OCR – A Necessary Evil?

How paper-work started

Many businesses interact with their end customer or partner or other business entities over several different communication channels. The oldest one was snail mail where people would mail their paperwork, then we got the phone system, later came email and the web. However the paper that once existed has not gone away. People just found new ways to use the paper to scan and upload over email or scan and upload to a web page.

The Last Mile

There are couple ways to eliminate the paper-work and both rely on electronic means to capture the data from the end user. There is the traditional web portal approach, where a web form captures the data and then there is the messaging/chatbot approach also known as conversational AI. There are some differences in the approach and also some pro/cons (probably a topic for another time)

Why don’t we fix the problem?

Lethargy and a fragmented approach to solutions has created a situation, where OCR (although not perfect) continues to be used overwhelmingly for automaton. Instead of preventing the problem, we exacerbate the problem by letting people continue to scan paper documents into images and then OCR them back (in the process, struggling to find the best OCR technology, which will fix all the legibility issues, the hand written text and so on)


OCR is not going away soon. But the process can be hastened by adopting electronic means of onboarding, for example. Autosmic provides a Multi-Portal which is a multi-tenant portal customizable for different needs and pre-hooked into the RPA infrastructure, so automation is pre-integrated into it. This allows people to focus on the business problem to be solved and not the infrastructure complexity or the plumbing!

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