Document Automation with AI: Major Challenges & Opportunities

Go beyond conventional document processing to boost the effectiveness and efficiency of your document workflows with AI and automation

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In recent decades there have been significant advancements in automated document processing technologies, such as Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA), that have dramatically transformed document processing operations. As organizations continue to innovate, OCR and RPA methods may no longer provide a competitive edge.

It is essential to explore artificial intelligence (AI) to augment your document processing operations further. AI-powered document processing, also known as Intelligent Document Processing (IDP), can help improve efficiency, reduce errors, and provide faster service, leading to increased customer satisfaction and improved profitability.

AI can enhance document processing; but, as any other opportunity, its adoption comes with challenges. This guide explains how to overcome them, while taking advantage of the opportunities.

Breaking Through the Limits:
Challenging Status Quo to Prioritize Business Objectives

In the digital age, leveraging AI technologies to streamline processes, achieve operational efficiency, and gain a competitive edge is a must. One such technology is Intelligent Document Processing (IDP).

Adopting AI and IDP, however, comes with a range of challenges that need to be addressed for successful implementation. Let’s discuss them in more detail.

1. Pressure from the competition

In a competitive business environment, you can start to invest in AI technologies and automation tools to streamline and scale your document processing workflows. The problem is that your competitors are probably doing the same. Therefore, not just a move to adopt but a quick and effective adoption of AI and IDP is key?

How can your organization stand out from the crowd?

Tips on successful adoption of AI and IDP:

  • Start by understanding what AI is and how IDP can help your organization to achieve your business objectives. C-level executives and other key stakeholders should be on board with your IDP implementation initiative.
  • Identify use cases where IDP can have the greatest impact on your organization (e.g. invoice processing, contract management, document classification). To zoom in, assess your current document workflows.
  • Assess and prepare your data by cleaning, formatting, and categorizing it, to ensure that your AI models can learn from it effectively. Attract niche experts who can help developers to handle and understand your data.
  • Train your AI models on a diverse range of data sets, to ensure that they can accurately recognize and classify documents of varying types, formats, and complexity.
  • Once your IDP solution is deployed, monitor and evaluate its performance regularly. This will help you to identify areas for improvement and ensure that your solution continues to meet your business objectives.
  • AI-powered document processing involves handling sensitive and confidential information, so it is important to ensure that your solution is secure and compliant with relevant regulations and standards.

For organizations lacking internal AI/IDP expertise and talent, it is critical to choose the right IDP vendor. Such factors as data availability, infrastructure readiness, and employee resistance to change can be addressed by an experienced provider of IDP development services.

Questions to ask yourself when evaluating potential IDP vendors:
  1. What is the vendor's level of expertise in developing and implementing IDP solutions?
  2. Does the vendor have experience in my industry or use case? Have they worked with businesses similar to mine?
  3. What is the vendor's track record in delivering IDP solutions? Can they provide case studies or references?
  4. What level of support and maintenance does the vendor provide for their solution? Is it included in the pricing, or is there an additional cost?
  5. What level of customization is available with the vendor's solution? Can it be tailored to my specific business needs?
  6. What is the vendor's approach to data security and compliance? Do they have a track record of meeting relevant regulations and standards?
  7. How difficult will it be to integrate the vendor's solution into my existing systems and workflows?
  8. What is the vendor's pricing model for their solution? Is it a one-time fee or an ongoing subscription? Are there any hidden costs?
  9. Does the vendor provide training and support for my team to effectively use the IDP solution?
  10. What is the vendor's roadmap for future development of their IDP solution? Will it continue to meet my business needs and keep up with industry advancements?

By choosing the right IDP vendor and the right IDP solution from the start, your organization will have a better chance of adopting AI-powered document processing quickly and efficiently, enabling you to withstand the pressure from the competition.

2. Low margins and high operational costs

The adoption of AI and IDP can lead to significant cost savings, increased productivity, and improved profitability. To invest in the right solution, conduct a cost-benefit analysis to determine the potential cost savings and the best ROI.

However, even after your IDP solution is up and running, you should work continually to maximize its potential for profitability and growth.

Tips on maximizing your IDP solution’s ROI:

Identify additional use cases
Once IDP is implemented in one area, identify other areas where the AI technology can be leveraged. For example, if the solution is implemented for invoice processing, it can also be used for expense reports or purchase orders.
Continuously improve the quality of data
Identify and correct errors, categorize data accurately, and update the training data used for AI models. Continuously assess your document processing workflows as well.
Evaluate performance regularly
Regularly evaluate the performance of your IDP solution to identify areas for improvement and ensure that it continues to meet business objectives. This may include measuring accuracy, efficiency, and cost savings.
Explore integration with other technologies
IDP can be augmented by such technologies as robotic process automation (RPA), natural language processing and understanding (NLP/NLU), human-in-the-loop (HITL), and many others, to further streamline document workflows and increase efficiency.
Develop a change management plan
Implementing new technology can be challenging for employees, so it is important to develop a change management plan that includes training, communication, and support to help employees adopt the new solution. Ask your IDP vendor for help.
Monitor regulatory and compliance changes
Be aware of regulatory and compliance changes that may affect the implementation of IDP. This includes data privacy laws, industry-specific regulations, and security standards.
Leverage insights from analytics
IDP solutions generate a wealth of data that can be used to identify trends and insights. Leverage this data to inform business decisions, identify opportunities for improvement, and optimize document processing operations.

As with any AI solution, IDP is a work in progress that needs to be continuously maintained. Do not consider it a done deal once the model(s) is deployed; this is only the beginning stage of a successful, value-driven AI project.

3. Inefficient document processing operations

IDP can significantly improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your document processing operations, end to end. Opt for IDP solutions that can enable document processing at all stages, from data extraction to document classification, to BI & Analytics.

Tips for achieving more efficient end-to-end document processing:

Standardize document
Removing the format roadblock can help improve the efficiency of end-to-end document processing. While this problem may be not as acute as with OCR, standardizing file types, naming conventions, and document structure is recommended.
Automate document
Organizations can use AI-powered document processing solutions to automate the routing of documents to the appropriate individuals or departments. This can help to reduce 
the time it takes to process documents and improve overall efficiency.
Implement workflow
Workflow automation can empower the entire from-data-to-insight-to-value chain by helping to streamline and scale document processing operations.

Use NLP/NLU for data
Natural language processing and understanding algorithms are perfect for extracting data from documents. By training the models to extract data from various document types, you can improve the agility and flexibility of document processing operations.
Continuously improve
Continuously monitor the accuracy of IDP and make adjustments as necessary. This can include updating training data, fine-tuning AI/ML models, and identifying and correcting workflow errors.
Optimize document search
Allowing users to quickly find the information they need can help improve overall efficiency and reduce the time it takes to locate and process documents.

Your organization’s ability to make IDP an integral part of your value chain is key to higher efficiency. Do not think of IDP as a tool for extracting data points from documents; instead, focus on leveraging data availability to drive efficiencies through more informed decision-making.

4. Dependency on external providers

Relying too much on external providers can be a problem. Look for IDP solutions that can provide in-house capabilities, such as customization and integration with existing systems. This can give you greater control over your document operations, and help mitigate risks associated with dependency on a third party.

Over the long run, your organization can also:

  • Start to build in-house expertise with the help of your IDP vendor
  • Invest in internal R&D to move away from o-the-shelf solutions to custom solutions
  • Collaborate with industry partners to share datasets, expertise, and ready-to-use AI/ML models
  • Use multiple vendors to reduce your dependency on a single third-party vendor
  • Explore open-source solutions as an alternative to third-party vendors

Knowledge transfer is a must. Your operations and your IT personnel need to learn how to make the most out of their new AI tool. This includes the ability to manage datasets and data workflows, models and AI/ML workflows, and other integrated components. Your team may not be able to design and build a solution from scratch, but it should be able to handle its moving parts.

5. Poor user experience affecting customer satisfaction

AI-powered document processing can be a driver of customer satisfaction, enabling organizations to reduce response times and improve service delivery through faster access to document data. Because speed plays a crucial role, you should integrate your IDP solution with workflows that offer real-time customer feedback and analytics.

Over the long run, your organization can also:

Provide training
Providing comprehensive training to employees on how to use the IDP solution can help them understand its capabilities and make it less intimidating to use.
Simplify the interface
A user-friendly interface is critical to encourage adoption. The solution should be designed with an intuitive user interface that is easy to navigate.
Customize for specific user needs
This can include providing different levels of access and permissions, as well as the ability to customize 
the user interface and dashboards for Ops, BI, Analytics, IT users, etc.
Incorporate feedback mechanisms
The solution should integrate seamlessly with existing workflows and applications, making it easier for employees to incorporate into their daily work.
Ensure compatibility with existing workflows
The solution should integrate seamlessly with existing workflows and applications, making it easier for employees to incorporate into their daily work.
Provide user support
Providing access to user support resources such as helpdesk or chat support can help employees troubleshoot issues and address any questions they have about the solution.
Add AI explainability components
Employees should be able to quickly check and verify the results of AI’s work in the user interface. Make sure that AI explainability (XAI) is a part of the IDP solution.

6. Budget and resource uncertainty

The adoption of AI usually requires significant investment in technology, infrastructure, and training. However, such factors as lack of clarity in project scope, uncertainty in data availability, a rapidly evolving technology landscape, need for specialized talent, and other technical and operational challenges can make it difficult to calculate your budget.

Before adopting Intelligent Document Processing, it is crucial to determine your budget for adoption and invest in the right solutions that provide the best ROI.

Tips to estimate the budget of your IDP project:

document formats
Clearly define your business objectives, use cases, and expected ROI to better understand the scope of the project and the resources required to achieve its objectives
document routing
Identify the data required to train and deploy AI/ML models, and estimate the efforts required for data preparation, cleansing, and governance, and the associated costs
workflow automation
Assess the infrastructure and tools available, to identify any gaps that need to be addressed and to estimate the costs of acquiring or upgrading technology and tools required for the project
for data extraction
Identify the skill sets required to execute the project, including data scientists, data and ML engineers, and software developers to estimate the costs of hiring or training resources
improve accuracy
Consider the deployment environment, including the required hardware and software resources, the performance and scalability requirements, and the associated costs
Optimize document
search capabilities
Plan for ongoing maintenance and support of the models, including monitoring, updating, and retraining, to estimate the long-term costs of implementing your IDP solution

Establishing a clear budget plan for AI and IDP is not a simple task. Any AI project is a work in progress, which necessitates a certain degree of budget flexibility. To minimize budget uncertainty, look for vendors that offer flexible pricing models that align with your business needs and provide predictable costs.

7. Low business agility affecting capitalization

As with any AI adoption initiative, IDP can impact your business agility and capitalization goals, as it requires significant changes to your existing processes and workflows.

Why Create or Increase Business Agility

Effects of high business agility on business

As is clear from the above image, there is a strong correlation between high business agility and the success of AI adoption. Companies that are able to quickly adapt to changes and implement new ideas are more likely to effectively leverage AI technology and reap its benefits, and vice versa.

Tips to minimize the effects of low business agility on business capitalization goals:

Develop a culture of
Encourage employees to think outside the box and experiment with new ideas. Provide them with the necessary resources and support to pursue innovative projects.
Foster cross-functional
Encourage teams from different departments to work together and share their expertise. This can help break down silos and promote knowledge sharing, which can lead to better decision-making.costs.
Streamline decision-making
Simplify decision-making processes to enable quicker responses to changing business conditions. This can involve delegating decision-making authority to lower levels of the organization, or creating a more agile decision-making framework.
Foster cross-functional
Encourage teams from different departments to work together and share their expertise. This can help break down silos and promote knowledge sharing, which can lead to better decision-making.costs.
Invest in technology
Implement modern technology platforms and tools that enable faster and more effi cient communication and collaboration across the organization. This can help to increase transparency and improve decision-making.
Develop agile governance
Establish governance structures that are flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances. This may involve creating cross-functional teams that are empowered to make decisions and respond to changes quickly.

Your organization should also invest in AI/IDP solutions that offer seamless integration with your systems, and provide training and support to your staff.

Unlocking the Power of AI and IDP for
Enhanced At-Scale Document Processing

AI and IDP solutions can help you achieve your business goals and address your needs for more efficient document processing. Further on, we will take a closer look at the advantages that IDP can bring to your organization.


1. Addressing customer needs quickly and cost effectively

By using AI and IDP solutions, your organization can automate and streamline your document processing workflows, enabling you to meet the demands of your customers for faster, more accurate, and personalized services.

Consider these four drivers of value:

Faster processing time
IDP solutions can process large volumes of documents in a matter of seconds or minutes, significantly reducing the time it takes to respond to customer demands. This can lead to faster turnaround times and improved customer satisfaction.
Increased accuracy
IDP solutions accurately extract and process data from documents, reducing the likelihood of errors and improving the quality of output. This can help businesses to meet customer demands more efficiently and effectively.
Cost savings
IDP solutions reduce the need for manual intervention and help to streamline operations. This can lead to cost savings in terms of time and resources, which can be passed on to customers in the form of lower prices or improved services.
As a constantly evolving and retrainable system, IDP helps businesses to comply with industry regulations and standards, ensuring that customer demands are met 
in ways that are both efficient and legally compliant.

Bear in mind that data, including that which is extracted from documents, is central to any digital or AI transformation effort. Approximately 80% of business data today exists in unstructured formats like emails, images, business documents, and PDF documents.

IDP: From documents to data for BI & Analytics

The ability of IDP to unlock insights from any type of document means faster digitalization, more efficient AI adoption, and higher quality of BI & Analytics — all of which naturally translate into customer value.

2. Achieving business agility and scalability

Most AI solutions oer a high degree of flexibility and scalability, enabling your organization to scale your operations and adapt to new opportunities and challenges. By using AI to automate your document processing workflows, you can achieve greater business agility, to quickly respond to new opportunities and expand your operations to new markets.

Greater business agility and scalability are achieved through:

Document processing speed
IDP solutions can process large volumes of documents quickly and accurately, reducing the time it takes to complete tasks and respond to customer demands. This can help businesses to be more agile in their operations and respond more quickly to changes in the market.
Automation of manual tasks
IDP solutions can automate many manual tasks associated with document processing, reducing the need for human intervention and freeing up staff to focus on higher-level tasks. This can help businesses to scale more easily without adding significant overhead costs.
Improved data management
IDP solutions can help to manage large volumes of data more ectively, providing insights and analytics that can inform decision-making and improve business processes. This can help businesses to be more agile in their operations, responding more quickly to changes in the market or customer demands.

It is important to note that AI is not a silver bullet. While it can be possible to improve business agility by implementing a single AI use case (e.g. data capture, data extraction, data-to-insight), it is more challenging to scale AI across the organization, because it requires fundamental changes in IT infrastructure, operations and processes, and company culture.

3. Improving the eciency of operations

AI-powered document processing solutions can significantly improve the eectiveness, eciency, and accuracy of your operations through:

  • Higher level of automation of manual tasks and processes
  • Faster and more accurate processing of documents, on a larger scale
  • Streamlined workflows, from digitized documents, to data extraction and conversion, to actionable insights
  • Better data quality, management, and governance, which create a positive cumulative eect for AI/ML & Data Analytics projects

The operational improvements that IDP solutions deliver are massive. One example is an engineering firm that was able to cut its RFP response time from three weeks to one with IDP, and to process 400% more RFPs than it could with a sta of 80 people reading complex diagrams in documents.

Another example is a global life sciences consultancy that scaled its pipeline for processing of FDA Form 483 observations, achieving 70% accuracy in document classification. They were able to decrease the time spent on manual review, optimize processing costs, and increase accuracy and throughput of document processing while mitigating risks of infractions made by mappers and reviewers.

4. Adopting customer satisfaction as a KPI

AI and IDP can help to dramatically improve your customer satisfaction levels by delivering more accurate and personalized services, faster and at scale. Most importantly, they enable your organization to incorporate customer satisfaction as a key performance indicator for your business

Customer satisfaction KPIs to measure in document processing:

Turnaround time
Measures the time it takes to process a document and return it to the customer. Ensure timely processing and reduce wait times for customers, leading to higher customer satisfaction.
Accuracy rate
Measure the percentage of documents processed without errors. Ensure accuracy, reduce rework and costs, and help customers to access your services as quickly as possible.
Processing volume
Measure the number of documents processed in a given time frame. Ensure that your organization meets customer demands in a timely fashion and efficiently handles high volumes of documents.
Customer complaints
Measure the number of complaints received from customers related to document processing operations. Identify areas for improvement and take corrective action to improve customer satisfaction.
First-time resolution rate
Measure the percentage of documents that are correctly processed on the first attempt. Ensure eciency and reduce customer frustration caused by multiple document iterations.

Other areas for improvement are doc ument accessibility, service personalization, and 24/7 availability. These lead to a more user-friendly experience, increasing customer satisfaction.

5. Improving document storage and usage

AI oers advanced document storage and retrieval capabilities, enabling you to more eciently manage and utilize your documents. By using IDP, you can extract valuable insights from dierent types and formats of documents, to make business-critical decisions based on data rather than on assumptions.


As seen in the above image, the document processing workflow is a journey from machine-unreadable to machine- and human-readable data. IDP solutions provide better document storage and usage capabilities, making them a major part of the value chain from data to insights.

Better document storage and usage helps with:

Document categorization
and indexing
IDP solutions automatically categorize and index documents based on their content, making it easier to store, retrieve, and search for specific documents, based on keywords or phrases
IDP solutions can automatically route documents to the appropriate departments or individuals, based on their content and context, reducing manual intervention and improving efficiency.
IDP solutions automatically categorize and index documents based on their content, making it easier to store, retrieve, and search for specific documents, based on keywords or phrases
IDP solutions can ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements by identifying and flagging non-compliant documents. Ease of document access also plays an important role.
IDP can provide valuable analytics on document usage, enabling businesses to make data-driven decisions to improve eciency and reduce costs.

In today's competitive business environment, it is imperative to take advantage of every opportunity to stay ahead. AI gives you the tools to augment document processing operations, and several challenges to AI adoption should not hinder successful implementation of IDP solutions.


The adoption of AI-powered document processing solutions can offer significant to businesses, but successful implementation requires that you address several challenges. Common pain points associated with IDP adoption are ranging from the pressure to implement the solution fast to inefficiencies caused by poor user experience, to various operational and budget constraints.

Businesses can proactively overcome these challenges, however, by partnering with reliable providers who specialize in developing customized solutions, tailored to meet specific business objectives.

In this guide, we looked into some of these challenges, and explained how you can overcome them while focusing on the immense opportunities AI-powered document processing can offer to your organization.

If you have more questions about the implementation of IDP solutions in your organization, we invite you visit our Intelligent Document Processing page.

If you require further assistance, our team is available to help. Please feel free to reach out to us directly, and one of our IDP experts will be happy to answer your questions on how our IDP solution can best meet your business needs.