Data Capture as the Way Ahead: Accenture's Perspective

June 16, 2016 by Abby Topolsky

Captricity is delighted to be part of Accenture’s new reports on Automation Technology. In the first of a three-part series, Accenture examines data capture; subsequent reports will cover robotics process automation and cognitive computing. We’re featured in the first series, which provides a great overview of modern data capture methods and how they can be used by insurers to increase efficiency and productivity.

“As insurers look to develop innovation ecosystems, ask thoughtful questions about where big data can take them, and ramp up to fully enter the digital age, they must also find economical, accurate and scalable solutions to accessing the data on which their future depends,” writes the report’s author, Accenture strategist Joel K. Schaefer.

The Data Capture Challenge
The report zeroes in on the key question for any company looking to update their capture processes: what’s the best way to access and utilize non-digital data? The challenge is hefty for established insurers, who, over time, have collected untold quantities and types of data that have become deeply siloed as a consequence of reorganizations, shifting priorities, and changing lines of business. Much of that data exists in static paper forms.

Paper works well for insurers because it remains the best way to collect complex information, and is a very useful tool for explaining detailed policies and other heavily layered concepts. Digital collection of that data has to be fast, accurate, and executed in such a way that enables the company to grow, change and adapt without disruption. Advances in data capture have moved beyond manual data entry and traditional OCR, but industry acceptance has been gradual.

A Question of Quality
Scalability is a central issue for insurers attempting to wrest data from deeply siloed legacy systems. Schaefer cites the difficulties of on-demand workforce scaling, offshoring and aging and outdated legacy IT systems as the major challenges insurers face. “All of these truths lead to cost inefficiencies, especially when insurers consistently have to spend time and money training newly recruited workers,” Schaefer writes. “The right data capture approach can help insurers create value by reducing back-office costs.”

A Review of Methods and Technologies
The meaty, 10-page report offers a solid overview of the primary data capture technologies currently used to digitize handwriting and typewritten data: optical character recognition (OCR), intelligent character recognition (ICR), and intelligent word recognition (IWR). Mobile data capture, crowsdsourcing and guided machine learning, and Data as a Service are also considered.

Accenture doesn’t shy away from the complexity of choosing the most appropriate single technology or suite of technologies. “In order to achieve high accuracy rates, companies must spend a significant amount of effort and resources configuring and optimizing the technologies for each and every type of form to which the technology is applied,” the report states.

Driving Revenue with Efficient Data Capture
Here, Accenture showcases how Captricity helped a major life insurer improve new policy processing turnaround times by eliminating manual data entry in the application process. “Captricity’s unique union of machine learning and human intelligence provides for higher levels of accuracy than manual data entry or OCR can achieve alone — even on handwriting,” the paper noted.

The case revealed that our proprietary technology sorted, recognized and extracted data better than the company’s process of combining manual data entry and OCR. By combining crowdsourcing and machine learning to digitize data at 99.9% accuracy, Captricity helped the firm slash processing time on their new policy applications. Spoiler alert: faster turnaround shortened the sales cycle, boosted revenues and made the approval process “a much improved customer experience.”

The Way Ahead
In conclusion, Accenture makes a compelling case for insurance companies to hasten their acceptance of accurate, high-quality digital data, and to adopt technologies that enable them to be as agile as possible, compete more effectively, meet regulatory requirements, enable advanced analytics, and release them from the burdens of manual data entry.

The report offers readers a simple slate of questions to help set them on the path to choosing an effective, appropriate data capture system. The topics to consider include impact, quality and risk events, complexity, competition, and the current state of existing data capture processes. Those are very deep questions, indeed.

At Captricity, we help insurers make the best decisions about data capture. To see how our revolutionary technology works for 50% of the U.S. top insurance companies, go here. To read the Accenture report in full, click here

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