Traditional OCR Systems Haven’t Changed Much in the Past Decade

Just because something is vital doesn’t mean that it isn’t also frustrating and difficult to use. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) has become a mainstay of the legal profession, creating both opportunities and headaches in equal measure. Though OCR is one of the only ways to collect and analyze large volumes of physical (paper) data quickly, it can still be incredibly difficult (and time consuming) to use. In fact, OCR to become one of the most painful and exhaustive parts of the discovery process.

Let’s explore why OCR is an outdated technology in need of innovation.

1. Regular OCR Is Extremely Slow

While legal tech overall has advanced over the past few year, OCR technology really hasn’t changed in over a decade. There hasn’t been any driving force behind the adoption of new technology because OCR works just well enough to be acceptable. Unfortunately, this has left many in the legal industry to become accustomed to lengthy turnaround times and to view them as just “part of the process.”

As long as there is limited demand for faster OCR, there is no impetus to improve upon the technology. As a consequence, conventional OCR technology is both slow and unpredictable. For a technology that is intended to improve upon the speed of document management processes, slow speeds can be exceptionally problematic — and the lack of accuracy in OCR can also present some challenges.

2. Lack of Scalability

Due to the issues present, OCR requires large amounts of both technical and human resources. OCR will often require huge volumes of memory and processing speed. This slows down the system and makes it more difficult to scan large volumes of documents. The more documents a firm needs to process, the more resources it will need — and that means that smaller firms are more likely to turn down larger cases for fear of being overwhelmed.  And because OCR tends to have high levels of inaccuracy — especially with low quality documents — it requires manual review by legal teams. All of this means that the process of OCR is difficult to get started and scale.

3. OCR Services Are Always Packaged

A final issue with OCR — and one that exacerbates the issues above — is that OCR technology is generally packaged with more extensive eDiscovery suites. Rather than having a single tool to perform OCR, firms must instead utilize the OCR technology that is included with their other solutions.

This presents a few major problems. OCR companies are further disinterested in improving their technology because their technology is bundled with other solutions. Companies are not able to choose the best OCR suite, because they are tethered to the suites that are provided. Further, businesses don’t have an easy, lightweight OCR solution to use when they only need OCR; they have to launch and use the entire eDiscovery package.

Ultimately, OCR is a necessity for any organization; it’s still the fastest, easiest method of scanning, analyzing, and compiling paper documents. Without OCR, the eDiscovery process would find it virtually impossible to manage conventional paper data. Unfortunately, traditional OCR solutions fall short in a variety of ways: they can’t scale quickly, they are slow and cumbersome, and they aren’t available as a standalone product. But there are solutions.

A New Approach to OCR Services

Thankfully, there’s Cullable. Cullable is an alternative to traditional OCR products, with superior technology that is designed to radically improve upon the performance of OCR in the eDiscovery process. It’s faster, more accurate, and can be utilized just by itself, without having to invest in a larger eDiscovery package. To learn more about Cullable, sign up for the open beta today.

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Author Sid Newby

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