Data Processing: Impact of BPO Activity on Software Performance

March 26, 2017

 

In the document management industry, documents are typically stored in large warehouses owned by record management companies. When the information in these documents need to be converted into electronic form, a team of data entry operators receive boxes of physical records and then manually type the information from these records into the data capture software. The team of data entry operators has people performing two roles: data entry and data validation. The data entry personnel simply enter the data from the physical records into the electronic forms in the computer while validation personnel validate the entries in the software by retrieving the forms containing data entered and cross-checking manually with the physical records or digital images of physical records.

 

 

The software used to capture data from physical records is typically a client-server system or a web-based system.

 However, since the warehouses of record management companies are usually located at the outskirts or even in remote villages, network connectivity to access a web-based (or cloud-based) system on the Internet is often poor. Therefore, the data capture system is a often a client server system or an intranet-based browser-based system where the server is a computer on the local area network. The LAN includes a router with about twenty terminals connected to it where one of the terminals also serves as the server. At the end of the day the data from the server is backup to a disk drive (such as CD) or a USB-based flash drive and sent to the corporate office of the BPO service provider from where the data is uploaded to the central data capture system over a high-speed Internet connection.

 

When the data entry personnel capture data from a physical record initially, they follow this process:

  1. Open the page (sometimes, the page in question may be in a stapled stack and several pages may need to be turned before the required page is reached)

  2. Open the next electronic form by clicking on “Open new form” or equivalent button in the computer

  3. Enter data into the electronic form by reading relevant portions of the page

  4. Cross-check, especially any number sequences

  5. Submit the form by clicking on “Submit” or equivalent button.

 

Since there are usually hundreds of thousands to millions of physical records to be converted to electronic form, and the data entry team consists of around ten persons in a team supervised by a team leader, each person is able to enter around thousand forms per work day of 10 hours - that is, about thirty seconds per form and then get ready to enter the next form data.

 

The process followed by data validation personnel is only slightly different:

  1. Open the page on the physical record or scanned digital image

  2. Open the corresponding electronic form by entering any id on the physical record in the search bar

  3. Cross check data entered into the form with the physical record

  4. In case any corrections need to be made, alter the data on the form and click on “Update” or equivalent button.

  5. In case no corrections need to be made, then continue from step 1 with the next physical record.

 

Since there are usually fewer data validation personnel than data entry personnel, they need to validate each form in roughly half the time as for data entry - that is, in about fifteen seconds per form.

 

 The above BPO processes clearly impact software performance. For data entry, the software must be able to refresh the screen within a few seconds  whenever the open new form button is clicked and should return the confirmation in a few seconds (less than ten seconds, preferably) whenever the submit button is clicked. For data validation, the search should return the results within a few seconds (less than five seconds, preferably) after checking hundreds of thousands of records in the database; likewise the update operation during validation should happen quickly. These performance times are based on manual entry. When barcoded or scanned entries occur, then the impact on software performance is greater - faster response times will be required to ensure data entry operations continue at the optimal pace and revenues are not impacted.

 

 dMACQ uses its own software for data entry and the performance of this software is kept at its maximum by fine-tuning the software for the appropriate BPO processes so that software does not negatively impact BPO operations. While it is common knowledge that software performance can impact productivity, in the BPO data entry industry we believe the reverse to be truer - productivity of data entry personnel impacts software performance especially in a low speed Internet or LAN environment.  

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