Many organizations struggle with a glut of paper-based information. Whether it comes in the guise of forms -- patient in-take forms, mortgage application forms, enrollment forms, order forms, invoices, or other data-heavy documents -- extracting the data is often cumbersome. This type of data extraction can involve hours of manual data entry and may involve input errors. When this this paper-based data is combined with native digital data that is scattered across a variety of applications and desktops throughout the business, it can be a mind-boggling mess!
There's an easier way! Cost effective machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) bring accurate document recognition and classification, along with data extraction, within reach of most businesses. Even small to mid-sized business find these technologies within their reach, enabling them to compete better in an increasingly digital marketplace.
Machine learning describes a category of AI in which software algorithms learn from large data sets without relying on the more traditional conventions of rules-based development. This allows the computer to explore an exponential number of options before selecting the right answer. For example, the IBM supercomputer, Watson, used self-generated scores in selecting potential answers to rout competitors on the popular game show Jeopardy! in 2011.
Rather than lengthy configuration and setup processes that involve your employees manually importing documents into a forms processing application and telling the system what each document is—or worse, sorting documents by hand and typing the identifying index terms manually—this new technology learns by ingesting documents and develops its own patterns for classification, making it faster from start to…PAPERLESS.
Organizations save time and money by this improved efficiency in implementation. Additionally, this new technology offers dramatically more accurate results than manual entry or older automated entry systems.
AI and Modern Computing
Alan Turing, considered by many to be the father of modern computing, postulated two algorithms for artificial intelligence, both of which underpin modern computing technologies.
The first is called deterministic. A deterministic engine does one task at a time before moving on to the next, meaning that it can evaluate only one possibility at a time. Picture a long hallway with 100 doors. Behind one, there is a prize. A deterministic engine will open one door at a time until it finds the prize. Most automated forms processing software today is driven by deterministic engines.
Non-deterministic software, on the other hand, can process all possibilities at once. So, in our 100 doorway hallway, all of the doors are thrown open at once and the prize is found immediately. Non-deterministic engines are at the heart of today’s AI technologies.
What this Means for Data Extraction
Traditionally automatically extracting data from forms or other complex documents has been both expensive and time-consuming to implement, because the software used had to be configured and taught to recognize each specific document or form.
Alternatively, companies who chose to outsource forms processing and data extraction were forced to use offshore services in order to keep costs down. Many companies learned the perils of offshore outsourcing the hard way, and have since brought their data processing back in-house.
But this today's AI technology changes all of the parameters! Companies who prefer to outsource their forms processing or data extraction can do so economically with USA based companies, like Paper Alternative; while companies who prefer to keep their data processing in-house can now do so more efficiently.
One small manufacturer who orders many raw materials and receives many invoices was able to completely change the way they process orders and invoices. Instead of manual processes involving email and paper invoices, they now process automatically using AI technology and reap these benefits:
- Shortened human processing time from 1 hour per invoice to 15 minutes per invoice.
- Increased accuracy to 90+% on data extraction and classification.
- Enabled growth. Eliminating filing cabinets and increasing efficiency enabled them to redirect some of their human resources to business growth activities rather than business maintenance activities.
- Better able to compete with other, even larger, manufacturers.
Businesses improve control and speed processes with accurate classification of data from forms, invoices and other data-heavy documents. Artificial intelligence dramatically improves classification accuracy rates and reduces manual corrections. It's possible to process colored forms, damaged records, and other low-quality original documents with ease. Vulnerable paper records are converted into electronic files that are protected by user login, encryption, and multiple layers of system security. Check out Forms Magic for more information.