Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology is now a vital tool in the digital transformation of businesses.
What OCR does is that it allows a user to convert an image scan to pdf, allowing them to extract text and edit scanned files and documents.
A scanned document produces a digital image, which OCR can help you convert into editable and extractable text.
This feature is impressive and has proven to be essential for smooth business operations and to increase productivity.
Businesses use OCR technology in collaboration with other complementary technologies to streamline the processes. Here are some of the ways companies use this must-have technology.
Cutting down on the use of paper
OCR (Optical Character Recognition) allows you to convert paper and other electronic documents available in an inaccessible format into digital prints that are easy to access and utilize.
The electronic files are often stored in online cloud servers, making them easily accessible. Secured access using passwords ensures security for the documents and the data and prevents unauthorized access.
Streamline data entry and processing
Businesses use OCR technology to eliminate manual data entry. Without this tool, a business would essentially have to hire human resources to ensure that documents are manually converted into editable and utilizable formats.
Other than increasing the operational costs, manual data entry increases the probability of erroneous entries while reducing the speed and productivity of staff.
One of the downsides of handling data using hardcopy files is the inconvenience that comes with the difficulty of keeping organized file records.
With the increased collection of essential business data, keeping up with the new storage demands while maintaining order becomes a heavy task.
But OCR enabling you to scan and convert files to electronic forms allows you to be easily organized. You can store data in any desirable format using keywords or indexes. It thus becomes more comfortable to retrieve and share the data, hence increasing operational efficiency.
It is easier to perform automation on any new file additions to ensure that the organization is maintained when scaling upwards.
Cloud storage is the trend today, and more businesses are shifting from local data servers and warehouses to cloud storage.
Other than providing additional safety, cloud storage makes access to business files easier for employees. It becomes easier to access the repository for the business, and thanks to OCR, the employees can search for documents using texts and edit them.
Also, cloud storage improves collaboration flexibility and allows for folder synchronization when offline.
Automation of business mailrooms
Mailroom automation is yet another way businesses are utilizing OCR technology today. When a new document is uploaded, it is analyzed and sorted automatically before it is sent to the relevant business team.
The key data extracted from the document is listed in indexes which makes the document easily identifiable and accessible to those who need the information.
This simple mailroom automation enables businesses to incorporate all the data received into the system. Any new information generated from the data – regardless of how recently it was obtained – is utilized to inform the actions and goals of the teams and the whole business at large.
Invoice and form automation
OCR allows you to scan paper invoices and convert them into readable electronic documents that can be incorporated into the system in place and utilized.
The scanned invoices are automatically validated for data accuracy and proper categorization. The invoices can then be forwarded to the financial systems in place for a more streamlined accounting and financial management.
Form automation works similarly. Hardcopy paper forms are scanned and converted into editable electronic forms that can be easily incorporated into the system. After conversion, data validation is done automatically.
Then, the digital forms and the necessary attachments that come with it like images and charts are exported into the document management systems of the business. Once the input has been recorded in the system, it becomes easier to track, store and extract the same document when required.
Ease of information retrieval
There are many benefits associated with Optical Character Recognition. However, the main benefit is the ability that it gives you that allows you to convert paper documents into searchable PDF formats.
The searchable PDF files are not any different from the normal PDF file. The only difference is that searchable PDF files include an overlay of searchable texts. This allows you to search the files using a keyword or phrase for easy retrieval.
Of course, with quick access to information, the business operations improve and consequently, customer satisfaction.
Securing business data
The other way that businesses use OCR today is to secure their business data. Today’s business environment is highly reliant on data.
Every piece of information affecting business operations has to be captured and stored. Old data storage formats that mainly involve the use of hardcopy files and paperwork are risky for businesses.
They are easily exposed to disasters and unauthorized access. If a file is lost or destroyed, they can never be recovered, and all the important data stored in them disappear for good.
OCR eliminates this risk. By analyzing, scanning and storing your business data in a digital format, you keep them safe.
Cloud storage provides safe storage space for all the files you might need. It is also possible to limit access to files via the cloud, thanks to the various security features available.
In the event of a disaster, it is easier to restore and recover all the business files if they were stored in an electronic format.
It is even easier if they are stored in cloud servers. This helps restore the continuity of your business, getting you back on your feet within a short time after a calamity.
Thousands of businesses and organizations all over the world rely on OCR technology to convert their files into electronic formats for easier and more efficient data processing.
More advanced OCR methods come with advanced features like color recognition and 3-D image correction, making it possible to handle images of low resolution.
There is no doubt that any business looking to streamline their operations by creating a more efficient data handling system needs to invest in OCR technology.