PiF Technologies

What is Intelligent Data Capture?

To best understand how software solutions can benefit your organization, it’s important to gain insight into how they work. Intelligent Data Capture is a crucial part of a successful automation strategy, and can help take your existing document management solution to the next level. 

True automation is more than just a single piece of software. There are many pieces that come together to build a fully-customized automation solution for an organization.

What is Intelligent Data Capture and how does it work?

Intelligent Data Capture (IDC) is a technology that enables organizations to automatically extract meaningful information from unstructured and structured data sources. This technology uses advanced algorithms to recognize, classify and extract relevant data in a matter of seconds, significantly reducing manual data entry time and improving data accuracy. 

What this means is that IDC can classify the type of document you input (for example a purchase order versus an invoice), then extract the key information from that document, validate it, and then input that data into your database, enterprise resource planning software, or other business system of your choice. This process is different from traditional Optical Character Recognition because it goes above and beyond simply identifying the data, it also extracts and inputs it based on your needs. 

It’s extremely accurate while still being simple to set up and configure. Rather than spending additional time on configuration, IDC’s unique self-learning abilities mean that you can simply submit a single sample of the common document types you use. This means you can begin utilizing your solution sooner while still having the benefits of a sophisticated solution. Because Intelligent Data Capture “teaches” itself, it’s flexible enough to grow and adjust alongside your organization’s needs.

The most notable features of Intelligent Data Capture include invoice recognition and data lifting, forms processing, automated document classification (separates various document types automatically), and exports to just about any accounting or line of business application.

Intelligent Data Capture has applicable use cases in just about every business process and across industries. One of the most common use cases is within Accounts Payable. When an organization automates their Accounts Payable processes, Intelligent Data Capture plays a crucial role in streamlining the invoice processing workflow by automatically extracting data such as vendor information, invoice number, and due dates from incoming invoices. This not only saves time but also reduces the risk of human errors common within those processes.

The steps in IDC’s process look like:

These steps, when done manually, can take significant time and resources, but with Intelligent Data Capture, it can be simplified and streamlined.

Input

Classify

Capture

Validate

Verify

Submit

How can Intelligent Data Capture benefit your organization?

At its core, Intelligent Data Capture is designed to eliminate manual data entry from every paper document you may have. This includes any form, invoice, remittance, purchase order, or any other type of document you come across in order to complete your daily tasks. By doing this, you can significantly reduce your headcount and give your employees more valuable tasks to focus on rather than spend hours and hours completing manual data entry. Through Intelligent Data Capture your organization can double or triple the output of staff members processing inbound forms, without making them work harder.

Plain and simple, why pay an employee to do something that can be done through automation?

Intelligent Data Capture also increases accuracy significantly. When people extract data, human errors are bound to happen. Whether that be an employee misreading something, or mistyping data, the consequences can be significant. With IDC, that risk diminishes to close to zero. 

Since this process is so much more efficient, your organization can also benefit from early payment discounts and avoid any late payment fees

Automation in Action: Dennis K. Burke

Dennis K. Burke is a family owned and operated fuel distributor based in Taunton, MA. Since their inception in 1961, their focus on customer satisfaction has allowed them to become one of the largest commercial fuel distributors in New England. They have been a customer of PiF Technologies and DocStar since 2017, and in the 6 years they have been investing in automation, they have been able to transform their organizational processes.

The "before"

Dennis K. Burke’s process before Accounts Payable Automation consisted of invoices coming in the mail and then sitting in an approvers mailbox or desk waiting for approval. Because this process was heavily paper-based it led to lost invoices, no visibility of pending approvals, late payment charges due to lost invoices, missing out on payment discounts, and overpayment or incorrect inventory due to settling accounts over credit card. 

Their decision to invest in Accounts Payable Automation came about when they had moved offices due to an expansion and they needed to centralize their documents for remote users to view and approve invoices. At that point they were running into instances where they didn’t know where invoices were or if they even had invoices to pay, and they knew something had to change.

The “after” - the impact of Automation

Once Dennis K. Burke invested in an automation solution, their invoices are now primarily emailed to a dedicated Payables email inbox, read via Intelligent Data Capture, and then routed for approval. Based on the success with this process, they wanted to expand their solution and recently added another payables inbox to the mix as new profiles and content types in DocStar for even more advanced filing and searching.  They have also added an AP Statement profile so they can keep on top of statements and see if they have been reviewed for accuracy. 

Intelligent Data Capture cuts down on the need to type in information needed to file documents such as EFT (Electronic Fund Transfer) notices, Invoices, and Fuel Invoices.  Overall, these investments have streamlined their processes and helped their accounting and finance teams become far more efficient than before. Problems such as missing invoices and pending approvals causing delay virtually disappeared and thanks to automation, they had a truly centralized process.

More than just Accounts Payable

Dennis K. Burke has been able to expand their solution beyond their AP processes. Often the goal of Automation is to identify a core pain point that drives the decision and then scale into other processes and departments leading to a fully automated organization, in fact, this was one of the features they searched for when selecting a solution. 

Since they deliver in 7 different states and their drivers are busy on the road, they often need to get paperwork submitted while they’re miles away from any office. A massive benefit of Document Management with DocStar is that drivers can scan their paperwork from anywhere and then have it go directly into their dispatch system that then loads and files the drivers paperwork, bol’s and delivery information into Docstar for the billers to retrieve and process invoices the next day.

They also use DocStar to file their POD (Proof of Delivery) documentation with their Lube Department daily deliveries which is directly connected to their dispatch software in the warehouse. Once the delivery is made, the customer receives a copy of the receipt, it is filed in DocStar for Customer Service to review.  

In the event that they need to resend EFT (Electronic Fund Transfer) notices, they are burst apart in DocStar for easy email delivery, making the process just that much easier. They also input AR Credit Applications into DocStar with a workflow that allows them to route the paperwork for those applications to the different departments that need to approve it, such as tax, sales, invoicing, and others. Because the paperwork is sent directly to the right person, it saves time that otherwise would have been spent passing paperwork along for approvals or waiting on those same documents sitting on top of desks.  

Overall, automation has completely changed the way Dennis K. Burke does their business, and with support from PiF Technologies they have been able to have consistent success in their processes for over 5 years.

How to implement Intelligent Data Capture in your own organization

When Dennis K. Burke was seeking out an automation solution, they had some specific parameters that they wanted their future technology partner to uphold. Beyond the aforementioned scalability capabilities, the quality and availability of the support they would be receiving played a major role in their decision. When implementing a new technology many organizations want buy-in from IT as well as end-users, so ease of use is a priority. DocStar is designed to be user-friendly, and with implementation, training, and support from PiF Technologies your organization can see a positive impact from automation right away.

The first step in investing in automation is simply having a conversation. When you work with a partner with over 25 years of automation experience such as PiF, we know the right questions to ask to ensure that your pain points are being addressed and that your future solution can work with your existing systems. Let’s talk automation and discover how DocStar and Intelligent Data Capture can transform your organization!

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