Over the past 5 years or so, the attitude towards automation projects and success criteria has shifted from “nice to have” to “need to have”, mostly due to the availability of powerful technologies like artificial intelligence, robotic process automation (RPA), intelligent document processing (IDP) and integration platforms (iPaaS)
All of these fall under the umbrella of intelligent automation, or hyperautomation, with organizations eager to drive initiatives at all levels to hunt down miscreant processes that drag down staff, reduce productivity, stall innovation and produce average business results.
An interesting change has also occurred within the IDP industry over the past decade. As documents have moved from physical to digital, IDP has moved up the value chain, from essentially a labor “reducer” to being a critical component of any enterprise hyperautomation toolset.
But what value and benefit can IDP provide and how should organizations look for projects and examine desired outcomes? Here are the three lenses you can use to examine and evaluate the impact of IDP. Let’s look at a real-life example of a large claims processing organization:
1. Cost Reduction (Your Zoom Lens)
I once worked with a large worker’s compensation processor that provided services for the State of California. They had 8 locations that processed inbound paper and digital documents. They essentially provided “mailroom” processing and case creation as a service for the state. With an intelligent document processing solution, they were focusing on cost savings and how they could consolidate processing centers, use less staff while completing the same amount of daily work. This “cost” lens is a great way to identify low hanging fruit in the hunt for automation targets for not only IDP but also the broader hyperautomation approach.
2. Efficiency & Standardization (Your Midrange Lens)
That same customer quickly realized that once the documents were digitized, enriched with metadata and classified, that a workflow tool could be infused with this smart data and make the downstream case manager’s tasks a breeze. It could be autofiled in the Salesforce Case Management System, auto-named with the case filers first name and last named and archived into their content management system with tagged search fields. The efficiencies that resulted allowed case managers to bump their case load, deny or approve cases more quickly and examine case details rapidly when questions came from the State. The cost reduction phase was a catalyst and cleaned the efficiency lens so to speak, for greater impact and business ability.
3. Results and Repeatability (Your Wide Angle Lens)
Reducing costs, building operational efficiency and creating repeatable, standardized processes make business predictable – and provides for the best possible results. As an organization moves beyond IT, beyond the business unit and into the great organization at a strategic level, the value ladder of hyperautomation, including IDP, can be ascended to the highest rung. For our case study company, their performance and processing metrics led to exceeding contract requirements and being awarded additional contracts which led to additional revenue and the best possible outcomes. To be able to use this “outcome lens,” you need to focus on the first two pillars of value.
If we incorporate this methodology, your business will experience incremental, staged business value of using the three lenses. In many cases, organizations will not see the opportunity to “level up” the value chain until they implement a lower level: cost, efficiency and outcomes.
Remember, any process automation effort is not a one time effort but a cycle of revisiting and continued innovation that results in gained value and a better view from higher up on the value ladder.
About the Author
Stephen Boals is the head of Strategy and Evangelism for Ephesoft. At Ephesoft, he managed top producing partners, is an avid evangelist for the benefits of intelligent document processing and guides the company’s future vision within the hyperautomation space. His experience in IDP spans 15 years, and he has managed transformation projects for Fortune 1000, governments and has worked with “Big 4” consulting, IT and security management. He is a proud veteran and served as a Naval Flight Officer.
Featured image: TippaPatt