What is OCR?

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is a technology that enables you to convert different types of documents, such as scanned paper documents, PDF files or images captured by a digital camera into editable and searchable data. 

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What is OCR used for?

OCR technology is used to convert different kinds of images containing written text (typed or printed) into machine-readable text data. Instead of retyping a written text manually, you can convert all the required materials into a digital format within several minutes using a scanner (or a digital camera) and Optical Character Recognition software. 

When is OCR used in procurement?

In procurement, OCR is mainly used to scan and digitise information from, for example, printed invoices, purchase order confirmations etc. That means it is used to capture documents and incorporate data into the downstream systems. 

How does OCR work?

Using OCR software involves three steps:  

Step 1: Pre-processing the document image 

Step 2: Character Recognition  

Step 3: Post-processing the document image 

Main disadvantages of OCR

  • Expensive  
  • Low accuracy, mistakes are likely 
  • Labour-intensive to correct mistakes created by OCR 
  • Not all documents can be processed 

Alternative to OCR: The Netfira Platform

OCR vs. the Netfira Platform

 

OCR 

Netfira Platform  

Costs  

The software is expensive, special scanning hardware needed, training, materials and staffing costs 

SaaS solution: Minimal investment costs 

 

Accuracy  

Low accuracy, mistakes are likely 

 

Very high data accuracy, hardly any errors through AI 

 

Correcting errors  

Labour-intensive 

AI is capable of learning and is becoming more and more precise, check and correct discrepancies easily 

 

Scope of application  

Only works with specific formats  

No restrictions, AI can also work with and structured unstructured data 

 

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