By Katie Simpson on February 5, 2014
Apps for work, apps for play, there are apps for all parts of our lives. We have games like Angry Birds to entertain us at the doctors office, and apps to monitor our sleep. While many of these save us from boredom or bad sleep cycles, there are apps with greater benefits. For enterprise businesses, the greatest productivity apps change how they collect and share data.
For hundreds, if not thousands of years, data has been collected and transmitted through paper. From family genealogies written in bibles, to medieval tax records, paper has been the surest way to transmit data between time and place. It was easy to carry and store, and preserved information as generations passed on.
Monks preserved all kinds of documentation (source)
Business was no exception to this. Companies have collected thousands of documents: time cards, inspections, transaction, and inventories are just a few types of documentation. Before, paper documents were the only way to collect and preserve the information. The amount stored on paper has never been higher. Today, nearly 4 trillion documents are being stored by businesses and government agencies. But paper processes in today's world are slow, inefficient and prone to errors that cost businesses.
Today, mobile data collection apps can enhance data collection for massive growth in productivity. These apps cut down on the time it takes to fill a form out. Enterprises use auto-populated fields, one click photo or GPS capture, as well as automatic time and date stamps to speed up their data collection process and expand their data collection in new ways.
Enterprises at the forefront are ollecting data today with tablets and smartphones (mikecogh, source)
More than simply faster forms, these productivity apps allow for real time communication. Rather than wait hours for a form to return the office, it is immediately sent to the cloud. This process also cuts out another time consuming part of the process: data entry. Simply export a .csv or .xml file for integration. Seamless backend integration is also available with API webservices. Enterprises with productivity apps know about their day to day operations as they happen, not hours or days later.
Real time communication enables the office to work more efficiently with the field. While phone, radio and email were ways of conveying information, it was easy for the information to get lost or misheard. For some businesses this could mean mobile workers missing an appointment with a client, or dropping a delivery at the wrong location.
Today the same productivity apps streamlining data collection are also ensuring better communication. Via a light dispatch service, the office can send pertinent information to mobile workers quickly. The workers get a notification on their phone or tablet, notifying them of a new job. This can include the customer's name, an address, and notes on issues that the field worker needs to pay attention to. This increases business productivity by removing internal confusion. Mobile data collection also allows the field workers to do more work in the field.
With a light dispatch, workers receive crucial information about the job, as well as clarifying notes.
Over the long haul, going mobile boosts enterprise productivity as well with better organization. Approximately $14,000 is lost per worker every year due to their inability to find the necessary data. With companies typically misfiling 20% of their records, it's not a surprise that companies are losing opportunity due to weak processes.
Going to a mobile app helps create a more organized system. Submissions are always safe and organized in the cloud. File names can be chosen by certain entries from submissions such as customer name, location,and/or date and time. Rather than shuffle through hundreds of documents in a filing cabinet, enter in simple items. With a digital system, workers spend more time getting projects done, and less time searching for necessary materials.
Mobile productivity doesn't change the inherent nature of enterprises. Their missions, goals will still remain. Instead, these tools enhance their communication between the office and the field, cut the time spent on menial tasks, and allow workers to do deeper, more expertise driven areas of need. In an increasingly competitive market, productivity apps help businesses be leaner, tighter, and stronger operations.