Gone are the days of filling out paper forms with a pen and having to manually transcribe information into a database.
It’s time to start using digital forms with mobile data collection apps if you want your organization to remain competitive. But before you invest in one, you need to find the right one for your needs.
What is the right solution for your business?
Here are 5 questions you need to ask yourself to find the right one for you.
1. Do you collect data in areas where there is no internet access?
You should know whether you will have access to the internet in the location where you will be using your data collection app. If you will be working in a location that does have internet access, you should find out how reliable it is?
If you will be collecting data in an urban environment, cellular internet service will likely be available, but if you are in a rural area, you will need software that can work offline.
Therefore, you can exclude all software solutions that require access to a web browser to work in the field.
You will need to choose a mobile form solution that can store the data you collect locally on your device and synchronize it with the cloud when you reconnect to the internet.
2. Is location important to you?
Do you need to capture the geographic position of your field surveys?
Can the geographic location of your statements help you? Most likely it can.
Therefore, you should exclude solutions that do not feature a map interface or that do not allow the collection of georeferenced data.
On the other hand, some of these solutions will only allow you to capture and record the current position of the field data collector. Make sure, for more flexibility, that you can define the position of your reading on a map yourself, especially since the GPS of smartphones is not always very precise.
For a solution that has all these features, check out the Coral Collect app.
3. How easy is it to import and export data?
It is important to verify that the solution you choose is flexible when entering and extracting your data.
You should also carefully consider the formats for exporting and recovering your data, as well as the ease with which you can import data.
Will you need to import existing data for viewing and editing in the field? If so, you should pay special attention to how easy it is to import and export your data.
Most software allows you to export data in standard formats.
The same applies to media: Find out how the software manages and stores the media you collect in the field. If you collect a lot of photos in the field, the price may vary depending on the amount of storage you require.
4. What is the level of support?
Support is undoubtedly a decisive added value when choosing new software. Technical support will be essential during the process of integrating the software into your business.
Check the following when it comes to the vendor’s app support:
- Response time
- Mode of communication
5. Can you try it before you buy it?
Use a checklist to determine which features you will need for your field data collection projects.
Once you have compared the features of the apps you are interested in, feel free to sign up for a trial if the data collection app you are considering offers one.
You should avoid software solutions that do not offer free trials. Trial versions will help you decide which solutions are right for you.
Once you have chosen a data collection app, here are some steps that you can follow to help make your transition to digital data collection as smooth as possible.
- Recreate existing paper forms that you are currently using in your organization
- Collect data
- Import existing data
- Export your data in different formats
- Create reports
After these tests, you will be able to assess the effectiveness of the tested solutions and be able to choose the one that is right for you.
Best choice in data collection
Our best recommendation is the Coral Collect data collection app. The Coral Collect app provides all the features necessary for field data collection in addition to excellent support and a free full version.
Check out the Coral Collect app and feel free to contact the Coral support service if you have any questions.