Intelligent Document Processing. What is It and How to Get Started

Artificial Intelligence

Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) brings several technologies together to help businesses to be able to transform unstructured data into a form that is usable. 8 in every 10 businesses have data in an unstructured format such as emails, hand-written documents, PDFs, and other document formats. Being able to automatically transform that data into a usable format means that businesses can unlock possibilities such as classification and data-led decision-making.

Technologies used in IDP include computer vision, deep learning, machine learning, and natural language processing. It’s a fairly complex undertaking because of the need to not only extract but also validate such data. When properly applied, IDP can transform internal processes in numerous industries. In hospitals, IDP is deployed in digitizing medical records previously stored in hand-written format. It’s also used to quicken patient registration and to read patients’ notes. In banking, IDP is used to automate credit disbursements. IDP technology is used to review financial applications and automate financial records.

Virtually every organization can benefit from IDP through faster processing of documents. Invoices can be paid faster and bulky documents can be reviewed to collect metadata. Here are a few important benefits that organizations that have deployed IDP are enjoying.

Increase Productivity of the Workforce

By replacing human effort with technology to collect information from documents, organizations are enjoying increased productivity. IDP can drastically slash that office staff members spend on doing repetitive work such as updating customer records from emails or hand-written documents. In an organization where data entry and records management is done manually, such work can take up two-thirds of an employee’s time. Freeing them up to handle other work can be a morale booster.

It’s also worth mentioning that an organization’s processes will run faster when data entry tasks and document retrieval are automated. This has a knock-on effect because customers will also experience more efficient service delivery.

Accuracy and Standardization of Processes

Natural language processing and computer vision technologies have come a long way in terms of their accuracy. Relying on IDP for information retrieval, therefore, delivers a higher accuracy standard compared to human effort. Therefore, IDP improves the accuracy of data gathered and this is important if such data is used to make vital decisions such as credit approvals. IDP software also helps to eliminate the possibility of fraud in cases in the financial sector where previously humans were entrusted with processing such things as loans or insurance payouts. In the long run, IDP also helps to standardize the quality of work, which can help an organization position itself as being able to consistently able to deliver at a particular standard.

Automated Document Classification

Being able to automatically handle incoming documents and categorize them appropriately is important for efficiency. IDP makes it possible by routing incoming communication quickly and correctly. For instance, if an incoming invoice has an error, it can be flagged for investigation. If there aren’t any errors, it can be cued for payment.

Automation of classification also reduced the need for human intervention in document handling which can sometimes lead to information access by unauthorized persons.


Organizations in sectors such as health and financial services have strict information-security laws to abide by. For instance, there are guidelines on the nature and quality of cloud storage that health providers can use. IDP helps organizations to efficiently deploy their compliance measures. Compliance processes can be quite expensive when manual labor is used by IDP helps reduce reliance on manual processes. By automatically capturing sensitive information, IDP software can treat it as such to ensure compliance. Organizations can also keep a database of all sensitive information in their possession and ensure safe storage, backup, and access control.

Handling Large Documents Efficiently

Organizations today face an unprecedented amount of information to handle with strict laws on how to store, preserve, and destroy such information. Intelligent document processing is key in helping organizations handle documents efficiently, especially when it is expanding rapidly. An organization that operates in different jurisdictions faces varying compliance laws. IDP is able to deliver flexibility and the needed agility to comply with law changes in the different jurisdictions. It is easy to get bogged down by information laws and this can cripple the organization’s main business. However, IDP makes it easier to handle large volumes of information efficiently and within the confines of the law.

Improved Customer Satisfaction

IDP delivers better customer satisfaction many numerous angles. The most notable one is being able to hasten the pace of internal processes. For instance, a customer being able to apply for a loan and the approval is granted immediately is a huge change compared to a decade ago. Satisfaction is also improved by being able to give customers assurance that their personal information is protected and can never fall into the hands of unauthorized persons. This goes a long way in protecting brands from legal risk and potential reputational damage.

Challenges Facing Intelligent Document Processing

As the number of vendors offering IDP technology grows, there are a couple of hurdles that most of them still struggle with. The first is that of language variability with region, industry, and organization. Natural Language Processing technology still struggles when it comes to deducing what abbreviations mean based on the context they are used.

The second main challenge is language ambiguity. Two phrases might also mean the same thing even through they are worded differently. This means that a bit of human intervention may still be necessary to ensure 100% accuracy of IDP. Language is constantly growing with new phrases emerging, especially in popular culture. However, there is hope that these challenges may be overcome through Semantic Folding technology in the field of NLP.

Implementing Your Own IDP Technology

Incorporating IDP at your company can supercharge your internal processes and deliver huge savings on manual labour. Many companies, however, struggle with deciding how best to integrate IDP into their current processes. At Transcendent Software, we take pride in helping client businesses decide how best to use AI-built technologies into their workflow. You can reach out to our team for a conversation on intelligent document processing.