Deep Dive into OCR and Intelligent Document Capture

Is OCR Outdated?

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology has a long history dating back to WWI when Emanuel Goldberg developed the Statistical Machine, the first electronic method of storing and retrieving business records. In the 1970s, OCR technology advanced to recognize text in almost every font. In the early 2000s, OCR became a cloud-based service. While it has a long and impressive history, it lacks technology that is increasingly important today - Artificial Intelligence (AI). Today, OCR technology is a part of Intelligent Document Capture (IDC) solutions that take OCR to the next level with AI innovations. In this guide, we take a close look at OCR and IDC solutions. 


What are the common advantages of OCR? 

Let's start with the positives. Traditional OCR technology has existed for so many decades because it offers many advantages, including: 

  • Expeditious processing, input, and conversion from paper to electronic documents 
  • More affordable than manual data entry
  • Faster than manual data entry


What are the common disadvantages of OCR?

OCR is an essential technology that established the foundation for many of the technologies we use today and is still an integral component in many advanced solutions. However, if hypothetically deployed on its own, in the context of today's technologies and standards, OCR would present some clear disadvantages. 


Limited Capabilities

OCR executes specific tasks well, but the scope of capabilities is limited. Additional software or work may be needed to prepare the documents for the OCR processes. For example, most traditional OCR technologies can only extract data if the document image is properly aligned and oriented. So if a person photographs documents with a smartphone, webcam, or camera, the images must be de-skewed before the OCR technology can operate. Additionally, OCR technologies struggle to read handwritten text. 


Lack of Accuracy

Over the years, the accuracy of OCR technology has progressed substantially, so the occurrence of errors is relatively low. However, traditional OCR technology is limited because it does not leverage AI or Machine Learning (ML). As mentioned above, OCR technology typically cannot interpret data in a skewed image. Additionally, glares, blurriness, and colored backgrounds can increase the probability that errors may occur. To achieve the highest degree of accuracy, it is necessary to implement a solution that leverages these technologies. 


Not User-Friendly 

OCR technology is legacy technology that is heavily ingrained into the operations of many businesses. Just because it is an integral part of business processes does not mean it is the easiest solution. Traditional OCR software often has an archaic interface that does not feature the user-friendly features we increasingly need and expect. 


Not Self-Learning 

Traditional OCR software cannot learn from user feedback. Companies that use traditional OCR software likely need to spend time and resources on development to create and maintain the structures necessary to correctly capture document information. 


Should you replace your OCR software?

If you are still exclusively using OCR software, you are missing out on numerous benefits that a more advanced and comprehensive solution like IDC can provide. It is worth considering an upgrade to a solution that can:


  • Reduce or eliminate the need for human interaction in document processes
  • Expedite document processing
  • Enhance the quality of documents
  • Unify processes for optimal consistency


Is Intelligent Document Capture (IDC) a better solution?

Although "is IDC better than OCR?" is a frequently asked question, it is important to clarify the relationship between IDC and OCR. The two are not opposites. In fact, IDC is an extensive process for information collection and analytics, and OCR is a technology that plays a critical role in scenarios with large numbers of physical documents that need to be converted into digital text. 

In comparison to OCR, IDC is a more comprehensive solution. OCR identifies characters and assembles words, sentences, and blocks. IDC uses AI and ML to capture documents and data, distribute information across the business, and then manage the flow. 

Here at FabSoft, we created the Fab-Connect Suite to deliver practical, cost-effective software solutions that intelligently capture and distribute transactional documents across businesses of every size. Since 1992, we have been an industry leader in document capture solutions, helping companies of all sizes greatly reduce their operating costs while maximizing business productivity. Our document capture solutions have evolved over the years to suit the growing needs of any organization. For this reason, there is no printing or scanning challenge too large or too complicated for our document capture software. With over 150,000 successful installations, FabSoft solutions have been implemented into the daily operations of many prominent businesses all over the world. 


To learn more about our Intelligent Document Capture solution, Book a Demo with us today! 


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