Data entry has been around for a long time and is one of the oldest and most crucial tasks in any organization. Data entry has been an integral aspect of technology and business since its inception. Data entry is a time-consuming process when done manually, which is why data entry automation is gaining popularity in the big data field.
In this article, we will cover the benefits of data entry automation and the top data entry technologies available on the market.
What is data entry automation?
Data entry automation is also known as automated data capture is the process of collecting data automatically. It is used to automate repetitive tasks and boost productivity. Employees are frequently forced to perform manual data entry, resulting in extended hours of work. Smart solutions that automate the data entry process save time and money while increasing productivity.
Data entry automation can be used to handle many different types of data and applications. It can be used to enter information about customers, employees, products, and financial transactions among other things.
Gary Boomer, a thought leader in the accounting technology field believes that soon there will be little to no human input for most data entry
What is the process of data entry automation?
Before we get into how data entry automation works, let's take a look about the different types of data entry. Data entry automation can take different forms such as documents, forms or the web.
This refers to collecting data from any documents or emails. Examples could be PDF invoices for an e-commerce store or receiving Google alerts emails. Parseur and Nanonets are examples of data entry software which can help to automate the data entry process from documents.
Those types of data are usually collected for the purpose of a conducting a research or a survey to capture user information. The data can be analyzed through Google forms, Microsoft forms or many of the Form Builder Software available out there.
It's about automating the web browser operations and activities with zero manual intervention. Examples are web data extraction, automatic verification of broken links or web testing. Phantombuster and Puppeteer do a great job here in web browser automation.
Integrating applications APIs
Another type of data entry automation is exporting data automatically between different applications. For example, capturing leads' details from a real estate platform and sending them to a real estate CRM. Data entry automation tools which can be used here are Zapier and UiPath.
The data entry automation process of documents can be summarized in 5 simple steps.
- Uploading the documents: Documents (PDFs, images, scanned files) are received in raw data (unstructured data) and in different formats. The first step is to import those documents into the data entry automation software.
- Pre-processing: During this step, the document is converted into a machine-readable format. Several tools such as AI (artificial intelligence) or NLP (natural language processing) are used to read those documents. The data are then classified or categorized accordingly.
“AI automated solutions will replace manual data entry processes and eliminate errors.” - Deep Cognition, April 2022
- Data extraction or data parsing: Depending on the type of document received, they are processed through different data extraction methods such as OCR (optical character recognition), text extraction, or automatic image annotation. Here, the data extraction tool can be trained to extract specific information from those documents.
- Data validation: This is an optional step for organizations to check the data accuracy and validate the data before it is exported to other applications. An automated data entry tool can easily detect whether data has been altered or if there are duplications.
- Export extracted data: The data can then be downloaded or sent to any applications such as Google Sheets, ERP, or CRM tools. The output data is called structured data and is in the format of CSV, XML, and JSON.
Learn more about the differences between unstructured data, semi-structured data, and structured data.
Best data entry automation software in 2022
There are numerous data entry tools and applications available that can assist you in streamlining your organization and increasing employee productivity. Data entry automation tools usually make use of dynamic capabilities such as RPA (robotic process automation), AI, OCR and ML to eliminate manual data entry errors.
Below is some types of data entry automation software you may want to look into:
Parseur is a powerful data entry automation software and PDF parsing tool which helps to eliminate manual data entry processes. Parseur is a point-and-click solution with zero coding knowledge needed. The main features of Parseur include:
- Built-in library of templates for specific use cases such as food ordering, real estate, or Google Alerts
- Automatic layout detection
- Zonal and Dynamic OCR
- Seamless integration with Zapier, Make and Power automate.
“Data entry is quicker (instant!) and much more reliable. It's helped us coordinate information from different email sources into one spreadsheet with zero manual input from us.”
-Sean D., Cawdor Cars
Nanonets is an advanced data entry automation tool with AI and ML (machine learning) capabilities. The main engine behind Nanonets is OCR and it has different products adapted for specific use cases such as Invoice OCR, Passport OCR, or ID OCR.
Phantombuster is an all-in-one web scraping platform which automates the data extraction from social media platforms. You can do simple but helpful automation such as scraping data from LinkedIn profiles.
Puppeteer is a Node library which runs headless and provides high level API to streamline frontend development. With this data entry tool, you can test extensions on chrome or scrape data from web pages whenever someone clicks on your webpage.
Zapier is a no-code automation tool whereby you can send data from one application to another or more instantly. The tool is integrated with 4000+ applications and offers simple workflows.
UiPath is a global data entry solution developed to build and deploy automation across different businesses. UiPath offers countless features as an RPA software that helps to seamlessly build a robot to automate the processes. However, the tool can be pricey and you will need to understand basic programming in order to use it effectively.
Use cases of data entry automation
Whether you work in real estate, insurance, or another industry, data entry automation is critical to your success. Here are some examples of how automated data entry is currently assisting businesses.
As a real estate agency, you receive countless real estate leads from different platforms. The leads are generated via the website, real estate platforms like Trulia or Zillow, or third-party websites. The information received is valuable, but it comes in different formats which can be time-consuming to go through.
The real estate market is booming, and buyers want agents to respond quickly to their inquiries.
Manually going through buyer information and entering it into a real estate CRM solution is not an option in such a fast-paced environment. A data entry automation workflow saves time and expedites the closing of real estate deals.
“Automation can save a commercial real estate company from $6,000 to $1 million per year.” - Forbes, Jun 2020*
Close more real estate deals quicker with Parseur.
Bill of Lading
If you work in logistics, you're definitely familiar with how tedious it is to manually maintain shipping documents. Since the paperless bill of lading is becoming a game-changer, having a data entry software will help streamline the B/L processes.
Read more about how Parseur can help you automate your BoL workflows.
Manual invoice data entry requires time, and effort, and mistakes can occur especially during busy seasons (auditing, for example). Quality issues can be resolved by automating the invoice data entry process. It will improve reliability and helps you deliver a better accounting service to your customers. Furthermore, invoice reconciliation and financial reporting can be done quicker and more easily.
What are the benefits of data entry automation?
Undeniably, integrating a data entry automated software into your business will be advantageous. Let’s take a closer look at how it can be beneficial. According to the Deloitte Global RPA survey in 2018, companies have seen an increase of 90% accuracy and 92% of improved compliance.
One of the most important benefits of data entry automation is accuracy. Automation requires less human involvement with the system, therefore there will be fewer risks of errors in the data being entered. There is also a higher level of accuracy with automation because inaccuracies and discrepancies in data may be easily identified.
Data entry automation also saves time by reducing the amount of time required to complete data entry jobs. This means that staff members can focus on more important tasks and more meaningful work, instead of manually entering data for hours on end.
Data entry automation also improves efficiency by allowing businesses to deal with large amounts of data. With manual data entry methods, this would not be possible as it takes too long and would result in inaccuracies. Data entry automation allows businesses to process large amounts of data effectively, which allows them to gain a better understanding of their customers’ needs.
Reduce operational costs
Data entry automation reduces costs by eliminating the need for manual data entry, which saves both time and money. It also allows companies to hire fewer people and use their resources more effectively. A true end-to-end automation that was previously an expensive task to do.
All data entry automation tools are cloud-based which means that your data is consolidated in a secure environment. In addition to that, you will be able to choose which employees will have access to which data. Doing data entry on Excel spreadsheets or on a desktop computer means that data can be manipulated in an unsafe environment. The migration to cloud-based technology ensures that you have a backup of your data and that it is maintained safe and secure with no unauthorized access.
The future of data entry automation
Data is at the heart of any business, and companies rely on it significantly to better understand their consumers' behavior and make strategic decisions. At this point, recording the incorrect data could result in poor data analysis.