Bolster Intelligent Document Processing With Robotic Process Automation
Fortunately, open-source RPA is a key tool to help overcome roadblocks and ensure tech stacks operate smoothly, efficiently, and accurately.
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Over the past few years, there have been countless new technology developments that have advanced the workforce — from video and chat platforms that keep employees connected to automation solutions that boost productivity. One of the more popular developments has been intelligent document processing (IDP), used to extract data from structured and unstructured content to automate high-volume, repetitive document processing tasks. In fact, IDP has become so popular that, in 2022, the IDP market size was estimated to be at about 1.1 billion USD, but according to Research and Markets, it’s expected to grow to 5.2 billion USD by 2027.
Despite the popularity of IDP, there are some iterations of the tool that lack the processing power needed to automate complex end-to-end business processes. Fortunately, robotic process automation (RPA) can step in to bolster your tech stack and solutions.
The Importance of IDP
IDP is a critical resource for decreasing processing time, improving accuracy, and ensuring compliance. It also helps enterprises improve decision-making by providing better access to information and insights that would otherwise be hidden in mountains of data.
While IDP is important to keep any business up and running efficiently, accurately, and successfully, there are still challenges facing the technology. Particularly, IDP providers offer a variety of workflow options that complement their data extraction features but oftentimes, they aren’t powerful or seamless enough for automating complex end-to-end business processes.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a key solution that can bridge these gaps.
The Power of Open-Source RPA
Open-source RPA is the new generation of RPA and offers virtually unlimited automation possibilities at a fraction of the cost of traditional providers. It's based on open-source technology and uses the Python programming language to connect to any application, including IDP solutions, regardless of its age or where it is hosted.
By nature, open-source RPA excels at interfacing and interacting with diverse technologies, as the open-source ecosystems contain battle-tested integration libraries for a wide variety of use cases. This makes open-source RPA an excellent tool to boost IDP solutions.
IDP and RPA: The Dynamic Duo
Before examining the way IDP and RPA benefit each other, it’s important to gain an understanding of how IDP and RPA work together. One way to think of it is that IDP is the brain, and RPA provides the hands. For example, let’s say we’re automating a procure-to-pay process. There are two distinct, difficult problems that call for advanced technology: extracting the relevant information from incoming invoices and managing the interactions and data flow, including receiving and identifying invoices, storing the results, flagging for manual verification, and more. In this scenario, the first problem can be solved utilizing IDP, and the second problem can be solved using RPA.
Ultimately, IDP and open-source RPA augment each other very well. There are three ways, in particular, that RPA can help bolster your IDP solutions: by allowing greater choice in IDP selection, by building stronger bridges, and by using python.
For a majority of RPA vendors, there is an existing, built-in IDP component. However, these various IDP solutions have their strengths and weaknesses, and while they might all be able to check the same boxes, there are significant differences in each solution — such as the accuracy of the results, processing time, and cost. When there is only one built-in IDP solution, it becomes a problem in case it yields suboptimal results for the task at hand. By fitting seamlessly into your document processing journey, open-source RPA gives users the opportunity to select the best-of-breed IDP solution for any use case without worrying about its automation features. Open-source RPA can easily integrate with any IDP solution, so you’re always able to choose the one that’s best for the task at hand.
Additionally, open-source RPA can help users build stronger bridges between their integrations. Since open-source RPA is able to interact with diverse target systems — including browser applications, APIs, Windows applications, Java applications, image recognition tools, and more — using their native interfaces, RPA is able to quickly, easily, and seamlessly bridge target systems with the IDP solution best suited for the task at hand.
Lastly, open-source RPA is a perfect complement to IDP solutions as it can utilize open-source ecosystems to extend automation capabilities. This unlocks the capability to hyperautomate any business process end-to-end, regardless of its complexity or your ERP, CRM, and legacy platforms. It takes your IDP output data and accurately processes it without human intervention.
Together, RPA and IDP are a perfect complement to one another and can drive tangible real-world outcomes in supporting complex end-to-end business processes.
IDP and RPA in the Real World
A fair amount of enterprises have already begun using RPA as a tool to improve their IDP solutions.
One typical use case is customer identity verification in a global product, oftentimes required to satisfy KYC requirements. Since identity documents differ between countries and regions, and the picture quality varies greatly due to differences in lighting, equipment used, angles, and more, it is unrealistic to expect the information to always be extracted correctly. IDP products typically include a confidence score which, essentially, tells how confident the IDP is that it has retracted the correct resulting values. In some cases, it makes sense to process the document via multiple alternative IDP solutions and cross-check the results to increase confidence in the results. This technique can significantly reduce the cases requiring manual intervention.
Open-source RPA allows users to leverage any existing ecosystem, and it utilizes building blocks that are stored in prebuilt libraries to interact with a myriad of IDP solutions. Libraries abstract away different IDP services behind a unified interface, thus further simplifying this type of deployment. With reference architectures and prebuilt templates, it is possible to deploy a production-grade solution that utilizes one or more IDP vendors in a matter of minutes.
The Future of IDP
Technology — including IDP — will only continue to advance in the coming years, and with these changes, new challenges will surface as well. Fortunately, open-source RPA is a key tool to help overcome roadblocks and ensure tech stacks are operating smoothly, efficiently, and accurately.
With a simple, flexible, and cost-effective integration path, open-source RPA can help bring about a future where IDP is a seamless process that helps companies see increased success and growth.
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