Automating Data Extraction from Complex Documents

Answer these 5 questions to start automating data extraction

by Mark Clark, on February 13, 2020 7:25:53 AM PST

What? Answer five questions, and I can start to automate data extraction? 

But we’ve tried that already! 

I know. It seems too good to be true.

Just answer five questions and you’ll be on your way to data extraction nirvana?

Nope. is always evolving. And these days, what seemed like a pipe dream just a few quarters ago is today not just’s likely.

By answering these five questions, you’ll know if you’re ready to take advantage of what AI and machine learning technology can do for your data extraction challenges.

Shall we get started?

QUESTION 1: Is the Data Trapped in Complex Documents Even Needed?

No one wants to waste time. 

And so, before anything, make sure you know if you even need this data in the first place.

If faster access to more complete, more accurate data doesn’t get your heart racing (in a good way), then you probably don’t have to spend more time worrying about automation.

BUT...if deep down you know that there’s data you’re not able to mine because it’s stuck in the boundaries of an imperfect table...or hand-written on the specs of a panel...or even in a foreign language on annual reports

Schedule our live table extraction demo

Then read on...

QUESTION 2: What Can Automating Data Extraction from Complex Documents Do for You?

Automation can be a beautiful thing.

Case in point: Imagine you can get clean, accurate data automatically extracted from virtually any document, no matter how long it matter how complex it may be.

What would that mean for your business? For any business, some of the answers are obvious:

More time: With any type of automation, manual efforts go the way of the dodo bird
More accuracy: Automated data extraction does away with human error
More productivity: Humans aren’t meant to manually extract data for too long; they get tired and bored by tedious, repetitive tasks and make mistakes as a result.
More strategic human capital: With fewer people taking on data extraction, you can focus employees on more strategic tasks that can propel your business ahead.
Increased competitive advantage: Moving faster than your competition means you get more opportunities. Having more accurate, more complete data...faster...means you leave the competition wondering how you passed them.

What are some more benefits for your business? Use the above list as a starting point, and then ask how these things could impact your organization...your processes...your people.

QUESTION 3: What Are the Functional Areas and/or Processes that Could Benefit from Accurate Data from These Docs?

This question is a level deeper from the last. But, it’s even easier.

Now that you’ve identified HOW you’d benefit, WHAT are the areas and processes that would feel the difference?

The intent of this question is to help you see the possibilities and just how deeply this kind of automation can affect your business.

Automating data extraction from complex documents has been a challenge for so many for so long, that often you lose sight of what it would mean for your business if it were possible.

QUESTION 4: Have You Attempted to Automate Data Extraction from Panel Tables in the Past, But Run into Frustrating Barriers?

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say, YES.

If you’re anything like most companies that need and use the data trapped in complex docs, then no doubt, you’ve attempted to automate this largely manual process.

And again...if you’re like most, you’ve run into walls. Pulled your hair out. Tried to come up with creative solutions. Failed again. And then put it aside.

It’s ok. We’ve been there, too. Don’t let the past define your future.

QUESTION: 5: Because of Your Failed Attempts at Automation, Have you Decided Data Extraction from Complex Documents Must Be A Manual Affair?

Maybe you tried using OCR to automate data extraction. It works for more simple documentation. Why not this?

Perhaps you were successful using cloud tools from Amazon or Google to automating more simple stuff, and figured, “What the heck, we’ll try that for the complex stuff, too!”

Regardless, once you fail more than a few times at anything, it’s easy to resign yourself to just do it the way we’ve always done it.

But, if you stick with the status quo too long, eventually you miss out on what could be.

For example, consider the world's leading tax-free shopping, dynamic currency conversion, credit card processing, and point-of-sale technology company.

Like other types of businesses, this one relies on extracting data from complex docs. In their case? Hand-written receipts. Extracting accurate information quickly from any document with handwriting on it can be extremely tough since no two people have the same handwriting and people don’t necessarily follow protocols on where to write or sign.

For this company, all that data in diverse handwriting and multiple languages was a major barrier to automation.

Then, they met Infrrd.

Thanks to the machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities of the Infrrd IDP Platform, this particular company was able to automate data extraction from what’s often considered the most complex type of information out there: handwriting.

Now they simply upload the documents...and their Infrrd Platform takes over.

The results?

22,400 receipts processed in an average week
Full data extraction from hand-written documents in ten seconds
80% accuracy for handwritten data extraction
95% Field extraction accuracy

And this story is just one of many stories featuring companies across industries.

No matter the type, complex data always have one thing in common. They’re complex.

Don’t let complexity stand in the way of your potential. 

Explore the possibilities. Automating data extraction from complex documents IS possible.

Don’t fall back on what you’ve always done because you’ve tried automation before and failed. 

Times have changed. Want to explore the possibilities...or even just want some assistance figuring it all out? 

Chat with an Expert

It is not only possible to extract data from complex docs, it’s simple. 😁

Read more about how others have recognized what automation could do for their businesses and addressed their data extraction challenges head-on.

Data Extraction Challenges FAQ


Topics:Intelligent AutomationAI ReadinessBusiness InsightsHow To

About this blog

AI can be a game-changer, but only if you know how to play the game. This blog is a practical guide to turning AI into real business value. Learn how to:

  • Make sense of complex documents and images.
  • Extract the data you need to drive intelligent process automation.
  • Apply AI to gain insights and knowledge from your business documents.

Try our table extraction demo

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