Paper forms are inefficient, disorganized, and overcomplicated. And in an era where cloud storage and digital technology are major parts of our daily lives, paper forms are downright primitive compared to the speed and usability of a mobile app. For the employees who fill them out every day, the difference between the manual forms they use at work and the online tools they use everywhere else is even more pronounced. Is it any wonder prospective employees are finding it harder and harder to take companies seriously when their important inspections, audits, safety, and quality checks are done on something as manual as pen, paper, and clipboards?
The Mobile Movement
Everyone uses smartphones, all the time… for everything. It might have been impossible to imagine such a thing only 10 years ago (before the iPhone came around), but today that simple idea is making millions for the companies and entrepreneurs who use it to their advantage.
Think about it: the idea that “there’s an app for that” becomes truer every day as people develop new ways to use our near-constant internet access to make our lives more convenient. Uber, GrubHub, Airbnb, and hundreds of other apps exist solely to turn something complex into something we can do entirely from a smartphone, without ever having to talk to a single person.
There is, however, one area in many people’s lives where they don’t have an app to simplify things and increase productivity: work.
The Smartphone Advantage
In many industries, workers are continuing to use paper to gather and process data as a part of their day-to-day jobs. Not a laptop or desktop, but paper. While this may have been the accepted standard in the past (since laptops and desktops are too bulky for say, a field inspector), today the question of, “Why can’t I do this from my phone or tablet?” is occurring to more and more people every day.
The appeal of a mobile app isn’t just about ease of use; it’s also about the way we’ve started thinking about mobile technology and data. On-demand access to information is the current standard: we want to be able to type a query into our search bar and have millions of results presented to us in about .05 seconds or less. Having to search through spreadsheets or stacks of paper to find facts and figures just isn’t the way anyone wants to work anymore.
“On-demand access to information is the current standard.”
People expect to be able to get things done from anywhere while on their phone. When they’re forced to use something more inefficient, they’re going to be frustrated by that experience.
Today more than ever, people want to work the same way they play…on a mobile device. Luckily, appealing to their desires is easier than ever. Everyone already uses apps in their personal life, so training is a breeze; your team can learn how to use a business app in no time at all. And since implementing mobile applications into existing technology is so much easier than it was in the days of massive enterprise systems, getting up and running is fast, easy, and painless.
Implementing the latest technology for your data collection efforts doesn’t have to hurt, either. In fact, it can be highly beneficial in many cases, especially with recruiting. For example, a perspective employee may not appear all that excited about a job when they learn about the stacks of paper they need to lug around while performing daily inspections (especially when they learn they have to manually re-enter data into spreadsheet or a back-end system). Cool perks, however, like letting employees work from a smartphone or tablet can actually give you a leg up on competitors, while making work easier and retaining talented employees.
“Cool perks like being able to work from a phone or tablet give you a leg up on competitors, make work easier, and help retain talented teammates.”
Plus, an easy-access mobile app isn’t just great for your employees: it makes your job easier too. Being able to assign tasks, view completed reports, and analyze data all in real time from within one application can be a dramatic improvement over the way you’re used to finding and fixing issues.
Field inspectors are always looking for new ways to improve and accelerate the inspection process. In the mobile forms space, an app must be able to gather and store data in one easily-accessible place, regardless of where they’re located or what their internet connectivity is like. Apps also should be easy to navigate, with large buttons that reduce frustration and can dynamically adjust to any screen size.
At Form.com, we’re all about optimizing field operations to produce better data. Our mobile forms app is user-friendly and integrates with our desktop portal to show you everything you didn’t know was happening in the field, at all times. You can then act on this information in real-time to improve on successes and correct failures.
A Future of Success
Smart devices help people work more thoroughly and efficiently, with a higher level of accountably. Employees know their way around mobile apps, and enjoy tools that can make work easier. Add in an integrated forms solution, and field data instantly becomes more valuable and capable of driving positive change in your organization.
Mobile apps aren’t just the way of the future anymore: they’re making companies more productive right now. That’s why there’s never been a better time to transition from paper-based inspections to a mobile and offline forms solution. By waiting to move to mobile, you’re holding your organization and the people within it back from the success they could be seeing.