9 months, 2 weeks ago by Timothy Cox
Did you know data collection took place even 1000s of years back? When methods have evolved, businesses haven’t - they are still caught up with primitive paper-based methods due to countless reasons. Interestingly, there’s a super solution to this three-pipe problem - mobile data collection app.
The good ol’ method of data collection.
Give your teams pen & paper, send them on the field. They collect the data by filling the forms and finally come back to the office with stacks of paper forms.
That’s the traditional method of data collection because it’s more of a paper-centric process. Call this method traditional, but not certainly oldest - there’s a reason to it
You can trace back data collection to centuries back, there’s even a story that says King William (England) ordered a survey to find out the population of his subjects & livestock in 1086. Cool.
But we aren’t discussing primitive methods of data collection today, in fact, we are doing just the opposite.
Let’s uncover one of the most advanced data collection tools - and what it has got to offer you.
The rise of mobile apps.
There are multiple reasons why mobile data collection app has become the silver bullet. Are they easy, are they productive? Yeah, and probably a lot more than that.
But there’s a fundamental reason why these apps are selling like hotcakes - Wide Usage!
Yeah, mobile penetration is crazy. According to Statista, In 2018, 82.1% of the United States population used one or more than one mobile device.
(The numbers will continue to boom unless mankind decides to do away with technology - the possibility is very remote).
Mobile is a tool that people know how to use inside out.
Imagine you have been assigned a task to collect data. There are two options for you to choose from: a complex software application vs a simple mobile app, what would you prefer? Well, the question needs no answer.
Taking a cue from mobile penetration numbers, businesses started drifting towards mobile apps to improve productivity or accomplish processes.
Enter mobile data collection app.
Mobile apps used for data collection offer a wide range of sturdy features that can be leveraged to achieve an array of benefits (covered later in this blog).
These features are the reasons why data collection on mobile app wins over a mile with data collection on paper forms.
Some features of mobile data collection app
Mobile apps as data collection tools are widely popular because of the compatibility they have got to offer. Apps like Axonator can be used on smartphones, iPads since they are functional on both Android & iOS.
If data quality is your problem area, these apps will take care of it - simply because it can do what paper forms cannot.
Collect rich data like images, audio, video easily. Capture live location & time just with a tap. Add the signature to your mobile form in the app. What this means is your data quality will see a multifold improvement.
Your field teams don’t need good internet connectivity to collect data, in fact, they don’t even need a connection at all to collect any data. They can submit the data when the connection restores.
Mobile data collection apps like Axonator go one step further - you don’t have to worry about data when there’s an abrupt mobile breakdown or battery drainage because all the data is stored in drafts.
Features such as QR code & barcode-scan can help the teams into asset management, field, inspection, & survey to capture the data without having to type. Just scan the code to fetch the data.
One major challenge for field teams is collecting the data on questionnaires with never-ending pages. Collecting data on paper forms is a tedious process - ergonomics take a huge hit!
Mobile forms can be broken into subforms - which makes it easy for navigation & collecting data becomes a cakewalk.
Mobile data collection apps even offer the provision of adding child records, meaning multiple records can be added for the same field.
With paper forms, there are chances that your teams might fill irrelevant sections. But mobile forms can be embedded with advanced logic - which can control the input type, and avoid filling up of wrong sections in the form.
Conditional logic like making sections of forms appear/disappear based on the responses submitted can help you rule out the manual errors.
With paper forms, there are so many instances of losing the forms in transit & in storage. Organizing, sorting, & storing in physical storage can become an unavoidable headache.
Mobile apps can take care of this problem head-on since it offers cloud storage - all the data is safe in the cloud to be accessed at any point in time. No data loss whatsoever.
Data collection platforms like Axonator also offer powerful analytics capability. Analyzing the collected data is made easy without having to invest in a separate analytical tool - which is usually the case with paper forms.
All your multiple data entry efforts can cease with mobile apps. You can integrate different legacy software & platforms like CRM, SAP, ERP, Salesforce, PeopleSoft, Google Drives, Zapier, and 1000+ using Axonator.
What this means is the data can be imported/exported without having to manually feed it again. All the data collected through the apps can be imported on different platforms which can save a lot of admin efforts.
Most of the businesses spend time on making reports for every form submitted - but apps like Axonator can help you automate that.
All the records submitted from the mobile forms get converted into reports automatically, and these reports will be emailed to you every time a record submitted.
What paper processes clearly lack is the capability of automation. With mobile apps like Axonator, this is doable. Receive email reports for forms submitted, the data flow from one platform to another can also be automated.
Tasks can be auto-generated based on the specific form responses, and be even allocated to the specific team member, without any manual intervention.
Benefits of mobile data collection app
When mobile apps are easy to use, what it means is that your field teams need bare minimum training.
When mobile apps deliver a great user experience, they drive the productivity manifold. Same holds true with Axonator since it has a UI/UX that teams love to use.
Burdening the teams with difficult software or complex data collection tools can cut down the productivity, instead of growing it.
Teams collect more data and submit more forms with these mobile apps. Less time. More Work.
A humongous effort is wasted on manual data entry when paper forms are used. Mobile data collection apps will make you stop investing time and effort on manual data entry.
When your field teams submit the data on the mobile app, the data will flow into the cloud database, which can be accessed at any time on different platforms.
Paper-based processes are downright inefficient and erroneous. They are vulnerable to manual errors. No matter how well you train your teams, paper forms will invite errors.
This is completely put to rest by mobile forms app. Axonator offers mobile forms with advanced logic, which makes committing an error almost impossible.
When it comes to collecting data through paper forms, the instances of fake data are not uncommon. Data manipulation is a huge problem for businesses in market survey & research industry.
Features like OTP, record duplication, signature, live location, and more can put an end to fake data effectively - and not just improve the data quality but also put an end to repeat work.
With strong analytics in place, a business gains actionable insights from the data collected.
Axonator has freed up many businesses from repetitive processes, who now spend most of their time on strategic decision-making rather than day-to-day firefighting.
Real-time notifications can empower you to be updated at all times.
One of the major benefits of using a mobile data collection app is that it encourages businesses to track and measure the performance of different projects and team.
Just click to pull different reports based on location, projects, teams, and more such parameters. Preventive & corrective actions can be taken easily.
Costs - Time & Money
Any business using a mobile app instead of paper forms will easily tell you that they are seeing a dramatic drop in office costs.
The immediate benefits a business using mobile apps will realize are: fall in paper & print cost, followed by storage & data entry costs.
But that’s too myopic. There’s more to it.
Enhancement in data quality & productivity - which means you can gain a competitive edge without really investing much on this.
Speaking of investment, should you get an app developed by third-party app developers or choose a choose an off-shelf software? (here’s a blog that’s dedicated to helping you decide. But if you are interested in knowing the solution directly, below it is.).
Codeless platform like Axonator is really dirt-cheap. Very affordable. You can build the app all by yourself under hours, and deploy it.
Start your free trial now!
Don’t want to build an app? Choose from pre-existing apps that match your needs or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for the help.
This platform is fully scalable, meaning it doesn’t really matter how many users use it. In case your business grows tomorrow, don’t hesitate to make as many apps you want with your account.
This is not just in theory, it is a proven fact that businesses using Axonator are realizing the benefits. It has helped them not just make their data collection process efficient, but also introduce digital transformation.
Enterprises have streamlined & optimized their processes that have resulted into automation in a true sense.