Has your company implemented a plan to start its digital transformation? When you transition to Enterprise Content Management (ECM), you must also convert your paper documents into digital copies. But how do you do that? Learn more about the advantages of optical character recognition (OCR) in this article.
At this point, unless you work for International Paper, Kimberly-Clark, or one of the other major paper manufacturers, you should not be dealing with paper on a daily basis. Not in 2020.
When you consider the recent advancements in ECM and how it gives businesses the freedom to eliminate paper altogether, there has never been a better time to embark on your digital transformation. In your bid to streamline and optimize your enterprise, going digital is essential, and OCR software is the best way to ensure that all of your information is secure and accessible from a digital repository, even if its native format was paper.
What Is OCR Software?
OCR is a technology that recognizes printed characters. According to PC Mag, “OCR systems can recognize many different fonts, including those designed specifically for optical recognition as well as typewriter and computer-printed characters. Advanced OCR systems can recognize hand printing.”
It’s a flexible solution that can improve your business in a number of ways, which is why the benefits of OCR are universally lauded by the companies that have already integrated this technology into their day-to-day business processes.
How Does OCR Software Work?
OCR software captures the information from traditional documents and converts it to searchable data that can be recalled at the push of a button. It is important to note that OCR software is far different than a scanner. A scanner simply creates a digital replicant of a document, it cannot utilize the captured information in a purposeful way. OCR captures the document and turns it into a bitmap, which can then be analyzed using variations in dark and light pixels to guide it. These pixels are then converted into ASCII characters. Once the document has been captured, OCR software can read the individual lines and patterns that make up printed characters — even if the document is multiple pages.
OCR Benefits for Your Business
The advantages of OCR can help your business gain a distinct competitive advantage. From the moment documents are captured and digitized, your business becomes significantly more productive and cost-efficient. Here’s how OCR benefits your business:
1. Convert Paper to Searchable Data
Stop searching through cumbersome file cabinets for paper documents and eliminate the costs associated with both on-site and off-site storage. Digitize all your corporate content whether it is a paper document received in the mail, fax, email, or something else entirely. Once your documents have been converted, a user can utilize search features to quickly find the information they are looking for without leaving their desk.
2. Eliminate Erroneous Data Entry
Data entry tasks are often time-consuming and littered with errors, and it is easy to see why. Copying information from one medium to another is hardly stimulating, so it comes as no surprise that this task is better left to OCR software. One of the main benefits of OCR software is its ability to quickly capture information. It doesn’t need to check and re-check to ensure that it has entered the information correctly — it gets it right on the first go with a very small margin of error. By preserving the integrity of the data flowing through your company, you can ensure that transactions are accurate and detrimental errors are mitigated.
3. Accelerate Document Processing Speed
Not only does OCR benefit your company’s quality of information but it also increases the rate at which this information is routed throughout workflow to complete the corresponding transaction. As we mentioned above, this starts with making the process of data entry more efficient by eliminating manual entry and digitizing information for instant recall. However, it does not stop there. Another advantage of Optical Character Recognition is scalable batch processing technologies that prevent your volume of invoices from overwhelming your processors.
4. Unlock Straight-Through Processing Capabilities
While OCR software can play an important role in helping your business become more efficient and less resource hungry, the greatest potential will be derived from the technologies that can be implemented together with OCR software to unlock straight-through processing. Straight-through processing, or “touchless processing,” allows your company to process invoices without any human intervention — unless the system flags an exception. That’s right. OCR is the key to business process automation, serving as the conduit for data to be automated in the first place. Here is an example of how it works:
Documents are automatically captured from a monitored inbox into your ERP or line of business system, giving you immediate real-time access to any information contained on those documents. Then, using a configurable workflow engine, this information is matched to the corresponding invoice and processed. If something doesn’t match, it is flagged as an exception and an employee is alerted. In some cases, exceptions are reduced by as much as 90% or more,.
Want to learn more about the advantages of OCR software? Contact IntelliChief today to learn more about our industry-leading Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions backed by robust capture capabilities.