IDP and Data Processing Teams
by Amit Jnagal, on February 9, 2022 10:45:00 AM PST
One of the most frequent questions we get asked is we already have an in-house data processing team, what can IDP offer in addition
Before we answer this, let’s look at this question from a different vantage point. History has a lot of precedence over how machine-enabled automation changed the world. There are countless examples of this change spread over the last three industrial revolutions - mechanization, mass production, and information technology. Let us pick the example of Bank Tellers and ATM machines. If you were the sales manager of a company that made ATMs and you were asked a similar question by a bank before ATMs became the norm for all banks, how would you answer it? “We already have bank tellers, what does an ATM machine offer on top of that?”
Knowing what we know now, we can say that ATMs work round the clock so banks’ customers can access the money any hour of the day. They also reduce customer visits to banks for basic teller queries, thereby optimizing the cost of operations. All this also leads to happier customers and therefore potential for more business from the same customers. When Chemical Bank, the first bank to roll out ATMs, advertised its new offering, the advertisement read, “On September 2, our banks will open at 9 a.m. and never close again”. Today, ATMs are not differentiators for a bank, they are basic capabilities that customers have come to expect from all banks.
With this background, let’s try to answer this original question and see what benefits IDP systems bring to data processing teams:
Round the Clock Work - Data processing teams log out after 8 hours of work; servers do not. This means you can get a lot of data processing done while your team is sleeping. When they start their work, instead of processing data from scratch, they can focus on reviewing the work of the algorithms. And a good IDP system will learn from each of these corrections so that your team does not have to review the same mistakes every time.
Better Organization - When data processing teams work with documents, it takes a lot of effort to organize their work to make them more efficient. IDP systems can help organize this work automatically. For instance, if your data processing team processes mortgage documents like W2 forms, bank statements, and paystubs, you can route them intelligently to make sure that each data processing executive sees all the W2 forms first and then switches to bank statements. There is a 10-20% efficiency gain to be had from organizing work items in this way.
Better Scaling - Hiring, training, and retaining employees takes a lot of work. When your business volumes pick up, it generally takes a lot of time to increase the size of your team, train the new staff and wait for them to become efficient. Scaling an IDP platform simply requires more infrastructure which is relatively inexpensive and rapidly available. IDP investments can help you scale your operations without having to proportionally increase your team size.
Processing Steps Elimination - When work is being done manually, there are often unneeded processes - automation can help to remove some of these completely. One example is the document scanning process. When multiple documents are scanned in a single PDF file for the data processing team, a blank page needs to be inserted where one document ends and another one starts. This time-consuming process can be completely eliminated thanks to IDP platforms.
Automation as a necessary commodity
Change is an extremely powerful thing, and oftentimes we don’t see the change going on in the world around us. Nokia, despite being core to the cellphone market missed the change that the iPhone was about to bring. Blockbuster dismissed Netflix as a fad.
Sometimes, the closer you are to the action, the less you realize how things are changing. AI-lead automation, such as what IDP platforms offer, is no longer early access technology but rather becoming a mainstream enterprise offering. Geoffrey Moore talks about this extensively in his book Crossing the Chasm, which explains how new products are adopted in the market:
The first customers are innovators and early adopters who are culturally more open to trying out new things. Over time, a successful innovation finds its way into the hands of the majority of the customers. Electric cars are going through the same phenomenon right now. There is very little debate about whether in the future all cars will be electric or not. The debate is about how far the future is. Is it 5 years away or 50? So, while IDP platforms, like electric cars or the ATM machines of the past, look like a shiny new thing today, they will soon become a standard. Your customers will demand better SLAs from you, push to reduce costs further and expect you to scale more rapidly.
Even if you have data processing teams today, you will need to invest in IDP platforms to not only get a lot more productivity from your teams today but to stay competitive in the eyes of tomorrow’s customers. Imagine how your business potential will change if you could turn around data processing requests at a tenth of the time, at less than half the cost, and offer on-demand scale to your customers? Early adopters stand to gain a lot of business by employing IDP technology effectively.
With IDP platforms, you should aim to open your data processing work at 9 am one day and then never close again.