Blog Post

Intelligent Experience Automation – Moving beyond traditional Intelligent Document Processing

Blog Post

Anthony Macciola Profile Image

Anthony Macciola

Innovation Planning Group

A guest blog post by Anthony Macciola

Enterprise Content Management, Production Capture, and Document Transformation have been around for 35+ years. Their origins center around scanning, manually indexing and publishing documents to content management systems for archival and shared retention.

Over time, the industry has focused on reducing human touch points, associated labor cost, and increasing visibility into the content contained within documents. Production optical character recognition (OCR) became mainstream, as did forms recognition (classification), field level data extraction, text analytics, and natural language processing (NLP). The capture market has leveraged various forms of AI for 25+ years, long before AI was popular.

The emergence of Digital Transformation has caused the capture market to shift from an autonomous, batch oriented, back-office focus to an integrated, transactional, in-process service focus. This shift was the catalyst for the emergence of what we now know as the $5B+ Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) market.

Up until recently, the service to license ratio associated with deploying IDP solutions has been high… The cost associated with setting up, training, fine-tuning, and scripting document transformation-related support tasks has been daunting. Fast forward to today and recent advancements in AI are revolutionizing the IDP industry. The service dependencies associated with IDP deployments are being shattered by advancements in multi-modal transformation, key-value-pairing, machine learning, and generative AI.

IDP’s back-office, document-centric focus has influenced the legacy architectures for many of the dominant IDP providers. As a result, the shift from back-office automation to front-office, customer experience automation use cases requires a significant change in approach. New entrants to the market (post the back-office to front-office shift) do not suffer from these legacy IDP architecture constraints.

Enter Customer Experience Automation (CXA): The next generation of AI driven platforms solely focused on delivering exceptional customer experiences by automating customer engagements in all shapes and forms and through any and every channel of engagement. An interesting dynamic occurs as the shift from back-office process automation to front-office experience automation unfolds. The historic IDP focus on documents must expand to include a much broader variety of content. It’s not just about capturing business documents. It’s about capturing and understanding all engagement related content such as email, texts, spreadsheets, videos, and audio. It’s about having an interactive dialog with the customer and asking them questions to gather the information needed to complete the engagement.

IDP vendors have been so document focused (and to a large extent back-office centric) the transition to front-office, content centric, experience automation is likely going to require material retooling and a significant investment in time and money.

The next generation of Customer Experience Automation (CXA) vendors have built their platforms with this knowledge and foresight in mind. Leveraging AI to generate optimal and satisfying customer experiences along with the ability to capture and process any sort of experience related content.

Here’s just a few examples of how Intelligent Experience Automation differs from Intelligent Document Processing:

  • Interactive: CXA platforms allow organizations to quickly and easily build interactive customer experiences to gather customer data or disseminate information. IDP platforms have been built to process documents. Very few IDP vendors have the ability to reach out to customers and engage them for content review or to gather additional information.
  • Responsive: Being responsive to customers is paramount, especially for mobile engagements. CXA platforms are highly responsive and transactional. Most IDP platforms are batch oriented. Some of the more progressive vendors provide mobile capture capabilities but still struggle with latency issues.
  • Visible: CXA platforms provide a unified view into engagement related content, allowing the organization to determine where specific information came from. The body of an email, a cell in a spreadsheet or a field contained in a traditional form. Most IDP platforms are limited to providing insight into document centric data.
  • Multi-channel: CXA platforms allow customers to engage an organization through their preferred channel, and in many instances, across multiple channels within the same engagement. As an example, starting with a web portal experience, transitioning to SMS, and concluding through email. Some IDP vendors provide multi-channel capture capabilities, but the scope is typically narrow and limited.
  • Long running: Customer engagements can be quick and simple but it’s not uncommon for an engagement to start and pause for hours or days, and then pick up again based on customer availability and access to information. CXA platforms provide support for long running engagements whereas most IDP platforms are batch oriented or short running temporal environments.
  • AI driven: Many of the IDP incumbents suffer from legacy architectures, technical debt, and large install bases where they need to ensure 100% backward compatibility. New CXA vendors have entered the market and designed their architectures at a time where AI advancements were prevalent and the benefits of having an AI driven platform were obvious.

The emerging customer experience automation market segment requires a broader definition of IDP to satisfy its automation objectives. As a result, Intelligent Experience Automation is poised to surpass IDP and become the new bar for processing customer experience related content, enabling CXA platforms to automate customer engagements. Designing your customer experience automation strategy is essential to success in digital transformation. Making sure your engagement automation strategy is capable of supporting your CXA initiatives will be key to any future success.

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