Data collection is taking on an increasingly important role in the day-to-day operations of a business. Data helps to predict trends, learn about the market, understand consumers or make important decisions. Above all, the quality of the data captured plays an important role. Find out exactly what the term data capture means, what challenges there are in capturing data and what you should consider as best practices in the following article.
Data capture means that certain data is recorded or measured and stored as records, usually on a mobile device or computer. Analog data can also be collected, recorded, and measured. For example, there is copy and paste, data cleansing, data extraction, document capture, image data accumulation, Excel data, off and online data capture, product data, invoice capture, or XML data capture.
Different areas of data capture
Are you wondering what the different areas in data collection mean? Here you will find an overview:
The copy and paste process
Copy-paste data capture is suitable for address data, phone numbers, or similar. You can have the relevant data transferred from one format to another for safe storage. For example, the data is copied from an MS Word document to an Excel spreadsheet.
Data cleansing involves many different tasks. For example, have the data classified, modified, or organized. The goal is to make the data sets manageable. Deleting duplicate records can also be useful for this. Some data needs to be updated, invalid data needs to be identified, and certain information should be standardized.
Data extraction can be done from the Internet, from databases, Word, or PDF files. Metadata on selected products, or markets, can be extracted, and information on trends and developments can be recorded.
Have documents that have not yet been digitally captured transferred. Often these are files, response cards, or entire libraries.
Image data collections
Capturing image data requires some expertise, as images must be extracted, sorted, stored, indexed, and cataloged.
Most companies have Excel data that is constantly administered and updated.
Off- and online data acquisition
Offline data capture deals with capturing and storing all data that is not available online into digital storage systems. Thus, this task is similar to document capture. On the other hand, online data capture deals with data that is available online, such as image archives, digital directories, or study results.
Does your company have different products? The data of these products must also be recorded and processed uniformly.
The correct capture of invoices is crucial for their further processing in the form of document data verification and audit-proof transfer to a company’s finance department.
XML data capture
XML data capture involves capturing files in an XML-compatible format. XML data is required for a platform-independent exchange of data between computers. This computer language is used to represent data in text form.
Data capture challenges
The data capture work process comes with some challenges. It is very time-consuming, can cost a lot of overwhelming employees due to its high complexity. Unreliable data entry staff can lose or damage records in the worst-case scenario.
However, many of these factors can be avoided with a few best practices.
Best practices in data capture
Plan the data capture process so there are no misunderstandings. Provide clear instructions to the responsible employee.
Clear work instructions
Especially with complex data, a clear and understandable way of working is important. Make sure that the employee has understood the task to your satisfaction and can implement it.
Check initial results
To keep an eye on the data entry quality, you should ask to see the first work results after just a few hours. In this way, you can prevent the employee from working incorrectly over a longer period of time.
Create a log of how sensitive data is handled. Educate your employees about the importance of data and its security.
Save time and costs
You can save time and money by relying on an experienced outsourcing partner for data collection.
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If you would like to learn even more about the topic of data entry, you will find a detailed explanation of this area of work as well as a detailed description of offline data entry in our blog.