If you felt the intelligent document processing (IDP) market surged in 2021, you’re not alone. New data sources, output types, and increasing volumes prompted businesses to urgently address data automation as part of their overall digital transformation strategy. So it comes as no surprise that the IDP market is projected to reach $6.8 billion by 2027. This represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 35.4%.

IDP and its sister technologies, intelligent data extraction and intelligent automation (terms that are often used interchangeably), eliminate manual data processing from document-centric workflows. These solutions use advanced artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities such as natural language processing (NLP), deep learning, computer vision, and machine learning (ML) to collect, classify, categorize, and extract appropriate information and validate the extracted data. They complete the workflow by transforming the data into a structured format before routing it to other business-critical systems for analysis, process initiation, or reporting.

As you explore the IDP space, you should consider some of the upcoming IDP trends that will drive change in the coming 12 months: a booming market, a shift from generic legacy systems to specialized IDP players, and the increasing empowerment of users. 

More entrants=more confusion

There is no question: IDP is a lucrative space. As more vendors enter the IDP arena, new terminology will emerge in an effort to distinguish their particular product and service offering. The alphabet soup in today’s automation universe is already bewildering. RPA, IA, AI, ML, IDP, HA, OCR, iOCR, BPA, NCLC, hyperautomation, RPA-plus…the list continues to expand. Subsequently, buyers might be left confused about which intelligent automation technology to invest in to solve a particular data challenge.

Convergence is another factor that will make the buying process more challenging. Many technologies will start blending into each other—combining functions and capabilities—thereby expanding the overall IDP spectrum. As a result, businesses should carefully evaluate their IDP investment to ensure it meets their expectations before buying a premium product with lots of bells that ultimately solve their actual problem.

“Ok” solutions are no longer sufficient

For years, many businesses have depended on traditional technologies like optical character recognition (OCR) to extract data from documents and transition it into digital form for processing. But these legacy solutions leave a lot to be desired. Difficulties with traditional document processing technologies include system fussiness related to image quality, high error rates, and problems processing tabular or otherwise unstructured data—just to name a few. 

A few organizations may have simple IDP requirements that generic document processing solutions can meet, but that’s a rare scenario given that 80% of business data is unstructured. Instead, the vast majority has complex and particular requirements that need an innovative approach, industry domain knowledge, and the power of AI, ML, NLP, and other cutting-edge technologies. 

As a result, many businesses will transition to specialized IDP players with specific vertical domain know-how and data expertise rather than depending on generic, legacy solutions. These full-service service providers seek to “partner” rather than have a traditional vendor-customer relationship, ultimately delivering on a customized solution that meets the customers’ needs. 

Built to empower the user

We’re also going to see a stark shift toward user-centric IDP platforms that put process owners—not IT—in the driver's seat. These specialized solutions incorporate low-code/no-code (LCNC) capabilities into their platforms—giving the business users the tools to design and maintain their data extraction automation workflows by writing little to no code. 

Companies investing in user-friendly IDP solutions can expect numerous benefits, including: 

  • Accelerated efficiency gains: Users can quickly tailor the automations to suit their own processes without involving IT or other technology specialists.
  • Reduced costs: By eliminating the need to train and/or hire technical experts in a particular automation tool, IT personnel expenses decrease. 
  • Increased agility: The ability to adjust their automated workflows when significant changes occur will increase the overall business resilience. 

The next step 

Forrester predicts that by the end of 2021, 20% of enterprises will expand their investments in document extraction solutions. What can you do in the midst of all this pending disruption? 

Be very clear about the document process challenges you are trying to overcome, and choose a solution that directly addresses those issues first. And if you’re looking to drive greater operational agility throughout the entire data workflow process while empowering the business users to own their IDP automation initiative, give Alkymi a try.


Let us show you how Alkymi can set you up for long-term IDP success. Request a demo today!

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