Part 2 in our Blog series on enterprise content management and intelligent data capture (IDC) focuses on the role of ECMs and IDC in intelligent process automation.
As we discussed in the first part of our Blog series on ECMs, intelligent data capture and process automation, companies today are facing an increasing challenge when it comes to managing the growing number of documents and data that flow into and out of their organizations.
While AI has been posited as the magic bullet to address the problem, the reality is that AI systems require massive amounts of data to learn and adapt to the kinds of problems the future will demand of them. The problem is that the data we’re talking about is trapped in unstructured documents and files of all kinds. Which is kind of the problem in the first place.
As we hinted at in our last blog, tools and technologies exist today to address the problem. The technology is often referred to as intelligent data capture. Many enterprise content management system solution providers, like Altec, KwikTag, DocLink and others make intelligent data capture available through technology partners like Artsyl, either bundled with their solution or as an add-on.
Where companies can potentially fall short is in over-looking or by-passing intelligent data capture on their way to process automation. Sometimes, this means implementing enterprise content management in one phase, then looking at intelligent data capture as part of a second or third phase.
The idea, it can be presumed, is that getting all your data and documents into a system and getting that system up and running is enough work on its own, so intelligent data capture gets back-burned. In addition, defining and building workflows for processes like accounts payable is viewed as a big enough challenge on its own—so intelligent data capture gets pushed to an even later phase.
Let’s discuss why this thinking is backward, and can ultimately hamper a company’s journey towards digital transformation and intelligent process automation.
Here’s why, for companies looking to maximize efficiency and get the greatest return on investment from enterprise content management, enterprise resource planning or process automation, should look at intelligent data capture as a key component of a complete solution, first and foremost.
1. Ensure data accuracy and speed up digitization/migration. Intelligent data capture solutions can improve the process of digitizing paper documents and automate the process of organizing and extracting relevant metadata from existing files. In the past, setting up intelligent data capture systems to handle these files may have been time- or cost-prohibitive. Today, however, by relying on machine learning, these tools can learn and adapt well enough to process the majority of content on the first try. Then, with assistance from process owners, they can record and learn from input that helps them identify and deal with exceptions. At the same time, intelligent data capture tools can boost the accuracy of data within existing systems by automatically cross-referencing captured data with existing ERP or ECM records.
2. Get a handle on your processes up front will boost user acceptance. Often, companies adopting a new ECM want to get the documents in and getting it up and running as smoothly as possible. Sometimes that can mean putting off looking at how they will work to support process automation for things like vendor invoice or customer order handling. While it is certainly possible to do things that way, intelligent data capture can relieve the burden of the ECM migration piece, while giving companies the opportunity to map their processes to the new systems and get rolling more quickly. The upside is that by automating data entry and document handling up front, they can realize a quicker overall return on investment and boost user adoption and support, when those users realize just how much MORE time and effort they are saving.
3. Accelerate and Elevate ROI. Finally, by starting with intelligent data capture, companies can more quickly achieve a return on investment for their enterprise content management system implementation, achieving a “win” more quickly overall, while setting the stage for further process automation, optimization and innovation.