Total Cost of Ownership of an OCR Software

What is TCO (total cost of ownership)?

Total Cost of Ownership

The Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is a financial estimate intended to help buyers and owners determine the direct and indirect costs of a product or service. It is a management accounting concept that can be used in full cost accounting. (Wikipedia).

TCO is a popular concept when it comes to comparing Software. It allows you to estimate the cost of using the OCR software and plan your automation strategy according to your possible workload and budget over time.

There are several aspects that are too circumstantial to be able to include in general cost estimates, but there are some that we know for a fact, and we can combine them in a total cost of ownership for each OCR scenario and compare them to the possible solutions on the market.

Front-End Cost

The first and most obvious element is front-end cost. This is the price that will be presented with the product, and the marketing team will be pointing towards special offers and discounts to cut it down. It is an important factor, but it is far from everything you would need to take into account. And yet, even here, there are different options. Some of the OCR solutions will offer you the “pay and forget” option of making one payment right here, right now. However, lately, the annual cost or subscription model has become more and more popular, allowing customers to spread costs over time and OCR creators to organize a steady flow of income.

Cost of Support and Maintenance

The second element of the total cost of ownership would be the cost of support and maintenance. Theoretically, it is possible to avoid […]

OCR Guide

What is OCR?

OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition and is the technology that allows software to interpret text on scanned images. When this technology is applied to automating business data entry processes it’s referred to as OCR Data Capture.

Many are familiar with popular desktop OCR applications designed to convert scanned images to editable documents. When this process is applied to specific areas of the document containing data fields it’s called zone OCR. But OCR data capture software is more than just simple zone OCR. Modern applications use some or all of these technologies:

80%

Using the OCR software enables enterprises to reduce the document processing time by as much as 80%

Benefits of using OCR

If not for the trees then do it for the savings on paper, toner, copiers and their services contracts, etc.

How much time is wasted searching for paper files? Digital documents can searched and viewed instantly from anywhere.

Paper is much harder to backup and restore than digital data.

Office square footage and off-site records storage adds to the cost of keeping paper documents.

Government mandates for records retention […]

OCR Data Capture

What is OCR Data Capture?

document OCR process automationOCR stands for Optical Character Recognition and is the technology that allows software to interpret text on scanned images. When this technology is applied to automating business data entry processes it’s referred to as OCR Data Capture.

Many are familiar with popular desktop OCR applications designed to convert scanned images to editable documents. When this process is applied to specific areas of the document containing data fields it’s called zone OCR. But OCR data capture software is more than just simple zone OCR. Modern applications use some or all of these technologies:

Enterprise data capture systems provide interfaces for scanning, recognition, data verification and export, as well as management and monitoring tools to track large volumes of documents and data through the workflow.

Who can benefit from OCR data capture software?

messy business information made easy with ocr data captureAny organization that collects data from paper documents, or electronic files like PDF and Office documents, can get a very high return on investment by automating the data entry with OCR data capture software.

You do need to have a significant number of documents to […]

Using OCR to capture data from tables and reports

Data that repeats over and over again in a document can be OCR’d to Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets and other spreadsheet formats, or a SQL Database like Access, SQL Server, MySQL and Oracle.

Inexpensive Desktop OCR products like FineReader, ReadIRIS and OmniPage can automatically convert data from tables to Excel and other spreadsheets, as long as the columns are standard and don’t “overlap” such that different field values appear in the same column area, like when one row of each record represents one set of columns and a second row has additional column data.

Converted data will require some clean-up before it is usable in any database or software application, and it is difficult to convert large numbers of documents in batches this way. But it’s a good way to produce structured data from large single reports or small batches of similar report data.

For more complex tables, tables with similar data but different formats on different documents (like Invoices), tables with nested structure like header and detail rows, Enterprise Forms Processing software is required to turn these documents into structured data like XML, JSON or SQL database tables.

Does ReadIRIS, FineReader or OmniPage support Zone OCR?

The “Pro” versions of most Desktop OCR applications support the creation of zone templates that can be used to OCR specific regions on batches of documents.

Most OCR applications have “Lite” versions that don’t have the ability to manually create zones so it’s important to get the correct version.

With these applications it is often not possible to output this data as “fields” in a structured data file like CSV, Excel or XML. What you typically get a text file for each document with a line of text for each zone. The zones are designed more for excluding regions you don’t want or manually overriding the detection of text, tables and images in the document.

If you need to capture specific data in multiple documents and output them to structured data files or a SQL database, Batch OCR Applications are the best option for this.

If you need to capture data formatted in tables and output to CSV or Excel, desktop OCR applications do this quite well as long as the tables have a regular format with well-defined columns.

To capture handprint, irregular tables, large numbers of data points, or data that doesn’t always appear in the same place on every page, Forms Processing software is what you need.

OCR to Database

Data is Everything. It does not matter in what field your company works, after all everything will be distilled into digits of data and accumulated in Database to be processed, stored, repurposed and reassembled again, again and again.  All organizations have database, that acts as a repository for all of their information. And you may survive with manual data entry, or using spreadsheets or just folders with documents for some time, but eventually just mare amount of Data will become overwhelming.

Luckily there are plenty of solutions for your Database. You can choose between SQL (MySQL, Access, Postgres, …) or NoSQL (Mongo, AWS, …) solutions for storing and processing Data, but there will be always an issue of how raw unprocessed digits get from images or texts into more structured form of your Database. Identifying and transferring all of this data can be a bit of a task. Misreading data or mismatching of data to fields could easily ruin your data processing system. Thus, precision of data character recognition becomes essential.

One of the solutions is to keep these processes of scanning and data transferring separate. You can use one software for character recognition and transferring data from image to PDF or text document. And then to use PDF (or text) to database converters to extract that data into your database format. The very obvious disadvantage of this approach is that it adds the whole extra step into your data processing. You will start accumulate additional errors, will add time for setting up additional conversion, will add time to data processing and will add time for inevitable error identifying and bug fixing. It may work for smaller companies, but on larger enterprise level it becomes cost prohibitive.

Another solution is OCR to Database direct approach. […]

Simple Software

SimpleIndex can bring speed and efficiency to your scanning or doc filing no matter the process. Even if all you are doing is hand keying a few basic details about a document, breaking those details into individual indexes and adding tools like drop down choice lists, automatic orientation, and blank page deletion ensure a smoother, more consistent process.

Automation

Here’s where things start to get interesting. From basic tasks like splitting individual documents within at stack of pages by spotting a blank page, a specific mark, or a barcode separator to capturing index data directly from the page or looking up additional details about a document in a database, SimpleIndex has a host of powerful tools to tame your piles of paper or drives full of digital files. Let’s look at a few.

OCR

Optical Character Recognition is the ability to take a scan, which is merely a picture of a page, and turn it into words that the computer can understand and use to index your files. SimpleIndex leverages the power of ABBYY FineReader, recognized as one of the best OCR engines on the market, to accurately capture names, dates, important numbers, document types, and other details about your file. Some products have you set a box and capture whatever information happens to fall in that zone. SimpleIndex takes it further with Dynamic Zone OCR to enable you to set an oversized zone that allows for shifting of the pages between scans, but still captures just the date you need by matching against templates, lists, or even Regular Expressions (RegEx). You can also skip the zones entirely and use the full text of a page to find matches for your index data.

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Document Scanners
& Scanner Parts

Accurate OCR starts with quality images. Efficient OCR starts with fast scanning. Find Document Scanners built for OCR at ScanStore.

Our Team of OCR experts is here to help! SimpleOCR is not just Freeware, we have every kind of OCR solution from PDF Converters to Enterprise Data Capture, OCR Servers and Handprint Recognition for Forms and Surveys. Live chat with an OCR specialist now or Contact Us for a consultation on your OCR project.

SimpleOCR is the popular freeware OCR Software with hundreds of thousands of users worldwide. SimpleOCR is also a royalty-free OCR SDK for developers to use in their custom applications.

SimpleIndex is OCR built for business, offering powerful batch scanning, OCR server, and data capture features with a simple user interface and affordable licensing.

If you like free stuff, freeware versions of our SimpleView Document Viewer (with Tesseract OCR), SimpleCoversheet Bar Code Printer, and SimpleExport CSV to XML Converter are also available.

If you have a scanner and want to avoid retyping your documents, SimpleOCR is the fast, free way to do it. The SimpleOCR freeware is 100% free and not limited in any way. Anyone can use SimpleOCR for free–home users, educational institutions, even corporate users.

If your documents have multi-column layouts, non-standard fonts, tables, poor quality or digital camera images, you will not have much success with applications based on free and open source engines like SimpleOCR and Tesseract. You will need a commercial OCR application to get an accurate read. Our OCR Guide compares desktop and server […]

Forms Processing

What is ICR, Survey & Forms Processing?

ICR stands for Intelligent Character Recognition and is the technology that allows software to interpret hand printed text on scanned images.

Data Capture Forms OCRForms Processing Software uses ICR technology to automate data entry tasks involving hand-filled surveys, applications and forms. It provides interfaces for scanning, recognition, data verification and export, as well as management and monitoring tools to track large volumes of documents and data through the workflow.

Forms Processing also includes OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology to recognize machine printed text, and OMR (Optical Mark Recognition) for check boxes and multiple choice bubbles.

It is also possible to use these applications to automate data collection from PDF forms, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and other formats used to fill out forms electronically. Many include the ability to publish forms as paper, fillable PDF and web pages simultaneously to distribute and collect data from multiple sources into one dataset.

Who can benefit from forms processing software?

Any organization that collects data on paper-based forms, surveys or applications on a regular basis can get a very high return on investment by automating the data entry with forms processing software.

You do need to have a significant number of forms to justify the expense– at least a hundred forms per month or more depending on how much data is being captured. If the data entry task can be done in under 100 man-hours then it is not a good candidate for automation with ICR software.

Organizations that have many separate departments that collect data on forms can share the budget for forms processing software by re-using it for other projects. Your current project may not be big enough to justify the expense, but when combined with one or two others it would be.

How much do […]

Convert Scanned Image to Text Document

The primary purpose of Optical Character Recognition is to quickly and automatically convert scanned images of machine-printed (typed) text – which to a computer are no more meaningful a collection of pixels than any other image, such as a landscape photo – into actual text data that you can search through and modify.

OCR Software comes in many different types, which vary in price range based on their features, speed, and accuracy. One of the main qualities that OCR producers are using to differentiate their products is volume of the documents OCR will allow you to process. That may be a bit counter intuitive but features that are needed to process hundreds, thousands or millions pages a year are rather different ones.

In case of several hundreds of pages (receipts, checks, medical, tax or legal forms, personal memorabilia)  you need to scan for personal use you would need light, highly versatile, easy to use, not expensive software that will convert images just to text. It may not have automation features, and processing data further will be done manually by you. Thou it is not too hard since volume of documents is not very large and you can treat each of them individually.

Small business users usually process thousands of pages a year and require some automation features. Images need to be converted not just to text, but also to spreadsheets to be processed further. Once the system is set up it is assumed that it will run without much of the interference, and people in charge of document processing would be able to do that with certain ease.

Larger companies processing millions of documents require much larger levels of automation when each small, fine tuned feature would save thousands of work hours in a long run. Multiple machines will be processing documents […]

PDF OCR

Searchable PDF OCR

Adobe Acrobat OCR to Searchable PDFCreating searchable PDF files using optical character recognition is one of the most common PDF OCR applications.

The PDF format works great with scanned documents because it allows the OCR text to be hidden in an invisible layer behind the original document image. So you see a perfect replica of the original instead of OCR text that lacks formatting and may contain artifacts and errors.

OCR PDF to Other Formats

Batch OCR PDF to Text, Excel, Word

PDF OCR can also mean converting scanned PDF files to Word, Excel, text and other formats. This can be done with any desktop OCR or OCR server application. However there are several OCR applications called PDF Converters that are only designed to convert documents to searchable PDF files rather than converting PDF files to other formats. This is an important distinction to make when searching for PDF OCR software.

PDF Converters often cost less than their full-featured desktop OCR counterparts since they only offer document scanning and conversion of images to searchable PDF files. They can also include the ability to convert other file formats like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, HTML, etc. to PDF automatically. Enterprise site licensing options let you enable this capability for any user in the organization. Contact us for a quote on site licenses for any PDF OCR application.

PDF OCR Compression

PDF also offers advanced compression options like MRC, JPEG2000 and JBIG that can produce much smaller files than traditional TIFF images. Foxit PDF Compressor is even able to parse the document and apply different compression to images, text and backgrounds to reduce the size even further. This can produce huge savings in cloud storage and access […]

MAC OCR Software

apple-ocr-for-automated-document-processing-macOSWhile the majority of OCR software is written for the Windows platform, a few of the major OCR engines have released versions for MacOS systems as well. Mac OCR software are often slightly more limited than their PC counterparts, and may not have the latest version of the OCR engine. However if you need to convert documents to text, Excel or searchable PDF files on your Mac, these are the best software options.

Currently, there are are professional versions of ABBYY FineReader and both pro and corporate versions of ReadIRIS available for MacOS.

When you scan a document that has text or numeric data on it, you are able to read and understand what is written in the scanned image. However, to a computer, the resulting image file is just as meaningless an assortment of pixels as a landscape photo. In order to transform this information into an editable format that you can search through, copy, and modify without retyping it manually, you will need the an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software.

There is a wide variety of OCR software available. While they all share the ability to convert images of machine printed (not handwritten) text or numbers into an editable format, the various software often have different features, accuracy, prices, and language options.

Creates editable, searchable files and e-books from scans, PDFs and digital photographs. The most accurate OCR available for OSX, its unmatched recognition and conversion eliminates retyping and reformatting. Sophisticated yet remarkably intuitive, FineReader has an easy-to-use interface that makes even the most complex tasks simple.

Kofax Power PDF for Mac makes it easy to gain […]

Compare OCR Software

Applications

When you scan a document that has text or numeric data on it, you are able to read and understand what is written in the scanned image. However, to a computer, the resulting image file is just as meaningless an assortment of pixels as a landscape photo. In order to transform this information into an editable format that you can search through, copy, and modify without retyping it manually, you will need the an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software.

There is a wide variety of OCR software available. While they all share the ability to convert images of machine printed (not handwritten) text or numbers into an editable format, the various software often have different features, accuracy, prices, and language options.

You can find the various types of OCR software with a description of each below.

Users within a single department, working from home or who have a small business can simply scan their documents to a folder that is shared to everyone. In this “ad-hoc” scenario you only need some basic document scanning software to simplify and bring consistency to your filing system.

If you want to move to the next level, there are Desktop Document Management options that provide an all-in-one means for capture, storage, search and retrieval of documents. Additionally, they provide security, advanced capabilities and ease of use above that of the ad-hoc methods

And let’s not forget cloud-based options that alleviate the need to maintain storage servers or keep software up to date.

Need a simple, no frills OCR solution without spending hundreds of dollars on a professional software package? Look no further. There is a no cost, donation optional, OCR freeware solution for […]

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