What Is a Good Data Entry Speed

What Is a Good Data Entry Speed

Published On July 01, 2014 -   by

The modern world may run on data, and it may seem like that is all digitized and computerized, but the fact is much of the data entry industry still relies on the hands, eyes, and fingers of human beings – Data Entry Operators. In just about every data processing ecosystem, from the smallest home business to the largest multinational corporation, somewhere in the workflow are a group of human beings entering the data. And all of those humans have a measurable Data Entry Speed that has a direct impact on the efficiency and power of the overall data processing system they are part of.

Data Entry Speed is also the simplest and most easily acquired and digested ”“ not to mention most important ”“ piece of information about an operator. As a result a great deal of emphasis is placed on speed ”“ but just as important is accuracy. Anyone can improve their raw speed by ignoring mistakes and typos. Speed is only a useful metric if the text produced is accurate and does not require a great deal of revision and correction. Assuming accuracy, what is an acceptable speed? And where is the data entry industry headed?

Traditional Data Entry Style and Speed

Data entry can mean a lot of things, from transcription of text to court reporting to entering values into a spreadsheet. In the past, Data Entry Speed was measured in Words per Minute (WPM) and was generally used to describe typing speed on a traditional QWERTY-style keyboard. A professional typist would be expected to average about 80 words per minute to qualify for most professional jobs, although people with a measured WPM as low as 50 might be considered acceptable in some situations. This measurement was typically conducted very simply, by having the candidate sit down at a keyboard with an example text of known word count. When they finished typing, a simple formula dividing the word count by the time produced the WPM.

Competitive Data Entry and Speed

In the modern era, the concept of Data Entry Speed has become more complicated. The introduction of 10-key pads on keyboards (also known as Numeric Keypads) have split numeric data entry from text data entry. Numeric data entry has also created a separate metric for measuring Data Entry Speed: Keystrokes per hour (KPH).

Numeric data entry using a 10-Key Pad is generally expected to be much faster, as no thought has to be put into the meaning or formatting of the text. Competitive speeds for numeric data entry are generally around 10,000 KPH, often as high as 12,000 KPH. As the KPH metric becomes more common, text data entry operators are now asked to have speeds of about 7,000 KPH as it is commonly accepted that text elements slow down data entry in general.

The Future of Data Entry and Speed

Today much data entry is performed by vendors who maintain large pools of relatively low-paid operators. Data entry is a vital industry, but as speed and accuracy are the only two metrics considered valuable, it is a relatively low-paying profession.

Modern technology also depresses wages in this industry as it slowly creates non-human solutions. Scanning and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technologies are poised to become accurate and reliable enough to supplant human operators; to date OCR software still introduces too many errors, especially when working with damaged hardcopy, but as algorithms improve this technology will take on more and more of the work. Additionally, voice-recognition software has improved dramatically, opening up the possibility that instead of relying on slow hand-entry, future Data Entry Speed metrics may be in words or numerals spoken. However, there is much debate over whether a speaking voice can match the KPH of a trained and experienced operator”™s typing.

The most likely scenario is increased integration will result in less need of data entry in the first place as data is digitally captured in the first place and never exists in hardcopy form at all. The final form of the data entry industry may be as a small, specialized one that deals with the fragments of remaining hardcopy and non-digital data, an industry where accuracy fully supplants speed as the main metric.

– Data Czar @ DEO

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