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What is data entry software?

Cloud-based data entry solutions enable organizations to process large volumes of data from anywhere, anytime and on any device — which will help improve efficiency and reduce costs.

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Data entry software definition

Data entry software allows you to replace expensive and inefficient paper and manual data entry processes with powerful applications that can be used on computers, smartphones and tablets to assist and automate data capture. Depending on your needs, data entry software could simply include the creation of electronic forms to replace paper forms or the software can completely automate classification and data extraction from incoming documents.

Why is data entry software needed?

Paper is a burden to the organization, from the physical storage needs to the time and effort it takes to process paper. Moreover, data collection is no longer as centralized as it once was with employees receiving information in the office and on the go.

This amounts to a lot of manual work that is prone to costly errors and eats up your staff’s productive hours. At the heart of it, data entry jobs require human input to transfer data from one source to another. In some cases, there may be extra steps involved, like reviewing data for inaccuracies and verifying the information received.

When there are tens of thousands of entries to work through, this process can easily become complicated and frustrating. For an organization to stay competitive and become future-proof, it’s crucial to cut out these manual processes from their operations so the team can focus on high-value, strategic work.

Some examples of data entry job responsibilities include:

  • Transcribing: Typing up audio or handwritten notes and formatting them according to a template.
  • Updating customer information: Copying over customer information from one platform to another.
  • Entering accounting records: Keying in figures from accounting journals and ledgers into a system.

You can eliminate manual efforts associated with document processing, data entry, capture and scanning, which provides the following benefits:

  • Boost the bottom line by lowering labor and document handling costs;
  • Accelerate business processes via automation; and
  • Improve customer service by ensuring employees have up-to-date, accurate information right at their fingertips.

How does data entry software work?

Data entry software can have two primary functions:

  1. Electronic form creation and submission and/or
  2. Automated document classification and data extraction.

Electronic forms can replace paper forms and add assistance to the data entry process, simplifying data collection. These forms can be made accessible on computers, tablets and phones for employees that travel between offices or offsite.

They can also stay in sync with your systems, checking accuracy of the entered data and even automatically filling in specific data that already exists in your systems. When part of a larger content management system, submission of these forms can automatically trigger processes and provide immediate access to other staff.

Automated data capture solutions, on the other hand, do not replace your documents but instead automate the processing of those documents.

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Data entry software can:

  • Automatically identify documents at the point of acquisition
  • Extract important data
  • Validate the extracted data
  • Deliver the documents and data into your content and information management systems

The actual data capture/extraction process can use four different technologies, depending on your needs:

  1. Optical character recognition (OCR), which extracts machine-printed characters;
  2. Intelligent character recognition (ICR), which extracts hand-printed characters;
  3. Optical mark recognition (OMR), which determines a selection from a list of choices (i.e. checks in check boxes); and
  4. Barcode recognition (BCR), which extracts data from barcodes located on the document.