Intelligent document processing for a Document Management System (DMS)?!! Sounds confusing, right? Well, that’s what we plan to explain in this blog — why intelligent process automation or intelligent document processing is needed and how it can augment the capabilities of a document management system.
Handling paperwork including filing, archiving, sorting, etc. is a routine nobody wants to follow, even the ones who love monotony! Thankfully, today we have robust document management systems that do the job efficiently. What is a DMS? A Document Management System (DMS) is essentially a software that performs basic document management tasks like sorting, filing, storing, recording, and arranging document files in a particular order, while also performing search and advanced querying to track and retrieve files as and when needed.
You can think of a DMS as a sort of a rolodex for managing documents in an orderly fashion, to be retrieved instantly whenever needed. Basically, paper documents must be converted to electronic or digital form in order to be stored in a document management system. DMS software does what companies have been doing for years to manage large quantities of information and documents across departments.
A good document management system must be able to reduce data and functional silos between departments and business units, by enabling access to business data from anywhere. In other words, Document Management software typically maintains a central database of business records, that is accessible across an organization. A good Document Management software usually comes with advanced workflow tools with powerful search features and routing, as well as export options. Other typical features include strong controls over business data and permissions on how and by whom the documents can be accessed. Advanced security and privacy control features make document management systems an indispensable solution for managing critical business data.
User access to Document Management System files within an organization may be hierarchical, where controls like editing, viewing, or other document manipulation may be allowed depending on the degree of access a user has to a particular document. One of the best features of modern electronic document management software is the collaboration and connectivity it brings to an organization. Corporate teams, working in an office or remotely, can access and deliberate upon or work on a particular document or business information, all at the same time, where the system ensures that individual inputs to a document are marked by the name of the editor as well as the date and time of edit.
Version control gives users a neat trail of all the edits or changes that have been made to the contents of a document, ensuring complete control of business data as required. With a document management system in place, there are fewer or no instances of business data being lost or of unauthorized access to critical documents. Moreover, a complete trail of every action that has been taken on a document during its life in a document management solution elevates the compliance and regulatory standards of a company, also ensuring strict adherence to corporate and data management ethics.
But then, if DMS does all of these, one would and should ask, why have an intelligent automation solution to integrate with it? Business documents rarely come in structured form. A typical company deals with several vendors, customers, and other external stakeholders on a daily basis. Routinely, incoming and outgoing business data and documents between the company and its several vendors and customers run into the hundreds and thousands. These documents and data are often unstructured, meaning they are not formatted on paper in a way that can be readily read, recognized, and captured by a document management system. More importantly, a DMS is incapable of recognizing document-variability and categorizing different document types. It does not have the ‘intelligence’ to know whether an incoming document is an invoice, a memo, or a sales order.
Examples of unstructured documents include invoices, credit memos, customer sales order forms, purchase orders (POs), bills of lading (BoLs), etc. These are popularly known as source documents or transaction documents. Before getting the DMS to get into full operational mode to work with documents, source documents must be entered into a document management system platform manually, as every document is unique to the vendor or business the company is dealing with.
In order to automatically feed source documents into a document management system, there must be a mechanism to capture data from a diverse set of documents with differing templates and format types. This is where intelligent process automation comes into play and is most effective.
Intelligent Process Automation (IPA), or intelligent automation, as it is alternatively known, is a combination of digital transformation technologies like AI, Machine Learning, intelligent data capture, Business Process Automation, and Robotic Process Automation. The solution is designed to automatically recognize and capture details from unstructured documents like vendor invoices, sales orders, or even medical claims forms.
Machine Learning is the primary capture method that most advanced intelligent capture solutions use to recognize and pick up data from for example, invoice forms. In-built logic in IPA software helps quickly capture data from familiar looking documents having a standard template and field placement.
The intelligence in an IPA software comes in handy when processing new documents, for which the software does not have any pre-built logic. In this case, the IPA bot applies machine learning to self-learn new document formats based on user actions performed to pick up details from the documents the first time. The IPA bot retrieves this knowledge from memory to process every subsequent document of a similar template. IPA’s self-learning technology reduces the need for manual intervention drastically as the bots get better at processing documents unattended, with every new document.
By integrating intelligent process automation software with a traditional document management system, businesses have the leverage to work seamlessly with unstructured documents and perform document-dependent functions like accounts payable and order processing within their Document Management System environment itself. Basically, IPA extends a DMS’s capability to work with unstructured documents.
Multi-Channel Capture: incoming documents from various channels like emails, fax, FTPs, scan, etc. are automatically uploaded into the IPA workflows.
Data Classification: captured documents are automatically classified and separated according to type, with in-built logic helping distinguish between PO and non-PO documents, between an invoice and credit memo, etc.
Data Extraction: machine learning and AI, along with OCR/ICR technologies help automatically extract relevant and required details from complex document formats and templates.
Data Validation: captured details and documents are validated against records in the document management software database for things like say, matching invoice details against the right vendor in the document management system records. Advanced cascading search capabilities for things like vendor lookup, inventory lookup, etc. ensure that the data you have captured tallies with or matches the records in your document management system. Actions like 2-way or 3-way invoice and PO matching form part of the automatic data validation process.
Data Verification: depending on what the business rules and requirements of a company may be, documents are often automatically routed to a verification manager for dispute resolution, in case of any exceptions, before being approved.
Export: all approved documents may be exported in varying file formats to the document management system for further business use.
Advanced document management system products may come with capture capabilities, but are rarely suited for specific use cases. IPA software developers, on the other hand, design capture and process automation solutions for specific verticals and use cases such as accounts payable, sales order processing, medical claims processing, check remittance management, etc. Point solutions are usually designed for solving a specific problem and have a single use case. IPA platform solutions, on the other hand, offer a number of use cases and can be deployed across several verticals or functional domains.
Additionally, IPA solution packages offer a lot of scope for customizations and integrations with ERPs and line-of-business applications. This makes IPA software unique in dealing with unstructured data in any business vertical!
If you have a robust document management system to take care of your business, extend its capabilities further by integrating it with Artsyl’s intelligent process automation platform for complete end-to-end management of unstructured documents. You can automate and manage your AP/AR and medical claims processing effectively by ensuring all documents entering your business are immediately captured by IPA and processed and exported to your DMS in record time.
Artsyl accelerates your business by accelerating document processing to your Document Management System! The solution is equipped to integrate seamlessly with various Document Management Software platforms in the market — read how Artsyl’s intelligent process automation solution proved to be a game changer for this food processing company that was struggling to get its transaction documents in order. Integrating Artsyl’s IPA with the company’s MaxxVault DMS platform helped streamline document processing — over 40,000 delivery documents that the company received per month were automatically captured, sorted, validated, verified, indexed, filed, and exported to their DMS platform.
To get started with intelligent document processing, talk to Artsyl today.