Automated Data Collection: Count the Ways It Saves for Businesses
Statista reports that the total amount of data copied, captured, created, and consumed globally is increasing rapidly. While it was 64.2 zettabytes in 2020, it is projected to grow to more than 180 zettabytes by 2025.
As evident, the world produces more data than ever before. Whether targeting marketing campaigns, tracking data from advertising, sales prospecting, or communicating with customers, data is continuously flowing. And, for businesses looking to get ahead of their competitors, this treasure trove provides immense opportunities. Organizations need to aggregate and analyze a substantial amount of data to make data-driven decisions.
So, for companies looking to harness data to its full potential or turn to sustainable digital solutions, relying on manual workflows is no longer a viable option. Growth-focused industry leaders understand that having modern-age data collection solutions are paramount for achieving accurate insights and making informed decisions.
Limitations of Manual Processes
Companies that still rely on paper-based manual data collection processes already understand their challenges and limitations. Manual processes are expensive not only in terms of labor costs, but compliance risks, employee unproductivity, paper resources, and human error as well.
Given the repetitive and mundane nature of manual tasks, it gets difficult for companies to streamline their workflows and scale effectively. All this has to be done while keeping the operational expenditures as low as possible. Such limitations not only hinder a business from experiencing a full digital transformation, but also keeps them irrelevant in today’s competitive business environment. Hence, the smarter way out for many organizations—whether B2B or B2C, old or new, big or small is to integrate automation in their data collection tasks or opt for smart data transformation practices.
Smart Data Transformation
Whether you are looking to enhance efficiency or increase productivity, investing in smart data transformation is the key. Businesses that opt for such ‘smart’ data collection services can efficiently convert their unstructured and raw data into organized and schema-compliant XML for AI/ML applications, data analytics, and other products. It combines human intelligence with Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Robotic Process Automation to help businesses with strategic decision-making.
The Automation Advantage
Automating the data collection process offers a plethora of advantages, many of which lead to long-term business growth. Here are the top five benefits of workflow automation to ensure clean and high-quality data collection:
- Minimized Human Error
Manual data capture processes such as keying information into a spreadsheet require a dedicated amount of time and effort to be executed efficiently. Employees that are assigned repetitive manual data entry tasks become less engaged in their core work; thus, increasing the likelihood of more inaccuracies. And, even if the resource is trained to perform data entry tasks, the likelihood of probable human errors is always present, leaving companies with databases or spreadsheets full of poor-quality data. This dirty data not only negatively impacts the analysis and decision-making but proves to be expensive and time-consuming to be fixed.
On the other hand, automating data collection processes has circular benefits. A virtual workforce frees employees from such tedious manual tasks while also eliminating data entry errors and the extra time needed to fix them. In short, minimizing human involvement in the data collection process implies that data is automatically error-free and high-quality.
- Greater Accuracy
Paper forms with illegible handwriting can be difficult to interpret and might lead to input errors, which is another challenging issue of the manual data entry process. Similarly, different employees might enter data like states and phone numbers in different formats, if not specified by the management. This lack of standardization makes it problematic to cleanly collect data as well as gather quality insights for reporting and analysis. Using automated data collection solutions, businesses can ensure quality control and standardization over these processes.
Setting up an automated data collection workflow means that data is consistently and cleanly transferred to the designated source, as suggested by the management. This not only reduces errors, but also enhances the accuracy of data captured and formatting.
- Accelerated Processes
Form processing speed directly depends on the number of form submissions an organization can scale. Manual workflows take lengthy processing times, which can quickly lead to input errors, data silos, and poor-quality data. Without having clean data in an easily accessible format, productivity bottlenecks become more common, causing a loss of customer satisfaction and strained vendor relationships.
Infusing automation in the data capture workflows can accelerate these processes. This accuracy and speed help businesses to minimize the effort and time spent on capturing, storing, and managing such high volumes of data. Apart from accelerating data processing, it also offers real-time insights and more accurate analytics. As a result, organizations can better focus their employee productivity and strategically allocate their resources to revenue-generating opportunities.
- Increased Efficiency
One of the biggest drawbacks of manual processes is their inability to scale. A small staff manually entering data is sufficient if the form submissions are limited. But if there is a spike in submissions, scaling these processes without hiring extra labor won’t be possible. Likewise, physical paperwork can quickly become cluttered and the information might get lost, slowing down the entire data collection workflow.
Instead, automating workflows for more complex or large data collection requirements helps ensure that these processes remain efficient. Regardless of form complexity or submission numbers, an automated data collection system can easily process any amount of data quickly and correctly. Hence, organizations can get more predictable workflows and cleaner data.
- Regulatory Compliant Data
Collecting data manually may appear to be less costly than implementing automated data collection tools and technologies—but there’s a greater cost to be paid in not improving outdated processes. Accelerating the manual processes is difficult. Likewise, scaling these workflows without letting the labor and resource costs spiral up is also a challenge. There are also increased chances of human errors and compliance risks. As a result, there is more risk for data breaches that can cost businesses their reputation as well as revenue due to hefty fines.
By integrating the latest automated data collection software, businesses get an assured ROI. Apart from improving the workflows, it also enhances the quality and improves security of the information being captured. This assures that the data is free from compliance concerns and errors, both of which reduce costly fines if there is any data breach.
Clearly, automation workflows have a big impact not only on the quality of data collected, but processing speed, costs, and productivity. Engaging in powerful and flexible data collection services streamlines and automates these processes even further. This enables businesses to gain the necessary insights to make informed decisions, collaborate on projects, and maximize productivity—all while saving money, time, and resources. Hence, automated data collection is an investment that quickly pays for itself.