What Is Data Capture and Why It Is Important?

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Written By Haisam Abdel Malak

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An effective electronic data capture strategy is critical to your company’s success, and in a continuously changing market, businesses are now looking for proven ways to gather data. Scanning papers is the initial stage in the process and provides several business benefits; however, collecting information from the document is the most valuable value proposition.

Data capture is the process of collecting and storing information from various sources like forms and surveys. It enables businesses to gain valuable insights and make informed decisions. With digital advancements, data capture has become more efficient and accessible, allowing businesses to collect vast amounts of real-time data.

Initially, data was captured manually by employees, which is a time-consuming process that resulted in employee dissatisfaction, loss of productivity, and so on.

This procedure may now be entirely automated, removing costly process stages and resulting in higher productivity, information accuracy, customer and staff happiness, and greater governance/compliance.

In this post, we’ll define data capture, go over the methods, and talk about why automation is so important.

document capture
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Data Capture Definition

Data capturing is the process of extracting information from a document and converting it to a computer-readable data format for later processing. A form completed in the admission office when you visit the hospital is an example of a data capture form.

The information you fill out on the documents, whether digital or paper, such as your name, ID number, address, and so on, will be extracted for later processing and insights.

The main purpose of data capturing is to be able to transform information from all sources into a format that computers can understand. The data gathered will reveal insights into how your organization is doing and how to improve through enhancing efficiency.

It may improve business operations by automating the extraction, categorization, and validation of pertinent data, allowing for quicker and more effective information retrieval.

Several technology developments, particularly cognitive technologies such as AI and ML, have increased the relevance of information capture automation.

Organizations wanting to improve the findability of their content should make the most of their document metadata, and by automating the capture and indexing of this information, businesses will see a significant ROI, as we shall describe below.

Furthermore, accurate automatic data capture will assist streamline automated business processes and enable more efficient business decisions.

Data capture may be accomplished using a variety of ways or technologies. Businesses may utilize suitable automatic data capture technologies to manage workflows and transmit data quickly to necessary destinations. These technologies make data collecting easy, accurate, rapid, transparent, and efficient.

Document scanners, barcode scanners, smart card readers, and signature capture pads are exampled for capture devices that organizations might utilize in combination to capture all the information needed to help make more informed decisions.

Check the below article for information about digital data capture best practices

Data Capture Best Practices That Will Save You Time (theecmconsultant.com)

Data Capture Methods

The growth of information technology has resulted in the majority of data becoming digital, such as document files, pdfs, electronic forms, emails, videos, and so on. However, a substantial quantity of data is still created manually, such as filled paper papers, letters, and work certificates.

The two main types of data capture are manual and automated. Manual data capture involves manual input of information from physical forms into computer systems. Automated data capture uses software tools to extract data from digital sources.

Advanced technologies such as OCR, bar codes, digital signatures, intelligent document processing, and so on are used in automated methods.

In order to do this, businesses need to employ a variety of ways of information capture. Businesses must explicitly identify the best practices and techniques to be utilized based on the kind of content.

Because not all information is created equal, you may need to employ a range of digital data capture methods.

The data collection process can be separated into two parts depending on the technique for information capture:

1- Manual Data Capture

The manual data capture process is a human-centric technique of obtaining and manually inputting information utilizing various mediums such as keyboards, touch displays, and mice.

This approach is labor-intensive, time-consuming, and mistake-prone, and it is only appropriate for organizations with a small and changeable amount of data.

As a result, many businesses are increasingly promoting automated capture of information solutions to reduce manual data entry and increase data accuracy.

manual data entry
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2- Automated Data Capture

Data capture has progressed dramatically from paper to automatic data capture technologies such as Optical Character Recognition, Robotic Process Automation, and so on.

Modern technology enables the capture of information to be rapid, accurate, and dependable.

Through the use of advanced data entry solutions to collect information from handwritten documents, data forms, invoices, emails, quotes, and other sources, automated data capture minimizes or in some cases eliminates the need for manual data input.

This process is completed with more precision, at a lower cost, and at a faster rate than any human operator. However, automated data capture solutions may not be feasible or cost-effective for organizations that do not have a large amount of data to work with or are trying to minimize expenses

This approach has a high starting cost due to the initial investment necessary, such as the acquisition of technology, but as the work proceeds, it is discovered to considerably decrease the operational expenses due to the minimal labor demand.

There are several methods of digital data capture available to meet the needs of various enterprises, the categories of which are listed below.

3- Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

OCR is a technique that converts scanned or photographed pictures of machine-printed characters into electronic data for processing. It is most commonly used in business to capture documents that are frequently received in large numbers since this gives the highest return on investment.

Optical character recognition is one of the most widely utilized data entry methods and is considered an important part of the document indexing procedure. It is the process of digitizing and recognizing written or typed content, and it is essential in turning printed documents into digital text files.

4- Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR)

Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR) is the next-generation technology of OCR that scans documents with handwritten text, recognizes data from complicated handwriting styles, and converts it to a digital format.

Most banks and other financial institutions use ICR technology to run their businesses.

The integration of an AI-based self-learning system known as a neural network provides the power. When a new document is imported, it begins learning the pattern of the script, font size, and style and saves it as a reference.

Using intelligent data capture, a computer system may learn to recognize letters based on their shapes. The matching characters are translated straight into machine-readable form.

Human intervention is required to transform unknown or dubious characters into proper ones.

5- Optical Mark Reading (OMR)

OMR is the scanning of paper to detect the presence or absence of a mark in a predetermined position. It is used to extract data from documents such as forms and surveys that have been hand-written.

It is the quickest and most precise data-collecting technology. It is also pretty simple to use. This technology recognizes the presence of a mark rather than its form.

OMR can input data faster than 30 keyboard clerks operating at the same time.

6- Barcodes and QR codes

The encrypted information is stored as 1D barcodes in barcode technology, which is read by a barcode scanner.

This is one of the most recent technologies utilized to collect information. QR Codes are image-based hypertext links that may be accessed offline.

This means that any URL may be readily encoded into a QR Code, and any webpage can be accessed instantly as a result of scanning the barcodes.

They make it easier to gather information since they can be scanned with a smartphone or other device. They also save a lot of time.

7- Digital forms

This approach allows for data gathering via the web or a mobile application. It is adaptable and removes the need for paper forms.

8- Intelligent Document Processing (IDP)

Intelligent document processing is the next generation of automation, capable of capturing, extracting, and processing data from a wide range of document formats and provides lots of benefits.

It employs artificial intelligence (AI) technologies like as natural language processing (NLP), computer vision, deep learning, and machine learning to classify, categorize, and extract important information, as well as validate the extracted data.

7 Best Intelligent Document Processing Systems of 2022 (theecmconsultant.com)

9- Digital Signatures

Digital signatures, which are equivalent to wet signatures, are used to authorize approvals and permissions in electronic messages or documents. They are lawful, tamper-proof, and very secure against impersonation.

Check out this full in-depth article covering the difference between different types of signatures.

What is Wet Signature? (examples, differences) (theecmconsultant.com)

10- Web Scraping

Web scraping is a type of data scraping that is used to capture data from websites. Using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol or a web browser, the web scraping program may immediately access the World Wide Web.

While web scraping may be done manually by a software user, the phrase usually refers to automated procedures carried out with the help of a bot or web crawler.

It is a type of copying in which specific data from the web is acquired and duplicated, often into a central local database or spreadsheet for subsequent retrieval or analysis. gathered and copied from the web, typically into a central local database or spreadsheet, for later retrieval or analysis.

Advantages Of Automated Capturing

Organizations may utilize automated data capture to optimize data flow and ensure that critical information is captured, categorized, and accessible when needed and set them on the road to the paperless office initiative.

Let’s take a look at the top benefits that automated information extraction may provide for your organization.

Reduces Operational Costs

Manual data entry is inefficient due to the high mistake rate.

You may decrease the number of mistakes during the capture step by using an automated method. It is also simpler to cross-reference and check data.

Spending less time correcting data mistakes saves both time and money.

Improves Employee Satisfaction

Manual data gathering may be time-consuming and boring, putting a strain on human effort. This might have a negative impact on production and morale.

Automating manual repetitious activities, particularly data entry, allows individuals to spend more time focused on more essential tasks that advance their skill set.

People are also more motivated to achieve more, which leads to increased productivity and employee happiness.

Reduces Errors

In most situations, automating data gathering will reduce or eliminate mistakes associated with human data entry.

Fewer mistakes imply higher data extraction quality, which makes it simpler to identify, organize, and send to the appropriate audience at the right time.


Data is the enterprise’s gold mine. Data capture has evolved into a critical tool for driving organizations toward improved operations and efficiency.

The future of intelligent data capture is with the integration of advanced cognitive technologies such as AI and ML. The more artificial intelligence capabilities included the more the quality of data extracted is near superb.

The integration of sophisticated cognitive technologies such as AI and ML is the future of cognitive data capture. The more artificial intelligence capabilities that are integrated, the higher the quality of data retrieved.

It is reasonable to state that automated data capture technologies have truly transformed organizations today!


What is an example of data capture?

A good example of data capture is when you are filling out an online form. You are usually required to fill in your name, address, and contact information before you can submit the form. This information is then stored in a database for future use.

What is data capture methods?

The best data capture methods are:

  • Optical character recognition
  • Intelligent Character Recognition
  • Optical Mark Reading
  • Barcodes and QR codes
  • Digital forms
  • Intelligent Document Processing

What is data capturing?

Data capture is the process of extracting data from a form or document. It is usually carried out by a human copywriter, who must be able to read and understand the form or document in order to extract the relevant data.

What is the role of data capture?

The role of data capture is to automate the manual data entry process. This has many benefits for organizations, as it reduces time and money spent on manual data entry. It also helps reduce human error in the workplace which can lead to a variety of potential problems.

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