Document Capture is the Onramp to Analytics

By Don Dew posted 12-03-2013 10:56


In today’s big data economy, it is widely held that companies that invest in and leverage information outperform those that don’t.  Those that have adopted a data-driven culture are seeking better ways to access and capture key information to help continually improve their analytic capabilities. These processes not only help companies make better and quicker decisions, but also drive increased efficiency for customer service and relations, as well as improve compliance, governance and records management.

As a result, accessing and organizing data is a huge priority for organizations. Fortunately data that originates electronically is abundant; but for data that originates on paper, getting access to that information is trickier. And paper is often the lowest common denominator of exchange between two entities.

Two technologies that are critical enablers of capturing data off of paper and speeding the time to process information are OCRand ICR.  OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is commonly used to convert different types of typed documents, such as scanned paper documents, PDF files or images captured by a digital camera, into editable and searchable data. ICR (Intelligent Character Recognition) has more nuanced definitions, but in most industry vernacular is used generically to refer to the recognition of handwriting, ranging anywhere from block-print to cursive.  Adjacent technologies can even capture signaturesthat need to be compared and validated.

To utilize OCR and ICR technologies, most organizations rely on a deeper capture application, often referred to as IDR (Intelligent Document Recognition). IDR is the business rules and workflow engine around OCR and ICR that provides needed context about a document (identification, classification, separation), and invokes the appropriate OCR or ICR technology to process a job. This type of data capture and analysis software is used for a variety of purposes, such as transactions, business intelligence, applications, claim forms and customer support. 

Document recognition technologies such as OCR and ICR can automatically extract information that is essential to business intelligence and strategy. This information can be used to identify trends and respond faster to market shifts. In addition, these technologies speed up the process of getting information off of paper, which in turn lowers costs, supports better customer service, as well as improves archival and governance processes.

By collecting and analyzing data in near real-time, companies can speed up their receivables processes. In addition, by economically extracting more information from the document than ever before, organizations can develop a more meaningful picture around customers and transaction intelligence, enabling them to make better decisions. Data collected can also be combined with outside data sources to give companies a more holistic picture of their customer base. By introducing the capacity to ‘read more types of data’ from paper, companies can be open to trends that become evident very quickly in terms of customers’ ability to pay the full amount, pay on time, as well as on personal information that may assist with decision-making. This key information can further enhance and optimize customer relationship and intelligence.

Advanced  OCR/ICR technologies  can also help extract more key information that allows companies to make better decisions, whether it’s adjusting a product offering or maintaining  a piece of equipment.  Companies may already have access to some of this information, but having a faster and more efficient system can help them turn that information into meaningful and useful data that not only drives customer engagement but also the bottom line.

Don Dew is Director of Marketing for Parascript, a leading recognition solutions provider, online at

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