How Do I Capture Handwritten Information and Turn it Into Valuable Data?

    When it comes to the massive amounts of data on forms and documents, is your organization actively capturing, archiving and storing handwritten, in addition to printed information? 

    From signatures to annotations and notes, many incoming documents contain handwriting that can offer valuable insights. Yet very few organizations take advantage of the ability to automatically capture and fully leverage handwritten information so that it can be regularly accessed and utilized for archiving. How can you capture and fully leverage this data?  

    Ever heard of handwriting recognition software? Pretty interesting, huh? 

    If you are using software to capture printed text you may be familiar with Optical Character Recognition (OCR).  Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR) is advanced OCR technology (or handwriting recognition) that allows fonts and styles of handwriting to be learned by a computer to improve processing accuracy and recognition. By using ICR, companies can readily capture important handwritten information.

    However, while a recent study from Parascript and AIIM recognizes handwriting is prevalent on forms, and many companies could benefit from using ICR software to capture it, over 87 percent of respondents in an ARMA study say they are not using the technology.  This implies a great deal of opportunity to sharpen processes that can lead to lower operational costs and better data discovery and retrieval. 

    ICR can be used to capture and validate signatures, often required to authorize transactions; detect annotations, including subtle, hard-to-detect strikeouts to full-blown commentary; and identify keywords, often scribbled in the margins or in a comments field, including customer sentiment, and special service requests such as change of address.

    What else can ICR do?

    While ICR capabilities vary widely, some can support archival, retrieval and discovery by:

    • Identifying keywords for archival, or process routing, utilizing them to classify documents and generate metatags. Handwriting in comments functions may offer opportunities for customer service to engage a customer for a case study or, conversely, fix a brewing product problem.
    • Matching, and validating, signatures on archived documents, including those for processing transaction orders or claims.  Documents that do not contain necessary signatures can be sent to exception handling for proactive follow-up by customer service.
    • Performing legal discovery against specific keywords or phrases. Companies can reduce compliance risks by controlling the flow of incoming documents and linking them with respective business transactions.

    Want to know more about how you can be an archival hero with advanced ICR? Ask our experts!  

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