For many companies, processing huge amounts of data in a wide range of formats and sources can feel overwhelming. Intelligent document processing (IDP) helps alleviate and eliminate that stress by leveraging machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence to read and understand documents. 

With IDP growing in popularity, there are a lot of questions that come with it. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about IDP to help you better understand what it is, how it’s used and its benefits. 

Why Is Intelligent Document Processing Becoming a Necessity? 

For even small and medium-sized companies, the sheer volume of paperwork and documents that need processing can create stacks of incomplete tasks and require hours of tedious work to accurately transcribe the information. IDP streamlines that process to help companies save time, money and resources. IDP helps your company focus on what matters rather than on time-consuming manual tasks that can (and should) be automated. 

What Is the Difference Between OCR and IDP? 

Optical character recognition (OCR) converts an image of text into machine-readable text. This is great if you only want to have the document digitized, but it has its restrictions. The biggest downfalls of OCR solutions are that 1) the document must be based on a specific template, and 2) OCR only focuses on digitization. 

This means that a document has to be formatted according to approved rules or OCR cannot process the document. And once the physical document is digitized, OCR does not make the data searchable, extract context or interpret the data, so it still requires time and attention to be processed. 

While OCR can process some documents, it falls short when dealing with semi-structured, unstructured or handwritten documents. 

IDP is a major advancement that utilizes OCR for only part of its document processing solution. It also utilizes machine learning in concert with advanced AI technologies to mimic cognitive abilities. Not only can IDP capture and digitize documents correctly, but IDP can also classify the document and extract all relevant data. That data is then automatically distributed to the correct workflows as necessary. 

While IDP can be more expensive, it is more useful than OCR and requires significantly less manual interface to achieve better results for a broader range of documents. 

Which Technologies Are Applied to Develop IDP Solutions? 

An IDP solution actually consists of a series of other technologies working in unison to supplement and strengthen each other. By doing so, IDP doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel by recreating an existing solution.

Some of the technologies that are included in an IDP solution include: 

  • OCR
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Machine learning (ML)
  • Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)
  • Computer vision

IDP solutions require a repository to store documents once they are digitized. This can utilize software and technologies like ERP, ECM, iPaaS, RPA, CRM, LOS, EHR/EMR and any other repository or application. 

Is IDP Data Validation Accurate? 

Data validation ensures that the IDP process is accurate and that no information is lost. Ephesoft’s IDP solution extracts meaningful data from any document, format and/or source. With ML working in tandem with AI, data validation becomes almost 99.9% accurate. 

Does IDP Extract Data from Unstructured Content? 

Yes, IDP can extract data from unstructured content. Unlike OCR, IDP can recognize and capture content in semi-structured, unstructured and complex documents and then extract the context of the document from the content. 

Can IDP Process Handwritten Text? 

Yes, IDP can process handwritten text. IDP is so powerful that it can simultaneously process mixed documents that combine digital and handwritten text. In fact, Ephesoft users report 88% accuracy with cursive handwriting recognition.

Does IDP Recognize Cursive Writing? 

IDP can process handwritten text in any writing format, including cursive. With machine learning and AI, IDP can establish a continually growing database of rules that help it digitize everything from a doctor’s chicken scratches to the most elegant cursive in a handwritten letter. 

Is IDP Scalable? 

Yes, IDP is scalable. IDP has the capacity to process as many documents as necessary. In fact, the longer your company uses an IDP solution, the more accurate and efficient it becomes. Due to machine learning, IDP solutions can gain a repository of data that helps inform and refine future document processing tasks. 

Is IDP Secure?

Ephesoft’s IDP solution can be trusted with sensitive documents. The IDP solution does not store any personal or sensitive information at any point in the digitization process. It is important to remember that IDP focuses on document processing—not storing or securing the information. While Ephesoft’s IDP solution is a secure process, it is not a storage solution for documents once processed. 

Can IDP Be Used in the Cloud? 

Yes, IDP can be implemented as part of a company’s cloud-based system, but it can also be used in a hybrid cloud environment. 

Are There Other Names for IDP? 

IDP is sometimes referred to as intelligent document automation (IDA). Both processes leverage AI and ML with document capture software to streamline and automate the processing process. 

For more information on Ephesoft’s intelligent document processing solutions, please visit our webpage or learn more about Ephesoft Transact.