By katie simpson on March 3, 2014
Tags: Data Collection
Robin Hood Men in Tights is a move of manhood, hilarity, and ears being thrown at speakers. What can it really say about business? I found a few lessons in this comedy classic.
Twentieth Century Fox
At the beginning of Robin Hood, Robin of Locksley swims from Jerusalem to England. While the movie speeds it up in mere seconds, the journey would have taken Robin years whether he went by boat or by land. Travel, and communication from distant places was slow in those days.
Today society and business both enjoy faster speeds of communication. We can have video calls with people from around the world for free. We get world news the day it happens, not a day or two later.
In a world of real time information, there is still a lag in data for business. Many businesses still take days to get their data back into their systems. When we email back and forth in the day, we use paper forms in our inspections, and checklists.
Don't spend years just getting your data back from far flung places. Mobile apps can help companies send that data in real time. Once a mobile worker has filled out a form, it goes straight to the cloud. There, your office can access it in real time. Enjoy it as a PDF file, or download it as a csv or xml file to integrate into your own system. That way, you won't be caught off guard as Robin was when returned home.
Right after Robin meets Ahchoo, they get into a fight with the Sheriff's men. “Watch my back” Robin tells Ahchoo. Ahchoo agrees to, only problem? All Ahchoo does is watch his back as men start attacking Robin from the rear. This creates a funny moment of miscommunication.
As a business, you know how unfunny misunderstandings can be. This can lead to workers not knowing what exactly they need to be doing in the field, sent to the wrong address, or other minor irritants. Or workers don't fill out their forms properly. Fields are missing or the text isn't clear.
While none of these individually are large in the grand scheme of things, they cause you to have to go back and the work an additional time. Perhaps it costs one of your office workers an extra hour each week to call each field worker to explain their directions clearly. Or, they could spend an hour or two chasing down mobile workers to translate their handwriting. All this extra work prevents you from tasks that could grow your business.
With mobile apps, you can have better and clearer communication. Light dispatch allows you to send pre-populated apps to workers in the field. They can include information like a client's name, address, and the issue at their home. Every dispatch sends a push notification to the worker's phone, so they are certain to get it.
In addition, mobile apps also can have required fields. This means that the user can't submit their form unless the required fields are filled. If they try, they will get an error message and be told to fill in those fields. Thus, your business will get the information you need. And with clear text? You'll never have to translate chicken scrawl again.
Robin fights little John on a bridge over a stream. At the end of the fight, Robin pushes John into the stream. A large man, he starts shrieking he can't swim. But the stream doesn't even cover his body! Little John thinks he's drowning, but doesn't actually understand his surroundings. He lacks perspective
In business, you need perspective to make the right decisions. You need to have the data on your financials. Are you in the black or the red? Is your equipment reliable? Are your workers doing their jobs? To answer these questions, many businesses still rely on paper forms. You look at time cards, or performance reviews, equipment inspections, and invoices. But paper forms are easy to lose, and can be inaccurate. You can make great decisions, but they are only as strong as the data you stand on.
Mobile apps help reduce the data loss and inaccuracies that paper forms have. They ensure safe transmission back to the office quickly. Reduce errors due to handwriting, bad calculations, and missing fields. As you make decisions, you can rest assured that you are doing the best you can, with strong and clear data.