In times past, once a survey or study had been completed, there would invariably be an enormous stack of forms and documents that would have to be ordered, organised and processed. With the development of computer technology, the task saw teams of data entry operators type up the written or printed information into more manageable digital versions; it was a long, expensive, labour-intensive process, and the margin for human error was high. Now, though, there is a more high-tech alternative: automated document scanning. But how does it work?
Where once there were teams of individuals responsible for digitising your quantitative data and qualitative opinions, with automated document scanning, the work is done by a lone data entry operator. Your dizzying stack of surveys and forms are separated into different batches before being fed into a scanner, which whirs away industriously until all of your pieces of data are reproduced as high-fidelity digital copies on your company’s computer system.
So you’ve gone from an unwieldy stack of paper to a more manageable digital catalogue – but what next? Well, your data may not be what we call ‘structured data’ – that which is specifically designed for the digitising process – but could in fact be an almost impenetrable maze of handwritten opinions scattered in numerous locations and formats across an inconsistent variety of forms. To rectify this, data capture software runs what’s known as ‘optical character recognition’ and ‘intelligent character recognition’ to identify individual printed characters; ‘optical mark recognition’ to interpret ticks, crosses and circles, ‘intelligent word recognition’ to decipher cursive handwriting and ‘intelligent document recognition’ to translate those scattered data points into something more manageable. This done, you’re presented with a far more structured, clear and usable data set than you had at first.
But why opt for an automated document scanning process?
Take a look at the benefits of automated document scanning and see for yourself.
- Remove human error – Manually inputting data requires data entry operators to reproduce what’s presented to them on forms and surveys, and no matter how dedicated they are, mistakes have to be expected. Automating the process greatly reduces the chances of human error.
- Increase accuracy – With less opportunity for errors to occur, your data will be more precise and of course, your findings will in turn be more accurate.
- Save time – Manually inputting data can take hours, days, or even weeks. Automated document scanning speeds up this process immeasurably, allowing you to get the results you need sooner rather than later.
- Save money – Why pay for hours of manpower to digitise your data manually when you can have a single operative do the work of many? Automated document scanning can help you save money on unnecessary work.
- Save resources – Instead of assigning dozens of members of staff to input your data, automated document scanning allows you to leave your precious human resources where they are, doing work that’s sorely needed.
- Customisable formats – When your study is compiled on your computer system, it can be exported in any format you desire, giving you ultimate flexibility with your data.
Automated data capture is a great way to take advantage of how modern technologies are streamlining processes that would previously require a lot of time and effort. Contact us to arrange a free, no-obligation workshop where we’ll demonstrate to you just how effective automated document scanning can be.