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Data Entry Secrets

Data Entry Secrets

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Data Entry Secrets
Data Entry Secrets

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Free Data Entry Secrets

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Naked Truth Exposed!

Free Data Entry Secrets:
Naked Truth Exposed!
Compiled by Michael Bar

MB-Imaging, Delémont Switzerland

Providing authentic secrets that will vastly improve the performance of your business, this free eBook exposes the naked truth by describing the basic concepts of data entry market, features of data entry software developed by the world’s leading manufacturers, and the issue of accuracy provided by different data entry systems. You have permission to publish this eBook electronically, in print, or on your website, free of charge, as long as the following resource box is included (with the URL linked to our site, when published on the WEB): Compiled by Michael Bar MB-Imaging, Switzerland http://www.mb-imaging.com If you find its content valuable, please forward the eBook to your industry colleagues. We would really appreciate it, and so will they! Also your suggestions and comments in regards to design and content of this eBook will be highly appreciated.

There is nothing more important to any organization than the accurate input of data. Today it seems that more money and effort is spent to verify that data – then the entire process of entering it, is in the first place. We have clearly identified the problem, so why is the solution so hard to achieve? Generally it can be a simple answer: a lack of investment in the proper data entry tools. This eBook from MB-imaging outlines many of the issues data entry departments face today, and tries to address solutions for the reader. I believe it is a couple of issues: find the experts, invest in the tools, and use the tools they have developed from their experience. This book will assist you in that task. Kevin M. Keyes Director of International Operations PHOENIX SOFTWARE INTERNATIONAL

A grateful acknowledgement to my wife Tanja for her indulgence and goodwill during the writing of this eBook.

MB-Imaging Offers Power/Precision Data Entry Systems
How Important is Accuracy? Quick Launch

Data Entry Systems Free Downloads timeThe timeproven methods of keykey-entering data result in 99.99% Accuracy!

The amount of hand-whiting paper documents that are a day-to-day part of your job is on the increase: invoices, checks, bills, orders, applications. The list is endless. And each document must be reviewed, approved, sorted, processed, and ultimately, filed and stored. Many document imaging systems are designed to do most of the indexing and data entry by using ICR (or OCR) engines for automatic character recognition. Only in well controlled circumstances you can benefit from this technology. However, in the real world, recognition rates seldom approach the advertised rates: even as low as 1% error rate on a printed page with 3,000 characters means there is an average of 30 errors on each page! Unrealized expectations and undetected errors can cause big problems. Take a look at the methods your organization uses for data entry: How important is the impact of errors: reprocessing costs, unhappy customers, lost business, etc? How much it costs your organization to detect and correct errors?

You know today’s ICR/OCR systems have unsatisfactory error rates for most real-world hand-writing documents. You know, there must be a better way. There is! Our Power/Precision Data Entry Systems MB-Imaging offers Viking Data Entry Systems – the most powerful today software systems allowing rapid and accurate keying data from both paper and images: VDE is a Viking Data Entry System (VDE™) that since 1980 has been the standard for multi-platform keyboard data entry from paper documents. VDE allows to enter data up to nine times as fast and with twice the accuracy of databases, spreadsheets or indexing modules that come with most imaging systems. ImagEntry is the power software for keying data from images of forms (structured documents), designed to be the key entry component of high performance document imaging systems. ImagEntry supplements ICR/OCR/OMR data capture systems with extremely productive and effective methods to key unreadable characters. VDE+Images combines the best features of Viking’s VDE and ImagEntry data entry software, allowing you to key from unstructured documents (which are not amenable to the successful use of OCR/ICR/OMR recognition engines because the zones of interest are not definable). Everything on Your Fingertips Getting more work done with fewer resources is key to survival these days. Our Power/Precision Data Entry Systems, perfect for integration into any document imaging applications, keep vast amounts of data at your fingertips, allowing you to index images and key-enter data: rapidly, accurately and affordably! So, why wait? Visit www.mb-imaging.com and find out How You Could Benefit From Our Power/Precision Data Entry Systems!

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Table of Contents
Why you need Professional Data Entry Software The Importance of Power/Precision Data Entry Captiva Software Corporation
FormWare Family

1 5 20 22

Microsystems Technology
OCR for Forms AnyForm Component

Phoenix Software International
Entrypoint Family FALCON Family

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Viking Software Solutions
ImagEntry VDE VDE+Images Frequently Asked Questions

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Evaluating Data Entry Systems Conversions: What are the Issues for Data Entry Systems? Keying from Images when your Documents are not Forms Top 10 ways to lose money doing Data Entry Related Links

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Why You Need Professional Data Entry Software
Microsoft Access, Word, Paradox these are among the software packages many companies use to enter information into their computers. For small amounts of data these systems work just fine, as will the standard data entry module that came with your imaging system, or your own homegrown database front end written in Visual Basic. Once you reach a certain volume, however, it makes sense to take advantage of professional quality data entry software. Data entry software is designed specifically to speed data entry. Windows-based software, on the other hand, is designed to be intuitive and easy to use. The average operator entering data with MS Access, for example, achieves only about 1,500 keystrokes per hour. Why so slow? Think about how much time is lost whenever you take your hand off the keyboard to use the mouse. Professional data entry software uses special technology and dozens of proven techniques to make keying faster. As a result, professional data entry operators average keying speeds of 11,600 keystrokes per hour. That’s a 9 to 1 productivity improvement. Obviously there is a time when you need specialized data entry software. But how do you know when to move up? Here are some questions to ask yourself…
How much data are you entering?

There are lots of ways of measuring how much data you enter, such as the number of records or the number of keystrokes used. But the most relevant statistic is how much time it takes to key in the data. This is because time is the measure that translates most directly into how much it costs to enter the data and allows you to calculate how quickly data entry software will pay for itself. Let’s walk through that calculation… Professional data entry software tends to run about $1,000 per user. If we assume that your fully loaded labor costs are about $20 per hour, we divide $20 into $1,000 to discover that you must reduce your data entry time by 50 hours per operator to save enough money to pay for the software ($1,000 / $20/hour = 50 hours).
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We can reasonably estimate that you will get a 30% productivity increase from data entry software. So we divide 30% into 50 hours to find that you will need 167 hours of keying to recoup the software cost (50 hours / 30% = 167 hours). If you have people spending an hour a day keying in data and correcting keying errors, a data entry system will pay for itself in less than a year (167 hours / 20 hours a month = 8.4 months). If your employees are keying 2.5 hours a day, you’ll reach break-even sooner – in about three months (167 hours / 50 hours a month = 3.3 months).
How much do you pay your employees?

For most companies, labor costs overwhelm the cost of data entry software. This is particularly true if you are in a high cost labor market or have highly paid employees who spend part of their day entering data. For example, if you are paying the people who enter data $25,000 to $30,000 a year (including benefits and taxes), and you achieve only a 5% gain in productivity you can save $1,500 per year. This is enough to pay for professional data entry software. Most companies see much higher productivity gains than 5%, so the software becomes easier to justify. And these savings continue year after year. Don’t forget to factor in the labor costs of setting up and maintaining data entry applications. If you are using highly paid programmers, you may find that you can free them up for other projects when you get data entry software. Some systems are so easy to use that operators can set up new jobs and maintain the system.
How important is accuracy?

The more important accuracy is, the more seriously you should look at professional data entry software. In addition to increased productivity, one of the major benefits of data entry software is error reduction. If your data is text that will be read but not processed further, then errors may not be important. Readers can get the meaning from the context. However, if you will be using the data in other applications, the old “Garbage in, garbage out” rule applies. You need to consider the impact of errors: reprocessing costs, unhappy customers, lost business, etc. You also need to look at how much it costs your organization to correct errors. Usually, it is almost free if you catch an error at the time the finger is on the key and the eye is on the information. It may cost $20-$100 to correct it after it has been keyed if you have to go find the original documents and create updates to
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the data. It is even more costly when the bad data has been propagated throughout the system and has to be corrected in more than one place. And don’t forget those intangible costs associated with customer goodwill and lost business. How does professional data entry software increase data accuracy? Most systems incorporate error detection at three levels: character level, field level, and record level. They also provide double key verify capability.
Character Level Validations

Character sieves disallow certain characters, e.g., no letters are permitted in numeric fields. Good systems will provide a variety of character sieves. These must be instantaneous so they do not slow down the user.
Field Level Validations

Extensive field edits help you catch errors that can be detected as soon as the field is completed. Some examples are range checks, date validations, database lookups and multi-field calculations. Professional quality systems allow you to do most, if not all, of your field edits with out having to write program code.
Record Level Validations

Some errors cannot be detected until all of the data for a transaction has been entered. These validations must be essentially instantaneous or else the user cannot reach his or her potential productive speed. The old mainframe data entry where you hit ENTER and waited and waited and waited… is unacceptable. Financial data in particular needs “balancing” validations.
Double Key Verify

The time-proven method to ensure accuracy of key-entered data is to key it twice, preferably by different people, and compare the results. Key verified data is 99.99% accurate, on average. Professional data entry systems have quick and easy methods for the Verify Operator to make corrections. There is no need to double key verify fields that can be validated by other methods, so this feature must be optional by field.
Summary

Take a look at the methods your organization uses for data entry. Run your own labor costs through the calculation given above, and factor in the importance of data accuracy.
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You should be able to tell if your company can benefit from acquiring professional data entry software. Or turn to a data entry software vendor for assistance with the analysis. You can also take advantage of their experience to obtain additional insights into maximizing data entry productivity gains for your organization.

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The Importance of Power/Precision Data Entry to Document Imaging
Introduction Cost of Quality ICR/OCR Accuracy Issues Miscellaneous: Other Factors that Influence Recognition Rates Other Issues Conclusion Introduction

One of the often overlooked and underestimated elements of a Document Imaging project is the automation and human cost of lifting data from the images. Systems engineers frequently respond to data entry requirements with automation-only solutions that fail to recognize the accuracy demands of most applications. We have all heard horror stories about lost images due to improper indexing and major errors due to inaccurate invoices, claim forms and etc The off-the-shelf key entry component of most document imaging systems is seldom up to the job. They lack the attention to data entry cultures and automation costs that are critical in high volume, high accuracy data entry operations. Ongoing labor costs for data entry are often the largest element of the operating costs. Unnecessary operating costs are the result of failure to provide state of the art data entry methods and techniques. Controlling these costs can mean the difference between economic success and failure of imaging projects. Most data entry modules for image systems were designed by Windows programmers and are excellent for casual use. Nevertheless, they are inefficient for high volume, high speed data entry. For decades the national average for keyboard data entry has been about 12,000 keystrokes per hour. Anything less is unacceptable to organizations concerned about costs. The professional data entry people in your organization can offer valuable insights into these issues and their importance. Be sure to involve them in the evaluation process.
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Many document imaging systems are designed to do most of the indexing and data entry by a Akeyless@ method using ICR (or OCR) engines for automatic character recognition. In well controlled circumstances this technology will reduce the key-entry labor dramatically. However, in the real world, using uncontrolled documents, recognition rates seldom approach the advertised rates. Unrealized expectations and undetected errors can cause big problems. The remainder of this paper will address the issues and explain the importance of data entry methods and techniques that will be required by successful document imaging systems. The discussion is divided into five categories: Importance of Data Accuracy ICR/OCR Accuracy Issues Operating Costs Application Development Costs Other Issues
Cost of Quality

Errors in data cause a variety of problems and raise the costs in several areas. The cost to recognize and detect errors is not trivial. Further costs are incurred to correct the data errors. The largest cost components are the hidden costs that affect other departments.
Error Detection

Detecting data errors in programs often takes as much, or more, of the analysis and programming efforts than the main logic. The earlier an error is detected, the cheaper it is to correct it. Fifty years ago it was common to Akey verify@ punch cards. This technique is still one of the best methods for detecting errors. Re-key verifying selected data items, combined with programs that look for invalid data, can detect most data errors.
Error Correction

Correcting errors programmatically is the cheapest way. Doing it with a single keystroke when the data is initially keyed is the cheapest manual method. Conversely, it costs hundreds, or thousands, of times more to create update transactions to fix errors that remain undetected until later in the process.
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Hidden Costs

The hidden cost of errors is much higher. For example, customer service problems increase proportionately to the number of mistakes that result in billing errors or shipping the wrong product. You know the many hidden costs in your business.
ICR/OCR Accuracy Issues

A whole specialty knowledge area has developed around how to design and tune character recognition applications. The state of the art is constantly improving, but it still requires very scarce technical resources to be successful. It is beyond the scope of this paper to discuss ICR and OCR technology. However, we will discuss some of the error detection and correction issues. Many ICR systems claim 95% to 99% data accuracy. This sounds great on the surface, but in fact may be unacceptably low. When one understands that this rate is on a “per character” basis and that ICR engines reject characters that don’t meet image quality specifications, these advertised rates become increasingly unappealing. Only 95% accuracy means 5% errors. A typical data input transaction consists of more than 60 characters. How many applications that have an average of three errors on each transaction would be considered successful?
Error Types

There are two classes of recognition errors, unrecognized characters (called Arejects@) and erroneously recognized characters, or Asubstitution@ errors. Rejects need to be corrected. Substitutions must first be detected and then corrected. ICR engines can achieve very high recognition rates when the documents are properly designed, printed and controlled. Exploitation of corporate data and use of “fuzzy logic” expert systems can further boost ICR results. Nonetheless, a 1% error rate on a printed page with 3,000 characters means there is an average of 30 errors on each page. This would be unacceptable for a typist, but may be adequate for information that will only be read occasionally and if the human reader or text classification engines can deduce the correct information from the context.
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However, today’s ICR/OCR systems have unsatisfactory error rates for most real-world documents. It is a continuously developing technology, but it is projected to improve only incrementally for the next few years. Furthermore, data to be processed by a computer must be very accurate for most applications. The true measure of the value of ICR is the cost of doing it plus the cost of error correction. This is highly application dependent. Many ICR projects are highly successful, but others cost more than simply keying the data.
Reject Correction Costs

On the surface, reject reentry seems simple and straight forward. An image of the rejected character is presented to the keyer who depresses the correct character key and the program moves to the next reject character. Reject reentry modules must address three problems: missing characters extraneous characters key entry speed
Missing Characters

Sometimes the recognition engine cannot separate adjacent characters and treats them as a single unreadable character. In this case the operator must be able to insert extra characters. The operator must take extra time to diagnose the problem, which affects the throughput. This process must be ergonomically efficient to achieve maximum keying speeds.
Extraneous Characters

Smudges and other extraneous marks on the paper may appear as an additional unrecognized character. The operator must decide what the problem is and delete the extraneous character. Again, the ergonomics of the program design strongly influences effective keying speed.
Key Entry Speed

Data is usually keyed from paper documents at average rates between 10,000 and 15,000 keystrokes per hour. Keying from images should be slightly faster since the keyers do not have to remove their hands from the keyboard to turn the pages of the source documents. With some systems, reject reentry keying rates may be only 5 to 10% as fast as full keying rates.
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One reason for the slower keystroke rate is that presenting keyers with only a single character at a time prevents them from building any rhythm. Smooth keying rhythm is essential to fast keying.
Costs
Two Cost Factors

We see that two factors influence the cost to repair rejects; Accuracy of the recognition engine, and Reject reentry speed. The facts show that if the recognition engine is only 90% accurate and the reject reentry rate is only 10% as fast as full keying, it is just as cheap to key the data. On the other hand, increasing the recognition to 95% will make it very worthwhile. Increasing the reject reentry rate also leads to substantial cost reductions. Since reject characters often occur together, the ability to simply re-key the entire field, or even the entire record, greatly speeds up reject reentry rates. This is because the operator can often key the entire field faster than repairing several rejects. This capability is very valuable for forms and documents that are subject to being damaged, marked, stained, or wrinkled. Reject repair programs for high volume applications must be well designed to be cost effective. The value of recognition engines depends on many factors and it also varies from one application to another.
Substitution Error Costs

We must first consider the error detection component. Correcting rejects is easier than substitutions because the recognition engine finds the errors for us. With substitution errors we have to find the errors that fooled the recognition engine. Some errors can be detected programmatically with spelling checkers, data base lookups, deduction from other data, balance calculations and semantic analysis. Programmatic error detection is highly application dependent.
Manual Detection Methods

There are also two manual error detection methods. Proofreading (or sight verification) is the most common method. It is not especially accurate because
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the mind has a way of fooling our eyes. Nevertheless, it finds many errors. Surprisingly, continuous proofreading is not as fast as key entry. Some reject reentry systems provide for selected proofreading while the rejects are being corrected. This can be a valuable feature. Re-key verify is the time proven method of manual error detection. Over decades of use it has been proven to be about 99.9% accurate. The cost is similar to the cost to key the data. However, usually not all of the data has to be verified which saves labor. Data elements that can be programmatically validated, or whose accuracy is not important, do not need to be key verified. Good data entry programs have this capability. Verifying only sample portions of the data is a statistical method used to detect problems with equipment and personnel.
Correcting Substitution Errors

Once the error has been detected, the issue of how it is to be corrected must be addressed. Some systems allow the error detection program to Amark@ substituted characters as a rejected characters and send the data record and its image back through the reject reentry process. Re-key verify programs should provide an efficient method for immediate error correction. Some are more efficient than others.
Miscellaneous: Other Factors that Influence Recognition Rates

Recognition accuracy depends on many factors. Good quality documents with well delineated text is the first requirement. Paper color and type also affect the quality of the scanning and resulting image. Good text delineation implies that cursive handwriting is beyond the scope of today’s technology except for very highly specialized cases where the system can Alearn@ the unique characteristics of the author's handwriting.
Document Recognition

Document recognition is clearly a prerequisite for formatted forms. If the document type is unknown then the recognition engine will not know where to look for the data. This may mean that not only does the type of form need to be recognized, but also the particular version of it. In these instances, character recognition doesn’t help much with “content recognition”. When forms recognition is difficult, it may be cheaper just to key enter all the data. Or, plan
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to do manual entry in the beginning until satisfactory document recognition technology is in place, the forms are redesigned, and the old forms have been removed from circulation. The point is, plan your image data entry for reality. Character recognition technology is changing rapidly. Proprietary systems that are locked into a single recognition engine may result in less than optimal performance today. They risk falling behind the technology curve in the future. No one knows what will be the hottest engine next year.
Recognition Technology

Some engines are much better on some kinds of applications than others. If you have a variety of documents it may be desirable to consider multiple engines.
Operating Costs

Operating costs go on for the lifetime of the image project. Typically they will be orders of magnitude higher than the acquisition and implementation costs. Some operating cost elements associated with data entry have been previously mentioned. The four principal issues are: Maintenance Costs Data Accuracy Keying Speed Controls and Auditing
Maintenance Costs

What are the annual maintenance fees for licensed software? What will it cost to maintain the hardware? Systems that depend on highly specialized components not only cost more to acquire, but their maintenance costs will be much higher than standard components. For example, high performance workstations and monitors usually must be maintained by the manufacturer, while common PC’s are inexpensive to maintain, replace and upgrade. Power consumption and other environmental factors must be considered. How much will it cost to maintain and enhance products developed in-house? The tremendous growth of the packaged software industry speaks to the fact that it is usually much cheaper to maintain licensed software than to maintain systems developed in-house. This is especially true for dynamic new technologies like imaging. You expect your software vendor to keep up with the
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advances in technology and improved methodology. Are you willing to make a similar commitment of in-house resources? If not, you will soon fall behind and you will not achieve the cost savings to which you are entitled and which management expects.
Data Accuracy

The importance of this topic was previously discussed. Now we will discuss some techniques and methods the data entry software should offer to allow you to maximize the accuracy of your data. These are features that will be found in a good key-from-image program.
Validation Features

Character Sieves. The first line of defense against keying errors is to eliminate invalid keystrokes as they occur. For example, the system should not allow alpha characters in numeric fields and provide for even more sophisticated single character validations. Field Edits. As soon as a field is entered, it needs to be edited. You need a wide variety of edits, ranging from simple numeric range checks to database lookups and computed values. The common functions should be provided by the system and there should also be a mechanism for easily adding custom edits that are unique to the application. Field edits should have multiple levels of capability. For example, the first level date validation is to insure the month is in the range from one to twelve. A deeper level detects future dates and unreasonably old dates. High Speed Table Lookups. Comparing field values with database tables of acceptable values and other information is one of the most important types of field edits. Table lookup with substitution is a valuable Akeystroke saver@ that improves productivity. However, this process must be extremely rapid and efficient and never delay the keyer. Table lookups that disrupt keying rhythm may be counterproductive. This requires very good programming techniques and well-designed systems to be effective. Computed Values. To achieve maximum productivity and accuracy the system must provide for flexible and fast field edits to compute values based on one or more data fields and database values. Check Digits. Many fields, such as account numbers, have a self-checking digit in the number that can be used to detect errors in the value. Dozens of check
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digit algorithms are in use and the data entry module must be able to handle them all. Field Duplication. A common method of keystroke reduction is the capability to duplicate the values in previous fields and from previous documents. Often the documents are grouped by location, date, account number and other fields that can be duplicated. Default values are a special case of duplication. The system should provide for a flexible and powerful way to duplicate data. The keyer and the system both should be able to duplicate information from other fields. Context Sensitive Help. The system should provide on-line help to guide the keyer in the rules for entering data. Help messages should present information for the data field being keyed. It should require a minimum of keystrokes to request and terminate the help messages. Multilevel help messages with increasing orders of detail are even more useful. It must be easy to modify and change the help messages because data entry forms are subject to change and the needs of the keyers may not be well defined initially. Optional and Required Fields. Some fields must always be entered and the system must enforce this requirement. Other fields are optional. Some optional fields are seldom entered so keyers will be more productive if the default is to automatically skip them. But there must be an efficient way for the keyer to enter the fields when necessary. Intelligent Field Skipping. The best systems have the ability to dynamically skip fields based on the data entered in previous fields. This feature speeds key entry and reduces the opportunity to make errors.
Re-key Verify

As mentioned previously, the time proven technique for improving data accuracy is to independently re-key the data and compare the results. Accuracy is much better when the keyer doing the verify step is not the one who originally entered the data. To be cost effective, this process must be very efficient. Not every field needs to be verified, so selective verification is required. The system should recognize certain conditions for dynamically skipping verify fields to further reduce the effort. Usually the verify keyer is more experienced than the original entry keyer and should be able to correct the data. The correction process must be very efficient in order to minimize the time to verify data. For example, single character errors
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should be easily corrected when they are detected. Likewise, an entire field may have to be replaced. Re-key verify is also used as a means to measure the results of programmatic validation techniques and tune them for improved performance.
Keying Speed

There are many factors that influence keying speed. There is no single overriding factor, but a whole series of little things that couple together to allow the keyer to reach their maximum potential. Interestingly, studies have shown that the fastest keyers are also the most accurate. This means that these ergonomic factors are important even if you do not expect blinding speed from the keyers. Fully keyed data entry is accomplished at average rates of 12,000 keystrokes per hour. Superior operators will key at 50% or more above the average rate. They can only do this if the data entry system is well designed, allows the keyer to maintain rhythm, and minimizes hand movement. The techniques and methods for high speed key entry are evidently not widely understood and appreciated. A new generation of analysts has grown up with a mouse and has no concept of what is involved in keying at 20,000 keystrokes per hour. Production data entry is very different from the casual data entry we use with spreadsheets, data bases and other transaction-oriented applications.
Keying Rhythm

Rhythm is a very important factor in high speed keying. The best operators talk about the importance of maintaining a smooth rhythm to the keying. Furthermore, fast keyers actually look ahead of where they are keying. There is a discernible time lag between the eyes and the fingers.
Keypunch Style Keyboard

The fastest keyers traditionally have used the so-called A029 keypunch@ keyboard layout that has the numeric keys underneath the right hand. This allows numeric characters to be keyed at the maximum rate without moving the hands from the home keys. This keyboard has proven to be the fastest for alphanumeric data. Good data entry systems emulate this capability on a standard keyboard.
Enter Key vs. Tab Key

Data entry applications have used the ENTER key to signal the completion of a data field. This is a large key under the strong right hand.
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Windows applications use the TAB key for this purpose. It is a small key located under the left hand. This use of the TAB key makes it unavailable for Atabbing@ over optional fields. Removing the hand from the keyboard to manipulate a mouse to perform special functions will not be nearly as efficient as assigning the special functions needed by data entry keyers to a function key that can be depressed with a single keystroke.
Statistics

Statistics should be kept regarding the number of errors and who made them. This is useful both for evaluating the keyers and to refine the system. Reports should be available that are organized by operator and by job. It has often been said that, if you can’t measure it you can’t manage it@. Traditional data entry systems have measured the keyer's entry rate in keystrokes per hour. This metric must be carefully considered as it may not be applicable when entering data from images or when correcting rejects from recognition engines. However, it can be a good comparative measure for keyers doing the same work. A better metric may be “error-free records per hour”, or “documents per hour”. “Documents per hour” is better for evaluating changes to the system. It is not possible to compare average keystrokes per hour between different systems. The method of allocating the time to keyers varies from one program to another, so it is an Aapples and oranges@ problem.
Controls

The data entry supervisor must be able to know what jobs are in the system and where they are in the process. They must be able to control the work assignments to keyers. Controls must be flexible because priorities change as deadlines approach. The system must be auditable to ensure that all the work coming in has been processed and is not lost. It is desirable to know if it is being accomplished in a timely fashion.
File/Batch Navigation

The system must provide facilities for the keyer to view the various images and data records in a batch of work. They should be able to easily go backwards to review previously entered work.
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Search Mechanism

A flexible search mechanism is needed to find records and images based on the contents of the data.
Modify Existing Data

The keyer must have the ability to change data that was previously entered. This includes both key entered data and data from recognition engines. There should be safeguards to prevent data from accidentally being changed.
Character Insert/Delete

The keyer must have the ability to insert and delete characters. The most efficient mode for high speed data entry is typeover mode where characters are replaced by typing over them. However, when correcting existing data it is desirable to select character insert mode so that characters can be easily inserted and deleted from the text. Good systems provide both modes.
Image Display Speed

The system should never prevent the keyer from reaching their maximum keying rate. Some keyers are capable of speeds in excess of 20,000 keystrokes per hour. Simple tests, such as holding down a repeat key, can often be used to determine if the data entry system can display images fast enough. Image display speeds are often the limiting factor and they should be studied to determine the effect on overall productivity. Image display speed depends on many factors, such as: CPU speed of the workstation Display monitor Image resolution Display parameters: e.g., color, grey, etc. Decompression algorithms
Application Development Costs

The costs to develop the data entry component of document image systems vary widely. Some systems provide easy-to-use tools that allow you to quickly and easily create the applications. Other systems use closed and proprietary technology that requires extensive training and sometimes you must use their consultants to set up the applications.
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Systems that use the same application development procedure for keying and reject reentry are simpler to use and also have a consistent interface for the keyers.
Other Issues

There are many other issues that affect the performance of an image data entry system. Space does not permit a thorough examination of these factors and they will only be mentioned briefly.
Operating System

The most common operating system for an image data entry platform is MS Windows. Most of the imaging components are designed for Windows. The familiar interface makes it easy to learn to use systems and to integrate components. Although Windows is inherently much slower than other operating system, today's high speed PCs generally offset this disadvantage. However, standard Windows dialog boxes are inadequate for professional data entry operators. It is crucial that the key-from-image module provide the features and functionality to enable the data entry operator to key at their maximum potential speed. Rates far in excess of 12,000 keystrokes per hour are routinely recorded by professional data entry operators. Be certain that your system will provide this level of performance. Interactive terminals connected to a multi-user UNIX system can be used as data entry workstations. However, they are usually not price competitive. Block mode terminals attached to mainframe computers are not nearly as productive as character interactive systems and they cost much more to procure and operate. Data entry is a highly interactive activity.
DBMS Compatibility

The data entry system must provide some compatibility with the DBMS used by the rest of the image system. It may only need to be able to import/export data files.
Proprietary Issues

Systems that are tightly integrated to proprietary hardware and software components have advantages and disadvantages.
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On one hand, proprietary systems tend to be the most uniform and there is a single point of contact. On the other hand, systems composed of Abest-ofbreed@ components are more likely to have the best performance and lowest cost. As in all things, there are always gray areas in between these two extremes to consider.
Multiple Image Formats

The trend in the industry is towards TIFF formats, but there are many other formats in common use. Good data entry modules can handle a variety of formats interchangeably.
Workflow

The data entry component must provide workflow capability for images and data that are in the various stages of data entry. It should be mostly automatic with manual overrides by the supervisors. The system should also be compatible with the workflow mechanism used by the rest of the document imaging system. Hooks and handles should be available to provide the proper interfaces.
Flexibility and Adaptability

The system should be flexible to accommodate growth and change. New applications will arise and new technologies will be added to the system. Recognition engine technology is on a steep upward curve. The best engine today may be superseded by something much better tomorrow. Data entry components must adapt to rapid change. The system should be able to integrate with stand-alone data entry components.
Importing Data

A flexible method to import data into the system is clearly needed. Systems that are locked into single data formats and databases are of limited value. This is especially true in the case of multiple recognition engines.
Exporting Data

After the data entry function is complete, the data must be exported to the downstream applications and databases. Portions of the data may be exported in different formats. A flexible export module is required.
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Conclusion

Data entry often contributes the largest cost component for document imaging systems. The costs can be classified in the following three categories: Data Capture Costs Error Detection Costs Error Correction Costs Hidden Costs Well-designed systems can minimize these costs, but attention to detail and timeproven ergonomic techniques are essential. Keyless data entry technology is improving, but manual data entry and reject reentry is going to be required for years to come. Organizations will not be well served by glossing over this issue. Rather, they should be certain that the data capture components of their document imaging systems are well suited to their requirements. Superior data entry modules are available as off the shelf products.

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Captiva Software Corporation
FormWare™ Family FormWare is designed to serve complex capture needs in higher-volume, multiuser environments to fill the bills with outstanding scanning, fax capture, recognition, key entry, and export capabilities. FormWare also excels in its extensibility – complex business rules and routing can be plugged in to expand functionality or alter the flow of information. FormWare is commonly found in environments where a large portion of the documents processed is not “ICRfriendly”. FormWare offers a universal capture platform to manage business-critical information from forms, documents and electronic data. It is used to extract information from forms of all types, including medical and other insurance claims, invoices, credit applications, tax returns, order-entry forms, etc. Desktop is fully expandable, entry-level version of FormWare. It combines document capture and forms processing in one easy to use package, perfect for low volume document capture and forms processing. Desktop supports a wide range of capture applications, from document imaging to forms processing (OCR/ICR) and data key-entry. It comes pre-configured with the Desktop Starter Pack. This package includes five typical customer applications and workflows that can be used as templates to make it easy to customize applications to any specification. And with image enhancement, quality control and Key from Image (KFI), Desktop minimizes the need to re-design most forms. InvoicePack uses innovative optical character recognition (OCR) and neural network technologies to extract critical data from invoices and transfer that information to ERP, accounting and document imaging systems with minimal human intervention. To ensure the value and integrity of all information captured, InvoicePack includes a suite of user definable business rules that guarantee data accuracy and validity and leverage legacy data in the existing systems. After an invoice is scanned or received as a fax, the software automatically deskews and “cleans” the image in order to minimize unnecessary “noise” that might interfere with subsequent processes.
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Next, InvoicePack automatically attempts to identify the invoice type by referring to a database of previously encountered and known invoices. Assuming the invoice is confidently identified, an associated template is applied to optimize OCR results. If the invoice type can’t confidently be identified, InvoicePack uses OCR technologies to recognize all data on the invoice and parse through the results to extract the desired information. Since no OCR technology ever provides a 100% solution, accounts payable staff then use InvoicePack’s high speed data entry interface to perform reject repair on erroneous or suspicious characters or manually key entire fields of data from the invoice image. In addition, user definable business rules are constantly applied throughout these processes to ensure the accuracy and validity of all data captured. InvoicePack comes with a set of pre-defined templates designed to address many common invoice types. This database automatically grows as new invoice types are encountered. The software uses neural network technologies to automatically “learn” those invoices “on-the-fly” and store the resulting templates. Therefore, the system is constantly becoming more intelligent and improving its own performance while letting you avoid the cost prohibitive task of defining a new template for each unique invoice. Users can manually define new invoice types or fine-tune templates in order to optimize invoice identification and OCR results. Free Form Processing allows users to capture and process data from structured and unstructured forms. The Free Form solution is a cutting-edge technology that employs fuzzy logic to locate particular data types on unstructured forms (invoices, EOB’s, purchase orders and more) and extract required information. Historically, forms processing programs have required predefined templates in order to process documents. However, with FormWare’s Free Form capabilities, users can capture data from unstructured forms. This functionality is extremely valuable since it is common for the location of data within a document to vary from form to form. Free Form technology can capture information regardless of its location on a document. The user is able to define key word searches in a particular zone area of the form and extract the data from varying positions. These data types may be similar in content, but are located in different sections of the form as commonly found on invoices and purchase order forms.

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Microsystems Technology
OCR for Forms OCR for Forms reads data from any scanned form and works with most standard production scanners, including color and bi-tonal (black and white). OCR for Forms is designed to maximize scanner features that improve image quality based on logical groupings of forms. If the images are created by another means (e.g. another imaging system, faxes, etc.), they can be imported into the OCR for Forms’ environment. In addition to processing standard forms, OCR for Forms can handle multi-page and duplex forms (e.g., 10-page questionnaires or surveys), as well as booklets, drop-out forms, color forms and even complex “formless” forms with ease. OCR for Forms’ first level of image enhancement is applied to improve image quality. The software is designed to maintain or improve the images it handles – an important fact, given the importance of highquality images in forms processing, as well as storage and retrieval. Before any other processing begins, an optional “Quality Assure” step can immediately assess the quality of the scanned or imported images. Each image can be visually inspected in detail. If the image is too light, dark, noisy, etc., the scanner settings can be adjusted and you can selectively re-scan to get the best possible image. For those not-so-perfect forms, you can enhance the image utilizing “Image Cleanup,” including de-skew, de-speckle, character-smoothing, de-shading, etc. “Image Cleanup” can be performed on images originally imported as well as scanned. In addition, you are able to prioritize the batch for immediate processing, which will place it ahead of all other batches in the queue. Once a paper document is scanned, imported or faxed into the system, OCR for Forms detects, identifies and routes the data image to the proper PC station for processing. OCR for Forms’ automatic form identification eliminates the timeconsuming work of sorting forms. In addition to automatic form identification based on the topology of the form, you have the ability to supply patch or bar codes to differentiate batches of forms, or you can define an area on the form for specific form identification. OCR for Forms can even identify document sets and multi-page images. When a document contains both forms and attachments, OCR for Forms will carry all attachments through the system. These attachments will then be saved with the corresponding batch.
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When a form cannot be identified, OCR for Forms first automatically rotates the form 180 degrees to determine if it was scanned upside down. If the form is still unidentifiable after this process, you still have a number of options available for handling, from automatic routing to manual exception processing. OCR for Forms typically has its greatest impact in reducing your processing costs when it automates work that was previously performed manually. During this process, the system executes form removal, image enhancement and character regeneration. These technologies enable you to process your existing forms, removing distracting clutter (lines, patterns, background noise, etc.), thereby maximizing the readability of your data and allowing the system to work more efficiently with greater accuracy. In addition, OCR for Forms now offers a premier voting capability to improve recognition results and guarantee greater accuracy for users. OCR for Forms’ recognition engines process machine print, check boxes, bar codes and hand print, and has language recognition of more than 20 countries. Data capture software must be both flexible and precise. Therefore, the system will interpret these formats according to your specific requirements, assuring clean characters are used in the recognition process. OCR for Forms excels at processing even the most complex forms. Accurate data regeneration and recognition is only one of the ways OCR for Forms’ technology expedites forms processing. Another way is through Data Validation, which minimizes the number of characters that need to be reviewed by an operator during the verification phase. By limiting the amount of manual intervention that needs to be performed, this technology further speeds up processing. Through a series of pre- and post-processing rules you define for your specific business, even questionable or incorrect entries can be validated, corrected and captured automatically. All this occurs before a single person intervenes, other than to place the forms in the scanner. Data verification is a high-speed, heads-up procedure confirming all data entered is correct and complete for optimal accuracy. During verification, a user visually reviews and corrects questionable characters and fields that do not conform to your business rules. The important benefit is instead of manually entering 100% of the data from paper, you only verify a few questionable entries; the rest is automatic. In addition, you are able to target a specific user to receive a particular form for verification.
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This allows each user to focus on one type of document for consistency and increased productivity. You also have the option of defining critical data fields for mandatory verification to ensure the data is accurate. The system was designed for maximum user productivity, and delivers fast, accurate processing results with color or black-and-white forms. Hitting just one key allows you to move from questionable character to questionable character. Since the system will automatically move through all of the images in the batch; there is no need to move your hands from the keyboard. In addition, you have the ability to move around within the images by paging up or down.
Double-Key Verification

Double-Key verification is an optional parameter allowing you to perform additional verification on those fields that are crucial for accuracy. You can also define a different user for the second verification, guaranteeing that the same mistake isn't made twice. It is a time-proven data entry method to key the data twice in order to help ensure 99.9% data accuracy.
Batch Balancing

OCR for Forms allows you to easily verify the integrity of a batch of forms. Simply perform a calculation from various fields across the forms and match the total to a batch separator page or a keyed-in value from the scan operator. In addition to performing an equation at the batch level, you can perform it for a set of documents. For example, a multiple-page invoice where you want to verify that all line items have been accurately extracted and match the total at the bottom of the invoice. If the equation doesn’t balance, you will be given an opportunity to make corrections during verification with an easy-to-use “batch balancing” screen. The final step is for OCR for Forms to generate an output file and/or an image file for future reference. OCR for Forms provides flexible tools to generate an ASCII file in almost any format required, including the option to save scanned information to a PDF file.
Applications (structured forms):

Time Sheets Purchase Orders Inventory / Order Forms
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AnyForm Component AnyForm Technology incorporated special features to process the unique characteristics of an Invoice. Because no template is required, AnyForm uses pre-defined keywords, word filters and retainers, and the unique topography of the Invoice to locate the correct data, wherever it is located on the Invoice. You also have the ability to apply specific business rules to the information found on the Invoices (e.g. purchase order numbers must be 10 numeric characters beginning with “2”, or payment terms should be net 30 days, etc.). Because AnyForm is a component of the OCR for Forms solution, you receive all the benefits of this combination of technologies.
Applications (unstructured forms):

Invoices / Credit Memos Bills of Lading Shipping / Mortgage Documents

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Phoenix Software International
Entrypoint Family:
Entrypoint for Windows Entrypoint Plus (with special features for clinical trials) Entrypoint 90 for MS-DOS

Entrypoint

Entrypoint is a complete application development package for creating highperformance data entry applications in the Windows operating environment. Entrypoint consists of Application Developer, Data Entry Runtime (workstation), and Administrator Modules. Entrypoint interfaces with standard communications products and commercial networks.
Quick, Easy Development

Entrypoint allows users to quickly and easily create a wide variety of data entry applications with built-in validation, editing, and export options. Entrypoint contains many options for defining fields and selecting edit checks through point-and-click operations, and it contains options for defining range checks, table lookup values, and check-digit validation criteria. Developers can customize their own development environment and create multiple applications and formats (data entry screens) simultaneously. They can also create format specifications for such elements as image backgrounds, field labels, and fields, and then save the specifications as templates.
Data Entry Runtime Module

The Runtime Module ensures data integrity through validation during each phase of data entry. Special features include immediate error detection and flagging, re-key verification, data retrieval and validation from lookup tables.
DLL Support

Entrypoint provides full DLL support. Designers can create dynamic link libraries for bringing C or C++ user procedures into their applications.

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Host compatibility

Entrypoint applications can accept data in the best order for efficient data entry, and then automatically re-format completed batches for compatibility with mainframe databases and applications.
Applications

Designers can create a multitude of business applications. Here are just a few examples: Billing / Invoicing / Ordering Human Resources / Employee Benefits Accounting / Payroll Student Registration Document Tracking Tax Return Preparation Litigation Support Inventory / Sales Analysis Customer Information
Technical Specifications

The minimum hardware and software requirements for Entrypoint are: 80386 CPU, 8 MB memory, 40 MB hard disk (which includes space for typical user applications), one floppy disk drive, an SVGA monitor, MS-DOS Version 3.0 or later, and Microsoft Windows Version 3.1 or later (in 386 enhanced mode). An SVGA monitor with 1024 x 768 resolution is recommended to use imaging features.
Complete Product Support

Phoenix Software International backs Entrypoint Family of products with a full range of support services, including a toll-free hotline, web site, training programs, and design consultation. For details about the MS-DOS version, go to the Entrypoint 90 page.

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Entrypoint Plus

Entrypoint Plus, which is available for use in the Windows operating environment, is a complete application development package for creating highperformance data entry applications. Entrypoint Plus consists of an Application Developer, a Data Entry Runtime Module (workstation), and an Administrator Module. Entrypoint Plus interfaces with standard communications products and commercial networks.
Quick, Easy Development

Entrypoint Plus allows users to quickly and easily create a wide variety of data entry applications with built-in validation, editing, and export options. Entrypoint Plus contains many options for defining fields and selecting edit check through point-and -click operations, and it contains options for defining range checks, table lookup values, and check-digit validation criteria. Developers can customize their own development environment and create multiple applications and formats (data entry screens) simultaneously. They can also create format specifications for such elements as image backgrounds, field labels, and fields and them save the specifications and templates.
Data Entry Runtime Module

The Runtime Module ensures data integrity through validation during each phase of data entry. Special features include immediate error detection and flagging, re-key verification, data retrieval and validation from lookup tables.
Applications

Designers can create applications for a multitude of business applications. Here are just a few examples: Clinical Trials Litigation Support Document Tracking Customer Information Accounting / Payroll Employee Benefits Inventory / Order Entry
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Special Features for Clinical Trials

Audit Trail facility allows you to keep a record of all changes made to data after the first entry, and comment as to why the change was made. Application Revise Facility allows you to update a protocol during an ongoing study and reformat batches after changes are made to an application. Batch compare allows for independent double-entry verification by comparing two batches created from the same application. It generates a report of the differences between the batches. CRF Template is a typical application for Clinical Trials with information on demographics, medical history, examination, adverse reactions, and lab information. DOS to Windows Converter is an option to the many users of Entrypoint 90 to convert their applications to Windows.
Powerful Procedure Language

A powerful procedural language supplements Entrypoint Plus’ customization potential, enabling developers to create custom edit routines, automate batch external programs and procedures, instead of using DLL’s.
Administrator Module

Using this module, administrators can define operator profiles and security features. They can also check the status of users logged on to a network.
Host Compatibility

Entrypoint Plus applications can accept data in the best order for efficient data entry and then automatically reformat completed batches for compatibility with mainframe databases and applications.
Technical Specifications

The minimum hardware and software requirements for Entrypoint Plus are: Pentium processor 32 MB memory 1 GB hard disk space (which includes space for typical user applications) One floppy disk SVGA monitor Windows 95 or later 1024 x 768 resolution on the SVGA monitor is recommended
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Entrypoint 90

Entrypoint 90 is a complete software package for creating high-performance data entry applications. The development system features a powerful full-screen editor for designing data entry screens and comprehensive menus for selecting field edits and error checks.
Quick, Easy Development

Menu driven Entrypoint 90 reduces development time and simplifies the design process. Entrypoint 90 is designed so that non-programmers can create efficient data entry systems.
Powerful Procedural Language

A powerful procedural language supplements Entrypoint 90’s customization potential, enabling developers to create custom edit routines, automate batch access functions, and call external programs and procedures.
Host Compatibility

Multiple export options and a communications bridge expedite the transfer of data from the PC to the mainframe. Entrypoint 90 applications can accept data in the best order for efficient data entry, then automatically reformat completed batches for compatibility with mainframe databases and applications.
Key-To-Disk Replacement

A perfect replacement for outdated key-to-disk systems, Entrypoint 90 transforms the PC into a high-performance data entry workstation. Descriptive field labels, timely prompts, customized error messages, and help screens walk the operator through each task. Validation and editing functions ensure data accuracy on a field-by-field basis.
Applications

Entrypoint 90 has the built-in functionality for a multitude of business applications. Here are just a few examples: Accounting / Payroll / Inventory Billing / Invoicing / Customer Information Human Resources / Employee Benefits Document Tracking / Market Research
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Tax Return Preparation Oil/Gas Production Clinical Trials Student Registration Litigation Support
Complete Product Support

Phoenix Software International backs Entrypoint 90 with a full range of support services, including a toll-free hotline, web site, training programs, and design consultation.
Technical Specifications

Entrypoint 90 runs on IBM PC/XTs, PC/ATs, PS/2s, and compatibles that run MS-DOS Version 2.0 or later. The recommended hardware configuration for a standalone PC is a hard disk with at least one floppy disk drive. The LAN module workstation may run on a diskless PC. The development system requires 512K of free RAM, and a data entry workstation requires 320K. In standalone, LAN, and distributed environments, IBM-compatible personal computers provide a responsive, cost-effective platform for developers and end users. For details about the Windows version, go to Entrypoint or Entrypoint Plus (with special features for clinical trials).

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Phoenix’s FALCON Family:

FALCON32 for Windows PC/FALCON for DOS FALCON for Mainframe

FALCON32

Thirty-two bit processing has clearly improved the way PC applications handle data. Before Falcon32, these improvements were not fully realized by the data entry community. Other data entry products ran under Windows, but were still limited by the old 16-bit processing platform. Falcon32 has the power, dependability, and ease you expect from FALCON, with the flexibility of Windows! Whichever Windows operating system you are using, Falcon32 takes advantage of the extra speed, reliability, and stability of 32-bit processing. Batches and program functions are now processed faster than ever before, and you have the ability to access any identified printers. You can also take advantage of the power inherent in newer PCs. Not only do you save on operation time, you also encounter fewer terminal lock-ups caused by the PC’s inability to handle large data files.
Pop-Up Menus

Falcon32 provides easy access to program functions and commands through pop-up menus. As with many other Windows applications, menu options vary with the current display window or highlighted field. Menu selections are made with a click of the mouse or by using shortcut keys.
Command Bars

Program commands are easily assigned to function keys or issued from the application window. Falcon32 gives you a choice of using a PC/FALCON-style command line or a movable command toolbar that includes a scrollable list of all applicable commands. You can issue command functions without taking your finger off your mouse!
TCP/IP Support

Falcon32 provides TCP/IP support to speed up data transfers and eliminate the need for emulator software.
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Pop-Up-Help

Falcon32’s comprehensive help includes three ways to find what you need. You can choose between a table of contents or an index or you can search for a particular word. Hypertext links quickly access related topics, and step-by-step instructions help you perform most data entry tasks. Context-sensitive help instantly displays details related to a specific item in a window, information, or dialog.
FALCON Fits Your Environment

Whether you conduct data entry on the mainframe, PC, individual workstations in a LAN configuration, or on all three, there is a flexible FALCON solution for you. Basic FALCON operations are the same no matter what operating system you’re using, so it’s easy to move between platforms. It’s also easy to grow and change when you rely on a product that is both versatile and in sync with industry developments. If you use Windows 3.1 and want to upgrade to Windows 95 or later, you can continue to use Falcon32, without the hassle of upgrading to a new version.
Falcon32 Uses Tried and True FALCON Methodology

The best thing about Falcon32 is its tried and true technology. Attention to the needs of its users made FALCON their number one data entry product! With Falcon32, you get the experience and innovation of over 16 years in the data entry industry. No similar product can compare with the usability and security of FALCON. You also get the best and most reliable data entry software available, enhanced by the added capabilities of Windows.

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PC/FALCON for DOS

PC/FALCON offers the same easy-to-use data entry features, data capture and imaging capabilities, and high-level security as mainframe FALCON, and works independently or with a host computer. PC/FALCON is operable with or without Windows™ and includes a new popup format-building menu that lets you define new formats in seconds.
Key features of PC/FALCON:

Formats and batches are created and maintained without using valuable mainframe resources Uploading and downloading are as easy as touching a key PC technology makes possible key-sensitive, pop-up HELP screens, quick data validation, and the ability to continue data entry operations even when your mainframe is down You can remap your keyboards to match your dedicated data entry keyboard, making the transition to the PC painless

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FALCON for Mainframe

FALCON has provided data entry technology to MVS and VSE mainframe users since 1983 and has continued to grow and change since then. Today, FALCON data entry software attracts many data entry users from different software products that have not kept up with the times. FALCON, the most powerful on-line data entry system, is also the easiest to learn and operate. FALCON lets you define data entry screens and output record layout in one easy step, and accommodates keyboard and keyless entry devices. Applications are built by simply listing formats from anywhere within FALCON.
Key Features of FALCON

All commands and functions may be assigned to PF keys Easy edit commands perform data manipulation and validation without coding Includes extensive on-line help 24-hour technical support is available Offers enhanced security and system resource conservation Runs under z/OS, OS/390, VSE/ESA, and VM/ESA operating environments Mainframe FALCON runs under CICS and as a standalone VTAM application

For details about the Windows version, go to Falcon32; for details about the MS-DOS version, go to PC/FALCON.

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Viking Data Entry Systems
ImagEntry
ImagEntry® allows rapid and accurate keying from images of forms. ImagEntry is typically used for indexing images and lifting data from image documents such as medical claims and credit applications. It is the only data entry system for keying data from large format images like blueprints. ImagEntry also complements ICR/OCR/OMR recognition engines. The results file can be imported into ImagEntry, where field edits and double key verify can be used to detect and repair errors. ImagEntry is today the most powerful software system for keying data from images. Application developers and system integrators can use ImagEntry to quickly add data entry objects to image applications. An abundance of user exit subroutines make it very easy to customize ImagEntry to meet the most demanding applications. Designed to be integrated with other components, ImagEntry does not contain scanner modules, ICR/OCR/OMR capability or other components supplied by numerous vendors. Consequently, you can build superior applications using the best components available. ImagEntry supplements ICR/OCR/OMR data capture systems with extremely productive and effective methods to key unreadable characters. Key Features of ImagEntry: “Paint” your form on screen – no programming experience needed Adjust image views (zoom, up, down, left, right) during development and production “on-the-fly” Customize your forms with elements that increase entry accuracy, reduce keystrokes and automate entry processes Assign powerful field validation routines using menus and an entire library of pre-defined routines Works with most standard image formats, such as TIFF, PCX, CALS, etc. Can run independently of the DBMS or file system containing images and data Handles multi-page image files
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VDE VDE is a Viking Data Entry System (VDE™) that since 1980 has been the standard for multi-platform keyboard data entry from paper documents. VDE allows to enter data up to nine times as fast and with twice the accuracy of databases, spreadsheets or the indexing module that comes with most imaging systems. VDE offers traditional batch heads-down data entry from paper documents. VDE has been widely used for conversions from key-to-disk machines such as Nixdorf, Tartan, 4-Phase, 3741, DEF/2 and others. It runs on most common operating systems, such as Windows, DOS, UNIX, VMS (AXP and VAX), and others. VDE Version 4.2 transforms your computer into an efficient workstation to keyenter data rapidly and accurately, without additional special hardware. VDE offers the 4GL tools you need for your most demanding key-entry applications. It combines the best features needed for both “heads up” and “heads down” data entry in an integrated system available on a variety of computer platforms: PC, IBM RS6000, Sun, etc. VDE System Capabilities:
Data Entry Application Generator

VDE’s 4GL tools make it easy to develop applications that reduce time and cost expenditures.
Forms Development Facility

The Viking Forms Painter is used interactively to create and modify screen “Forms” that define data entry jobs. The full-screen system is so intuitive and easy to use that end users and data entry operators can design and develop their own jobs.
File Reformatting

General purpose 4GL reformat capabilities let you take advantage of new technology and techniques to increase data entry productivity, while at the same time produce output files that meet the specifications of existing systems.
ISAM File Support

VDE provides fast on-line access to keyed Indexed Sequential Access Method (ISAM) data files and tables.
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Customization

VDE is an open system. Using the optional API and associated tools, VDE is easily customized to meet requirements of the most demanding applications. Use standard programming languages like COBOL, FORTRAN and C – no need to learn specialized “data entry languages.”
Menu System

Viking makes wide use of drop-down menus which are easily customized for unique needs. VDE can even launch other programs, provides additional security and maintains an audit trail. Key Features of VDE: Full-screen, “fill-in-the-blank” screen forms Intelligent double-key verify mode with immediate correction capability Insert, delete, modify and append data records 99 Program levels or record types Powerful, easy to use file search Create, update, re-key verify into ISAM files File conversion, reformatting utilities Table lookups Automatic balancing options VDE Applications: Health Claim Forms, Clinical Trials Wholesale Lock Box, Market Research Engineering Design, Inventory Control Populate Databases, Off-load Mainframe Survey Forms, Tax Forms Accounting, Payrolls

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VDE+Images VDE+Images combines the best features of Viking’s ImagEntry and VDE data entry software, allowing you to key from both paper and image documents with one software package. VDE+Images System Capabilities:
Open Architecture Integrates with Existing Systems

VDE+Images has an open architecture and flexible design that makes it easy to integrate with any document imaging system. VDE+Images can be readily customized using the optional API. Custom field edits and exit routines are coded in the industry-standard C language.
Pre-existing Data

VDE+Images can import pre-existing data to form the basis for data records. This data can come from the scanner, bar-code readers, MICR readers, recognition engines (OCR, OMR and ICR) and other data sources. For example, the MICR data from checks can be imported into VDE+Images for wholesale lockbox applications.
Power/Precision Data Entry

VDE+Images has all the features of the Viking Data Entry System that are required for high speed, high volume, high accuracy keying. Viking’s customers traditionally key data at rates well above the average power/precision keying speed of 11,600 keystrokes per hour. Viking’s customers demand data accuracy far in excess of the capabilities of today’s recognition engines.
Data Capturing from Unstructured Paper or Image Documents

VDE+Images is specifically designed for those imaging applications where the location of the data is not predictable, either because the documents do not have a standard format or because there are a variety of forms that arrive in a random order, such as wholesale lockbox and land title records.
Multiple Relationships between Images and Data Records

Most imaging systems automatically generate one record for each image. VDE+Images is unique among key-from-image (KFI) products in that it allows data records to be stored in the most useful and logical way. So you can have data from any number of images on one record, put data from one image on multiple records, or spread data from several images across several records – whatever works best for your application.
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Image Manipulation

VDE+Images is designed to allow the operator to quickly and easily manipulate the image in order to locate and key the appropriate data. Hot keys let operators zoom, move, rotate and invert images with a single keystroke. They can also quickly switch from one “zone” of the image to another.
Image Sets

Many imaging applications need to group images into sets that represent the pages for a multi-page document, or know the beginning and ending images of file folders. VDE+Images has features to define the beginning of an image set and to advance to the next set. Hardware Requirements: A basic PC with Windows 95, 98, 2000, ME or Windows NT is sufficient for the client workstation. High powered workstations are unnecessary. VDE+Images will work with any network, including Windows NT and Novell. The size of the monitor needed depends on the applications. Many jobs work fine with a basic 15” monitor. A 17” or 19” monitor may be required if the entire document needs to be displayed at full size or larger.

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Frequently Asked Questions
What are the hardware requirements for the latest version of VDE?

Viking Data Entry (VDE) version 4.0 for Windows 95, or Windows NT, requires 10 MB of hard disk space for VDE, plus space for data files, sequential and indexed tables on the server, and none on the client. VDE requires only minimum memory requirements on the Workstation and no additional memory requirements on the server.
I receive a key-from-image module free with my document imaging system. Why should I spend my money for ImagEntry?

If it is free, your vendor probably knows what it is worth. ImagEntry pays for itself in three ways: (1) You will reduce your key entry costs through greater productivity (2) You can set up applications quicker (3) Your data will be more accurate
Do I need data entry if I already have the images in my computer?

Remember, an image is just a picture, a collection of pixels that represent the physical document. Before a computer can do anything with the information on the document it must be converted to ASCII data (i.e. letters and numbers, not pictures of letters and numbers). There are two ways to convert image information to ASCII: (1) Manually key enter the data using a key-from-image module like ImagEntry (2) Use a recognition engine (OCR, ICR or OMR)
What are the system requirements for ImagEntry?

You don’t need a high-end system to run this high-end software. ImagEntry is designed to run with minimal requirements. The minimum System Requirements is a 486 processor, with 8 MB RAM, and Windows 95 or Windows NT. If the documents are unstructured and free form, you probably need a 17” monitor. Monochrome is fine for black and white documents and most documents that have some color on them.
Why do I need ImagEntry? I am getting a recognition engine that will eliminate all manual data entry.

If you believe that any recognition engine is 100% accurate I want to make you a deal on some beach front property in Arizona!
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You will always have some unreadable characters to be hand entered. Did the salesman tell you about substitution errors? How are you going to find them and fix them? ImagEntry can do it.
Tell me about data accuracy - my OCR system is pretty good. How do I compare it?

Manually keyed and verified data averages one character error in 10,000 or 99.99% accurate. OCR salesmen promise to read 95% to 99%. This means they can't read from 100 to 500 characters out of 10,000. Worse yet, the substitution error rate can be really bad.
What type of technical support is available for ImagEntry?

An online manual, a Getting Started manual with tutorial, and complete Help System is packaged with ImagEntry. Additionally, we offer Viking’s unique Field Help facility for all technical support issues – contact by phone, fax and email. This includes: New Releases Product Updates Technical Questions Extended support, our Annual Maintenance Contract , may be purchased for 18% of the license price. Viking’s customers enjoy unsurpassed level of quality in the industry. Our goal is for a Customer Care representative to answer each call as it comes in and respond immediately with a resolution to your issue.
What do you mean by substitution errors?

Recognition engines make two kinds of errors, Rejects and Substitutions. A Reject is a character that it couldn’t read, and it recognized that it couldn’t read it. Substitutions are characters that are misread. For example, it interprets an “e” as a “c”.
Why does ImagEntry clutter up the screen with so many data fields? Your competitor simplifies it by only showing one field at a time.

Ask our competitor to talk to you about keying speed and rhythm. If they think keying rhythm is some new kind of music, run, don’t walk, to the nearest exit.

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We need to key data from images of large drawings in the CALS format. Can I do that with ImagEntry?

Certainly! Define image snippets that display the information to be keyed. You can move and zoom the image to find information that is not in the expected location.
How do I know how fast our people key data?

If your application doesn’t measure and report some metric like key strokes per hour or records per hour, it probably means you are not keying very fast. We hear horror stories about keying rates that are only 10% of the national average of about 11,600 key strokes per hour. You need to understand why you key at your present rates. Do you?
Why can people key faster with Viking products?

To key rapidly the applications must do three things: (1) Eliminate unnecessary keystrokes, (2) Promote rhythmic keying, and (3) Minimize hand movements. Viking has been creating the tools and techniques to eliminate keystrokes since 1980. Many of these techniques are known only to those people who specialize in power/precision data entry. Superstar key entry operators regularly average more than 15,000 keystrokes per hour by building a smooth rhythm in their keying. They cannot achieve these speeds with applications that have short bursts of keying that leads to herky-jerky rhythm. Clearly, if you have to take your hand off the keyboard to use a mouse you lose many keystrokes.
What kind of keystroke average should I expect?

Keystroke speeds are very application dependent and must be considered in that context. However, in 1989 the Data Entry Management Association reported that the USA national average for all applications was about 11,600 key strokes per hour. This is a mixture of a lot of different types of keying jobs. If you are only keying numbers you should expect to do much better. If you key alphabetic letters it may not be so easy to reach the average speeds. If your applications requires you to Athink@ before keying, or if you have to search for the data it will be much slower. And of course there is a big difference between individuals. The important thing to look for is whether the keyer ever has to wait for the system. Many applications can be improved dramatically by improving the design to increase keying speed and eliminate keystrokes.

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Why the big emphasis on key strokes per hour?

It is a common metric but is not always the best one to use. After all, the real measure of productivity is how long it takes to process a given number of transactions or data records.
I cannot afford to buy new hardware and software. It just is not in our budget. What can I do?

You need to look at the total costs. The rental and maintenance for the hardware, the mainframe charges and the total labor costs for your data entry applications. If you are using dedicated key to disk machine, or keying directly on-line to a mainframe, the chances are pretty good that you can reduce you overall data entry costs with a modern system. When you identify all the costs involved you may be surprised how much money you have available that only needs to be reallocated.
Under what platforms does VDE operate?

VDE operates with the following operating systems: Windows 95, Windows NT, MS/DOS, VMS, UNIX (most popular systems, including IBM, DEC, HP, Sun, Intel, SCO, etc.).
Do you provide training on VDE?

Yes! Training classes are scheduled in Tulsa, USA. VDE training is a 3-day session. You also receive a tutorial in the complete set of manuals. Contact us at info@mb-imaging.com for a current class schedule.
How can VDE help me process my information? What can I use VDE for?

Our customers find a variety of uses for VDE. It makes keying data faster, more accurate and requires little overhead. While each business purpose is different and unique to that particular business, here are some of the processes for which our customers use VDE: Keying data from paper forms Credit Applications; Invoices Insurance claim forms Air Bills and Way Bills Land records; Survey Forms Litigation Support documents
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Evaluating Data Entry Systems
Imaging service bureaus often have opportunities to do data entry from the images they scan for their clients. This is an important source of additional revenue. Most firms start by simply indexing images. Larger revenues come from entering content to be input into the client’s data processing systems. Data entry is a double-edged sword for the service bureau. First, it is an opportunity to increase billings and to get scanning work from clients who prefer a one-stop service. On the other hand, when the service is not managed properly, it can become a big cost and a money-losing proposition. At best, most imaging bureaus fail to achieve the profit potential of their data entry services. The key to profitable data entry is the data entry software system you select. You must have a system that maximizes the productivity of your data entry operators. Anything less adversely affects your bottom line. Data entry labor costs overwhelm the software cost. For example, assume your fully burdened labor costs are $25,000 to $30,000 per year. When you achieve only a 5% gain in productivity you will save up to $1,500 per year, which is more than the cost of professional quality data entry software. Most companies see much higher productivity gains than a mere 5%. And these savings go on year after year. There is also a labor cost to set up and maintain data entry jobs. If this is a time consuming task requiring programmers and other expensive labor, your profitability will be further eroded. If you can not react quickly to opportunities you will not get the business. So, it is imperative that your new data entry system provide for quick and easy job setup and maintenance. Clients know what data entry costs. You cannot overcharge in order to make up for your inefficiencies. Competition will kill you.
Operator Productivity

I am amazed at people who buy the best scanners because they understand the value of efficiency and reliability, but don’t buy good data entry software. Avoid using amateur equipment to do a professional job. I often hear, “Why spend money for data entry software when I already have MS Access?” or “I can whip out something with Visual Basic.”
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The problem is that the average productivity rate for professional data entry operators is 11,600 keystrokes per hour. It has been reported that the average operator entering data with Access or standard Windows panels is only about 1,500 keystrokes per hour. This 9 to 1 productivity improvement quickly pays for good data entry software. Ask yourself these questions: How fast are your operators? Do you even measure keying speed? What is your error rate? What does it cost to find and correct errors? An old saying that is particularly true of data entry is, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t fix it.”
Data Accuracy

Inaccurate data causes the client to take their business elsewhere. A single data error may cost the client hundreds, and even thousands, of dollars to repair. The intangible costs in good will and customer service due to data errors is huge. This requires a different mind set from the quality control for scanning. If you mess up an image you can just re-scan it for the client, no big deal. If you make a data error, it may very well be a big deal. Professional quality data entry software systems offer a full range of data validation and error detection features.
Professional Quality Software

Professional quality data entry software, which has been available for decades, addresses these essential issues of productivity and accuracy. However, the top vendors have continuously enhanced their products to support the latest advances in imaging. As a service bureau, you need to search for software that meets your exacting requirements.
Features and Functions

What are some of the features you should look for? And how do those features affect profitability? Technique vs. Technology Profitable keyboard data entry involves using many techniques that have been developed and proven over a long period of time. High tech solutions have less
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of an impact here. The best systems apply and use many small factors to build substantial increases in productivity. Ergonomics Production keyboard data entry uses function keys for specialized features and functions. The whole idea is to minimize hand and finger motion to allow operators to achieve their maximum potential keying speed. It has been proven that the fastest keyers have the best techniques and make the fewest errors. Image manipulation Newer data entry systems have features and functionality that let your operators easily manipulate images so that the data can be key entered. For example, efficient moving, zooming, etc., is done with hot keys and not a mouse. The next image should appear automatically and instantly after the last data item is keyed. Enter vs. Tab The big Enter key is under the right hand and is the traditional key typists and data entry operators use to complete fields or lines. The Tab key is needed to advance over data entry fields to some predetermined field. It is a mystery why Microsoft thinks the Tab key should be used to complete fields. Field navigation Look for hot keys to go to the next and previous fields, and to the next and previous images. Moving the hands from the home keys to use a mouse is a significant slow down. Eliminating keystrokes Features that automatically populate fields with data will reduce keystrokes and increase productivity and accuracy. A special key to duplicate previously keyed data is required. Skipping optional fields It should be simple, even automatic, to skip over fields that normally are usually empty. Instant data validation Data should be validated as soon as it is entered. Only the right kind of characters should be accepted in a field (e.g., no letters in numeric fields). This validation must be accomplished at the time the key is depressed, so errors can be corrected while the eye is on the data and the finger is on the key.

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Extensive field edits Date validations, range checks, table lookups and calculations are just some of the many edits that can be performed on each field as it is completed. It is crucial to detect errors at the earliest possible time. Error messages Errors should lock the keyboard and require the keyer to acknowledge the error message and correct the error. Double-key verify The time-proven data entry method to ensure data accuracy is to key the data twice, preferably by different people. This process results in 99.99% accuracy. Good data entry systems make this process simple and fast, yet it must be optional for those projects where double keying is not desired. Also, it is important that error correction be easy and safe. Verify error detection must be done at the keystroke level. Statistics reports In order to successfully manage the operation you need good reports on operator productivity and errors. The more information you have, the better able you are to allocate costs and ensure that jobs are quoted accurately and performed profitably. In summary, data entry can be far more profitable for most service bureaus than it is now. When you use the right tools and time-proven data entry techniques you see significant increases in productivity and accuracy. Professional Data Entry Systems are the key to success for service bureaus.

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Conversions: What are the Issues for Data Entry Systems?
Data entry systems tend to have a long life. When the time comes to change to a different system it is usually a new experience for the staff involved in the project. The main objective in this article is to suggest some ways to plan the conversion so it will be as smooth and painless as possible. Data entry systems are acquired for many reasons. Today we see many old systems being changed because they are not Y2K compliant. The old systems may be on a mainframe that is being downsized or the applications may be moving to a network of PC’s. Old dedicated data entry systems such as Nixdorf, REI Tartan, Entrex, CMC, Motorola Four-Phase, Pertec, Honeywell, CADE, Mohawk, IBM 3741, and others are being replaced because they are becoming unreliable, difficult to maintain and extremely expensive to repair and operate.
Goals and Objectives

The first step is to determine the goals and objectives of the project. Some of the questions to ask are: When can we start? When does the conversion need to be complete? What needs to be improved and changed? Do we want the new system to closely resemble the old one, or do we want to re-engineer the jobs to maximize productivity?
Information Gathering

Once goals and objectives have been established and approved, you need to gather the appropriate information. You need to identify each data entry job and determine if it is to be converted or if it is obsolete or redundant. For each job you should count the number of screens and classify them as being simple, complex or duplicate. You will also need to gather the keying instructions, output formats, sample source documents and editing criteria for each field.
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Estimate Time Requirements

Once all the information has been gathered and tabulated, you can estimate the time to convert screens to the new system. Develop estimates for the three categories of screens: simple, complex and duplicates. You can then estimate the time to convert the screen formats by multiplying the various estimates by the number of screens in each category. Automated and semi-automated conversion tools can sometimes be used to expedite this process. Next, estimate the time to add the proper data edits and validations. This will depend on the editing and validation facilities of the new data entry system. Finally, make estimates of the time to create the necessary documentation for the new system. It is important to do the documentation at the same time the conversion is taking place or else the odds are very good that it will never be completed. Good documentation will pay for itself in reduced training time, reduced errors and reduced administrative and supervisory time. Remember, time is money! Once the estimates are complete you can determine how many people will be required to complete the conversion within the time frame specified in your goals and objectives. At this time you can factor in the cost to re-engineer some or all of the jobs to achieve improved productivity. A small percentage decrease in data entry costs will continue to accrue year after year and is usually well worth the initial cost.
Team Members

The conversion team should consist of the appropriate people from the data entry group, the systems and programming group and your vendors and professional services suppliers. Different skills are needed for different aspects of the project. Availability of the appropriate people will be key to meeting the schedule.
Training

Training may be required for the development staff and the data entry operators. Training may be provided by simply reading manuals, by using internal trainers, or from your data entry software vendor. In most cases a combination of these sources will be the optimal solution. The amount of training often depends on the schedule. If it is tight you may want early training for your developers to jump-start the conversion process.
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Operator training is usually done in-house by the developers and supervisors. It should not take more than a couple of hours.
In-House vs. Out-Source

The decision to use internal staff for the conversion or to out-source the work depends on many factors. Your organization’s policy and culture in this regard is the principal factor. Availability of staff is another issue. Often internal staff is limited or not available in the desired time frame. Outsourcing to the software vendor will usually result in a quicker conversion because of their expertise and experience. When you include fully burdened costs for internal staff the actual cost will probably be about the same. An advantage of the in-house approach is that you then have the expertise to maintain your system in the future. Of course, that assumes that the staff that does the work will be available in the future.
Operator Productivity

If you have made a wise selection of the data entry software system you should expect that overall productivity will be at least as good as your present system. If you are able to take advantage of faster systems with newer features and technology then your operators should become more productive. People who key data all day long are very sensitive to the keyboard. A slight change in the touch and feel will be noticed by your fastest operators. There is a definite adjustment period that you should plan for. Productivity will follow the traditional S-shaped learning curve. When you first switch over to the new system the operators will be slower at first. As they become familiar with the new system they will gradually return to the same, or even a higher, speed. This learning curve effect can take a few days to a couple of months. You can expect initial resistance to the new system if the old system was satisfactory. This is human nature: we are all resistant to change. Some people adapt more quickly than others do. Psychological factors have a lot to do with the learning curve. If operators approach the new system with a positive attitude, things will progress faster and smoother.
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It is important to prepare them for the change and show them how the new system is going to be better. Make it a fun challenge rather than something “they” have mandated from on high. Involve them in the process and solicit their opinions on how to improve jobs. Operators who feel an “ownership” in the new system adapt readily and happily.
Ongoing Maintenance

Someone on your staff should learn to set up new data entry jobs and make modifications to existing jobs in the future. It is not good to be at the mercy of a vendor or outside consultant for every little change that you need. It has often been said that “change is the only constant in life”. This is certainly true of data entry jobs.
Preparing for Key-from-Image

Document imaging is becoming a mainstream technology. Even if you have no plans for imaging today, the odds are very good that you will be looking at imaging projects in the foreseeable future. Data entry from document images is slightly faster than keying from paper documents. Plan ahead, the best data entry software systems allow you to easily migrate to key-from-images. There are things you can do when you convert your data entry jobs that will prepare you for the future. Investigate this with your software vendor.
Viking Software’s Conversion Experience

The staff at Viking Software Solutions has assisted in the conversion of the following data entry systems: Key Master CADE Nixdorf Series 1 DPS Sovereign MDS Life Works Falcon S1DES Entrex REI Tartan Mohawk Four-Phase Data 100

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Keying from Images when your Documents are not Forms
Some imaging applications require that large amounts of data be entered from documents that are not standardized forms. Forms processing is a well established technology for imaging systems, but it assumes the documents are highly structured. What about those applications where the documents are unstructured, or freeform. Traditional forms processing technology doesn’t work well, if at all. The many benefits of imaging can still be achieved, but special attention needs to be paid to data entry in these cases to keep from causing system bottlenecks. What characteristics do these documents have? Unlike structured documents, or forms, the data to be keyed is not in the same place on each page of the unstructured document. Often it is not even on the same page. Structured documents are usually the same, or when there are multiple pages they appear in a consistent and predictable manner. There may be many different kinds of data to be keyed from any page. There may not be any data, or there may be lots of data, on any given page. In general, the document determines what is to be keyed. Unstructured documents are not amenable to the successful use of recognition engines (OCR/ICR/OMR) because the zones of interest are not definable. Recognition is seldom successful on unstructured documents because the zoning problems and laborious job setup. Recognition rates are poor when the zones are not precise. What type of documents fall into this category? Land Records General purpose image indexing Litigation Support Wholesale Lockbox Many Accounts Receivable Applications Accounts Payables Credit Card Vouchers
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When implementing an imaging system, what data entry issues need to be considered for this type of image? Then for each issue, what characteristics should you look for in key-from-image data entry software/hardware if you deal with this type of images? Often there are a variable number of pages (images) that make up a document set (think of the document set as a file folder containing a variable number of pages). The data to be keyed is associated with the document set, not necessarily the individual images. Thus, there can be a many-to-many relationship between data records and images. Often there is a need to view the images in a document set and to advance to the next document set. This requires special functions to advance to the first page of the next document. Balancing financial documents is often required. Unstructured documents usually require 19” or larger monitors for productive keying because the full image must be displayed. Structured documents can be keyed using small monitors because only a snippet of the image needs to be displayed in order to key one or more data fields. Interfaces with other parts of the imaging system. Compatibility with any key-from-paper systems that will continue to work in parallel with the imaging system. Conversion and training. Ease of maintenance – making changes to the job setup. In conclusion, if your organization is implementing imaging and you deal with this type of document, don’t let data entry problems keep your imaging project from being successful. A little attention to the issues outlined above will ensure that you put together a complete system that fits the way your organization works.

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Top 10 ways to lose Money doing Data Entry
Cost Effective Data Entry from Images

Organizations with document image systems must do data entry from the scanned images of the documents. In the simplest case, the images need to be indexed for retrieval. In most applications there is a need to lift data from the images to be input to other programs and systems. The cost of this data entry can be excessive if the wrong data entry systems are employed. This often leads to unexpected labor costs that can eat up all the savings of the imaging system. Let’s look at the factors involved and see how to avoid excessive costs. The key to profitable data entry is the data entry software system you select. You must have a system that maximizes the productivity of your data entry operators. Anything less adversely affects your bottom line. Data entry labor costs overwhelm the software cost. For example, assume your fully burdened labor costs are $25,000 to $30,000 per year. When you achieve only a 5% gain in productivity you will save up to $1,500 per year, which is more than the cost of professional quality data entry software. Most companies see much higher productivity gains than a mere 5%. And these savings go on year, after year, after year! Yet, every day we hear horror stories about how much more costly it is to key input data from document images than when they keyed from the original paper documents. Why does this happen? There is also a labor cost to set up and maintain data entry jobs. If this is a time consuming task requiring programmers and other expensive labor, your cost will be excessive. Inability to be able to react quickly to new opportunities can cost your company through loss of business. So it is imperative that your new data entry system provide for quick and easy job setup and maintenance.
Operator Productivity

I am amazed at people who buy the best scanners because they understand the value of efficiency and reliability, but don’t buy good data entry software. Avoid using amateur equipment to do a professional job. I often hear, “Why spend money for data entry software when I already have MS Access?”, or “I can whip out something with Visual Basic.”

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The problem is that the average productivity rate for professional data entry operators is 11,600 keystrokes per hour. It has been reported that the average operator entering data with Access or standard Windows panels is only about 1,500 keystrokes per hour. This 9 to 1 productivity improvement quickly pays for good data entry software. Ask yourself these questions. How fast are your operators? Do you even measure keying speed? What is your error rate? What does it cost to find and correct errors? The old saying, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t fix it” is particularly true of data entry.
Data Accuracy

Inaccurate data is expensive to correct and often causes your customers to take their business elsewhere. A single data error may cost hundreds, and even thousands, of dollars to repair. The intangible costs in good will and customer service due to data errors is huge. This requires a different mind set from the quality control for scanning. If you mess up an image you can just re-scan, no big deal. If you make a data error it may very well be a big deal. Professional quality data entry software systems offer a full range of data validation and error detection features.
Professional Quality Software

Professional quality data entry software, which has been available for decades, addresses these essential issues of productivity and accuracy. However, the top vendors have continuously enhanced their products to support the latest advances in imaging. You need to search for software that meets your exacting requirements.
Features and Functions

What are some of the features you should look for? And how do those features affect profitability? 1. Technique vs. Technology. Profitable keyboard data entry involves using many techniques that have been developed and proven over a long period of time. High tech solutions have less of an impact here. The best systems apply and use many small factors to build substantial increases in productivity. 2. Ergonomics. Production keyboard data entry uses function keys for specialized features and functions.
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Free Data Entry Secrets: Naked Truth Exposed!

www.mb-imaging.com

The whole idea is to minimize hand and finger motion to allow operators to achieve their maximum potential keying speed. It has been proven that the fastest keyers have the best techniques and make the fewest errors. 3. Image manipulation. Newer data entry systems have features and functionality that let your operators easily manipulate images so that the data can be key entered. Efficient moving, zooming, etc. is done with hot keys and not a mouse. The next image should appear automatically and instantly after the last data item is keyed. 4. Enter vs. Tab. The big Enter key is under the right hand and is the traditional key typists and data entry operators use to complete fields or lines. The Tab key is needed to advance over data entry fields to some predetermined field. It is a mystery why Microsoft thinks the Tab key should be used to complete fields. 5. Field navigation. Look for hot keys to go to the next and previous fields, and to the next and previous images. Moving the hands from the home keys to use a mouse is a significant slow down. 6. Eliminating keystrokes. Features that automatically populate fields with data reduce keystrokes and increase productivity and accuracy. A special key to duplicate previously keyed data is required. 7. Skipping optional fields. It should be simple, even automatic, to skip over fields that normally are usually empty. 8. Instant data validation. Data should be validated as soon as it is entered. Only the right kind of characters should be accepted in a field (e.g., no letters in numeric fields). This validation must be accomplished at the time the key is depressed so errors can be corrected while the eye is on the data and the finger is on the key. 9. Extensive field edits. Date validations, range checks, table look-ups and calculations are just some of the many edits that can be performed on each field as it is completed. It is crucial to detect errors at the earliest possible time. 10. Error messages. Errors should lock the keyboard and require the keyer to acknowledge the error message and correct the error. 11. Double key verify. The time-proven data entry method to ensure data accuracy is to key the data twice, preferably by different people. This process results in 99.99% accuracy. Good data entry systems make this process simple and fast.
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Yet it must be optional for those projects where double keying is not desired. Also, it is important that error correction be easy and safe. Verify error detection must be done at the keystroke level. 12. Statistics Reports. In order to successfully manage the operation you need good reports on operator productivity and errors. The more information you have, the better able you allocate costs and ensure that jobs are quoted accurately and performed profitably. In summary, data entry can be far less costly for most companies than it is now. When you use the right tools and time-proven data entry techniques you see significant increase in productivity and accuracy. Professional data entry systems are the key to success for service bureaus.

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How Will Our Data Entry Systems Help Solve Your Document Management Problems? How Important is Accuracy? Quick Launch

Data Entry Systems Free Downloads timeThe timeproven methods of keykey-entering data result in 99.99% Accuracy!

Getting more work done with fewer resources is key to survival these days.
The amount of hand-whiting paper documents that are a day-to-day part of your job is on the increase: invoices, checks, bills, orders, applications. The list is endless. And each document must be reviewed, approved, sorted, processed, and ultimately, filed and stored. Take a look at the methods your organization uses for data entry: How important is the impact of errors: reprocessing costs, unhappy customers, lost business, etc? How much it costs your organization to detect and correct errors? You know today’s ICR/OCR systems have unsatisfactory error rates for most real-world documents. You know, there must be a better way. There is!

Our Power/Precision Data Entry Systems MB-Imaging provides Viking Data Entry Systems – the most powerful today software systems allowing rapid and accurate keying data from both paper and images: VDE is a Viking Data Entry System (VDE™) that since 1980 has been the standard for multi-platform keyboard data entry from paper documents. VDE allows to enter data up to nine times as fast and with twice the accuracy of databases, spreadsheets or indexing modules that come with most imaging systems. ImagEntry is the power software for keying data from images of forms (structured documents), designed to be the key entry component of high performance document imaging systems. ImagEntry supplements ICR/OCR/OMR data capture systems with extremely productive and effective methods to key unreadable characters. VDE+Images combines the best features of Viking’s VDE and ImagEntry data entry software, allowing you to key from unstructured documents (which are not amenable to the successful use of OCR/ICR/OMR recognition engines because the zones of interest are not definable). Everything on Your Fingertips Our Power/Precision Data Entry Systems, perfect for integration into any document imaging applications, keep vast amounts of data at your fingertips, allowing you to index images and key-enter data: rapidly, accurately and affordably! Even if this offer is not right for you, since you have read thus far, something caught your interest. Why don't you call us today (or visit www.mb-imaging.com) for information about How Will Our Data Entry Systems Help Solve Your Document Management Problems?

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Free Data Entry Secrets: Naked Truth Exposed!

www.mb-imaging.com

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