Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) for SMEs: Streamline Operations and Boost Efficiency

Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) is an emerging technology that automates manual document processing tasks. IDP can benefit small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) business operations by increasing accuracy, reducing costs, and improving efficiency. IDP can extract data from various types of documents, such as invoices, purchase orders, new hire forms, and payroll documents, and convert it into structured data that can be integrated into existing business systems utilizing Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

Understanding Intelligent Document Processing (IDP)

What is IDP?

Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) is a technology that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to automate document processing tasks. IDP solutions use AI technologies such as Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing (NLP), Machine Learning (ML), and Deep Learning to extract data from various types of documents, including scanned images, PDFs, and emails.

IDP solutions can automatically classify, extract, and validate data from structured, semi-structured, and unstructured documents, reducing manual data entry and human error. IDP solutions can also help organizations reduce processing costs and increase the accuracy and speed of data processing.

Components of Intelligent Document Processing

Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

OCR is a core document capture technology in IDP that converts printed or handwritten content from images into machine-readable text. It allows data extraction from various document formats such as emails, PDFs, Word documents, and scanned images. OCR has significantly evolved over the last few years, and with the integration of AI technologies, it can now recognize complex and unstructured text formats (including handwriting), thus substantially reducing manual data entry.

Machine Learning (ML),  Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Computer Vision

ML, NLP and Computer Vision work in tandem to decipher the context of the information extracted by OCR. Machine Learning algorithms can learn from document data and improve their extraction accuracy over time.  NLP deals with analyzing and understanding human language, enabling IDP to process and interpret the information in documents accurately. It uses techniques such as sentiment analysis, language detection, and entity extraction to categorize and extract meaningful data.

Computer Vision, on the other hand, is responsible for mimicking human visual perception in analyzing images and extracting relevant information. This is crucial for accurate data recognition from complex, semi-structured, or unstructured documents, enhancing IDP’s versatility.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

RPA plays a critical role in the deployment of IDP.  By integrating RPA with IDP, organizations can fully automate the extraction, processing, and validation of data from unstructured documents. RPA bots can read and interpret these documents, extract information, and input extracted data into the appropriate systems or databases.  Moreover, RPA can be programmed to perform complex tasks like document classification, document approval routing, and integration with other software platforms. The Intelligent Automation combination of RPA and IDP empowers organizations to automate end-to-end document-centric processes, saving time and enabling employees to focus on more strategic and value-added activities.

Types of Documents in IDP

Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) can process a wide range of documents, including structured, unstructured, and semi-structured documents.

Structured Documents

Structured documents have a consistent format, with clearly defined fields and sections. Examples of structured documents include forms, purchase orders, and contracts. IDP can extract data from structured documents using pre-built templates, making the process efficient and accurate.

Unstructured Documents

Unstructured documents have no defined format, making it challenging to extract data. Examples of unstructured documents include emails, images, receipts, and resumes. IDP uses machine learning algorithms to identify patterns and extract relevant data from unstructured documents.

Semi-Structured Documents

Semi-structured documents have some defined fields, but the layout and format may vary. Examples of semi-structured documents include PDFs, tax forms, and identity documents. IDP can extract data from semi-structured documents using a combination of pre-built templates and machine learning algorithms.

Regardless of the document type, IDP can automate the data extraction process, making it faster and more accurate than manual processing, reducing errors, increasing efficiency, and improving productivity.

Benefits of IDP for SMEs

Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) is a sophisticated technology that can benefit small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) significantly. Utilizing RPA and IDP, SMEs can fully automate the processing of unstructured data from various sources such as forms, emails, PDFs, receipts, images, and more. Here are some of the benefits of IDP for SMEs.

Efficiency and Productivity

Manual document processing can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, which can increase costs and reduce productivity. IDP can automate many of these tasks, such as data entry, data extraction, and data validation, which can reduce the need for manual intervention and free up staff time for more valuable tasks. This can result in cost savings for SMEs and improve overall business efficiency and performance.  By utilizing AI-powered IDP automation, SMEs can now tackle the challenges associated with managing complex, unstructured documents,  leading to greater operational efficiency and a competitive edge in today’s data-driven business landscape.

Data Accuracy

One of the primary benefits of IDP for SMEs is increased accuracy. Manual data processing can be prone to human errors, such as typos, omissions, and misinterpretations. IDP can reduce these errors by automating the data extraction process and, using Machine Learning algorithms, can continue to improve accuracy over time. This results in fewer errors and a higher level of data quality, which can benefit SMEs by reducing the risk of financial losses, compliance issues, and damage to their brand.

Compliance and Security

IDP can help SMEs to comply with various regulations such as GDPR, HIPAA, and SOX by automating document processing and ensuring that sensitive data is handled securely. IDP can also help SMEs to reduce the risk of data breaches and cyber attacks by providing secure access controls and data encryption.

Scalability and Growth

IDP can help SMEs to scale their operations and support growth by automating document processing and reducing the need for manual intervention. This can help SMEs to handle higher volumes of data and transactions without increasing headcount. IDP can also help SMEs to improve customer satisfaction by providing faster and more accurate responses to queries and requests.

As you can see, IDP can significantly benefit SMEs regarding efficiency, productivity, data accuracy, compliance, security, scalability, and growth. By adopting IDP, SMEs can streamline their operations, reduce costs, improve data quality, and support their growth strategies.

IDP Use Cases for SMEs

Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) can streamline and automate various business functions, saving time and reducing errors. Here are some examples of how IDP can benefit SMEs in different departments:

Accounting and Finance

IDP can help accounting and finance teams automate and streamline many tasks, such as invoice processing, reconciliations, claims processing, and financial reporting. IDP can automatically extract relevant data from financial documents, such as invoice numbers, payment amounts, due dates, and expense receipt information. This can help to reduce errors and improve cash flow management. IDP can also help to ensure compliance with regulations and company policies.

HR, Payroll and Talent Acquisition

IDP can help HR and Payroll departments to automate and streamline many tasks, such as resume screening, candidate evaluation, onboarding paperwork, and benefits enrollment. IDP can automatically extract relevant data from resumes, forms, and applications, such as contact information, education, work experience, payroll data, and benefit selections. This can save HR professionals time and effort, allowing them to focus on more strategic tasks. IDP can also help to ensure compliance with government regulations and company policies.

Customer Relationship Management

IDP can help customer service and support teams to automate and streamline many tasks, such as customer onboarding, account management, and issue resolution. IDP can automatically extract relevant data from customer documents, such as contact information, order details, support tickets, and online customer reviews. This can help to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, as well as reduce response times and errors.

In summary, IDP can benefit SMEs in various business functions, including, but not limited to, Finance, HR, Payroll, sales, and customer relationship management. By automating and streamlining many tasks, IDP can save time, reduce errors, and improve efficiency. SMEs in banking organizations and insurance companies can also benefit from IDP.

Challenges and Best Practices

Due to limited expertise and constrained internal resources, Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) implementations can be challenging for SMEs. However, these difficulties can be diminished by utilizing an experienced partner for your IDP projects. This section briefly discusses the common challenges we see during IDP implementations and how to address them.

Document Management Strategy

A Document Management strategy is crucial for organizations looking to automate their document processing workflows. To effectively deploy IDP, organizations should first identify their document processing pain points and goals. They need to understand which specific documents and processes can benefit from automation and determine the desired outcomes, such as cost reduction, improved accuracy, and faster processing times. Next, organizations should evaluate available IDP solutions and choose the one that aligns with their requirements and budget. They should also ensure the solution integrates with existing systems and workflows.  Once the IDP solution is selected, organizations should develop a comprehensive deployment plan, including identifying stakeholders, necessary resources, and timelines. Proper training and change management strategies should be in place to ensure the successful adoption and utilization of the IDP solution. Lastly, monitoring and continuous improvement should also be a part of the deployment strategy to achieve long-term success and maximize the return on investment.

Dealing with Anomalies

One of the challenges in IDP implementation is dealing with anomalies. Anomalies are unexpected data that do not fit the expected pattern. For example, a document may contain a missing field or an incorrect value. To address this challenge, when selecting an Intelligent Document Processing solution, ensure it can handle anomalies by identifying and flagging them for verification. Verification can be done manually or through machine learning algorithms.

Ensuring Accurate Data Capture

Another challenge in IDP implementation is ensuring accurate data capture. Accurate data capture is essential for successful document processing. To tackle this challenge, businesses should invest in document processing technology that can accurately classify and extract information from both structured and unstructured data. Implementing a software solution capable of handling various data formats and using advanced techniques like machine learning can help improve IDP accuracy and reduce manual intervention.

Document Pre-Processing

Document pre-processing is another challenge in IDP implementation. Document pre-processing involves preparing documents for data extraction. This includes tasks such as document classification, document separation, and data extraction. The selected IDP solution should be able to automate these tasks to reduce manual intervention and improve efficiency.

Customization and Scalability

IDP software solutions should be tailored to the specific needs of SMEs, considering their unique business functions, industry, and operations. Customization is vital for achieving the desired level of automation and efficiency in specific business process management tasks.

Scalability is another crucial factor for SMEs as their document processing needs grow over time. Implementing an IDP solution that supports scalability and can handle increasing document volumes without sacrificing performance ensures that SMEs can continue to benefit from their investment as they grow.

By leveraging the expertise and resources of a seasoned partner, SMEs can navigate the complexities of IDP with greater ease and confidence.  By working with an experienced Intelligent Automation firm, SMEs can achieve a successful IDP implementation and maximize the return on their investment, ultimately gaining a competitive advantage through the rapid digital transformation of their manual document workflows.


As you can see, Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) offers numerous benefits for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) seeking to streamline operations and boost efficiency. By automating manual document processing tasks, IDP increases accuracy, reduces costs, and improves overall productivity. With the ability to extract data from various document types and convert it into structured information, IDP enhances data quality and mitigates the risk of errors and compliance issues.  Additionally, IDP reduces costs by automating labor-intensive tasks, freeing up staff time for more valuable customer-facing activities.  By partnering with an experienced Intelligent Automation firm, SMEs can be assured of a successful IDP implementation, maximizing their investment and gaining a rapid competitive advantage through the digital transformation of their legacy paper-laden business processes.

Discover how the power of Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) can transform your business. Contact us today to explore how IDP can revolutionize your document workflows and drive business growth.