiency, and eliminate errors in document-centric processes. Digging into the actual technology behind Ephesoft Transact, let’s break down the method by which the application handles unstructured documents.

The first step in any capture workflow is the actual ingestion of the documents. In the case of Microsoft, we have out-of-the-box connectors for grabbing documents of all types from Outlook and SharePoint in batch. Document capture can be scheduled on a predetermined frequency or triggered in real-time as new document appears at the content source, such as from an end-user scanning in a file or from an email appearing in an inbox.

Next, we move on to image processing where basic image enhancements are applied to document pages and the document is rendered fully text searchable through an embedded OCR engine. Ephesoft supports a variety of text conversion tools including OmniPage, Recostar and Tessaract.

After the document has been broken down into individual pages and made fully text searchable, the Ephesoft’s Smart Capture® platform assembles the pages into single documents and categorizes the document according to full content analysis. We use unique classification algorithms that don’t require the creation of rigid document templates for highly accurate categorization.

Once the documents are sorted into their appropriate categories, Ephesoft Transact utilizes a combination of preconfigured rules-based logic and supervised machine learning to identify and extract key pieces of metadata. These pre-defined extraction methods include capture mechanisms such as key value pair extraction where the application searches for anchor values near a desired field, pattern matching utilizing regular expressions, fuzzy database lookups and tabular extraction.

Once the application has analyzed the content and completed data extraction step, the documents may be routed to a validation queue for verification or remediation of machine extracted index fields. Fields may be highlighted in a validation user interface (UI) based on the confidence value (or certainty of correct information) determined by the application. For example, if after this text analysis, the application’s output for the field invoice total falls below the designated confidences core, Ephesoft Transact’s built-in document processing workflow will trigger that document (and that specific field) to be flagged for review by an end-user.

The final step in the content processing workflow is exporting the content – represented by the sorted documents and their associated data files, stored as an XML or CSV – into their final location. In a Microsoft environment, this can involve routing a document into SharePoint online, Flow, Dynamics, or it can simply send the document to a hot folder for a downstream system to pick up and use.

Smart Capture in a Microsoft Workflow

There are two distinct stages of a document-centric workflow where a component of the Microsoft enterprise suite would interact with Ephesoft.
Upstream capture and document onboarding
Mid-flow processing

Let’s walk through an example workflow where Ephesoft acts as up-stream capture in a common document-centric process.

Example #1: Document Onboarding with Ephesoft

Let’s say a vendor sends your company an invoice. Given the user count statistic I shared a few minutes ago, it’s safe to assume that your organization uses Outlook, and the invoice is sent to an Accounts Payable inbox via email attachment.

Ephesoft Transact monitors that inbox for new, incoming messages, and automatically ingests the email and the attached document as a part of its initial capture workflow.

Then, Ephesoft Transact identifies the email attachment as an invoice through full content analysis of the document. Remember, rigid document templatization is not a factor with Ephesoft’s Smart Capture® product suite, so it doesn’t matter if all your vendors format their invoices slightly differently. We’ll be able to recognize that information regardless of the document layout. Based on the categorization of invoice, there are key data fields that need to be extracted to populate downstream systems and processes. Using a combination of rules-based capture definitions and supervised machine learning, the application identifies fields like invoice total, net payment terms, vendor name, and line item quantities.

Next, we need to make sure that the address listed for the vendor on that document is the same address we have on file in our CRM system, so we do a database lookup to Microsoft Dynamics. If the addresses do not match, the invoice can be flagged in a validation queue for end-user review. Or we can have Ephesoft push an address update call to the CRM to update that database.

Lastly, the invoice and its associated metadata is routed to SharePoint via our out-of-the-box export plugin. And all of this was accomplished completely transparent to the end-user. How many different Microsoft applications did our example touch without a document scanner, clerk, or employee having to key in a single field or manually relocate an electronic file?

If you’re one of the many thousands of companies using Azure for cloud infrastructure, all of this can be installed on the Microsoft cloud to mitigate the burden of server management for IT.

Example #2: Mid-flow Processing

Maybe you need to be able to classify or convert documents or extract metadata through code as a part of an existing workflow. Ephesoft’s OpenAPI provides a powerful document capture automation tool and OCR platform within the world of Microsoft.

Application interoperability through Web Services

Understanding Swagger or OpenAPI Specifications will give us a better base to explain our example.

Swagger, also referred to as OpenAPI Specification or OAS, defines a standard, language-agnostic interface to RESTful APIs. For the non-technical folks in this webinar, it is essentially the definition and description of an API, and this allows people – as well as robotics processes – to discover and understand the capabilities of that Web Service without needing to access the source code or product documentation. When a Web Service call is properly defined within Swagger, a consumer can understand and interact with the remote service with a minimal amount of implementation logic.

3 Benefits of OpenAPIs

Minimize IT burden
Enable plug-and-play capture workflow
Better support application interoperability

To start, this is a tremendous benefit for the IT and service teams working on implementing a project. It greatly minimizes the amount of custom coding or scripting any given multi-application solution requires. Moreover, this easy-to-use Web Service call enables true plug-and-play functionality with Ephesoft as a capture mechanism within a document processing workflow. In sum, it expands support for application interoperability, and with so many different systems and applications used in a Microsoft environment, the Ephesoft Swagger is highly valuable.

Mid-process capture with Ephesoft

In this use case, let’s imagine we’re working with an insurance company. Similar to the previous example, we’re going to start this process with an email received in Outlook and end the process with documents in SharePoint.

A client emails an insurance form or claim submission to their agent. The insurance company uses a Robotics Process Automation, or RPA, system to monitor incoming emails. The system grabs the email from the client along with the attached form and sends it to Ephesoft Transact for processing.

Ephesoft identifies the form and document types from the email and attachments, and based on that identification, automatically extracts key pieces of data such as name, claim number, dates, and so on. In this case, Ephesoft performs a signature check on the forms to make sure the claimant has filled out all necessary signature fields. Once Transact completes its capture workflow routine, the documents along with an XML file of the extracted data is picked back up by the RPA system.

The RPA tool then reviews the data that the Ephesoft platform extracted and makes a determination whether this document can be sent to SharePoint to be added to the client’s file, or if there is missing information like a signature or key fields were left blank, the system can send an email back to the claimant to let them know additional information is needed.

In this instance, Ephesoft Transact enters the document progression mid-way through the workflow, but is still providing a crucial element of capture automation to enable this touchless insurance claim process.


Use Cases for RPA in Banking

Gartner defines robotic process automation (RPA) as a tool that “performs ‘if, then, else’ statements on structured data, typically using a combination of user interface (UI) interactions, or by connecting to APIs to drive client servers, mainframes or HTML code. A RPA tool operates by mapping a process in the RPA tool language for the software “robot” to follow, with runtime allocated to execute the script by a control dashboard.” RPA systems are becoming widely used to cut costs, eliminate keying errors, speed up processes and link applications.

RPA systems “watch” the behavior of users or operators performing clerical capture and routing tasks and learn to recreate those actions based on different aspects of the task, information collected, document types, content source, and other processes. The output produces one or more transactional business processes – such as accounts payable, trade finance, insurance claim processing or loan origination.

Ephesoft adds data intelligence to RPA tools. By combining both technologies, financial services organizations can access a more comprehensive pool of data to make smarter decisions. A growing number of financial services organizations are beginning to incorporate RPA functionality with different use cases, as we’ve seen with a large bank.

RPA in Banking Use Cases

One of South East Asia’s largest banks uses best-of-breed technologies, specifically in smart document capture and robotic process automation (RPA), to automate two key areas of their businesses:

  1. Trade Finance
  2. Corporate Loans

Ship icon as an illustration of smart document capture and robotic process automation (RPA) being used as South East Asia’s largest bank uses.

Trade Finance

The bank uses both Ephesoft and Blue Prism in trade financing to capture all types of documents from purchase orders, bills of lading to invoices. The bank uses Ephesoft to handle the capture, classification and extraction of the key information needed from these forms before exporting to structured spreadsheets where Blue Prism will effectively handle the matching and validation work using their Digital Workforce or robots. Then, Blue Prism delivers the completed results to their document management systems.

Car icon as an illustration of corporate loans around automobile financing.

Corporate Loans

A similar process takes place in their corporate loans department around automobile financing, an enormous and growing business across the region. For corporate loan processing, application forms and supporting documents are ingested in Ephesoft from various sources (fax machines, multi-function printers and email folders). Then, Ephesoft captures the documents, classifies and extracts values such as name, company ID and other necessary metadata and exports the metadata to an Excel spreadsheet.

Next, the bank creates a set of macros and Blue Prism’s Digital Workforce takes over by picking up and replicating this behavior using their recording functionality. From there, Blue Prism Digital Workforce automatically keys the relevant information into their document repositories. The previously tedious and heavy set of tasks are now streamlined, efficient and fully automated.

Using this best-of-breed approach, the bank has been able to automate a bulk of tasks across these two essential business units. Additionally, the solution has already created new avenues for future scalability across multiple lines of business.

To learn more about how to onboard documents or use Web Services APIs with RPA tools, feel free to contact us or request a demo.


5 Benefits of Intelligent Process Automation

Intelligent Process Automation, commonly referred to as IPA, is the ultimate step of a digital transformation for organizational information and content management. At its core, IPA is a combination of robotic process automation (RPA) and machine learning techniques, integrated with the organization’s line of business applications and back-end systems.

Let’s review the most impactful benefits of implementing a comprehensive IPA solution: operational process automation, reduction in information processing errors, time and operational costs, increase in compliance and an improved customer experience.

Automation

The most obvious benefit of IPA is in the technological trend’s name – automation. The word automation can mean something different for each person, process, line of business and organization, although it can simply be thought of as a process improvement using technology. For the mailroom clerk, automation may be the pre-defined sorting and forwarding of incoming correspondence. For the sales manager, automation is the routine approval of travel expenses that fall below a specific monetary threshold. For the records manager, automation is a touchless experience when company documents that reach the end of their retainment lifecycle.

Ephesoft’s Smart Capture® platform aids in process automation by eliminating manual intervention in document-centric workflows. Through a combination of supervised machine learning and rules-based logic, Ephesoft Transact automates the capture, conversion, sorting, indexing and routing of organizational content. In the case of the mailroom clerk, for example, this could mean the ingestion of incoming electronic faxes, classification of different document types – such as invoices, purchase orders or sales contracts – extraction of metadata and file export into a RPA, line of business or back-end document management system.

Reduction in processing errors

Removing the human element of basic office processes minimizes the chance of making manual errors, such as keying in a piece of data incorrectly, accidentally sending a document to the wrong person or associating a record with the wrong customer or vendor file in an ERP or CRM application.

Ephesoft Smart Capture® helps decrease processing errors by removing many of the time-consuming, manual actions performed during document capture and record identification workflows. One of the most common causes of record “misfiling” is human error when naming a file or selecting values from a drop-down list. Ephesoft Transact’s open architecture and pre-defined capture logic allow the application to query third-party databases like a vendor account database in an organization’s ERP system to verify information. Data “lookups” for company addresses, point of contact details and payment terms can be a key step in the Ephesoft capture workflow when processing new documents. This automatic validation ensures that incoming documents match the on-record data on file and reduces the risk of a new document being associated with a mistaken file.

Decrease in processing time and operational costs

Automation implies improved productivity and efficiency gains, which is at the core of IPA. Machine learning – both supervised and artificial intelligence – power robotic technology that enables automation. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that eliminating manual tasks and human intervention speeds up processes.

With Ephesoft Transact, document capture processing time is typically reduced by 67% and labor costs decrease by between 30% to 50%. Where a human employee might spend several minutes reviewing and indexing a single document, the same actions could be completed through robotic computation in microseconds. When more content is processed with less data entry, a greater volume of work can be completed. This translates to significantly lower operational costs and shorter workflow cycles.

Increased compliance

Intelligent process automation can ensure data privacy, records retention, sales policies and financial regulation requirements are upheld. Legal compliance for organizational policies spans all industries, and the systems and practices in place to uphold these policies are often highly manual. However, once a process has been established using IPA tools, that process or workflow can be executed repeatedly without error or deviation.

For example, consider GDPR requirements for PII protection. GDPR mandates customer records containing personal and private information must by digitally secured through encryption and identified as linked records. With Ephesoft Transact embedded into an organization’s content ingestion and management process, documents could be automatically flagged if Ephesoft’s Smart Capture® tools detected sensitive customer data through full-text analysis and pattern matching.

Improved customer experience and satisfaction

An often-overlooked soft cost of process automation is the overall improvement of the customer’s experience. Consider the mortgage industry, for example. A couple applies for a mortgage loan for the purchase of a new home. They fill out the stacks upon stacks of application paperwork required for a new loan and submit their information to the mortgage lender or bank. Without an automation tool, the mortgage company would have to manually sort through the files – electronically or even in physical paper form – verify applicant data, key-in submitted data points to backend applications, and then double check work performed in case of mistyping errors or overlooked application details.

With Ephesoft Transact to process the incoming application files, all this laborious, menial labor can be automated. Minimizing document processing time by eliminating the human element of document sorting, data entry, and information validation decrease the amount of time loan documents spend in the underwriting stage. When a smart document capture platform is combined with an RPA system, document processing becomes even more intelligent, and thereby a true IPA solution. The faster loan approval results in improved customer satisfaction, loyalty and an overall better experience.

In summary, organizations and government agencies that make the most of available technology to support IPA will have a clear advantage over organizations that stick with their manual processes. Contact us or schedule a demo to learn more about how your business can generate efficiencies, decrease operational costs, and improve customer satisfaction through document processing automation tools.