When your core business is information and data processing, that is where your highest strategic priority lies. Just like at Wilmington plc. The global network relies on digital automation for processing large amounts of documents for a data service which specializes in charities and volunteer associations. The service receives approximately 5,000 documents from external third parties every week.
Wilmington extracts and processes important information from them, which is then sold in the form of databases to customers from charities and volunteer associations. Thanks to intelligent digital document management by software from EASY, they were able to reduce the weekly data collection processes from five days to just one and a half. That way, Wilmington can process larger amounts of data with fewer people and at the same time provide their customers with urgently needed additional information.
Wilmington, the global network that turns knowledge into advantage
Wilmington plc is a network of companies that deliver the knowledge, expertise and tools to give businesses competitive edge in the digital age. Founded in 1995, the dynamic and expanding networkprovides particular specialisation in Finance, Legal, Risk & Compliance and Insight.
Over the last decade, Wilmington Insight has worked with EASY Software to implement highly efficient and intelligent digital content management solutions. Document management is key and EASY Software has been providing document management solutions for over 17 years. The relationship began in 2005, with a move to improve back-office efficiency at a group level, through the scanning and storage of financial documentation relating to purchases, and integration with internal resource planning systems.
Starting from an outmoded, manual process, our situation has been completely revolutionized.
BOOSTING CHARITY WORK
More recently, Wilmington Insight has applied digital automation to the way it handles high volumes of documents for a specialist data service aimed at charities. The service receives documents from external third parties – in volumes of around 5,000 each week – and extracts and processes key information from them which it sells on to its charity clients in database form.
Before automating the data extraction, staff in London would have to leaf through pages and pages of documents to find the particular data they needed, then send the files to another office to be written into the database by teams of copy typists. The quality and format of the incoming documents varied greatly, adding to the time it took to identify the data needed for extraction.
“We had to collate both contact and financial data manually, and there was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing,” says Polly Avgherinos, managing director of Wilmington Business Intelligence.
To type up one set of information took one person a whole week.” This was a laborious, mundane exercise given the high volumes of content involved, a continuously refreshing workload that must be kept on top of. The job couldn’t be rushed either: charities pay to have access to the data which they use in vital income generation work – so the accuracy of the data is critical.
In addition to improving efficiency and data reliability, Wilmington Insight also had competitive reasons for improvement. “Although no one else offers the service that we do, the market is demanding more information from the source material we handle,” Polly notes. “As long as we were restricted to manual processes, we couldn’t hope to meet these additional needs without employing more people. But charities have finite resources, and couldn’t have tolerated the higher prices we would have had to charge.”
EASY, FUJITSU & ABBYY
JOIN THE DIGITAL DOTS
Based on Wilmington’s positive previous experiences of working with EASY Software, the Insight organisation approached the company to see if there was an affordable technology solution it could implement to reliably automate and accelerate its data capture and management processes.
EASY engaged technology partners ABBYY and Fujitsu. ABBYY, which specialises in optical character recognition, document capture and language software, provided its Flexicapture data capture and document processing solution. Fujitsu scanners capture images of incoming paper documents, which are then ‘read’ and deciphered by the ABBYY software. This can intelligently pick out key information on a page.
To increase accuracy and efficiency, EASY and ABBYY established four different templates to cater for common differences in the way the particular source data is submitted. Scanned images and extracted data are sent through EASY’s own EASY Documents workflow solution. This prompts final checking and correction of any inaccurate data, and adds the ability to quickly and easily search and retrieve content. Once verified, the data is sent via XML to Wilmington’s database.
STAYING AHEAD OF MARKET DEMANDS
“From having an old-fashioned, manual process, our situation has been completely revolutionised,” Polly says. “It now takes the same person just one and a half days to process a workload that took an entire week previously. It means we can handle greater volumes of data with fewer people, and deliver the extra information our clients crave.