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Why RPA isn’t always the answer: Using Intelligent Document Processing

We’re all trying to “work smarter, not harder.” RPA, though useful for some, isn’t always the answer to the growing call for digital transformation. See how IDP can fill in the gaps that RPA leaves and is the game-changer your organization needs.

A turning point

Organizations across industries are at a turning point. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed organizations to embrace digital transformation, and that includes implementing new technologies that are helping them meet the demands for a digital future. 

Businesses need new technology because their old processes, operations, and business models are slowing them down. Many of their existing technologies are becoming outdated and their employees are spending too much time working on repetitive manual tasks when they could be putting their skills to better use. Customers want quick, seamless, digital interactions when they buy products and services or seek solutions from businesses. 

Customers love companies that are able to deliver immediate, personalized, and exceptional experiences. They shop by simply using an app to select and buy a product that arrives at their home in the next few days. If they need to check their account and billing information or talk to customer service, they’re only one click away. 

These types of interactions between businesses and customers have set the bar very high for organizations across industries all over the world. Now, customers expect to have a great experience with every business, just like they do with top companies such as Amazon and Netflix. 

But it’s not just customers who want great experiences — employees do, too. Employees need to have the tools and technologies at their disposal that help them to meet customer demands, strengthen their workflows, and accommodate their needs. 

A business doesn’t have to be a Fortune 500 enterprise to meet the demands for these types of exceptional customer and employee experiences. There are technologies available for everyone that are easy to use and integrate that can set organizations down their own unique digital transformation journey. 

Robotic Processing Automation 

So, how can businesses better embrace digital transformation, meet customer expectations, and help their employees work better and drive new solutions? 

Automation can help. You might already be familiar with Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RPA utilizes software that can be used to replicate back office tasks that people usually do, like filing and invoicing or taking data and putting it into spreadsheets. 

RPA does all this much faster and with fewer errors, so businesses are integrating RPA solutions to take care of this type of manual work. Their employees no longer have to do this type of work anymore, and they can focus on other projects that are better suited for their skills and are more valuable to the business. 

According to a survey from McKinsey, automation is more integral to the success of organizations than ever before and is helping them reimagine operating models and new ways of working. 

However, as revolutionary as RPA can be, it also has its challenges and downsides: 

  • It can be a very expensive investment
  • It requires a lot of data because it uses machine learning (ML)
  • You need people or teams to help set this all up
  • Employees can be resistant to the onboarding process
  • There is a productional shift in management  

These challenges and limitations can discourage or deter a business from using RPA solutions. But as we mentioned before, businesses are at a turning point. They need new technology solutions that are going to help them succeed, be competitive in the market, and meet customer demands.

Orgs don’t have to worry because there’s a way to drive digital transformation and technology adoption by using automation without a complex overhaul of existing systems, expensive costs, or additional labor to set things in motion. This is where Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) steps in. 

Intelligent Document Processing 

Businesses have a ton of documents. These could be statements, invoices, insurance forms, purchase orders, images, or contracts. It goes without saying that manually processing this assortment of documents can be time consuming and labor intensive.

IDP solutions can help organizations use automation by starting small and focusing on very specific challenges. In this case, the challenge is that it’s becoming far too difficult, expensive, and time-consuming for people to process documents. 

Businesses know that they need to embrace new technology to help them out, but instead of using RPA solutions for a myriad of different needs, IDP can help to narrow the playing field so that businesses can experience the benefits of automation for a specific purpose: Document processing.

Here are some of the benefits of IDP:

  • Save time and money by avoid having to process tons of documents just to get set up
  • Improve efficiency by easily automating document-related processes 
  • Reduce data errors that occur with manual processing
  • Give employees the freedom to work on more important tasks 
  • Businesses can prioritize strategy development, like improving the customer experience and increasing sales

Lastly, it’s important to mention that IDP vendors like Impira are no-code, which means you don’t need experienced software engineers and developers in order to use it. You can drag and drop files, highlight information you want to extract, and integrate with your favorite tools like Dropbox, Amazon S3, Zapier, Snowflake, or email. It takes a few minutes to set up and anyone can use it. 

Use Cases

Businesses are having to rapidly change and adopt new technologies, and this shift has been exacerbated by the pandemic as it has forced everyone to rethink how they work, how to operate their business, and how to best serve customers. 

IDP can improve productivity and make businesses more flexible and help people work and collaborate better from anywhere, whether that’s in the office or at home. Let’s take a look at some real world use cases so that you can see how IDP can help empower an organization. 


Healthcare organizations have a lot of moving components as they operate on a daily basis.  They have administrative staff, nurses, and doctors who need to be able to collaborate and communicate efficiently. They work with a lot of data from patient information and insurance companies, and coordinate between different healthcare institutions, facilities, and hospitals. 

Healthcare institutions need to process documents quickly with data that is current and readily accessible to continuously administer high quality care to patients. For example, when onboarding a new patient, a new patient has to fill out forms about their medical history, then the facility contacts previous hospitals, doctors, and insurance companies to update a patient file. 

Manually keeping track of this information is impractical and inefficient when doctors and nurses are on a tight schedule and time to care is critical for the health and well-being of patients. 

IDP helps to enhance the communication and collaboration for healthcare institutions — whether they need to process medical images to improve patient diagnosis, or if they need patient related information accessible and consistently updated as new patients receive ongoing care. 

Healthcare institutions can quickly service more patients. Administration can easily onboard new patients, update their files, and communicate more efficiently with other facilities and insurance companies. Also, nurses and doctors can have accurate and readily available information at their fingertips to improve patient care.

Financial Services

Financial Service Organizations (FSOs), like a brokerage firm, need tools at their disposal to help them concentrate their efforts on serving customers and work productively and efficiently. For example, financial advisors have a lot of customer data to review from contracts, statements and insurance forms, and manually going over these documents is time consuming and has a negative impact on workflows. 

IDP uses optical character recognition (OCR) and machine learning, autonomously running in the background, so that when people upload and make changes to their documents, the system automatically retrains itself. 

Financial advisors and other financial service professionals can streamline their work and use IDP systems to help them locate and identify specific data as points of interest. This ensures they don’t have to constantly and repetitiously go over documents trying to identify the information that they are looking for. Also, anyone can easily step in and use the system without any coding or engineering experience. 

FSOs can bring more value to customer accounts, focus their attention on the client, enhance workflow activity, and have all the information that they need to improve the customer experience. 

How to Build a Use Case for IDP

Organizations can build a framework that helps them to identify key reasons for IDP adoption. Here are steps you can take to build a use case for IDP:

  • Step 1: Decide which processes can be enhanced with IDP that you can use as a use case. These could be areas where data quality needs to be improved, employees are spending too much time working on manual tasks, and there are large volumes of documents such as invoices, statements, or contracts.
  • Step 2: Meet with your CFO, other C-level executives, or management to determine and validate the costs of implementing an IDP use case. Discuss ROI, how much it will cost to implement a platform, what teams are needed to work on this system, and how much freedom teams will have after you are using IDP systems.
  • Step 3: Identify business outcomes that you want to achieve. Align business objectives and goals and how you can succeed using IDP. For example, is your goal to improve compliance or to reduce processing time?
  • Step 4: Group together all your documents in appropriate categories, such as by putting all your invoices together in one collection, or contracts in another. 
  • Step 5: Now you’re ready to implement IDP. Contact a solutions provider and simply upload your documents into the IDP system. All you have to do is drag-and-drop files, and then highlight the data you want. For example, if you’re uploading invoices, you’ll be highlighting data points like First name, Last name, or Address. 

It doesn’t matter what industry an organization is a part of. If your business is looking to new technology solutions and experiencing any of the above, you have a reason to turn to IDP solutions. Remember, it’s straightforward to implement IDP solutions, so all you have to do is contact an IDP provider like Impira and you can be set up in minutes.

Final thoughts

Digital transformation is a complex landscape to navigate. Businesses know that they need automated solutions, but they often don’t know how to start, where to look, and why one service might be better over another. 

Businesses can start slow, focus small, and use IDP to overcome challenges they’re experiencing when it comes to processing documents, and gain experience implementing more simplified and straightforward solutions than RPA.

A business can have the best of both worlds and adopt automation quickly and easily into their organization without a steep learning curve and time-consuming process. Organizations can now go back to focusing on delivering exceptional products and services to customers and improving the customer experience without being slowed down by outdated operations and processes. 

To learn more, please reach out to us here or at Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter to stay in the know.

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