6 Ways Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Can Help Your Business

Technology
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Introduction

There are many ways that you can make your business run smoother. However, finding the right tool that will increase the output of your workers and reduce the cost of resources that you are using might take some time.

One of the tools that will almost always come in handy is optical character recognition software that will benefit your company in a variety of ways. Not all optical character recognition platforms are the same, and there are some major differences between them. But it’s undeniable that each one of them will be a positive change in your workplace.

What is optical character recognition?

Optical character recognition is the way of converting handwritten, printed, or typed text into text that is readable by the machine. The important thing to notice is that this will turn physical text into digital text that can be edited or manipulated in various ways.

Optical character recognition can also be used to transform PDFs into editable text. This can be achieved by OCR software. There are many free ways on the internet to convert PDFs into word documents, but some of the best OCR software will require a monthly subscription.

This type of software can sometimes require purchasing additional hardware such as scanners, but the best software in the category will be able to do this without extra investments. To perform the conversion, OCR is using advanced AI methods such as intelligent character recognition that can even recognize languages or handwriting styles.

Optical character recognition software will allow you to speed up the rate at which your team can send and receive data, format files, send traditional mails and emails and edit data.

6 Ways Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Can Help Your Business

1. Faster data entry

Doing the process of data entry manually will become tiresome for anyone after a few hours of work. There is no need to bore your employees with this kind of work when there are useful ways to convert documents and important information in a matter of minutes.

Most importantly, workers that aren’t enjoying their work will be more prone to making mistakes after a while. Although OCR software often isn’t 100% precise and accurate depending on the product that you use, it’s still much easier to convert the document and proofread it than to manually write thousands of words.

Fast optical character recognition software can convert data in a matter of seconds, and hundreds of pages can be converted in a matter of minutes. Depending on the accuracy of the program used, the edits shouldn’t take much time, and they will be able to acces that file instantly in the future.

2. Reduces cost

By implementing optical character recognition software into your workplace, you will significantly reduce costs. You won’t need to pay extra employees as you will only need employees that will oversee and potentially rewrite scanned documents. You can redirect your funds to other sectors of your company.

Another way that optical character recognition software reduces cost is that you won’t need to spend money on physical materials such as papers and file cabinets. A company that uses digital documents rather than paper ones, will also do a lot for the environment.

Unfortunately, good optical character recognition software isn’t free, and you might want to invest money into purchasing the program that suits you the most. Certain optical character recognition software requires a one-time purchase while other requires a monthly subscription, in both cases, it costs much less money than extra employees and their training expense.

3. Makes data easier to find

Imagine a room with hundreds of file cabinets, some categorized accordingly and some aren’t, workers occasionally misplace them which makes the work even harder. Optical recognition software will help you turn numerous data cabinets into a single server that is accessible by all of your employees.

Through various data-sharing software and established servers at your business, your employees will find the required data in a matter of seconds. By turning your data into digital files, you will require document management systems and potentially extra training.

However, in the long run, this is a significant advantage, and it will save hundreds of hours for your employees.

4. Increased data security

While online data and serves can be potentially hacked, having physical documents poses a much higher risk for a business. Ways that your business can be endangered through this natural disaster, fire, theft, or dishonest employees.

However, by implementing a document management system you can set permissions for your workers. Each sector can access only the information needed for them to work. Just like it was mentioned before, online data can be hacked, but by encrypting your data, the chances will get much lower.

There are many ways how to increase the online security of your data and it’s much less expensive than it would be to lose your paper files in an unfortunate accident. To ensure maximum protection, you should find redundant servers that can be accessible at all times.

5. Makes documents editable

Paper documents require extra papers to be copied and the process can take some time. Also, if you make a mistake there probably won’t be many ways to undo it. On the other hand, digital documents such as PDFs or Word files can be copied as many times as you want, and they can be sent through email immediately. Extracting data from PDF documents is also much faster when using OCR software.

What digital documents offer is the possibility of editing them without worrying about making uncorrectable mistakes. You can find the needed document, edit it and forward it through email in a matter of seconds, or you can print it out if needed. Digital files can be an editor on spot, and they can also be converted into various file types if needed.

You will notice the biggest difference in spreadsheets and tables, as physically they are much harder to fill in or edit.

6. Increases the satisfaction of employees

Just like it was mentioned before, by making the work easier for your employees you will most likely increase their productivity and overall satisfaction. By doing the tedious work of manually rewriting old documents and typing every single word, you are preventing them from doing other, important work.

It’s overall harder to work with paper files, and it’s hard to format them accordingly through text editing software. Employees will not only lose time on rewriting, but also on formatting and finding the right way to make the document make sense in the digital format.

Tips for choosing optical character recognition software

Although all optical recognition software will help you with your goal of digitalizing paper documents, there are some things to consider before choosing the platform for your business.

Depending on the size of your company, purchasing optical character recognition shouldn’t be a large expense, however, some of the OCR solutions need to be purchased separately for each person that needs to use them.

From the technical aspect, you should inspect the types of documents that were mentioned on the website of the software you are planning to purchase. If your company is operating in the field of finance, you should carefully choose the software that supports financial and legal documents.

Accuracy is one of the most important aspects of optical character recognition software, you wouldn’t want to use products with low accuracy. Low accuracy means extra work for your employees, which can take as much time as rewriting it manually. Accuracy above 80% is considered adequate.

Speed of the overall conversion from paper to electronic file should also be considered before making a purchase. Of course, depending on different situations and files, you can’t expect the conversion to be instant, but you should have in mind that the best OCR software doesn’t need more than a few seconds to complete the conversion. The time that is required for the process to finish should be taken seriously since you might need to convert hundreds of documents.

Besides the most obvious attributes of optical character recognition software, there are certain features that good optical character recognition includes with their product. Your optical character recognition software should have algorithms that can improve the quality of scanned images, and do a more precise conversion.

Other significant aspects include the ability to classify documents according to their type, and language. If you are having a multicultural team, or if your business isn’t based in the English-speaking region, you might look for software that supports your local language.

If your documents are in a language other than English and you are using software that doesn’t support other languages, you might get inaccurate conversions.

Conclusion

Implementing optical recognition software will help you go through the inevitable digitalization of your document. Optical recognition software will benefit the productivity of your company, as well as the overall morale of your workers.

Although there are many useful OCRs, you should consider purchasing an OCR that will support the needs of your company and its goals in the future.

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