Fieldwork is a challenging task that requires dedication, focus & handy tools to effectively collect data. Whether it is employees of an NGO organization running from house to house to gather data or a Monitoring & Evaluation expert trying to collect data from various locations, field data collection is a complicated job. Add paper-based data collection methods to this job & the entire process becomes more complex, time-consuming & cumbersome.
However, advancements in technology have introduced smartphones and mobile apps that have immense potential to replace paper-oriented data collection methods will mobile-based digital forms.
Leading reports suggest that almost 70-80% of the global population own & use smartphones for a variety of purposes. Enterprises, as well as small & medium-scale businesses, can take advantage of this vast mobile ownership to deploy mobile apps that simplify & accelerate data collection.
So, what benefits does mobile data collection entail? Read on to find out!
5 Reasons to Adopt Mobile Data Collection in 2021
There are various types of Mobile Data Collection Methods like Surveys, Interviews, Observations, Focus Groups & more that small & large-scale enterprises can leverage to streamline & speedup data collection across various locations. These are similar to paper-based data collection methods but the major difference is that mobile-based data collection methods are digital which offer streamlined mobile forms, ease of data entry & real-time data analysis & data management.
You’ll realize that there are a plethora of advantages of Digital Data Collection via mobile which outweigh the need for paper-oriented data collection. These will nudge any organization, big or small to make the switch to mobile-based data collection methods. So, here are 5 reasons or advantages of mobile-oriented data collection that will prompt any organization to adopt mobile data collection:
1. Better Quality of Data Collection
Paper-based data collection primarily includes entering data on paper forms, records or registers. This data is then transported to offices where in-house employees segregate the data & analyze it. In such processes, in-house personnel find that there are a lot of errors due to ineffective data validation methods which result in inaccurate or low-quality data.
However, with mobile data collection, organizations can seamlessly put in place validation methods, upload of data on the cloud, real-time analysis & data management. This results in minimal errors & maximum data collection efficiency.
So, the next time an employee goes onto the field to collect data, he/she needs to type in the data in the relevant text boxes & if the entered data is wrong then the mobile form will flag it & ask the users to type in the correct data.
2. Higher Speed of Data Collection
Paper-based data collection methods are known for their slow & cumbersome data entry methods.
On the other hand, mobile-based data collection techniques are much faster than the traditional pen & paper methods. This is because mobile data collection primarily comprises apps that include data validation, easy-to-understand mobile forms, designated sections for data entry/image or video upload/date & time pickers and much more. These forms can also be programmed to pre-load variables as per business requirements & help employees to enter data in appropriate sections.
There mobile data collection enables personnel to spend less time on the field & collect data at a faster rate which improves productivity & operational efficiencies of an organization.
3. Real-time Data Collection, Analysis & Management
One of the biggest disadvantages of paper-based data collection is the time required for the analysis of data. As discussed in the first point, it takes a lot of time to transport paper forms, records or registers from the field to the office. After that, on-site employees categorize the collected data as per business requirements & spends days or even months analyzing data.
This is where mobile data collection comes into the picture. It eliminates the need for the transport of data since all the data is sent to the in-house employees via the cloud. This results in real-time data collection, data analysis & seamless data management. In-house employees don’t have to wait for data to be transported to them as all the data is easily transferred via the internet.
Mobile data collection simplifies data entry & helps employees to visualize the collected data in seconds!
4. Lower Costs
Data collection with the help of mobile apps & mobile devices seamlessly reduces capital which would have been used on printing paper-based forms, entering data, storing & transporting them to different locations for segregation & analysis.
Mobile data collection is also very efficient & fast when compared to paper data collection methods as employees need to spend less time collecting data & transporting it to different locations. Organizations can also enjoy higher quality of data with fewer errors & more accuracy. All of these benefits of mobile-oriented data collection can be enjoyed by companies at lower costs which also results in the prudent use of resources. Pretty cost-saving right?
5. Robust Security of the Collected Data
Securing paper-based data is not an easy task. These paper forms or records are usually stored in shared office spaces, locked cabinets or unreliable warehouses. Many times this data is prone to damage owing to external factors like natural hazards, fire or other phenomena. In this way, many companies lose crucial data of their business.
But with mobile data collection, organizations can rest assured knowing that all their data is secure in the cloud. Only a handful of employees can access this data with the help of passwords or encryption keys. Firewalls & other security protocols are also kept in place to increase the security of data & thwart any illegal access.
Pretty Convincing, Isn’t it?
If you are ready to switch from paper data collection to Mobile data collection then we at Natifi offer an exciting No-Code Platform. This powerful app development platform enables laymen & professional app developers to seamlessly develop enterprise-grade mobile apps with features like drag & drop builder, unlimited editing, real-time preview & other exciting features!