In recent years, the software robot revolution has shown how robotic process automation (RPA) unlocks the value of electronic data previously trapped in internal and external systems to make it easily accessible, manageable and useable. It has also proven to be a valuable digital coworker to human employees in streamlining operations and expediting key business activities that serve customers.
But we are still often left with a critical gap. How do organizations handle unstructured information sources like the documents and emails that still flood organizations every day?
The fact is that no matter how much ROI we are realizing from RPA, if we continue to rely on repetitive, manual and error-prone approaches to processing our documents, our businesses are not fully automated.
Fortunately, this is where cognitive document automation (CDA) can serve as a powerful addition to RPA. RPA and CDA together connect paper, people and processes through foundational artificial intelligence (AI) and software robotics. CDA encompasses multichannel document capture, intelligent OCR and machine learning to automate the processing of unstructured data contained in documents and emails (e.g., sales orders/ invoices, enrollment forms, claims, contracts and correspondence).
The “intelligence” component is a game-changer. Although information capture systems excel at extracting raw data from documents and electronic data sources, they have historically struggled to deliver contextual understanding of that extracted data for better decision-making. True cognitive document automation employs AI algorithms that help computers understand, decide, learn and predict to better automate business processes that require information capture. AI can cluster, classify, separate, OCR, extract, understand human language and machine-learn information from any document type or data source.
It’s helpful to think of RPA is the repetitive “hand work” of processing electronic data, whereas CDA is the intelligent “head work” of understanding what the document or email is about, what information it contains and what to do with it.
RPA + CDA deliver proven ROI across many industries and use cases – from insurance claims automation to financial services to customer onboarding to invoice management.
Here are just a few of the business benefits of RPA + CDA:
- Increased productivity of document and electronic data handling
- Reduced operations costs through fewer manual tasks
- Enhanced data quality and lower error rates
- Improved compliance and audit trails
- Faster customer engagement and turnaround times
- Minimized cost of ownership and time-to-configure