Data Capture 101: Everything You Need To Know

Data Capture 101: Everything You Need To Know

(Last Updated On: November 27, 2023)

If you’re running a business that requires you to handle large volumes of documents in a limited amount of time—then data capture can reduce your burden. It can facilitate smooth operations and prevent data overload that could otherwise hinder productivity.

What is Data Capture?

Data capture refers to the process of extracting and converting information from both physical (paper) or digital (electronic) sources—into a format that can be interpreted by a computer.

In a business setting, data capture enables the conversion of information into digital formats. This would mean two things:

  1. Searchable Data: You can simply search and access data with the help of keywords.
  2. Informed Decision Making: Businesses can analyze it  effectively,  and  identify trends, patterns, and insights for strategic planning.

Automated Data capture, can reduce your business’ manual effort, and allow your employees to focus on higher-value tasks.


Want to Get Rid of Time-Consuming Data Entry Tasks? 

Let KlearStack automate, freeing your team for valuable tasks.Schedule a free demo session today!

Here’s an example of data capture:

Consider a retail company that receives a large number of customer feedback forms filled out manually by customers in their stores. To convert this data into a usable digital format, the company employs data capture techniques.

Resultantly, the retail company saw a  15% increase in customer satisfaction  and a 20% decrease in product return rates. This improvement was primarily driven by the company’s data capture ability to  identify customer needs and preferences.

Process of Data Capture

Identifying Valuable Information

The data capture process starts by identifying where valuable information is located, whether it’s in physical documents, digital forms, or even emails within your organization.

In a business setting—this process is referred to as manual data capture. It involves a human intervention to recognize the locations or types of data and manually recording it in digital format. However, unlike the former, the data capture solutions take over to extract, validate, and manage the information efficiently.

For instance, a marketing team might focus on extracting valuable customer insights from email communication. This may include customer inquiries, feedback, or subscription preferences, stored in the company’s email management system.

Using Tools to Extract Data

Once you’ve identified these sources, you can use tools like Optical Character Recognition (OCR) or specialized scanning devices to extract the data. After that, the system automatically checks and corrects any errors, ensuring the information is accurate.

Converting Into a Readable Format

The data is then converted into a format that works seamlessly with your existing systems, making it easy to access and analyze. This organized approach not only saves time and reduces manual effort but also provides valuable insights to guide your business decisions effectively.

Methods of Data Capture

Manual Data Entry

This method requires human intervention to read the data and manually enter it into the system using keyboards or data entry forms.

While this method allows for careful scrutiny and correction of data during the entry process, it is time-consuming and prone to human error. It often requires significant human resources and can be inefficient for handling large volumes of data.

Automated Data Extraction

Automated data extraction utilizes advanced software tools, such as Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology, Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR), and Intelligent Document Recognition (IDR) to automatically extract data from scanned documents, images, or digital files.

  • OCR technology converts scanned documents or images into machine-readable text, which can then be processed and stored in a digital format. This method significantly reduces the need for manual data entry, leading to increased efficiency, reduced errors, and faster data processing. Automated data extraction is especially beneficial for handling large volumes of data and streamlining data capture processes within organizations.
  • Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR) is an advanced form of OCR that goes beyond printed text and includes the recognition and interpretation of handwritten characters. It utilizes sophisticated algorithms to recognize and convert handwritten text into digital format, allowing for the extraction of information from handwritten documents or forms. ICR is valuable in situations where data is recorded manually, such as in handwritten forms or documents, and enables automated processing of handwritten data, reducing the need for manual transcription.
  • IDR (Intelligent Document Recognition) is a comprehensive document processing technology that combines elements of OCR and ICR to handle complex document formats, such as invoices, contracts, or forms. It involves the automatic identification, classification, and extraction of data from various document types, including both printed and handwritten content. IDR systems are designed to intelligently interpret and process different document layouts, structures, and formats, enabling efficient data capture and extraction from diverse document sources.

Want to Get Rid of Time-Consuming Data Entry Tasks? 

Let KlearStack automate, freeing your team for valuable tasks.Schedule a free demo session today!

Barcode Scanning

Involves the use of barcode readers or scanners to capture data encoded in barcodes, commonly used for tracking products, inventory management, and document processing.

Voice Recognition

Enables the capture of data through spoken commands or dictation, where the software converts the spoken words into textual data.

Web Data Capture

Involves extracting relevant data from online sources using  data capture technology to gather information for analysis or other purposes.

Mobile Data Capture

Utilizes mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets, to capture data through mobile forms, applications, or specialized data capture tools, enabling data collection in real-time from various locations.

Why Use Automated Data Capture?

Automated data capture is valuable for businesses like yours because it allows you to focus on more critical tasks that require your attention.

By minimizing errors and ensuring data accuracy, it helps you make informed decisions based on reliable information. It’s a cost-effective solution that scales with your business growth, enabling you to handle increasing data volumes efficiently.

With automated data capture, you can seamlessly integrate and analyze your data, gaining valuable insights to drive your business forward.

Advantages of Using Automated Data Capture

Effortless Data Handling

Data capture simplifies your data management. It makes it easy to find and work with information, ensuring you can manage your data efficiently.

Informed Decision-Making

With data capture, you have access to accurate insights and trends. This helps you make informed decisions that can improve your work and personal life.

Time Savings

Automated data capture reduces manual work, giving you time for tasks you care about.

Data Security and Privacy

Your data is kept secure, safeguarding your sensitive information, and ensuring it’s handled in compliance with privacy regulations.

Smoother Operations

Data capture simplifies processes, making your work more straightforward, enhancing your interactions, and ensuring that your tasks are completed efficiently.

Want to Get Rid of Time-Consuming Data Entry Tasks? 

Let KlearStack automate, freeing your team for valuable tasks.Schedule a free demo session today!

FAQs on Data Capture

What do you mean by data capture?

Data capture involves converting information from physical or digital sources into a machine-readable format. This enables its storage, management, and analysis within a computer system, enhancing accessibility and efficiency for businesses.

What are examples of a data capture?

Examples include extracting data from physical documents, digital forms, emails, or other sources. It uses methods such as OCR, barcode scanning, voice recognition, and mobile data capture, to facilitate the conversion of diverse information into digital formats.

What is data capture services?

Data capture services refer to outsourced solutions that assist businesses in efficiently converting and managing their data from various sources. These services often include automated data extraction, validation, and transformation, ensuring accurate and accessible data for organizational needs and analysis.

What is the data capture strategy?

The data capture strategy involves a systematic plan for identifying, extracting, validating, and integrating data from diverse sources into a digital format. It aims to streamline the data capture process through tools like OCR, ICR, and automated extraction, enhancing data accuracy, accessibility, and overall operational efficiency.

Ashutosh Saitwal
Ashutosh Saitwal

Ashutosh is the founder and director of the award winning KlearStack AI platform. You can catch him speaking at NASSCOM events around the world where he speaks and is an evangelist for RPA, AI, Machine Learning and Intelligent Document Processing.