Electronic data capture today has vastly improved on the traditional methods of entering data through a keyboard. Employing OCR and ICR and other technologies data capture today automates the process and significantly improves productivity while reducing costs.
The various methods of electronic data capture are:
- Forms are scanned using OCR/ICR software that automatically recognizes data in fields and converts the scans to databases, short-circuiting the manual data entry process. Insurance companies, banks and healthcare are sectors where data capture can save huge amounts of money.
- Scanned images of books can be converted to e-books
- A barcode reader captures data through an optical, non-contact method and enables fast transactions. Retail outlets use barcode scanners for fast throughputs.
- Magnetic card readers used in ATM and POS terminals are yet another example of data capture, reading the information encoded onto the stripes on debit or credit cards.
- RFID devices are increasingly being used as an alternative to magnetic stripes and capture data, relaying data through radio frequencies. In future credit cards and debit cards may be RFID enabled.
- Biometrics and voice recognition can be said to be forms of data capture.
- Scanning cheques and capturing MICR data for use in banks
Data capture services has proven effective in converting data found in forms. ICR and OCR technologies help convert scanned images to text and data that can be transferred to databases for further processing. Data capture services flourish due to the voluminous amount of forms, coupons, vouchers and receipts that need to be scanned and converted to electronic formats on a daily basis. Insurance companies, government organizations, small and large businesses, banks and municipalities find data capture service greatly reduces manpower needs and provides data that can be stored safely, processed and achieved for retrieval at any time.Usually tied in with a database management and administration system, data capture helps save on space, time, administrative costs and manpower costs.
Captured data can be stored digitally in several locations. Data capture is fast and can process huge amounts of data as compared to manual data entry that is prone to errors and is time consuming as well as expensive.Given the vast scope a number of offshore companies offer outsourced data capture services. Equipped with high speed scanners tied to fast computers and software, manned by expert personnel, these companies deliver highly accurate results quickly and efficiently at affordable costs.
Where there is a need for in-house data capture, businesses can go in for sophisticated data capture software. This software can be used to extract data not only from paper scans but also from electronic PDF documents, carry out validation and pass the extracted information to database handling systems. This software can be used to process forms, invoices, orders, loan applications and other processes where paper is in extensive use. One such field is healthcare where patient records are filled by hand and need conversion through electronic data capture.
The data capture system can be incorporated into an existing IT environment and existing staff can be trained in a short time to deliver accurate results in a couple of days. Since such software usually has built in facilities for analytics, it provides flexibility and control while integrating quite easily into existing database applications.
Regardless of whether one chooses to outsource or have an in-house data capture system, there is little doubt about its processing speed and huge cost savings.