Intelligent Data Capture
The trajectory for global business is increasingly computerized
Every company, no matter their industry, aims for peak productivity from their employees. It is a basic business principle and a hallmark of business efficiency worldwide.
Forbes Magazine reports that the data volumes in the business world are exploding. More data has been created in the past two years than in the entire previous history of the human race.
Manual data entry, the historical answer for capturing and dealing with business information, has not evolved to efficiently handle the amount of data that modern business requires.
In order to handle larger amounts of data in more efficient ways, companies need to transition into high-tech office environments. As physical filing cabinets disappear and the office of the future is increasingly paperless, it’s important to look at digital data capture and how it can help your business.
Moving away from the manual entry model
Before addressing tech solutions, it’s vital to address why companies hang onto manual data entry work far beyond its usefulness.
First of all, employees like manual data entry. On the surface, it appears synonymous with job security. The fewer jobs that a computer can do, the more work remains for people to do. Nobody wants to lose their job.
Secondly, computerized capture technologies have a reputation for inaccuracy. Electronic Data Capture and Remote Data Entry came onto the scene in the 1970s and featured clunky technological obstacles that have long since been dealt with. Still, the poor reputation sticks around.
Third, employees are often defensive of the human aspect of manual data entry. Humans are perceived at having the unique ability to identify errors in data they are familiar with.
Fourth, employees perceive their past time contributions to be valuable. Staff who have been trained for data entry and are accustomed to the manual process are hesitant to implement an automated process. Even if it saves time later, it feels like wasted time for them to learn a new system.
How much is manual entry costing you?
Despite employees digging their heels in, it’s important for companies to assess how much time and money is lost by continuing to do certain data capture jobs manually.
Data managers are surprised to learn that automated extraction produces errors at about the same level as manual entry. Although no data capture process is 100% error-free, modern automated data entry has an accuracy rate of above 98% or about the same as humans.
The major difference between manual and automated data extraction isn’t necessarily accuracy—it’s time. Computers simply do things faster.
Manual data entry is not just about copying data. We must consider the end-to-end time which includes software loading time, time spent on quality checks, reading speed for scanning, individual typing speeds, and the number of times the worker gets interrupted in the process of their work.
We also have to consider employee boredom. Let’s face it: Data entry jobs are not exciting. They don’t hold employees’ attention well enough to continuously function at the highest capacity. Speed for manual data capture can vary greatly when the company is dependent on the human aspect.
This, along with the fact that computers can scan, capture, and input data in milliseconds—and the time saved by automated data capture starts to add up.
The final issue with manual data capture is security. For industries like banking or healthcare, plenty of the business-related data is strictly confidential. The simple act of an entry-level employee viewing the data to enter it into a database can be considered a breach of confidentiality.
When the process is automated, humans are taken out of the equation. The computer doesn’t pose any liability risks or future HR problems. Increased security is a huge benefit of using technology to get data entry work taken care of.
What is meant by intelligent data capture?
There are a host of technologies that are involved in electronic data capture.
OCR or Optical Character Recognition is the electronic conversion of images of typed, handwritten, or printed text into machine-encoded text. Text that goes through OCR is typically from scanned documents and text in photos.
ICR or Intelligent Character Recognition is similar to OCR but the term deals with computer-based interpretations of handwritten characters.
Other forms of electronic capture happen via the reading of bar codes, QR codes, and templates.
Systems that incorporate all or a variety of the technologies mentioned above are considered forms of “intelligent data capture”.
Intelligent data capture is the future
Getting back to efficiency, intelligent data capture contributes to employee satisfaction. Let the machines do the busy work and let humans do the problem solving.
Despite seeing manual data entry as false job security, imagine how your employees will feel when you tell them you have more important work for them.
Incorporate the computer’s ability to capture data into streamlined workflow processes for employees and see them become more productive than ever.
Modern technology combines intelligent capture with DMS
Intelligent data capture used along with a Document Management System (DMS) is the best way to optimize the day-to-day content management functions of your employees.
Modern software companies are focused on tackling the worldwide data explosion by enhancing DMS systems with intelligent capture capabilities so that companies can handle their data all in one system.
Skytizens, a global frontrunner for this type of software development, has focused on building intelligent capture modules for their clients throughout Asia. Working primarily in Alfresco, one of the most popular Document Management System applications in the world, they have developed an arsenal of Alfresco addons that give multinational companies the opportunity to work smarter and faster.
The first module developed by Skytizens is called SkyArea OCR Tesseract. This addon incorporates and enhances an Optical Character Recognition software into the Alfresco Document Content Management System. This allows companies to convert hard copy files into text content that is searchable from within the document library.
Because Skytizens is based out of Thailand, their software module can read in five language scripts including English, Thai, Japanese, Chinese (Simplified), and Chinese (Traditional). With this kind of powerful multilingual data capture abilities, manual data capture—even by a linguistics expert—can hardly compete.
A second module developed by Skytizens is called SkyArea OCR Lite and Pro. This Alfresco addon enables the DMS to “read” company documents and use the captured text to populate the file index as files enter into the document library.
At first glance, this module saves time purely on data entry. Upon further inspection, this Alfresco addon actually digitizes the entire setup process for every other organization-related function within the DMS that uses file properties. Not only does this make documents immediately searchable, but also prepares them for sorting, automated file naming, and other customizable work that Alfresco can carry out.
Skytizens has a Professional version of the SkyArea OCR module that recognizes file templates by layout and captures all the content in digital form without spending employee time on categorizing files. Even the convenience of digital drag-and-drop organizing will soon be obsolete.
Sustainable growth requires sustainable technological advancement
Increasingly, companies will follow Skytizens’ lead and continue to incorporate intelligent capture capabilities into the digital workspace.
Data will continue its upward trend of expansion and companies will continue to target peak productivity. In the global marketplace, multinational businesses will be forced to leave manual data entry behind and take advantage of technology that makes data capture work more efficient.
To find more information about these cutting-edge software developments, visit SkyArea OCR Lite – Data Capture solution.