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Businesses will often find themselves with stacks of information that is valuable to them, but next to useless in its current form. We’re talking about filing cabinets full of old invoices or contracts, product brochures or even locked PDFs containing information you’d like to reuse. This information is great to have, but without being editable or searchable, it isn’t doing your business any good. And even if this information is sorted, it’s slow and inefficient to be digging through hundreds or even thousands of documents to find one specific thing. That’s where Optical Character Recognition (OCR) can help you.
Optical Character Recognition is a technology that allows you to convert different types of documents into searchable and editable files. Because of the way it will help your document management methods, you’ll not only save time and money, but be able to create great resources for your colleagues and clients.
Say you have a stack of business cards from a recent tradeshow. Rather than having to sit and input the information from each card into your contacts database by keying it in, you can scan the card using your MFP, creating a digital image of it, and then use your OCR software to snag the relevant information from it and copy it directly to your contacts or mailing lists.
In the case of text trapped in PDFs, OCR will allow you to recreate those files in editable forms, such as MS Word documents that you can edit and search through. This perfect for documents containing errors as it will save you time by not requiring you to re-type the entire document to fix one or two small issues.
Because the documents run through OCR software are searchable, you’ll be able to create databases of old information that you can reach with a few mouse clicks. Perhaps you’ve accumulated magazine articles or industry publication articles that are relevant to your business that you’d like to make available for your sales staff. Once it is scanned and run through your OCR software, they’ll be able to search your database to find it and pull out the relevant information, saving them time when searching for things like statistics hidden in the text that they can use to bolster their pitch.
Where you can get OCR
Many MFP manufacturers are now offering OCR software that works with their devices. Lexmark offers their own version of OCR technology, Accuread OCR, on their solution-enabled MFPs that can easily integrate with other applications such as email programs. The purchase or lease of a new Sharp MFP comes with their Sharpdesk software which also includes OCR technology. There are also a number of third-party programs that are available though not all will be directly compatible with your MFPs or other office equipment, so be sure to do your research before making any decisions.
For more information on how Optical Recognition technology can help your business, contact BrockOA!