Quality of data is a prime concern for many information-intensive businesses. Errors in data entry can have catastrophic effects and wreak total havoc as processed data has a direct impact in corporate decision-making and strategy-building processes. Errors can occur due to mistakes in source data or during the processes of data extraction, transformation, or loading.
Let’s look at the importance of quality data in the energy management. Erroneous data entry can a serious negative impact as energy is expensive and businesses consider it a key source for reducing costs, enhancing profits, cash flow improvements and regulatory compliance. Until a few years ago, manual data entry was extensively employed in this industry as there was no other option for collecting and cataloging energy data received via paper or PDF documents. Today, transition to automated data entry or electronic feeds has resolved the issue.
Sources of Manual Data Entry Errors
In utility management as elsewhere, the most common source of data inaccuracy is the data entry operator. Mistakes can be accidental and not always due to carelessness. Common types of errors include:
- Transpositions – Example: when 19 is wrongly entered as 91
- Copying – Example: when ‘0’ is wrongly entered as ‘O’
- Utility billing mistakes (mainly for energy management)
- Incorrect mapping
In energy management, manual entry of data can lead to 3% error rate, which can prove costly when handling surplus utility accounts and transactions. It can have further impacts down the line while performing energy budgeting, future consumption estimations, and procurement. Some methods to reduce errors during the manual entry of data include
- Removing duplicates and other anomalies from secondary databases
- Manual checks during data capture
- Double entry and double checking after data entry
- Checking for possible range and consistency of data
Automating data collection and converting paper documents to digital format also reduces the chances of human error and data value errors. Also, the simplicity and clarity of the forms designed for entering data can mitigate some of the problems. Another reliable option is to seek the services of a data entry company that provide error-free manual as well as automated solutions within the specified deadline.