What is Intelligent Document Processing?

By 2021-04-23 Blog
A hand signing a contract on the dotted line with a fountain pen.
Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) is the core of Xtracta. It’s the reason we offer a ‘set and forget’ approach to document processing—a result of artificial intelligence and machine learning combining to interpret documents of all structures, lengths, and styles. But why does this exist in the first place, when standard data capture software already exists?

The answer has to do with efficiency and scalability. While companies have happily dealt with templating their documents for many years now, unstructured documents like emails, notes, and industry reports are now being seen as the information gold mines they truly are. Additionally, the sheer magnitude of information flow is such that it requires a scalable solution to document processing in large businesses.

The data processing and extraction industry has been driven to evolve, and evolve we have. Xtracta now uses IDP as a scalable solution for unstructured document processing and data capture. In this blog post, we’re going to break down how exactly that works.

The Problems of Structure and Scale

Data capture was birthed in an era of space-saving computation. Every program was made to save as much space as possible on computers with restricted storage, and that architecture has survived through to today. The problem is, this is the age of information, and the importance of space-saving has been subsumed by scalability.

In a similar vein, most data capture programs were created to work with templates, relying on human oversight to lay out document types in clearly readable structures. These days, with the sheer magnitude of documentation and information flowing through organisations, constantly creating new templates isn’t feasible. We now need something that can look at a document and immediately pick out the salient points, ‘reading’ it as a human would to understand the document’s purpose.

How IDP Improves Document Data Extraction

Here at Xtracta, we’ve constructed our IDP platform on three pillars: machine learning, Optical Character Recognition (OCR), and Natural Language Processing (NLP). Each pillar facilitates an aspect of Xtracta’s abilities, allowing our customers to access a well-rounded document extraction software that—in combination with our cloud-based computing—scales to any size.

Let’s break down the process of extracting data from a document for a closer look at these core pillars

Document Capture

We begin by digitizing the physical media, turning hard copies into digital data that can be interpreted by the Xtracta engine. If the document is already digital, then the process begins at the next step.

Document Recognition

To classify and correctly extract the data in a document, the Xtracta engine needs to know what it’s looking at. That’s where our three core pillars come in.

  • OCR – Enhanced with artificial intelligence, our Optical Character Recognition software can ‘read’ the text in digitized documents.
  • NLP – The ‘read’ text is then interpreted by the platform using NLP techniques like sentiment analysis, named entity tagging, and feature-based tagging. Xtracta looks for language elements in the document that convey specific meaning, based on preferences entered into the program by you, the user.
  • Machine learning – Finally, through knowledge gained via OCR and NLP, the document is classified. Xtracta uses a large pool of previously processed documents as a knowledge pool for our AI to draw from, allowing it to classify hundreds of different document types at the drop of a hat.

Data Extraction

Finally, the relevant data is extracted from the document based on what was learned during the recognition phase. Success at this stage is contingent on accurate ‘reading’, which is why using a cloud-based IDP platform like Xtracta is so beneficial. An AI is only as diverse as its training pool; the wider the information at its fingertips, the more intelligent it is, and we provide information from all our previous clients through a secure cloud-based knowledge pool.

What Xtracta hunts for is up to you. For example, some of our clients use our contract capture API to check for various terms and clauses that should or shouldn’t be present in a particular contract. Others use it to read emails and find important information to send through to a human administration specialist. Applied innovatively, the possibilities with this platform are truly endless.

Talk to an Xtracta expert about the next generation of automated data entry software.

We provide AI-powered data extraction software to make your business run smoothly, offering a quick and easy avenue to document automation. Talk to an Xtracta expert about trialling this innovative software in your company or integrate it into your own software with our easy-to-use API.