Intelligent Process Automation, commonly referred to as IPA, is the ultimate step of a digital transformation for organizational information and content management. At its core, IPA is a combination of robotic process automation (RPA) and machine learning techniques, integrated with the organization’s line of business applications and back-end systems.

Let’s review the most impactful benefits of implementing a comprehensive IPA solution: operational process automation, reduction in information processing errors, time and operational costs, increase in compliance and an improved customer experience.

Automation

The most obvious benefit of IPA is in the technological trend’s name – automation. The word automation can mean something different for each person, process, line of business and organization, although it can simply be thought of as a process improvement using technology. For the mailroom clerk, automation may be the pre-defined sorting and forwarding of incoming correspondence. For the sales manager, automation is the routine approval of travel expenses that fall below a specific monetary threshold. For the records manager, automation is a touchless experience when company documents that reach the end of their retainment lifecycle.

Ephesoft’s Smart Capture® platform aids in process automation by eliminating manual intervention in document-centric workflows. Through a combination of supervised machine learning and rules-based logic, Ephesoft Transact automates the capture, conversion, sorting, indexing and routing of organizational content. In the case of the mailroom clerk, for example, this could mean the ingestion of incoming electronic faxes, classification of different document types – such as invoices, purchase orders or sales contracts – extraction of metadata and file export into a RPA, line of business or back-end document management system.

Reduction in processing errors

Removing the human element of basic office processes minimizes the chance of making manual errors, such as keying in a piece of data incorrectly, accidentally sending a document to the wrong person or associating a record with the wrong customer or vendor file in an ERP or CRM application.

Ephesoft Smart Capture® helps decrease processing errors by removing many of the time-consuming, manual actions performed during document capture and record identification workflows. One of the most common causes of record “misfiling” is human error when naming a file or selecting values from a drop-down list. Ephesoft Transact’s open architecture and pre-defined capture logic allow the application to query third-party databases like a vendor account database in an organization’s ERP system to verify information. Data “lookups” for company addresses, point of contact details and payment terms can be a key step in the Ephesoft capture workflow when processing new documents. This automatic validation ensures that incoming documents match the on-record data on file and reduces the risk of a new document being associated with a mistaken file.

Decrease in processing time and operational costs

Automation implies improved productivity and efficiency gains, which is at the core of IPA. Machine learning – both supervised and artificial intelligence – power robotic technology that enables automation. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that eliminating manual tasks and human intervention speeds up processes.

With Ephesoft Transact, document capture processing time is typically reduced by 67% and labor costs decrease by between 30% to 50%. Where a human employee might spend several minutes reviewing and indexing a single document, the same actions could be completed through robotic computation in microseconds. When more content is processed with less data entry, a greater volume of work can be completed. This translates to significantly lower operational costs and shorter workflow cycles.

Increased compliance

Intelligent process automation can ensure data privacy, records retention, sales policies and financial regulation requirements are upheld. Legal compliance for organizational policies spans all industries, and the systems and practices in place to uphold these policies are often highly manual. However, once a process has been established using IPA tools, that process or workflow can be executed repeatedly without error or deviation.

For example, consider GDPR requirements for PII protection. GDPR mandates customer records containing personal and private information must by digitally secured through encryption and identified as linked records. With Ephesoft Transact embedded into an organization’s content ingestion and management process, documents could be automatically flagged if Ephesoft’s Smart Capture® tools detected sensitive customer data through full-text analysis and pattern matching.

Improved customer experience and satisfaction

An often-overlooked soft cost of process automation is the overall improvement of the customer’s experience. Consider the mortgage industry, for example. A couple applies for a mortgage loan for the purchase of a new home. They fill out the stacks upon stacks of application paperwork required for a new loan and submit their information to the mortgage lender or bank. Without an automation tool, the mortgage company would have to manually sort through the files – electronically or even in physical paper form – verify applicant data, key-in submitted data points to backend applications, and then double check work performed in case of mistyping errors or overlooked application details.

With Ephesoft Transact to process the incoming application files, all this laborious, menial labor can be automated. Minimizing document processing time by eliminating the human element of document sorting, data entry, and information validation decrease the amount of time loan documents spend in the underwriting stage. When a smart document capture platform is combined with an RPA system, document processing becomes even more intelligent, and thereby a true IPA solution. The faster loan approval results in improved customer satisfaction, loyalty and an overall better experience.

In summary, organizations and government agencies that make the most of available technology to support IPA will have a clear advantage over organizations that stick with their manual processes. Contact us or schedule a demo to learn more about how your business can generate efficiencies, decrease operational costs, and improve customer satisfaction through document processing automation tools.

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