Like most people, I didn’t go into the world of work hoping to have a desk covered in paperwork; to do mindless, repetitive, administrative tasks day after day. Gone are my internship days where I spent countless hours photocopying documents for my boss and filing them into stacks of ring files.
And yet that is still what the office is like for too many of us. People who are more skilled, creative and competent than their jobs allow, and who could do far, far more important and satisfying things with their precious time, and condemned to drudgery.
Since my internship days, we have gone from transferring files using CDs to being able to live-edit them in the cloud. And yet it’s surprising we’ve not made nearly as much progress with manual paperwork and data handling.
Take banking and finance – whether it’s mortgage applications or trade finance, areas that require thorough due diligence and background checks – you can’t always leave document management to your most junior staff or outsource it to countries where workers are cheap.
The Human Reader
A lot of documents need to be read with an experienced eye and with understanding. Different institutions can use different terms for the same things. Small but critical errors that might go unnoticed by someone with little experience are more likely to be picked up by a seasoned practitioner. If you’re comparing contracts you need to understand the importance of any differences.
The same is true for an industry like insurance. Whether it’s the information contained in slips or the differences between a renewed policy and the one it replaces. The people handling data entry need to know what they’re looking at, and that means involving underwriters, brokers or operations teams – all skilled, experienced and costly people who could be doing something far more productive with their time.
You could say the same for healthcare or law – lawsuits often involve millions of documents. Someone must manage them – often a senior paralegal, sometimes a qualified lawyer.
It’s not just the cost of their time, it’s the opportunity cost of what they could have been doing instead. Before starting university I worked as a recruiter. I could have easily closed more deals had I not needed to spend so much time sorting through drawers of printed CVs to find the ones I need.
There’s also another price to be paid for putting people in low-level administration jobs. Low job satisfaction affects morale and makes it harder to retain talent. Recruitment and training both add to overheads.
No one chooses a life full of dull documents. No one wants employees like the Panda.
A Changing Workplace
Post pandemic, business culture and the workplace are evolving rapidly alongside employee expectations and aspirations. More than ever, people like us want better work-life balance and a greater sense of purpose and fulfilment in our jobs.
So, what’s the answer? These days it’s easy for even non-technical employees to outsource tasks to ready-to-deploy programmes, or train a system to sort information just like they would.
When it comes to data automation, an Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) solution not only learns how to sort information, it can also assess how much confidence it has in the extraction of each piece of data. Experienced colleagues can be brought into the loop to troubleshoot any doubts or rare errors. Accuracy increases over time. Both business and employee performances increases. It’s a no brainer.
Imagine being able to process documents in minutes rather than hours, and at higher accuracy rates; being able to access all your data at your fingertips instead of having to trawl through mountains of paper (goodbye papercuts); having data delivered to your laptop wherever you are, wherever they come from; freeing businesses and businesses from wasting time and money doing this manually. This dream now can be a reality.
This is one of the biggest reasons I chose a career in AI – it means I get to be a part of bringing about positive change in the way this world and her people work, on their own, and together.
For business leaders wanting a to build more efficient and productive organisations, choosing to invest in optimising workflows, automating core business functions and empowering a happier workforce is the best decision you can take to help your business thrive.
If you want to know more about AntWorks’ flagship IDP solution, CMR+, an Intelligent Document Processing solution that’s changed the game for many huge enterprises across insurance, finance and the manufacturing-retail supply chain, let’s chat.