Automation of Field Data Collection Processes: The Key to Being Effective

You might think that in our current day and age, no one fills out forms in the field with pen and paper. However, many organizations are still working with these tools, and if you are reading this article, you are probably one of them! 

Using paper forms for field data collection operations can often be counterproductive and result in an overly manual workflow. These tasks can be redundant and time-consuming, and it creates an obstacle to the efficiency and effectiveness of your field data collection. 

The best way to automate this data collection process is to integrate a mobile application into the workflow! 

What is a Field Data Collection Application? 

A field data collection application is a software solution that allows you to create digital forms, to fill them out directly on a mobile device and automatically transfer the data into a secure database. 

The application automates the entire field data collection process currently being done with pen and paper! 

Benefits of Process Automation 

There are many benefits to automating this process, including: 

  • Cost reduction, 
  • Improved productivity, 
  • Reliability,
  • Scalability. 

Cost Reduction 

Using paper forms can be an expensive process. How much does it cost you to collect and store data using pen and paper?

Typically, it is a much longer process and requires manual geotagging and transcribing. In fact, technicians must then transfer the data into a database and attach the corresponding photos. Field technicians are expensive, and you don’t want them spending their time filling out forms! 

A study done by Guillaume Nepveu, the CEO of Chaac Technologies, found that manual processing can cost almost $2 for every data point that is collected.  This number was calculated based on his experience as a Field Data Manager and customer feedback. 

A field data collection application will significantly reduce this cost while eliminating these tedious steps!  

Improved Productivity 

Automating this process will also lead to improved productivity. Indeed, field technicians can spend more time accurately collecting data in the field rather than filling out forms. 

The application provides a single tool for them to complete the digital forms, take pictures, and orient themselves in the field. This will easily replace paper documents, a camera, and the GPS that would otherwise have to be carried to perform data collection. 

The data can also be transferred to the appropriate database in real-time, so managers and decision-makers can act more quickly. 

Reliability 

Manual data collection can often be unreliable because each field technician will do it differently. There are often errors and inconsistencies that can lead to incorrect decisions and sometimes data loss. 

Process automation improves the reliability of data and results found from field operations. 

Scalability 

Lastly, the time and money that you save by automating this process allow you to scale your business and take on larger projects – without needing to have a corresponding increase in staff! 

In other words, a smaller team can complete the work that would normally require more staff. 

Are There Any Downsides to Process Automation? 

Although there are many benefits to process automation, there are some downsides including initial cost and change management.  

Costs

Automating your processes will require an investment in a software solution. These can sometimes be expensive and require some time to implement properly. Luckily, the software industry is competitive and the prices for many of these solutions are very affordable. 

Calculate your return on investment and you will usually find that the advantages far outweigh the costs at this level. 

Change Management 

All process changes require time, and it can take people time to get used to new methods if they have been doing it the same way for years. Some software can be difficult to use, so be sure to test different options with your team to find out what will be the best fit.  

We recommend gradually phasing out old data collection methods to make this transition easier. 

How to Get Started 

Coral Collect is the best way to get started to automate your field data collection process. It is an easy solution to collect, store, and collaboratively share your field data. All levels of your organization can be involved in the management of field data, so technicians, analysts, and managers can work together to facilitate this process. 

To learn more about the benefits of a field data collection application, read the article: Top 5 Benefits of Using a Field Data Collection Application

Use Coral Collect for free!

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *