Manual vs. Machine Data Entry

This is one of the core considerations in larger or ongoing data entry projects. Do we rely on purely manual, purely machine data entry, or some combination of the two?

Manual data entry relies on human beings. The advantage is that human beings are flexible and intuitive, capable of learning complex, multi-variate processes quickly and adjusting data entry processes easily. Human beings are also able to work independently and make decisions, whereas even the most advanced software program can only follow its programming, which the programmer must design in advance. 

One of the key ideas, which makes Capital Typing data entry solutions so effective in saving our clients’ time and money, as well as ensuring accuracy, is the concept of smart people and smart machines, working together. We love designing data entry projects that put human, manual data entry in places where only a human can do it, and machines in places where machines are better, but having the two work together in a seamless, fully integrated, and intuitive system.

The process of designing the perfect match of human and machine data entry begins with recognizing the following points in the data entry process:

  1. Intuition points. These are the places where it takes common sense to understand the data. In these cases, software solutions are either impossible, or very difficult and time consuming to develop, because the essential nature of the work is predictive and intuitive, requiring human thought and analysis.

  2. Replication points. These are processes that are repeated in the same way again and again throughout the data entry process. This is where machines are superior to human beings, because they don’t make human errors such as typos or incorrect copy/pasting. Also, once the task is purely repetitive and can be programmed into software, a machine can do thousands of operations in seconds. Human hands are just not that fast.

Identifying intuition points and replication points in a data entry project is both art and science. It requires deep knowledge of how software logic works, to understand when software can be used, how much work is involved in creating the required software, and when the use of software in some process or some part of a data entry project is just not viable. 

It is important to understand as well that the combination of machine and human data entry is not just about efficiency of the data entry itself, but involves other concerns, such as:

  1. Quality assurance. Manual data entry processes, being susceptible to human error, require a special type of consideration when it comes to quality assurance. Typically we make use of reviews, verifications, and validations of inputs, sometimes implementing double data entry systems for more crucial data sets. Therefore, it is important to understand, when designing a system that mixes human and machine work, that just as the machines require human effort in the development process, in the same way, manual data entry systems often require the use of machines for managing the processes. The costs and challenges associated with supporting system development must be taken into consideration when planning a data entry project as well. 

  2. Project management. First we break it down into parts, but then we have to put the process together to create a seamless, manageable system. It is important to plan every data entry project in a way that is intuitive for the human data entry operators, because intuition plays such an important role in human comfort and the ability to produce quality results. Human beings are not able to easily shift from one task to another when there is no logical, intuitive flow or rationale to justify the changes. Therefore, we always pay attention to the experience of the data entry operator, designing systems for comfort as well as efficiency, since we understand that comfort is an essential requirement for efficiency and accuracy.

These are some of the advanced concerns we think about when analyzing a client’s new project. And it is this depth of analysis and knowledge, which sets us apart, and allows us to produce the kinds of results, both in terms of quality data and cost-savings, that make Capital Typing data entry solutions such a great value for our clients.