One of the primary uses of OCR software is to make it easier and faster to find specific information across a collection of documents, down to the page/sentence/word. So if your business is spending an inordinate amount of time looking through old files to help you make more informed business decisions moving forward then OCR can be helpful. For example, you respond to a lot of RFP's then OCR can help you quickly locate similar questions and response from a previous RFP.
Where OCR (in conjunction with workflow and information sharing between business systems) can create a big competitive advantage is on applications like accounts payable processing which are extremely labour intensive. Many companies spend over $18 per invoice to review and approve it for payment. Typically, more than half of that cost is associated to open the mail and manually keying the information into another business system (i.e. vendor info, PO info, total, line items, etc.). OCR can be used in applications like this to automatically recognize the invoice and extract the required content and push it into your ERP/Accounting system, thus eliminating the bulk of the cost associated with invoice processing. Further to that, workflow systems can then route the now digital invoice along the approval path for payment, providing you with more flexibility on when to pay invoices to avoid late payment fees or take advantage of early payment discounts.
Other labour intensive data entry process that can benefit from OCR include:
- Health records
- Employee on-boarding
- Claims processing
- Field service reports
- Delivery tickets
- And many more