Why is manual data extraction so inefficient?

Man carrying a large stone up a mountain

There are a number of pitfalls to manually extracting information from investment brochures. Regardless of the number of data points in the brochure, a human is still required to sift through every single page to determine if any of the desired information is available. The layout and order of information, as well as design and branding, varies across different brochures so there’s no quick way of skipping straight to the pages containing the data relevant to your business. 

The average attention span of a human when reading a gripping book is estimated to be 14 minutes. If the average investment brochure is 20 pages long, it’ll take a human a total of approximately 30 minutes to comb through all of the pages looking for data and then typing it up. If the aforementioned human loses interest halfway through, or is distracted by another task, then it’s highly likely that they may miss crucial data. Once the data has been extracted it then needs to be typed up into excel or added to a CRM system, providing further opportunities for errors to occur.

Repetitive tasks don’t engage the brain, and therefore the accuracy rate of the person conducting this task will be inconsistent. How can you be sure that they haven’t missed a crucial piece of data, or perhaps mistyped it into your system? When you’re making decisions on the back of this information, it’s important you can trust it.

PDF Extractor (PDFx) looks for data on over 70 fields in investment brochures currently, and the number of extracted fields is growing rapidly. What would normally take a human 30 minutes takes PDFx seconds, meaning it can extract data on 70+ fields from 1,200 PDFs in the time a person could do one.

And as the machine-learning PDFx tool doesn’t get tired or bored in the same way a person does, the data is extracted consistently. Plus the repository allows you to review each extracted datapoint for accuracy, with the place the information was captured from highlighted in the original document when you click on it. Even if you do decide to manually check each datapoint it’ll speed up that process, cutting it down from a 30 minute laborious and intensive process to a 5 minute one (well within the bounds of the average person’s attention span).