Data Capture: Definition, Process, Methods and Benefits

Juhi Dubey
Juhi Dubey at March 03, 2023

Data Capture

An effective electronic data capture strategy is essential to your business success, and in an ever-changing marketplace, organizations are now looking for proven ways to capture their data. Paper scanning is the first step in the process and has several business advantages. However, gathering information from the documentation is the best value proposition.

Data capture is a technique of gathering information from documents and transforming it into data that a computer can understand. So it is considered one of the significant stages of digitization, and when done right, employees can store, organize, search, and retrieve documents in record time.

Initially, data was collected manually by employees, a time-consuming process that resulted in employee frustration and lost productivity. This process can now be fully automated, eliminating costly process steps and improving productivity, information accuracy, customer and employee satisfaction, and governance/compliance. This post defines data collection, reviews methods, and explains why automation is so important.

What is Data Capture?

Data capture is the processing of extracting information or data from any variety of structured or unstructured documents (paper or electronic) and converting it into a machine-readable digital format. Technological advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have taken data collection to a new level. A typical application example for data collection is a hospital pharmacy. Data collection technology is operated to extract data on billable drugs and medical devices and automatically calculate inventories of those related items to ensure a smooth flow of information in inventory administration.

Data Capture Process

For most companies, the data-capturing process starts with an individual filling out a form. Digitizing the collected information makes it easier to access the data. Data capture forms are prepared with designated fields or boxes. This facilitates accurate data extraction, low disk space consumption, quick validation, and reduced search time for information in the database. 

Data capture can also be done by using a variety of methods or tools. Organizations can use tools compatible with data collection, orchestrate workflows, and allow the immediate transfer of data to selected destinations. These instruments make the debt collection method straightforward, authentic, quick, transparent, and useful.

Methods of Data Capture

Data capture has operated in one form or another for decades. The data capture methods used will depend on the kind of businesses and the information needed. Capturing data from documents, emails, PDF files, etc is possible with the right technology. Accordingly, we take a closer glance at the different methods used to collect data today.

  • Manual Data Capture: This technique uses manual keying of needed data from written documents into a computer for digitized access. It is appropriate for corporations where the volume of information is low and inconsistent. Manual data capture relies on human labor making it susceptible to mistakes or data omissions, the reason why automated data capture technology is evolving as an excellent solution.
  • Automated Data Capture: Automated data Capture keeps your business running smoothly by not just coordinating your data while reducing costs and labor inefficiencies. Various forms of data Capture are available to meet different business needs. The types are explained in the segment below.
    • OCR: Optical Character Recognition technology recognizes machine-generated characters and typefaces to extract text from scanned documents, PDF files, etc for editing. OCR stands commonly in healthcare, insurance, and finance, where large amounts of data of a similar nature exist. 
    • ICR: Intelligent Character Recognition is the next generation of OCR technology. It is designed to read handwriting in any font from forms and convert it into meaningful data for further use. Banks and financial institutions adopt ICR technology solutions in their business.
    • IDR: Intelligent Document Recognition combines AI technologies such as natural language processing (NLP), OCR, and computer vision to recognize patterns, index them on content type, and verify them against lookup tables for accuracy. IDR is accustomed especially to conditions or invoice processing, client assistance relations, mailrooms, etc.
  • Barcodes and QR codes: Barcode technology includes encrypted details such as 1D barcodes that are read utilizing a barcode scanner. The technology is precise and is used in workshops to track inventory and employee logs, in hospitals to check patient records and to print bank passes. Quick Response (QR) codes, also known as 2D barcodes, are more complex. Useful for capturing documents, web pages, etc different types of objectives. QR codes are primarily used in shop establishments, courier services, advertising, product packaging, etc.
  • OMR: The Optical Mark Reading technology is an electronic data capture technique that determines human-filled data such as shaded domains or checkboxes in a record. Its increased accuracy makes it an excellent device for use in survey documents, ballots, or objective-type tests.
  • Digital forms: This approach enables data capture via the net or a portable application. It is customizable and eliminates the need for paper-based records. Data done online can also be easily integrated with backend systems for security and immediate access.
  • Digital Signatures: Digital Signatures are Considered similar to handwritten signatures. Digital signatures are accustomed to authorize acceptance and permissions in computerized messages or documents. They are lawful, tamper-proof, and deliver heightened protection against impersonation.
  • Web Scraping: This type of data collection utilizes mechanisms, web bots, or web crawlers to search and collect specific data on the World Wide Web and send it to relevant databases for benefit. Web scraping can accumulate changing data such as news updates, policy or price changes, foreign exchange, weather, stock market, etc.
  • Magnetic Stripe Cards: Magnetic Stripe cards possess data encoded through a magnetic strip that is decoded by a reader and are quite safe and used in credit/ debit cards, ID cards, entrance cards in motel spaces, and transportation cards.
  • MICR: Magnetic Ink Character Recognition identifies data encoded in magnetic ink-printed engine surfaces utilizing a MICR reader. Banks use this highly authentic technology to process and vacate cheques fast for payments.
  • Smart Cards: Used for identification objectives, smart cards store encrypted information on a microprocessor chip for added protection. Communities utilize smart cards for worker identification and chip-based smart debit cards allow protected financial transactions.
  • Voice Capture: This kind of data capturing employs speech distinction technology to process data. It is programmed to comprehend and analyze words or expressed management and can be utilized for voice-based access, placing reminders, setting weather or music recommendations, etc. Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, and Apple Siri are definitive illustrations of representative capture technology.
  • Video/ Image Capture: Image or video capture operates AI technology to recognize and extract correct data regarding people. Reasonable for real-time examination of information, it discovers extensive applications in workplace safety, database matching, security scanning at airports, biometric designation, and theft deterrence.

Why Use Automated Data Capture?

Automated data collection helps organizations reduce their reliance on people and facilitate the smooth running of business processes. Data capture technology makes data readily available for any document workflow while reducing costs and manpower. AI technology has dramatically improved how data is sourced and processed. It mimics human intelligence to perform cognitive data collection accurately and quickly. Making content available in the right place at the right time is ideal for businesses to react more quickly to their customers/clients and improve service efficiency.

Advantages of Using Automated Data Capture

Automated data collection allows businesses to keep data flowing smoothly and keep track of their business. Let's take a look at some of the key benefits that automated data collection can offer to enhance corporation efficiency. 

  • Reduce the incidence of errors: Automated data collection scores points over manual data collection by eliminating the risk of error. Less human effort means more accurate data and near zero cost to correct errors. Data extraction evolves more comfortably and more efficiently.
  • Improved employee satisfaction: Manual data collection can be slow and tedious and can be labor intensive. This can lead to lower productivity and lower morale. Automated data collection technology reduces workload and monotony so you can focus on other important tasks. It also makes people happier when they accomplish more, leading to increased productivity and employee satisfaction.
  • Reduces operational costs: Operational costs appear in every corporation and possesses stock, rent, payroll, etc. Maintaining this information manually is not only prone to human mistakes, but also cost-prohibitive. Automatic data collection reduces additional costs and leaves no room for error by automatically updating data as needed.
  • Improved security and data storage: Paper documents can become corrupted and take up space when physically stored in files and folders. Confidential papers and records should also be kept separate to limit access. Data Capture removes all of these limitations. Encryption protects data from unauthorized access, reduces storage space used, and backups prevent data loss.
  • Centralized access: Many businesses require data in a centralized location. This is nearly impossible with manual data. Achieving this requires continued investment in resources. Automated data capture provides centralized access with cloud storage as a one-stop solution. Therefore, different people/departments with permissions can get the data they need to complete business transactions without delay.
  • 24/7 Availability: Companies with global operations need to ensure availability to their customers across time zones. Likewise, There are enterprises such as healthcare, hospitality, and delivery that require data at their fingertips to provide business efficiency. AI-powered automated data capture can help such companies make data available outside of work hours without geographic restrictions.
  • Better customer service: Perfect data collection ensures the highest quality data, allowing you to understand your customers and their needs. Businesses can generate better revenue while offering better deals, attracting more customers, delivering greater customer satisfaction, and providing adequate income.
  • Adequate decision-making: Data capture can help decision-making to a significant degree. Appreciation of the various forms of data capture available, corporations can gather more recent information to execute detailed data research to guarantee faster and more good decision-making.


Data is the company's goldmine. Data capture has developed into a crucial mechanism for driving organizations toward enhanced functions and efficiency. The tomorrow of competent data capture is with the integration of progressive cognitive technologies such as AI and ML. The more artificial intelligence abilities contained better quality of data extracted is nearly superb.Integration of advanced cognitive technologies such as AI and ML is the tomorrow of cognitive data capture. The additional artificial intelligence capacities that are integrated, the higher the rate of data retrieved.It is appropriate to say that automated data capture technologies have changed associations today!

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