Back Office 5.7. Data Entry and Processing

As a start-up venture, you may not require much data entry or processing. However, if your business deals with large customer groups, mailing lists, contact lists, or large numbers of documents, then data entry and processing will be mission critical. Some types of mission-critical data, like mailing lists, often require specialized expertise beyond mere data entry and processing.

Right now, you’re probably wondering what data entry and processing has to do with your business. Probably nothing. It depends on what you have mixed in to your business and marketing processes. You require data entry if

  • You are doing business by having people fill in forms―order forms, discount forms, mailing list forms, sweepstakes forms, coupon forms, or whatever. Those forms need to be inputted into a spreadsheet or database―this is particularly important for order forms. If you don’t properly process an order form, you get the order wrong. And that costs money.
  • You are running any kind of print-based surveys or electronic surveys that are not automatically inputted into a database. Why would you want surveys? Market research. Measuring customer satisfaction. Or you’re running a survey company, in which case you don’t need to be reading this section because you already know what you’re doing!
  • Your business depends on mailing lists―email marketing, print catalog, direct mail, etc. Both often require specialized knowledge―there are data processing firms that specialize in print or email mailing lists exclusively―but you can easily find inexpensive full-service data processing services to handle your mailing list needs.
  • You are running a document-heavy business; your business either receives or generates a high number of documents, like a law or research firm. Those documents often need to be converted into data. Why? To store them. Sometimes to make all the data in the documents useful.

You have several options in managing your data. You can easily hire a part-time person to regularly handle your data entry and processing. Your most cost-effective solution, however, is to visit one of the marketplaces or job boards and post an ad for data entry or processing and see what bubbles up to the surface. You can also find a virtual assistant, many of whom provide data entry and processing at about $30 an hour. Some will even provide database design and creation, but you shouldn’t expect much. If your needs are highly complicated or your data is highly mission critical, you should consider an outsource vendor that specializes in data entry and processing. These outsource vendors typically target medium- to large-sized companies, so they come at a premium price.

If you choose a data entry outsource provider, your most cost-effective solution is to offshore to India. There are literally thousands of Indian companies providing data entry and processing, so finding the right outsource solution can be quite a chore.

What should you look for in a data entry/processing outsource firm?

  • Cost―data entry can quickly become a huge project; the more data intensive, the more your costs can pile up.
  • Expertise―you want a firm with expertise in data entry and processing since the quality of the data will determine its value to you. You should only deal with a firm that guarantees data quality. A firm or individual with many years of experience is in part a measure of how well they can perform.
  • Availability―like most outsource providers, you want your data entry and processing vendor to be available with a quick turnaround time. Most firms dedicated to data entry and processing are staffed 24/7 and can provide fairly quick turnarounds. Since your data can determine your profitability, the sooner you have data to act on, the sooner you can generate profits.

5.7.1. Data Entry Group

http://www.dataentrygroup.com/index.html

Located in Portland, Oregon, Data Entry Group provides traditional data entry and data processing services such as registrations, form processing, research analysis, mailing lists, and so on. They work multiple shifts around the clock, so service is available twenty-four hours a day. You can request a quote for your job using their easy online quote form. Services include:

  • Data entry
  • Data conversion
  • Medical/Dental processing
  • PDF creation
  • Survey processing
  • Document imaging
  • Medical/legal transcription

5.7.2. OpenWorld Data

http://www.owdata.com

With twenty-five years experience in data entry, OpenWorld processes all types of data, from typed to handwritten, into any data format. With around-the-clock shifts, they provide services 24/7 across several languages. Their client base ranges from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, so they have experience dealing with small business and entrepreneurial data concerns. Services include:

  • Data entry and capture
  • OCR conversion
  • Forms processing
  • Microfilm/microfiche
  • Data processing
  • Data conversion
  • Mailing services
  • Document scanning

5.7.3. Tab Service Company

http://www.tabservice.com

In business since 1960, Tab Service Company handles one-time data-entry jobs to large, enterprise projects. The company does handle data entry and processing for small businesses and can be cost-effective.

Service include:

  • Data entry
  • Database management
  • Forms processing
  • Survey processing
  • Document scanning
  • Litigation support
  • Custom application development

5.7.4. Techspeed

http://www.techspeed.com

TechSpeed is an offshore data entry and processing provider providing quick turnarounds of the following offerings:

  • Data entry
  • Database management
  • Forms processing
  • Scanning
  • Website databases
  • Website design

5.7.5. Axion Data Services

http://www.axiondata.com

Axion specializes in forms processing and mailing services and has developed a number of systems and procedures to guarantee high-quality data from forms. Services include:

  • Data entry
  • Mailing services
  • Forms processing
  • Scanning
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