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How To Fight Document Overload with Low-Code and IDP

Prashanth Shankara, Senior Manager, Product Marketing
November 12, 2021

In a Harvard Business Review article, Thomas C. Redman references a project by AT&T, the world’s largest telecommunications company, where the simple task of reducing invoicing errors uncovered something shocking: over 40% of invoicing data contained errors that cost the company tens of millions of dollars. 

Even in 2021—the age of digitalization—poor quality data is wreaking havoc in businesses, costing the United States a staggering $3 trillion per year

But where’s all this wrong data coming from? 

  1. Manual data entry – Entering data from paper docs, pdfs, and spreadsheets can lead to costly errors. For example, a spreadsheet data entry error cost the NHS in the UK $16 million and delayed the opening of a new children’s hospital. 
  2. Optical character recognition (OCR) software – OCR software is outdated, expensive, and has no self-learning capabilities.

If you are thinking I am building up to a solution, I am: intelligent document processing (IDP). And not just any IDP, I’m specifically talking about a new feature in Appian 21.4, Appian-native IDP. 

Intelligent document processing and low-code.

According to Forrester, 75% of application development shops will be using low-code platforms by the end of 2021. But 100% of businesses will still be using paper documents and spreadsheets to extract data to be used by these apps. 

Earlier this year, Appian launched artificial intelligence (AI)-driven IDP specifically to tackle this. Appian IDP uses AI and machine learning (ML) to quickly extract data from documents. The more you use it, the smarter the algorithm gets. 

This new feature immediately delivered benefits to companies dealing with document overload. With a pre-built app and a pre-trained AI model, businesses were able to set up IDP in minutes and extract structured data from documents like invoices, application forms, and more. 

“We saw immediate value after implementing the Appian IDP solution. By extracting data from thousands of legacy documents and linking it to data fabric within Appian, users now have access to critical data in seconds rather than hours or days.”

 -- Matthew Richard, CIO, Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA)

Appian 21.4 includes native IDP.

Now with Appian 21.4, we are extending the AI-driven IDP feature even further with Appian-native IDP. What does Appian-native actually mean though? And why now? 

Many businesses do not want to rely on third-party services for document extraction due to security and compliance issues. For example, public cloud AI is a favorite among many companies. It’s a robust, smart system for data extraction. Some companies use public cloud to extract data from docs, then move it to their low-code platforms to build business apps.  

But many companies (and even countries) have stringent privacy and security requirements around where data can be stored and how it is used. This causes data security, compliance, and cost headaches, especially for businesses handling large volumes of sensitive data. 

Many of our customers—old and new—expressed this concern. Hence, Appian-native IDP. 

Secure, compliant, accurate, and at a low cost.

Let’s talk low cost first. If you are an Appian Cloud customer running 21.4 or beyond, you can process 20,000 pages of data per month for free.

Appian-native IDP is SOC-2 compliant, a requirement for every company storing and managing customer data on the cloud.

And 21.4 improves accuracy with support for checkbox data in pdfs and improved table extraction for adjacent tables and multi-line rows. 

Removing the barrier to IDP adoption.

If it scares you to think about your business being in yet another headline in the long-list of headlines about companies who have made costly data entry errors, it’s time to implement IDP in your business. 

And if the idea of security and compliance for IDP seems daunting, it’s time to implement Appian-native IDP. With this feature, we reduce the barrier to IDP adoption by providing an alternative to public-cloud AI. 

After all, no business wants to be in the next Harvard Business Review case study for accidentally losing millions of dollars to data entry errors. Plus, automating data extraction frees up your employees’ time to be more productive and innovative. 

If you are still unsure, just use this calculator to figure out how much time your business will save with IDP. 

To get started with Appian-native IDP for your organization, contact us and one of our IDP experts will get in touch with you.