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Intelligent Document Processing vs. Intelligent Communications Processing

Break down the differences between Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) and Intelligent Communications Processing (ICP), and see which best addresses your business needs.

Re:infer turns conversations into structured data for analysis and automation. We give organisations a centralised NLP capability to drive visibility, efficiency and operational scalability. Making the enterprise more agile and customer centric.

What’s the difference between IDP and ICP?

IDP is used to extract insight from unstructured and semi-structured documents, while ICP extracts insight from unstructured business communications.

Automation and transformation leaders use a range of AI and NLP tools to identify improvement opportunities and drive automation in their business. IDP and ICP are both crucial for operational visibility and efficiency, but focus on different channels.

Intelligent Document Processing

IDP extracts and organises usable data from any document type.


Intelligent Communications Processing

ICP creates structured data from masses of unstructured communications, in real time and on any channel.


Converts unstructured and semi-structured documents into usable data for analysis and automation.


Converts unstructured data from any business communication into structured data for analysis and automation.


IDP is used by process managers and improvement teams, data scientists, auditors and consultants.


ICP is no code by nature and is used by every employee, from automation leaders to non-technical service agents.


AI tools like OCR and NLP interpret information in document formats and transform it into clean, structured data.


ICP relies on the latest advances in NLP and machine learning to extract the most valuable insight from communications, including data on intents and sentiment.


IDP extracts data from documents continuously and in real time.


ICP extracts data in real-time, enhancing operational efficiency and driving continuous improvement.


IDP works best on unstructured and semi-structured formats like business documents, emails, images and PDF files.


ICP is fully omnichannel, extracting structured data from emails, calls, chats and any form of enterprise communication.

  • Increased cost savings
  • Improved operational efficiency
  • Reduced handling times
  • Better business intelligence
  • Data-driven decisions
  • Reduces the risk of human error
  • More value from automation
  • Increased cost savings
  • Improved productivity
  • Faster, easier operational scalability
  • Improved customer intelligence and experiences
  • Improved employee satisfaction
  • Data-driven decisions
  • Better compliance

How does Intelligent Communications Processing work?

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Business runs on conversations

Business conversations

Business runs on conversations. Customers and employees communicate across a wide range of different channels. The business will store these conversations, but they are almost always in an unstructured format that makes them difficult to analyse and exploit.

Communication Intelligence dashboard

The value of communications

Conversations hold precious business and customer insights. They can reference customer issues, operational blockages, new revenue and cost-saving opportunities that business leaders mightn’t otherwise notice. Unfortunately, traditional analytics tools lack the ability to understand and extract these insights.

Discover customer requests

Cutting-edge NLP

That’s why ICP uses the latest advances in AI and natural language processing (NLP) to understand and analyse communications at scale. Users rapidly train the no-code Re:infer platform to extract relevant and useful concepts from their business conversations. NLP interprets and structures comms in real-time, turning it into clean and structured data that’s ready for analysis and downstream automation.

Re:infer’s built-in analytics interface

Real-time analytics

Re:infer’s built-in analytics interface allows users to analyse and explore all communications channels in real-time. At a glance, they can recognise the most pressing issues, identify opportunities for change, automation and improvement. They can also set up real-time alerts to preempt emerging issues and respond proactively to customer concerns.

Diagram of end-to-end automation

End-to-end Automation

ICP creates a new source of structured data that can be used to drive automation in entirely new processes and areas of the business. When integrated with downstream automation tools such as RPA, ICP can enable the end-to-end automation of key processes including:

  • Answering customer questions
  • Completing transactional customer requests
  • Workflow orchestration
  • Email and message triage
  • Post-call logging

ICP becomes a crucial efficiency and capacity liberation tool - cutting costs, reducing handling times and human error, freeing employees to focus more on value-add. 

How do IDP and ICP work together?

IDP and ICP are distinct but complementary tools. They both leverage AI to create structured data, but they extract it from different sources. 

IDP processes different document types, extracting the most valuable information from documents formats, images and PDF files. Some IDP solutions offer data extraction from email, but their use of NLP is usually rudimentary and only the most basic information (eg. customer numbers, contact dates etc.) can be extracted for logging purposes. 

By contrast, ICP specialises in extracting value from all communication types, including email, calls, chats and even notes in CRM and ERP systems. Any message or text expressed in human language can be reliably understood and processed by ICP solutions. ICP can extract data on sentiment, important themes, topics and complex customer intents from any message at speed and scale. 

When ICP and IDP work together, they give businesses complete visibility over their entire data estate. For the first time, core operational and service processes can be fully analysed and automated from end-to-end.

Learn more about Intelligent Communications Processing

Build better products and services. Quickly. Scalably. Efficiently.

Increase operational scalability, enhance the customer experience, and improve control with Re:infer’s Conversational Data Intelligence Platform.