Is Data Entry Easy? What You Need to Know Before You Try It
Data entry remains the bedrock on which the edifice of virtualization of the world is being built.
With the advent of software technologies, humans have been building smarter and smarter programs with a view to making the world a better and better place. While this is not the place for a discussion on the ‘better place’ contention, we have all been witness to the flood of software technologies that have continued to swarm us. And since there is greater and greater adoption of these technologies, one must assume that humans see benefit in them.
While technologies and software programs are being built by smart people, they also need data to work on. If a technology does not address a real world need or issue, it may not be of much use to anyone. Hence, it needs to use real world data and address a real-world issue.
The data that the real world is generating, unfortunately, sits outside these software programs. Hence, if these technologies are to deliver their promised benefit, they need to find a way of using the data that is being generated in the real world.
This is where data entry comes in. It takes data from the real world and makes it available to the digital world in the format that they need it. It acts as a bridge between the two. It is generally a manual activity.
Once data is entered into a software or a computer application, it becomes easy to process, easy to retrieve, easy to transfer and, in general, easy to do anything with.
However, merely being entered into a computer application may not always be enough. Data entry may still be required if information is going from one software application to another. For example, if Company A supplies material to Company B, it generates an invoice from its Accounting application and sends it as a hard-copy or email attachment to its client, Company B. As Company B uses a different software for making invoice payments, which does not understand the information coming in from the invoicing system of Company A, there is a need for doing data entry in the software of Company B. Once entered, this information can be used by Company B in many different ways. But a one-time data entry is required.
All industries are touched by data entry one way or another.
The above notwithstanding, “Is Data Entry Easy” is not an easy question to answer.
In the ensuing paragraphs, we will make an effort to examine the arguments in favor and against the question.
Is data entry easy? Yes it is.
Repeated tasks lead to efficiency enhancement
In most cases, data entry is a repetitive task, done again and again, for a large volume of data or transactions. A human being gains proficiency by doing the same thing over and over again. Lionel Messi perfects his free kicks by practicing them hundreds of times a day. Roger Federer is able to execute his serve so nonchalantly in a match because he practices hundreds of them each time he practices.
Similarly, by doing it over and over again, the people doing data entry gain proficiency, resulting in efficiency gains for the business they are working for. The operators also gain insights into the process to be in a position to suggest methods for automation that can give an additional fillip to the efficiency.
Repeatedly identified as one of the top three data entry service providers in the world, oWorkers has delivered on hundreds of client engagements in data entry over the eight years of their existence. Our transparent pricing model results in efficiency gains through repeated performance of a task being shared with clients.
Anyone can do it
If ever there was a democratic white-collar job in the world, it is that of data entry. Everyone who does data entry is equal. It does not require fancy educational qualifications as an entry ticket. It does not require prior experience to be good at it. All it needs is a willingness to learn and work hard based on a defined process and a desire to deliver work of good quality.
It has the potential to create employment and bring disadvantaged communities into the digital world. Not because it is a political initiative to create employment, but because it is a process that can be done with willingness and initiative on part of the operator. It is a process that will not run out of resources. With modern technology, it can be done from any corner of the world. If an operator in Mexico cannot do it, go to Egypt. If vendors in Egypt are unwilling to take it on, go to India. An endless resource supply is available.
With its three centers located within three hours of all major capitals in Europe, oWorkers has access to a wide talent pool for its data entry work. With our deep involvement in local communities, we are a preferred employer in all locations we have a presence in, which gives us access to a continuous supply of candidates interested in working for us. This enables us to provide seasonal ramps based on client needs while keeping employment costs in check.
Limited task, but a part of a bigger picture
Voluminous processes are often broken down into smaller, specific tasks, with defined deliverables and goals for each step. One of the things it does is to affix responsibility for each part of the equation. If not done this way, in case of issues faced with the process or its output, it becomes difficult to affix, or even identify responsibility for the error, resulting in no learnings from the incident that could lead to an improvement in the process for subsequent runs.
It also means that in case of an issue with one part of the process, the entire chain does not need to come to a grinding halt. Since the data entry process is a part of a larger process, it might be easier to source help, in case of need, from an adjoining process that either receives an input from it or delivers an output to it.
oWorkers has been providing data entry services in a number of delivery arrangements, and make it a point to develop a working relation with relevant people on the client side. We find that at times we need to lean on a client for support while on other occasions they may need to ask us for the same. Our endeavour is to keep the big picture in mind and be a contributor to the client’s success.
Potential to release efficiencies
The breakdown and possible outsourcing of data entry tasks releases a variety of benefits, like allowing focus on core activities of the organization, like cost reduction, and others. Though they may not directly contribute to making the data entry task any easier, because they are able to release benefits and efficiencies to the organisation, and make the functioning of the organization easier, the answer to the “Is data entry easy” question should be a resounding yes.
With oWorkers, clients get a partner well versed in the science of data entry, having executed hundreds of projects for global clients. Data entry for Ecommerce products, Invoices, Customer orders, Civil Records, Books. Legal notices, Forms for Healthcare, Banking, Insurance and many other industries constitutes our body of work and experience.
Is data entry easy? No it is not.
The output is only as good as the input
In order to gain operational efficiencies, many businesses break up business processes into smaller chunks with the following objectives:
- Making accountability clear for different parts
- Employing resources of suitable quality for each job rather than rely on the Highest Common Factor (HCF) principle to have the most qualified person for any of the tasks doing all of them
- Outsource specified, identified segments
Perspective is often important for human beings to perform a task. They need to know and identify with the big picture to be able to contribute to it. Breaking it down into small tasks and taking the big picture visibility out from the operator’s line of sight can often result in errors creeping into the output as the operator will perform her job based on her limited understanding. With the GIGO principle in operation, if the quality of input is poor the resultant process will also be poor.
With a dedicated training team and over 8 years of transitioning hundreds of client projects, oWorkers has built the expertise required to migrate work while embedding itself as an integral part of the outsourcing organization so that our operators keep the big picture in mind while conducting their day-to-day tasks. Our Internal Quality team serves as an additional checkpoint in ensuring quality is delivered to required standards.
A bewildering array of data entry jobs. No two are the same.
Though it may be true that data entry is a process that is relatively simple to execute, the bewildering array of data entry requirements often make it a complex process. No two data entry jobs are alike. While an operator may have gained efficiency while repeatedly doing a particular data entry job, as soon as that job is complete and he needs to move to a new data entry job, he slides back to the starting point and begins his climb to the top of the efficiency hill all over again.
Data entry requirements for two seemingly similar processes may be entirely different. In this situation, for many people, the answer to the “Is data entry easy” question could well be a No.
Our management team, with hands-on industry experience of over 20 years, are on the forefront in every client project. Before a project is transitioned to a Business As usual (BAU) mode, they ensure that expectations are aligned, the work has been converted to a process that can be followed, people have been provided the requisite training, and everything else required. This handling converts potentially difficult jobs into easy ones for our teams of operators.
Operator turnover is high
Human beings are thinking animals. They like to think and exercise some control over what they are doing in order to show themselves to be in good light. While to some extent it is possible to do this in a data entry task as well; an operator can do a good job to stand out from the crowd, by and large the process remains repetitive. Not just repetitive but mind-numbingly repetitive.
For a thinking human being this can lead to frustration in not being able to influence the outcome with your smarts and thought-process, which often leads to burnout. And perhaps, before burnout, errors start creeping into their work as their attention starts to waver. This leads to either the operator leaving of her own accord or the business removing her from that work and either moving on to another project with the company or moving on to another company altogether. Either ways, it ends up with the promise of efficiency enhancement with more practice not being realized and a new person needs to be inducted who would start her own journey from the bottom to the top of the hill.
Human resources are a key differentiator for oWorkers. We work with employed staff and not freelancers, and take upon ourselves the responsibility of monitoring each employee’s performance and providing opportunities for growth. This has enabled us to keep staff engaged and motivated to perform, while keeping our attrition at industry-leading numbers. Our engagement with local communities also gives us access to a continuous pool of talent from which replacements can be found, if required.
The answer to the “Is data entry easy” question will vary from person to person and organization to organization. It is as easy or as difficult as you make it to be.
oWorkers is GDPR compliant, operating as it does from the Eurozone. It is also ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certified and operates with facilities & protocols that are secure. We also ask that each member of our staff sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before access to client data is provided.
Our services in over 22 languages are used by global clients for several services, including data entry.
With a pricing model that is transparent, oWorkers provides a choice between rate per unit of output and rate per unit of capacity and is able to share the benefits of scale with its clients. It also leverages developments in technology through its partnerships with a number of technology providers.
We are able to ramp up by almost a hundred people in 48 hours to meet short-term client requirements.
For oWorkers, the answer to the “Is data entry easy” question is a resounding YES.