On August 28 and 29, we presented turicode and our data extraction engine MINT.extract at the Swiss IT fair topsoft at Umwelt Arena Schweiz in Spreitenbach. At our stand, we welcomed visitors with a shot of mojito syrup and invited them to participate in a non-representative survey on the digitization of documents that we had printed onto two posters. The answers of our 52 participants mostly working for small and medium enterprises resulted in some interesting findings:
Finding 1: Manual copy-pasting is every-day business
With one exception, all participants of our survey stated that they manually copy or type valuable information out of documents on a daily basis. The majority of them has to copy-paste information more than five times a day. A fifth of all participants even stated that they manually copy-paste information more than 30 times a day.
Whereas international corporations often outsource human-intensive work to countries with lower wages, visitors from SMEs confirmed to us that their employees spend several hours a week manually extracting data from documents.
Finding 2: Resources for comprehensive IT projects are scarce
Despite all the copy-pasting, most of the participants saw their companies “on track” regarding the digitization of documents. In the conversations we had with visitors, they often mentioned that their companies had already digitized a lot of processes, especially in accounting, where most of the workflows seem to be automated to a high degree.
However, most participants of our survey said that many processes outside of accounting were not tackled at all, and that further digitization was still largely dependent on IT specialists, which are often scarce in SME and costly when relying on third-party vendors. When asking the participants about their visions for the future of work, we often received the answer that getting a solution at hand that can be used by employees without specific IT skills and is flexible enough to cover individual needs would be a major leap forward.
Finding 3: It is not just invoices
Asked which type of document they would like to process in an automated way, the participants of our survey gave us a wide range of answers. Of course, invoices were mentioned. But among the documents listed by the visitors of our stand, there were also purchase orders, delivery notes, salary statements, or laboratory orders.
Often, when we talked to people about the document types they would like to process in an automated way, they did not just mention one type of document, but several types. We learned that there still is a great variety of documents used in all sorts of businesses that people would like to digitize.
Conclusion: There is a need for flexible solutions
While guiding our visitors through the survey, we had the chance to catch glimpses of how documents are currently processed in various businesses. The result: all businesses struggle with the same repetitive and error-prone tasks, but the use cases vary strongly depending on the business environment. Being able to deal with multiple types of documents in multiple languages and with changing layout and structure is key to provide customers with a solution that suits their needs. We saw that there is a desire for smart and easy-to-use information extraction engines in companies of all sectors and sizes. The fact that many people saw the value of MINT.extract in truly digitizing their businesses supported our approach to cope with many specific use cases.
If you are keen to know more about a digitization solution for a specific document type or want to see more pictures from our stand at topsoft, visit us on LinkedIn and Twitter. For more information on MINT.extract, go to www.turicode.com.