Best practices for using OCR in Data Entry

Capital Typing has used Optical Character Recognition (OCR) in many creative and inspired ways to reduce the amount of time it takes to process data entry projects. We have also built OCR into custom software system designs, which serve functions ranging from data entry to transcription, translation, and even bookkeeping. 

This article deals with a few of the best practices we have established, to make use of this resource in the most effective ways:

  1. Outsource the OCR Functionality. At Capital Typing we specialize in the design and implementation of smart systems, smart solutions for BPO. Our core competency is in applying software for the business process. So when it comes to data entry, we develop project management tools and specialized software, which helps us execute data entry best practices. But OCR is a specialized software that is not part of the project management or design process itself, but rather a tool that we use. So, we build outsourced OCR, from the leaders in that industry, into our custom systems. 

  2. Understand OCR Software Quality Capabilities. When designing software solutions and processes around OCR, it’s important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the core OCR technology. As always with software, the main advantage is the speed in processing large volumes of data. But since OCR is not as reliable as human beings when it comes to accuracy, we build systems that help us enjoy the best of both worlds—machine speed of processing supported by human accuracy. The trick is to make use of smart validation and human review methodologies to mitigate the risk of errors by the OCR.

  3. Restrict the Role of OCR Using Data Validation. Suppose that we are looking for 5-digit US zip codes using OCR technology. That means we know that any result from the OCR can only be accurate if it is 5 digits that are all numbers. By integrating OCR technology smartly into our custom software solutions, we are able to customize validation according to the requirements of the data sets, so that only standardized data outputs will be accepted, and any variations will prompt human checks and verifications. In this way, we can create a series of automated verification steps to validate the data. This is just one example, but in any data entry project, depending on the source and output requirements of the data, there can be any number of similar validation and verification steps we can implement.

Most providers of data entry services are still learning the basics about the use of scripts. What sets us apart is the ability to understand your data entry projects on a deep enough level to design processes, which put OCR and other technologies to work for you in smart ways. That’s why we say ours is a smarter data entry solution. Because it truly is! 

From the first system build, we will employ best practices to get the best results for your data entry project. Then, on an ongoing basis, as we learn more about the data, we will continue to tweak and improve how the OCR technology is used, and how the results are integrated into the bigger process methodology. The result will always be that you save time and money and you get the best value for your data entry project.