What is OCR in RPA and Why Does Your Business Need It?

by Burak Koçak
1 year ago
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Introduction to OCR and RPA

Have you ever found yourself manually typing out information from scanned documents or images? It can be a tedious and time-consuming task, especially when dealing with large volumes of data. That’s where OCR in RPA comes in!

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is a technology that enables software to recognize and extract text and data from non-textual sources. Robotic Process Automation (RPA), on the other hand, refers to the use of virtual software robots to automate repetitive tasks. Learn more about RPA on our another blog post: “What is Robotic Process Automation?“.

When OCR and RPA are combined, businesses can automate data entry and processing tasks that involve reading and analyzing unstructured data from various sources, such as invoices, receipts, and forms. This can save time, reduce errors, and free up employees to focus on more strategic tasks.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the basics of OCR in RPA and why it’s essential for businesses looking to streamline their processes and stay competitive in today’s fast-paced digital world. We’ll discuss the benefits of using OCR in RPA, how it works, and provide real-world examples of how businesses already use it to improve their operations.

So, let’s dive in and explore the world of OCR in RPA!

How OCR Works in RPA and Its Benefits

Optical Character Recognition is a technology that automatically recognizes printed or written characters and converts them into digital text. In RPA, OCR is used to read text from images, scanned documents, or PDFs, and convert it into a machine-readable format for further processing.

OCR uses pattern recognition algorithms to identify individual characters or words within an image or document. The OCR software will analyze the image, looking for patterns that match known characters and letters. Once a character or word is identified, the OCR software will convert it into digital text, which RPA workflows can further process.

By implementing OCR in your RPA workflows, you can achieve a variety of benefits for your business, such as:

  • Improved accuracy: OCR technology can read and interpret text more accurately than humans, reducing the risk of errors that may occur during manual data entry. This can lead to increased data accuracy and reduced data rework.

  • Improved accessibility: OCR can make information more accessible for individuals with visual impairments or disabilities, by converting printed or written text into digital format.

  • Greater data visibility: With OCR in RPA, you can easily extract data from unstructured sources such as PDFs, images, and handwritten notes, and make this data available for analysis and decision-making.

  • Time savings: OCR can help automate the process of extracting data from scanned documents or images, which can save time and resources for your business.

Common Challenges When Using OCR in RPA and How to Overcome Them

While OCR technology can provide significant benefits for your business, it’s not without its challenges. Here are some common challenges that businesses may face when using OCR in RPA workflows, and some strategies for overcoming them:

  • Language and font recognition: OCR technology may struggle to recognize certain languages or fonts, particularly if they are uncommon or not supported by the OCR software. To overcome this challenge, it’s important to use OCR software that supports the languages and fonts you need and to ensure that the OCR engine is trained to recognize them accurately.

  • Poor image quality: OCR performance can be impacted by the quality of the scanned image or document. Poor lighting, low resolution, or skewed documents can all affect OCR accuracy. To overcome this challenge, it’s important to ensure that images are of high quality and well-positioned before processing them with OCR.

  • Text recognition errors: OCR technology is not infallible, and errors can occur during the text recognition process. To overcome this challenge, it’s important to use OCR software that includes error correction features, such as spell-checking or contextual analysis, to help identify and correct text recognition errors.

Use Cases of OCR in Different Industries

OCR technology is commonly used in RPA for automating document processing tasks, and has a variety of use cases and applications in different industries.

One of the most common use cases for OCR is claims processing in the insurance industry. OCR can be used to read and extract data from insurance claims forms, automating and streamlining the claims process. This improves accuracy and reduces the risk of errors, ultimately leading to better customer service.

In the healthcare industry, OCR can help automate the process of data entry from patient records, lab reports, and other medical documents. This allows healthcare professionals to focus on providing quality care to patients.

Lastly, OCR can help automate the process of reading and extracting data from resumes, job applications, and other HR documents in the human resources industry. This reduces the time and effort required for manual data entry and improves the efficiency of hiring processes. 

You can watch the example process of VooDoo RPA's embedded OCR feature below:

Also, you can also read our other blog post which is quite relevant to the OCR feature: “Screen Scraping vs Web Scraping: The Key Differences Explained“.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is clear that OCR technology is an essential component of any successful RPA implementation. By enabling machines to recognize and interpret unstructured data, OCR allows organizations to automate a wide range of business processes, from invoice processing to customer service. With OCR, businesses can reduce errors, improve accuracy, and increase efficiency, all while saving time and money.

As such, OCR is a crucial tool for any business looking to optimize its operations and stay ahead of the competition in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape. So, if you haven’t already done so, it’s time to start exploring how OCR can benefit your organization and help you achieve your automation goals.