Saturday, June 22, 2013

Mobile Data Collection Apps Go Far Beyond Saving Paper

Though the advent of the internet has dramatically changed the way we do business, most companies are still bound to a tremendous amount of daily paper transactions. Data collection, re-entry, validation and approval drag down productivity and leave too many opportunities for error. If field employees are involved, time is wasted waiting for the documentation to arrive for entry. The same delays occur in getting information out to the field. Inevitably extra steps in data processing can lead to errors. Automating this process dramatically reduces time delays, and removes the middle man, allowing off-site workers to gather and share information to, and from, the field in real-time.

Mobile data collection offers a flexibility and scalability that paper simply can’t match. Mobile data collection apps allow employees to use their own devices to capture and submit virtually any data. Integration with back end CRM, ERP and other databases eliminates repeat data entry by allowing the information to process seamlessly behind the scenes. Options to have the data submitted by email, spreadsheet, PDF, web post, database connection or in-app further accelerates related processes (data analysis, validation, reporting, approval, invoicing, etc). Streamlining or completely eliminating the paper burden increases efficiency and data output in the field and in the office. The ability to immediately deploy changes remotely and provide push notifications of key information means employees will always have the latest rules, regulations and emergency process information at hand. This helps improve worker safety and peace of mind.

To be effective, mobile data collection apps need to be robust and offer many types of information capture. These native, cross platform apps must, at a minimum, collect numeric, alphanumeric, date/time, GPS, location address, email, photo and signature data. They must work in both Internet connected mode and when Internet connection is not available (offline). They must allow data to be stored locally on a device and sent once the connection is re-established to ensure that information can be gathered on the spot and delivered timely. They must also have the ability to integrate with back end corporate databases.

The uses for mobile data collection are endless. From remotely-manned oil wells to agriculture, scientific research, crime scene investigation, global health and much more, the ability to collect and immediately transmit data carries benefits even beyond a greener planet. Eliminating the paper processing nightmare, increasing productivity and revenue, decreasing expenses and improving worker safety will offer a competitive edge to any organization.


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