Case Study: Helping UTMC adapt to the pandemic and modernize in the process
UTMC employees work with a ton of paper documents, often spending hours on manual data entry. Naturally, they wanted to automate these inefficient processes, so they partnered up with OCR Gateway.
At first, our solutions helped them manage several pandemic-induced workload challenges. But then as the months went on, our solutions proved to be more than a stopgap: They opened the door to increased efficiency, newfound scaling, and optimal ROI.
Who exactly are they? And why did they need us?
Meet the Unemployment Tax Management Corporation (UTMC) — an industry leader in unemployment insurance consulting. They’re a family-owned business with over 50 years of experience helping small and mid-sized employers get the representation they deserve.
As you can imagine, operating in a field like unemployment insurance means a heavy reliance on paper documents and snail-mail. For their part, UTMC was working through it with another OCR technology…
… But then the pandemic hit. The unemployment rate shot through the roof. Claims and benefit charges started pouring in. And that’s when the shortcomings of their old OCR solution came to light:
For one, it was only available for use in the office (which, especially early in the Covid timeline, was mostly empty).
Second, it left much to be desired in terms of accuracy: It wasn’t unusual for manual correction to still be necessary after it did its job.
And third, it had a limited scope, capable of automating minimal document types.
All that along with an increased workload combined into something of an inefficient process for UTMC employees. One in which they either had to sacrifice tons of time or much-desired accuracy… And often both.
So that’s when OCR Gateway came into the picture with a new solution.
Challenge 1: Optimize their tech for a workload increase
The good news was that their client base was rapidly growing. But the bad news was that their operational infrastructure wasn’t adequate for this growth. Existing technologies were either limited or outdated. And their upgrades were getting more and more expensive.
With more clients, more gaps in their tech capabilities kept emerging. Which, inevitably, meant more time spent manually fixing and covering those gaps. The folks at UTMC told us that entering the data from just one document could take up to an hour. And now imagine hundreds of such documents pouring in weekly.
So here’s Challenge #1: To automatically process a growing diversity of documents and extract valuable data with high accuracy (a.k.a. with minimal manual labor). Preferably without costing UTMC an arm and a leg.
Our solution here was two-fold.
For starters, OCR Gateway is designed to read a wide spectrum of different document types. Using several processing methods (including Robotic Processing Automation and Intelligent Document Processing), our software can handle everything from standardized forms to handwritten photocopies.
Now, not only does it handle these documents, but it also does so with an accuracy rate north of 90% — well higher than UTMC’s legacy systems had. (And by the way, we actually offer manual augmentation to bring it up to 100% — meaning even less editing work for UTMC).
Between this improved accuracy and the increased document capability, the UTMC team was able to cover considerably more ground in much less time. In the short-term, this allowed them to smoothly embrace the Covid-induced spike in workload. But in the long-term, well after that Covid spike, it’s enabling them to continue scaling their services to newfound heights.
Challenge 2: Quickly and seamlessly adapt to remote work
It was a challenge faced by virtually every company in the Spring of 2020, and UTMC was no exception. Without access to their in-office fax machine, many employees would have to send time-sensitive personal documents via physical mail.
Again, this is the unemployment insurance business. One where bureaucratic compliance and strict date/time restrictions are the norm. For UTMC, adding the variable of the postal service working in a timely fashion presented risk — of missing vital deadlines and, in turn, providing subpar service to their clients.
So here’s challenge #2: How to transfer to remote work without sacrificing reliability?
Well, not only did they avoid sacrificing reliability, but they ended up enhancing it.
With our integrated electronic fax service, UTMC employees exponentially simplified their process for sending documents. First, we helped configure each individual’s home scanner and email to play nice with the OCR Gateway system. Then, the employees could scan their paper documents to OCR Gateway — from there they could directly fax them to state authorities or send them to their own internal system.
On top of that, we provided the UTMC team with training to take our service and run with it, resulting in a highly productive remote workforce.
Challenge #3: Keep all the valuables safe and secure
The new and improved remote capabilities were highly convenient, but they brought their own new challenge: Data security.
UTMC employees were now in their home offices, surrounded by mounds of paper documents containing employment information, financial details, and social security numbers. Considering that personal computers are notoriously not secure, scanning copies of sensitive information onto them is far from ideal.
And that’s challenge #3: Ensuring the security of these digital documents.
It’s a concern that lies at the heart of the OCR Gateway process — guaranteeing privacy for even the most delicate data.
That’s why our software doesn’t leave any copies of data on personal computers. When we configured UTMC employees’ computers, we enabled them to send all information straight to our OCR Gateway cloud without leaving a trace on their home devices. And after the info is sent to its proper destination, it’s soon deleted from our servers entirely.
Meaning: Nothing is backed up and nothing is shared — ever.
UTMC’s progress: Looking at the present & the future
The past year has seen UTMC make some great strides in their capabilities and ROI.
In terms of scaling: They’ve reported that the average time for inputting one of their most common forms has decreased from 1 hour all the way down to 3 minutes. 3 minutes! That’s 95% faster. With those extra 57 minutes, employees are focusing on higher-value tasks instead of rote paperwork.
In terms of remote work: The reliance on being in-office is gone, and the transition to fully remote was seamless. The dependency on and costs of postal services have also been eliminated. And all those hours previously spent on folding forms, printing mailing labels, and sealing envelopes have been reduced to minutes.
In terms of security: UTMC employees have thanked us for reducing their worry about data stored on local devices. Now, they handle sensitive documents without constantly looking over their shoulders.
“The Pandemic quickly forced our staff( like many others) to work remotely, thus we had to promptly find a solution to securely not only fax to state agencies but also scan documents to upload to our custom designed database. OCR Gateway provided us with the opportunity to accomplish these goals with full confidence. OCR Gateway has allowed our company to work more effectively and efficiently during the pandemic than we ever did before March 2020. As a result OCR Gateway made our staff so much more productive.”
Rich Siegel, President of UTMC
So what’s next? In short: Automation. And then some more automation.
After seeing how much they gained in efficiency, UTMC is looking to automate as many processes as they can. And these processes aren’t hard to find — the unemployment insurance industry always has more and more paper coming in to be analyzed. So we’re still working together to create custom automated workflows for each new process and task flow.
Now, if streamlining some of your processes sounds like it could benefit your business, let’s chat! We’d be happy to explore custom automated solutions to get you on the same path that UTMC is on: