More and more, organizations both large and small have critical business processes which involve mobile employees who work in the field and capture data using paper forms that are returned to the head office. There are numerous examples of mobile data collection –
- retail inspectors go from store to store auditing product placements and promotions on paper forms
- healthcare workers track patient visits in order to submit timesheets
- field maintenance workers capture work performed and get client sign-off to allow invoicing to occur
- building inspectors spend their time in the field going to buildings, conducting assessments and documenting their findings by filling paper forms on clipboards
Daily, or every few days the mobile worker drives to the office and drops off the completed forms. A data entry clerk interprets and transfers the data from the paper forms to the company’s computer systems. In a time where businesses are ever-more challenged to cut costs and improve time-to-revenue, this is a slow, error-prone and inefficient process that is crying out for a simple and cost-effective mobile technology solution.
Throw out the clipboard and save
Picture a solution that simplifies and speeds up all of that paper processing. In this new world,
- the retail inspector moves around the store recording findings on his BlackBerry™ handheld, noting where each store is compliant to current programs and not
- the healthcare worker captures the start and stop time on her Windows Mobile™ device, and has the patient sign on the phone to confirm the details
- the field maintenance worker updates his work order on his smartphone and chooses parts from a list that is stored on the PDA
- the building inspector enters his findings in an electronic form stored on his laptop or handheld device, adding photographs, drawings or voice notes as required
In each case, as soon as the form is completed, data captured in the form is transmitted wirelessly to the office, so that processes like reporting or invoicing can begin immediately. The process of mobile workforce management is now significantly simpler.
Until now however, adoption of traditional mobile solutions that replace paper forms and clipboards has only been cost-effective in enterprises with large field workforces. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have often been challenged to justify the considerable investment and upfront cost of such deployments. This has resulted in a large pent-up demand for a cost-effective mobile forms solution that can serve as a replacement for paper form clipboards and voice-based exchange of data.
The Mobile Forms Solution
With small and medium businesses looking to manage costs more than ever, the need has never been greater for a cost-effective service that allows them to easily design, deploy, and operate mobile forms for mobile data collection.
Value to Your Business
A hosted mobile forms solution offers compelling reasons to both management and mobile workers of enterprises of all sizes. For business owners, the benefits are especially attractive in tough financial times:
- Greater worker productivity: Reduced downtime enables workers to take on more jobs per day thus increasing the company’s revenue, as well as improving the accuracy of captured data and exchanged information.
- Reduced operational expenses: A mobile forms system allows customers to reduce the number data entry clerks, as well as optimize the management and dispatching of a field force.
- Reduction of billing cycles: Transmitting data in electronic form directly from the field allows the billing process to begin immediately after the delivery of service is completed.
- Improved customer service: Mobile forms enable mobile workers to meet tight service delivery windows and get the job done the first time, while enabling the enterprise to react more quickly and systematically to recommendations and leads generated from the field.
The benefits for mobile workers include:
- Greater convenience: Known information on forms, such as customer name and address, can be automatically pre-filled, making the job of the mobile worker easier.
- Reduced downtime: Completed forms can be sent wirelessly to and from the field, eliminating the need to drive back and forth to the office.