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Cutting labour without outsourcing

An industry report finds new areas to cut down on data entry labour costs without outsourcing

Every day, business’s key entry workforce is collectively responsible for indexing or converting over one billion pages of paper-based information into computer-usable data, which they accomplish with consistently high accuracy and rapid throughput.

This according to a new industry report on Intelligent Word Recognition (IWR), sponsored by A2iA and authored by Arthur Gingrande, Jr. of Imerge Consulting.

A2iA is a developer of handwriting and print recognition engines.

The report goes on to reveal that over the past five years, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, there has been a dramatic decline in the number of professional key operators in the United States. This can likely be attributed to two different factors: (1) the growing tendency to outsource data entry tasks offshore; and (2) the mainstream adoption of forms-centric, character recognition software that automates data entry.

While ICR has become fairly mainstream for automating data extraction from paper documents, IWR is more evolved than handprint ICR because of its ability to recognize data at the word or “field” level – either constrained (machine print, handprinted capitals) or unconstrained (freeform handprint, cursive) from virtually any type of document. This powerful IWR technology lies at the heart of all A2iA’s recognition software products, said Gingrande, who is an expert on character recognition, electronic forms, automated forms processing and mail classification.

The Imerge report goes on to explain IWR technology and how it differs from Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR), enumerates the data entry applications best-suited for IWR implementation and describes its benefits, he said.

Gingrande used the A2iA FieldReader to illustrate why IWR is the key to unlocking valuable handprinted and cursive handwritten information on forms and documents, while reducing costs and keeping information processing in-house.

The FieldReader product, according to A2iA, automatically reads characters and entire words from fields within documents including: constrained and unconstrained cursive handwriting, handprint and machine print. A2iA uses IWR technology to reduce the number of character errors and correction costs encountered in forms processing applications. The technology aims to offer greater accuracy and thus is a more cost effective than offshore outsourcing.