Mailrooms require an impressive amount of structure and predefined workflow to run efficiently. Many organizations carry a certain amount of stigma – often seen dramatized in movies and television – because many,  if not all, of the processes defined for incoming and outgoing mail are performed manually.

This is even more prevalent as the amount of electronic correspondence increases along with the volume of business transactions. High volume scanners and multi-function devices allow for the digitization of all incoming paper mail. Fax servers and email servers process and digitize much of the incoming physical mail. While the traditional mailroom has transformed into a digital mailroom, the underlying labor-intensive processes for content identification, metadata indexing and workflow routing haven’t necessarily evolved as well.

What’s increasingly displacing this manual workflow model is the concept of mailroom automation, driven by a set of processes powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) or robotic process automation (RPA). 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 invoicing, trade finance, insurance claim processing or loan origination.

According to the Institute for Robotic Process Automation and AI, the potential for savings by implementing an RPA tool can reduce labor costs by 20-30%. But simply adopting an RPA system to create a digital mailroom solution may not be enough to fully realize the potential of automation for incoming document processing and transactional workflows.

Few RPA tools incorporate full-text analysis of the letters, emails and attachments or faxes which make up the unstructured content that an average company receives daily. For example, let’s examine how a RPA tool might examine an invoice. The RPA system might take key document characteristics like the email address of the sender (if the file was sent as an attachment to an AP email group), name of the file and date of receipt to make accounts payable workflow routing decisions for that submission. However, data locked away within the invoice itself could be useful for the workflow process. Document data fields like Total Due or Shipping Address or even individual line items listed on the bill could impact where or to whom that invoice should be sent, or if any additional action is necessary. Using data extracted by a Smart Capture® tool on the front-end like Ephesoft Transact, which is based on full-text analysis of document content and supervised machine learning, will extend the capabilities of the RPA tool by providing a more complete picture of the information being processed.

RPA Mailroom Digitization

The Ephesoft platform is even suitable for enriching the capabilities of RPA systems beyond mailroom automation. One banking customer uses the Ephesoft Transact platform in their corporate loans department as an application extender for the RPA solution Blue Prism. For this use case, Ephesoft handles the front-end ingestion of documents, facilitating content classification, data extraction and exports to Blue Prism. A simple data export enables a seamless integration between the two applications. From here, Blue Prism automates the workflow approval process and routing to the back-end document management system. Without Ephesoft managing the initial capture of documents, much of the metadata utilized in the workflow would need to be indexed manually.

Visualization of Ephesoft and Blue Prism integration

Is your organization seeking to implement a true digital mailroom solution, or simply enhance the power and efficiency of RPA tools? With smart document capture, data extraction utilizing supervised machine learning, and ease of interoperability via web service calls, the core competencies of the Ephesoft platform are well-suited to meet your automation needs.

Contact us at or fill out a contact form for more information about how you can enhance your robotic process automation tools with Ephesoft.