In this age where data is a very valuable asset for most businesses, virtually all businesses involve at least one form of the data entry process.
As the business grows, the requirement of data entry and data processing will also increase exponentially, and thus executing the data entry processes in a timely manner while maintaining accuracy can be challenging.
With that being said, in this guide, we will discuss some important tips to optimize your data entry process, but so that we are on the same page, let us begin by discussing the concept of the data entry process itself.
What Is Data Entry?
Data entry is the process of inputting (entering) data or information into a system (a computer, software, a server). Typically data entry will involve converting information from one form into another. For example, re-writing handwritten notes into a word document, as well as transcribing an audio file into a text document.
In some cases, the data entry process will also involve calculations and/or modifications of information according to the context of information. For instance, an accountant must typically perform basic calculations when inputting data into an Excel sheet.
Thus, while data entry might seem like a simple and repetitive task, it can also be complex and might require some knowledge and expertise.
How To Optimize Your Data Entry Process
1. Audit and Prioritize Your Data
As we’ve discussed, data entry can be repetitive and time-consuming, and it’s quite often we ask valuable employees to perform data entry tasks when data entry is not his/her main competency.
It’s very essential to ensure that only useful and important data is entered and processes, and to do so we must regularly review the whole business processes to check which data is actually relevant and must be prioritized (and which can be ignored). This will also mean redesigning older forms to involve only relevant data.
In short, make sure to minimize the needs of data entry as much as possible.
2. Standardizing Data Entry Processes
Another important way to improve your data entry process is to standardize the process.
This is especially important if you have multiple data entry workers and/or are outsourcing your data entry processes to third-party vendors.
A huge element contributing to data entry inefficiency is inaccuracies, causing the data entry process to be unnecessarily repeated to correct the previous error.
By standardizing the process, you can improve the levels of accuracy while maintaining the consistency and integrity of data inputted. Process standardization can provide workers with a useful roadmap in executing complex data entry processes without sacrificing accuracy.
Also, if you plan to automate the data entry process (more on this later) then standardization is a prerequisite process.
3. Outsource When Possible
Many businesses opt to do their data entry processes strictly in-house, while actually outsourcing your data entry process can save more time, cost, and hassle, while ensuring you’ll get an adequate level of expertise to maintain accuracy and data integrity.
By partnering with a professional data entry service provider, you can outsource your data entry tasks to experts from more affordable countries, while at the same time you can free up your employees from the data entry tasks so they can contribute more to achieving your business’s objectives by focusing on the tasks that matter.
4. Automate When Possible
While outsourcing your data entry processes can already be very effective in saving more time and resources, we can further optimize the processes by automating them whenever possible.
We should especially automate data entry processes that are relatively simple but must be performed frequently. Automation is the best way to ensure accuracy and integrity by eliminating human errors, and can also be a good solution for data entry processes that involve complex calculations.
Also, automating at least some of your data entry processes can help minimize the operational costs in the long run. Yes, the initial investment might be relatively expensive, but you’ll end up saving more money in labor costs since you don’t need to hire or outsource to a data processing expert.
5. Effective Defect Prevention
Defect prevention is the strategic effort implemented to reduce the inaccurate entry of faulty data.
Defect prevention is not a one-off thing, but rather a continuous process of spotting data error, potential bottlenecks, and identify ways to minimize these errors and improve efficiency.
We can use various forms of defect prevention tactics depending on the type and complexity of data, but the objective is to create a system that can automatically and intelligently validate inputted data, identify errors, and ask data entry operators for correction.
6. Continuous Evaluation and Improvements
It’s very important not to treat the data entry processes as a one-off thing, but rather as a continuous process that needs to be improved again and again.
It’s crucial to track the performance of each data entry process and to re-evaluate the performance every time you’ve implemented changes to the process. Thus, it’s important for organizations to use sophisticated methods and systems to identify errors and inefficient data entry processes.
Doing so can provide the company with a clearer idea of the areas that can be improved and what specific improvements are required.
All of the above tips we’ve shared are among the most effective ways to improve your data entry processes, which can help you save time and resources in performing the data entry process while ensuring accuracy and data integrity.
Organizations should consider outsourcing the data entry process to professional third-party service providers, which can actually be more cost-effective than building an in-house data entry team. Also, whenever possible, automation should be implemented to eliminate human errors and maintain accuracy.