The AI tools that are making Workflow Automation easier

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Before concerns emerged about AI tools writing term papers or predicting stock performance, the technology was driving advances in intelligent document processing.

December 21, 20237 mins
A woman in glasses writes to a transparent board

There’s a type of artificial intelligence quietly changing the way we fulfill everyday transactions. Known as intelligent document processing, it’s not making headlines or raising worries. It’s simply using machine learning and computer vision to modernize mundane and overwhelming workflows for companies and agencies worldwide.

A top US insurance provider swiftly and securely processes more than a million claims files. A leading mortgage lender responds more quickly to market demand, growing its business by 30% year over year. A state agency digitizes its mailroom for end-to-end efficiency to promptly meet the needs of residents.

All three called upon AI-driven intelligent document processing to help solve a significant and common business problem. They needed to control the glut of data, structured and unstructured, flowing in from documents in all directions.

Here we explore intelligent document processing in four key areas:

  • The trouble with traditional document processing
  • A business case for workflow automation
  • The benefits of no-code and low-code environments
  • How to get started.

The trouble with traditional document processing

From invoices to intake forms, across finance and human resources and government, most workflows lean heavily on document processing.

The typical approach to document processing involves many staff hours spent reading and inputting data by hand. These workflows become tedious, and the work product is prone to errors.

Employees feel burned out and productivity slips as costs increase. Some analysts have calculated the cost of manual document processing at more than $10 per document, on average.

In response, many firms are opting for AI-based workflow automation. An intelligent document processing solution can quickly scan and manage content. It learns to recognize and categorize inputs according to business rules far faster than humans.

Already, this type of digital transformation has shown it can help an organization drive growth, reduce costs, and achieve productivity gains.

The capabilities of intelligent document processing can also scale. This means getting more value and insights from the data within the documents. Areas of improvement include: a higher degree of accuracy to meet compliance and regulatory requirements, and greater precision in business processes for purchasing, staffing, and customer/citizen engagements.

Leading implementations integrate with other systems of record, enabling faster access to information.


A business case for workflow automation

Every leader understands the bottlenecks and delays caused by manual, document-centric processes. Reflexively, many organizations have digitized some paperwork streams and are coping with a paper-digital hybrid environment that exacerbates the problem. As a result, information becomes more difficult to discern and locate. Accuracy is called into question.

Workflow automation changes all of that, delivering speed and accuracy while alleviating administrative tedium and freeing up staff for higher-value work. Leading the field of intelligent document processing is Iron Mountain. The company’s workflow automation solutions combine business process management and operational workflow expertise with intelligent document processing tools. This is where AI comes into play with optical character recognition and machine learning supported by robust exception processing.

Through automated workflows, agencies can allow authorized users to see and share information in a secure cloud repository guarded by role-based permissions. Integration with other business systems connects all that data that was once locked inside documents in various departments. An end-to-end intelligent document processing solution also breaks down silos within the workflow created by multiple vendors.

The benefits of lowcode and no-code

It’s clear that AI streamlines document processing. What’s not always clear is how to overcome the obstacles of setting up new infrastructure and training or recruiting staff to work within it. Fortunately, automation can be facilitated by no-code and low-code platforms.

According to Gartner, this buy-versus build method is how 65% of businesses will approach development by 2024. Here’s why:

Boost efficiency for both technical and non-technical users: Without the need for complex codes, developers, or engineers, low-code and no-code platforms “enable rapid application delivery with minimal hand-coding, and quick setup and deployment,” as reported by Forrester. This speeds up an organization’s digital transformation without guesswork or setbacks.

Low code translates to low cost and high efficiency: Once a workflow automation solution is deployed, the business can start leveraging data. User-friendly tools for intelligent document processing, for instance, support staff across departments. This means the benefits extend from document processing to strategy and decision-making.

Empower agility across the enterprise: Without entering a single line of code, users can apply business rules via prebuilt templates, working in tandem with specialists like those from Iron Mountain. Once implemented, the system can pivot quickly to modify requirements according to operational updates, market trends, or client objectives.

How to get started

When embarking on an AI journey, agencies are best served by a timephased approach. They need to be sure the intelligent document processing technology they select fits their mission rather than shaping the mission around a deployed solution.

First, experts advise making an honest evaluation of the following.

  • Assess retention requirements.
  • Identify structured and unstructured data silos.
  • Examine digitization/workflow status.
  • Review access and activity levels.

The next step is to identify the right technology partnership. This decision could be the most important. As established, a complete-off-the-shelf solution simplifies digital transformation with no-code and low-code options. It also prevents the usual headaches related to multi-vendor, cobbled-together implementations.

Leaders are wise to look for a solution that can deliver quick wins with demonstrable returns on investment. This positive momentum can help carry the project through its subsequent phases. Ideal offerings pair services with software so everything can be customized to meet specific needs.

In measured increments, the benefits of workflow automation will be felt throughout the organization—from time saved on manual data tasks to insights and information access available at the highest levels of decision-making.

AI-driven intelligent document processing won’t be as flashy or worrisome as the controversial AI tools everyone is talking about today. But once achieved, the digital transformation will deliver cost savings and competitive advantages long into the future.

Explore the five steps to digital transformation. Connect with an expert from Iron Mountain to learn how your organization can take advantage of AI tools for intelligent document processing and workflow automation.