Several years back, the Digitalization wave reached Indian soars with a resounding impact, redefining systems, and processes across industries and business lines. Under its influence, among many remarkable outcomes, vast piles of paper disappeared from the institutional work benches across the nation at a breakneck speed, replaced by digitized workflows. But has this pace been matched by an equally fluid shift in the customer psyche?
Last year, a survey by the Bombay Master Printers Association made startling revelations. It found that even in the post-pandemic era, 88% of customers still prefer to handle a physical copy of their insurance document. While insurance is only an example, a sufficient number of studies indicate the predominance of physical documentation at the service onboarding end of several core sectors, including Healthcare, Energy, and Retail. Consequently, today the front desk teams of businesses are stretched to their limits in coping with massive manual data entry workloads.
But what lies at the heart of this near-obsessive attachment with handling hard copies of documents like Bank Statements, Tax Forms, Payslips, Invoices, and Credit Card Statements? In a country with merely 20% digital literacy and a staggering number of data breach cases every year, the reasons are not hard to pinpoint. They range from a general need for more trust in the security of online platforms to more familiarity with physical documentation practices.
While market regulators and businesses are resolutely engaged in customer awareness initiatives for driving behavioral changes, the typical Indian customer's infatuation with physical documents is here to stay! Therefore, it becomes imperative for organizations to invest in cutting-edge and intelligent document digitization technologies that can read and convert unstructured data into system-consumable information at the speed of business, saving cost and unlocking efficiency.
Document digitization refers to converting physical or paper documents into digital or machine-decipherable versions that automated data flows or work processes can consume to create value. The process involves extracting unstructured data residing in handwritten or printed notes on paper using various technologies and converting them into CSV, XML, JSON, XLS, or other machine-readable formats.
One of the keystones of an intelligent enterprise is the capability to digitize documents and have data in a state that can be easily exchanged between systems to drive revenue and fuel business models. While significantly reducing the time and overheads of processing, verification, and storage, using digitized documents provides a company with the added benefit of being environmentally friendly and sustainable. Traditionally document digitization has been a painstaking process. But thanks to the evolution of cognitive technologies like AI and Machine Learning (ML), even complex inputs can now be extracted and parsed into a format of choice just with a few clicks.
Like several other fronts, the marriage of AI & ML with document digitization has added a new dimension to business data management. Here is the typical roadmap that intelligent document digitization follows in converting analog data into digital information streams:
Scanning of Physical Documents: At the inception, the images of paper documents are captured and converted into a digital format using optical character recognition (OCR) conversion software. It converts images into texts allowing scanned documents to be searched with relevant keywords. The OCR solution can identify whether a specific shape is a sign or a letter by tracing the lines and curves.
Data Extraction and Document Classification: AI & ML algorithms can study document patterns and collect the required content from a document. The documents can be automatically sorted by date, subject matter, priority type, and department of concern, analyzing the context of the content.
Document Administration and Storage: Digitized documents are mostly handled using a cloud-native Document Management System (DMS), providing an integrated environment for secured access to the information across the enterprise ecosystem.
Reduced Storage Overheads: While it's mostly overlooked, space is always at a premium and more so for growing businesses. The cost of storing paper documents is incremental and adds up quickly, pressuring the bottom line. In fact, this research by Colliers International found that physical document storage often eats up 15% of office space. The situation can be improved by digitizing documents eliminating the need for storage bins and filing systems.
Increased Efficiency: A recent poll among 1000 professionals reveals that 49% need help finding physical documents, while 43% find it difficult to share them, slowing down business outcomes. Here digitizing documents and storing them in DMS as a centralized repository can effectively resolve such pain points saving hours in locating and transporting them manually. Besides reducing process turnarounds, such an approach is guaranteed to increase employee satisfaction and improve productivity.
Improved Security: The cost of disaster recovery can be overwhelming. More so for businesses storing physical documents vulnerable to incidents like fire, flood, earthquake, and theft. Interestingly, research conducted by the State of California in the last decade found that physical theft and loss account for at least 20% of data breaches. The situation escalates even further for BFSI companies that deal in highly confidential and sensitive information like the customers' income statements, health records, and property-related documents. Such risks can be hedged by digitizing and storing documents in the cloud, which can only be accessed on-demand by people with the required credentials.
Enhanced Customer Experience: Rich Customer Experience can be a potential differentiator for any business. However, delivering it with perfection is a persisting challenge. For instance, Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2023 found that 72% of the customers in banking want almost immediate service. Another Deloitte research indicates that banks are falling behind other brands in meeting customer expectations globally. Clearly, the slow and lumbering physical document handling practices fall out with the surging customer aspirations and their need for instant gratification. However, digitization of documents can not only considerably reduce the efforts required to access financial services but also shorten turnaround times, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Improved Regulatory Compliance: In highly regulated sectors like banking and healthcare, compliance is integral to business, and defaults can be costly. Interestingly in November 2022, RBI published a report stating the imposition of a penalty amounting to INR 72 cr in more than 40 cases of violations over the last three years. Here the practice of digitizing documents contributes by simplifying the tracking and monitoring of information across the enterprise ecosystem for compliance audits and verifications.
Quality of Digitization: The quality of digitization outcomes can vary depending on the type of documents and, of course, the level of technology maturity of the solution. Poor quality digitization by run-of-the-mill OCR solutions can result in errors, inaccuracies, and loss of information, risking the reputation of the compliance position of businesses.
Privacy Risks: Failure to choose a robust solution for digitizing documents can expose business workflows to privacy breaches and security threats. In high-stake environments like Financial Services, Healthcare, and Utilities, the integrity of such solutions must undergo periodic audits to ensure alignment with the business data privacy policies.
Scalability: Accuracy with high scalability is perhaps the most crucial business case for document digitization. The ability to scale up or down the digitization process is essential, especially for businesses like Retail with fluctuating document volumes. Therefore, a document digitization solution worth its salt must handle high volumes of documents efficiently and cost-effectively, without disruptions.
To help businesses overcome such challenges and unlock the full benefits of digitized documents, Perfios has designed its intelligent Scanned Document Digitization (SDD) offering, powered by an industry-leading OCR API and backed by its globally acclaimed ISO 27001 Information Security posture. As a ready-to-deploy solution, it can plug into existing platforms and is compatible with the local regulatory framework of all the Indian states. The solution can extract data even from password-protected PDF files across all Officially Valid Document (OVD) types, including:
● Bank Statements
● Voter ID
● Financial Statements
● Tax forms
● Insurance Claims
● Credit Card Statement
Perfios SDD is a versatile and holistic solution powered by AI that has been built not only to help organizations scan and digitize physical documents but also to automate key business processes and resist malpractices with confidence. Such use cases the solution can drive include:
Customer Acquisition: Perfios SDD can take over the tedious and error-prone manual data-entry jobs, allowing front-desk teams to focus on more strategically relevant roles like customer support and relationship building. It can automatically extract, map and verify the customer details in the OVD by cross-referencing a series of regulatory databases, ensuring authenticity.
Pre-populate Applicant Details: As a smart solution, Perfios SDD can use the existing records and pre-populate the applicant details in forms, reducing turnaround times and chances for exceptions.
Partner Onboarding: With its intelligent documentation and analytical capabilities, Perfios SDD can simplify the onboarding of distributors and channel partners for FIs.
Fraud Mitigation: Malicious attempts like faking, falsifying, and manipulating customer records at the KYC stage remains a constant challenge for Indian banks and NBFCs. In response, Perfios SDD brings advanced and encrypted video-KYC capabilities with AI-driven Liveness Detection that can simultaneously extract and verify customer details during a video-KYC session.
While today the markets are flooded with standard OCR solutions, only some possess the ingenuity and intelligence of Perfios SDD for delivering strategic value for organizations. It has been made possible by exceptional capabilities that set the solution apart from the competition. These include but are not limited to:
● Capacity to upload documents through URLs and Base 64 text encodings
● Auto-detection of document types
● Aadhaar number masking for complete privacy
● Ability to distinguish monochromatic documents and flag blurring
● Auto-detection of incorrect, incomplete, or illegible documents
● AI-driven confidence score to estimate the accuracy of the extracted data by OCR
And much more!
Document digitization is already becoming a mainstay for Indian businesses across industries, helping them to cope with the surging challenge of managing semi and unstructured data. However, with the infusion of AI & ML capabilities into the mix, the scope of such solutions is constantly being redefined. Future belongs to organizations that can effectively weave intelligent document digitization into their broader data management and enterprise automation strategies rather than limiting their roles at the front desk.
At Perfios, we are purpose-driven to make cutting-edge intelligent document processing and management capabilities accessible for Indian businesses. If you want to explore how such solutions can make a difference and help you to be future-focused, we invite you to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.