What Are the Steps in Business Data Processing?
What would your business do without accurate and timely data? From the growing requirements of “Big Data” to the traditional needs involving payroll and accounting, data is always a core part of any organization’s planning and operations picture. In this article, DataEntryOutsourced explains business data processing steps.
Data Processing Definition
A working definition of data processing usually includes all operations performed on data – disclosure, management, use and collection of data are four examples of business data processing within a company. The strategic goal of data processing is to convert raw data into meaningful information that improves a current situation or resolves an existing problem. Data processing outputs often take various forms such as reports, diagrams and graphics that make the data easier to understand and analyze.
In recent decades, organizations have increasingly relied on computer systems to help them streamline business data processing operations – however, skilled human efforts are still a critical component in maintaining accuracy and other quality components throughout the steps in business data processing.
Types of Data Processing
The three types of data processing – manual, mechanical and electronic – are summarized below.
- Manual Data Processing – This is the “old-fashioned” way of doing it before the invention of calculators. When data processing is done manually (“by hand”), the process is slow and all mistakes are due to “human error.”
- Mechanical Data Processing – Data processing results improved dramatically with the addition of typewriters and calculators. However, speed and errors were still very much a function of “human operators.”
- Electronic Data Processing – Modern data processing uses computers to facilitate processing requirements. Based on data processing instructions provided by human users and programmers, computers now handle an expanding part of the data processing operation. While processing data electronically has become the accepted norm, the underlying technology continues to evolve. For example, replacing “paper forms” is still a work-in-progress for many organizations.
Data Processing Cycle
The data processing cycle is a sequential one that starts with inputs and often ends with interpretation of results – however, many organizations add two stages for feedback and storage:
- Input – The first part of the data processing cycle involves collecting data as well as entering it and then preparing it for the next part of the cycle.
- Processing – During the second part of the cycle, data is manipulated according to instructions and parameters programmed into the processing application.
- Output – The form of outputs includes common variations such as results that are printed or displayed on a computer monitor.
- Interpretation – Assessing and analyzing results: What does the data mean?
- Feedback – Comparing output with desired results: How can data be processed better?
- Storage – Archiving the data (either physically or electronically) for future use.
Steps in Business Data Processing
In a complete data processing operation, you should pay attention to what is happening in five distinct business data processing steps:
- Editing – What data do you really need? Extracting and editing relevant data is the critical first step on your way to useful results.
- Coding – This step is also known as bucketing or netting and aligns the data in a systematic arrangement that can be understood by computer systems.
- Data Entry – Entering the data into software is a step that can be performed efficiently by data entry professionals.
- Validation – After a “cleansing” phase, validating the data involves checking (and preferably double-checking) for desired quality levels.
- Tabulation – Arranging data in a form that facilitates further use and analysis.
Making the Best Use of Employee Time and Skills
In today’s challenging business environment, effective data processing plays an invaluable role for companies looking for new ways to survive and thrive against multiple competitors. However, using your skilled employees to perform the most monotonous aspects of business data processing is rarely a cost-effective strategy.
What should you do instead? Many time-consuming data processing activities such as forms processing and invoice scanning should be outsourced to specialists such as DataEntryOutsourced. When you do this, you will make skilled employees available for more productive assignments – such as taking your company to a higher level.
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