File conversion and migration is one of those harsh realities that many businesses must face. Whether brought on by new system upgrades, a migration to the cloud, or simply wanting decades of old records moved to a readable and manageable digital format, converting an original document into something new, is always a headache and can be a confusing process.
At Priority Data, we have completed our fair share of file conversions and data migrations from original hard copy paper documents to government forms, legal documents, and even database entries. As a Data Entry provider we work with a variety of clients that each have unique needs for their file conversion process. As they say in those Farmers Insurance commercials “we know a thing or two, because we have seen a thing or two”; Priority Data have seen the best and worst of files provided that we need to clean up. Seen it, keyed it.
To help you along with your conversion or migration process, here are a few tips for getting your file conversion process started:
- First consider the project – Is it something that can be done internally? Does it need to be outsourced? Does it need to be completed locally or can it be outsourced across state lines? How sensitive is the data that needs to be converted? Will it require secure connections between yourself and a data entry provider? Is there any PHI or PPI within the data? What is your company’s policy regarding the use of contractors? How quickly does the conversion need to be completed?
These are all basic questions that should be considered prior to contacting a Data Entry provider with your project in mind. A good provider will likely ask similar questions when you explain the project to them, but it is a good practice to consider these things ahead of time because the answers will help decide which provider may be qualified for the project.
- Assuming outsourcing the job is your route, the next step would be to find a Data Entry provider to help with file conversion or data migration and that can be a daunting task in itself. A simple Google search will reveal a swath of data entry providers that claim they can complete your task. As with most searches, start at the top and select a few companies to investigate. Review their websites and see exactly what they offer in terms of services. Speak with them about your project and provide them with some details and a few samples so they can accurately understand the project you need completed. Sometimes a conference call with a live demonstration can go a long way, especially if the project needs to be completed on your systems.
- After providing some information about the project and potential samples, request quotes to see if the bottom line matches your budget. Hopefully the provider is asking questions that you have not considered or thought of, but appear relevant to the task that needs to be completed. Do they thoroughly understand the project you are proposing? Does the quote list out everything that is to be completed as part of the project? Does the quote include any additional unforeseen costs? Will there be any training involved? If so, has that been discussed in terms of cost and methods? Is everyone on the same page in terms of what needs to be done and for how long? Have all the fields that are to be recorded, been identified?
- Now that you have settled on a price for your project, you will likely need to gather all of the data that needs to be converted. You may have already taken these steps ahead of time, but in the event they were not, now is the time to get it done. As a Data Entry provider we have seen it all; from clients that literally threw everything in a box and shipped it us to having clients organize their documents by shipment and included a worksheet that lists every document sent to us. We can honestly say, that the cleaner and more organized your shipment or transfer is, the easier and less likely it will cost in the long run.
Remember, that if your data entry provider needs to organize your data, those corrections will likely be at a cost. A good data entry provider should set a standard for how they would like the data to be sent, but its always good to check how they would like to receive it, should they not ask that question.
A few things to keep in mind when sending over your data: Is the data original or a copy? Can the documents be shredded or destroyed once the conversion is complete? Do you need the documents returned? If documents were stapled, do they need to be re-stapled prior to being returned? If digitized files are to be returned have you settled on a format? Have you considered the scanning resolution such as DPI? How are the files to be named? If the vendor is entering data directly into your system, have you provided them with logins for the job? Has your IT been consulted about the connection? Will you be able to provide the vendor with a list of documents or personnel who are included with the shipment?
Once the data entry vendor has received your documents or data, they should be able to take control of the job and process all the data into a format that will work for you and that should have been agreed on during the pricing negotiations.
Depending on the length of the project there may be weeks you go without an update on where the job currently stands or the stage the vendor is currently at in the project. Requesting an update about the project is not something that should be considered off limits, but rather, it is important to know that they are on task and working within the time frame both parties agreed upon. Occasionally there may be a need to extend the deadline, but with our experience, we have been able to work within most of our client’s requested deadlines.
As part of our regular workflow process, Priority Data makes sure we are in regular contact with our clients so everyone’s expectations are set and know where we are at in the process. Conversion projects can range from a few days or weeks to months or even years; it’s the latter time frame that makes regular communication important.
If the provider is returning completed data during the project or entering the data into your system, be sure to verify that everything is being done according to the initial plan agreed upon. Priority Data will often receive feedback from on-going projects that we are working on or once the data has been received, and if the rare issue does need to be corrected, we address it and ensure future deliveries are correct. Being able to identify potential errors while the job is progressing is crucial because it allows the vendor to make adjustments during the conversion process. It is, in fact, much easier to make a minor adjustment to the process while converting data, rather than complete the job, and then go back and make corrections on an already completed job; this also leaves clients more satisfied and knowing they have a business partner they can easily work with.
Data Entry is our core competency as we have over 30 years of business experience with data entry work. In some cases it will make financial sense to outsource this work to a vendor and allow your staff to remain focused their current task at hand. Priority Data takes pride as being based in the United States while actively competing against other vendors who may be based in the US but send the work offshore. All work completed by us never leaves the US and we remain competitive by spreading our workload across a number of projects, so we can provide efficiencies in the form of competitive pricing for those services.
Contact Priority Data today if you have a need for data entry, file conversion, data migration, or any other type of outsourcing project.