Paper documentation remains very much in vogue as a preferred method of information collection, amongst government and industry. In fact, certain sectors such as healthcare, legal, insurance, banking, real estate, and logistics extensively use paper documents for processing their valuable business information because of compliance, or internal procedure requirements. This documentation can take the form of several formats such as fax, forms, questionnaires, surveys, records, invoices, data sheets, and others.
It is imperative that companies manage their bulk document processing daily to efficiently index, store, retrieve, and manage information. On an average, a single lost document can cost a company $120 in terms of labor required to retrieve it and 25 hours in terms of time required to recreate it. With an average of 2-5% of files being lost on a single day, the resulting financial costs for a business can be quite high.
Many businesses are turning towards digitization of documents as a way of managing their information and reducing their dependence on paper. Digitization is the process of conversion of information in paper and other data forms into a digital form that enables easy indexing, storage and retrieval.
The processing of paper documents offers a specific challenge to companies in their attempts at digitization. Carrying out manual data entry, a task in digitization, for instance, could be especially time consuming as businesses experience difficulties in finding suitable competent manpower. This is further compounded by the huge document backlog, slow and inefficient data entry staff, excess time devoted to non-core manual tasks and limited knowledge of automation technology and disaster recovery.
Today, technological advancements and offshoring options allow for faster and more accurate paper document processing of large volumes of documents. Thus, managing a non-core data entry process efficiently will continue to remain a significant area of concern for businesses. Companies can leverage the benefits obtained by choosing from existing options that help mitigate risks, improve efficiencies, and reduce costs. These options include:
1. Implementing Robust In-house Data Entry Management System: Establishing an in-house data entry management system, on the surface, appears to be an easy solution to the question of managing large data volumes. In reality, a successful and effective in-house data entry system requires considerable investment of time, resources, selection of skilled personnel, technological implementation, as well as maintenance of infrastructure.
- Ensures complete control over the whole data management process
- Guarantees data confidentiality and security
- Implementation of latest technology such as document process automation, allows processing of bulk volumes of documents with seamless integration into the current workflow
- Excessive diversion of resources into carrying out data entry tasks, leading to a loss of focus from the primary business goals
- Huge costs accrued owing to resource management which includes hiring and training of man power
- Additional excess spending on account of infrastructure maintenance inclusive of technology and real estate
- High attrition rates owing to work related burn-out
2. Hiring Freelancers: Another option for managing large volumes of documents is by hiring freelance data entry workers to execute the data entry from documents. Many websites such as upwork.com and peopleperhour.com provide easy ways to recruit freelancers.
- Savings on the costs of hiring and training dedicated full-time data entry personnel
- Ability to customize data entry processes
- Immediate and short-term solutions for managing low volumes of data entry tasks
- Difficulties in coordination of high volume data entry tasks by different freelance data entry operators
- Difficulties in ensuring and maintaining quality of data entry and consistency
- Challenges in communication as well as in ensuring smooth work flow owing to laxity of freelance operators in adherence to deadlines
- Security and confidentiality issues
- Successful only if there is a strong system in place to ensure proper coordination
3. Outsourcing Data Entry Services: Many businesses are turning towards outsourcing as a solution for managing their document data entry requirements. By collaborating with an experienced data entry outsourcing service provider they can concentrate on their core functions and deliver on their mission-critical business objectives.
- Substantial efficiency achieved in processing bulk volumes of documents
- Scalability of services as per the requirements of the company thus providing flexibility
- Significant cost reductions as companies save on hiring and training manpower and implementing appropriate technology; reduces business overheads
- Round the clock availability of skilled and experienced manpower and updated technology minimizes risks
- Highly accurate data entry with minimal error
- Guaranteed data confidentiality and security as the outsourcing service provider ensures compliance with standard security and data confidentiality guidelines
- Provides time-zone advantage thus enhancing business competitiveness
- Achieves savings of over 40%
- Less control over outsourced operations and deliverables
- Obstacles arising from expectation mismatch
- Hindrances to smooth operation posed by cultural and communication barriers
In conclusion, there are many options available to a business, when it comes to selecting an efficient way of managing document data entry in large volumes. The selection of a competent and efficient data entry service company, for managing data entry, ranks high as a strategy that will go a long way in improving business process efficiency by focusing on achieving core business goals.