Trends and Insights into Mobile Workforce Data Collection [Report]

Alex Brown, Editor-in-Chief
June 12, 2019

Solutions that promise accurate, timely, and rich data tend to vary in quality. Some services that sound perfect at a sales presentation fall apart during deployment. Some companies will stick with a solution that they dislike simply because moving to a new service is more trouble than it's worth. For them, the likelihood of ending up with a system worse than the last one is too high.

We decided to test that hypothesis by finding out what today's decision-makers think about their mobile data solutions. Are they pleased with the system they have in place, or are they looking for something new? In our recently published survey entitled Trends & Insights Into Mobile Workforce Data Collection, we asked business leaders and executives from a variety of industries about their experience.

The survey targeted manager-level positions and above, with 55% of the participants employed by Fortune 1000 companies. The respondents represent a wide variety of industries, including business services, construction, financial services, manufacturing, retail, transportation, and utilities.

Download the full Trends & Insights report in PDF format here.

Here are four key highlights from the study:

1. 73% of respondents said increasing organizational efficiency was their top strategic goal for the next 12 to 18 months.

Most companies, regardless of industry, are heavily invested in optimizing their business processes. Whether it's streamlining day-to-day operations or eliminating waste, prioritizing organizational efficiency can be a significant growth factor for enterprises of all kinds. However, achieving results requires an organization to extensively audit their current processes and successfully implement positive changes.

At Form.com, we're intimately familiar with the difficult and demanding process of gathering performance data and pursuing measurable results. When it comes to understanding the outcome of an organizational change, nothing strengthens your strategy more than reliable, timely, and clear data. Solutions that offer strong reporting and analysis tools like BI Dashboards are likely to be favorites among companies looking to improve efficiency.

2. More than half said their mobile solutions aren’t adequately integrated with their business systems, workflows, and processes. 

It's tough to imagine a modern enterprise running with no software at all. They'd hardly be able to function in a market fueled by up-the-minute information. Yet, it's not all that dissimilar to think about what it's like working with a mobile data solution that can't properly communicate with other systems. Without the ability to send process data one system to another, workflows are hamstrung by the so-called "solutions" they're meant to benefit from.

We've noticed a trend at Form.com among data collection providers. They often offer out-of-the-box integration with popular software, but they gloss over the fact that custom integration is virtually non-existent. It may not be the case for every company, but our results show that many are unhappy with the depth of choices their current solution provides.

3. A third of respondents each said their solution lacked offline functionality, customization options, and a mobile app.

Despite living in a WiFi-saturated world, many organizations still carry out critical operations well outside the range of an internet connection. We were surprised to learn that nearly 33% of those we survey used data collection systems that didn't offer any sort of offline functionality nor a mobile app. To top it off, another third of respondents told us that their current solution failed to offer any industry-specific customization options.

We know that the mobile data solution arena is a buyer's market.  Companies stuck with ineffective systems that fail to meet their needs in the field have optionsand the solutions that aren't offering deep customization, offline functionality, and a mobile app are selling their customers short. We expect that companies using these feature-starved services are the most likely to seek out a newer and better alternative.

4. The top 3 challenges faced by respondents were:

  • Difficulty aggregating and analyzing data from multiple sources
  • Too many manual processes (e.g., taking notes on paper, then transferring it to a digital format)
  • Too much reliance on email

As  businesses automate more of their processes, cracks inevitably begin to show in their manual operations. While scrawling down notes and transposing them into an email chain might seem like a harmless thing to do, it can constrict clear communication when done en masse. Compound that with the frustrations of interpreting data from multiple sources, and it's a recipe for data dysfunction across all levels of the enterprise.

Integration and connectivity between different sources of data are essential to maintaining a high level of operational oversight and efficiency. We hypothesize that companies forcing manual and automated processes to coexist are using data collection solutions that, like in the previous insight, prohibit them from properly integrating with their other systems. As more of their competitors introduce integrated mobile data solutions, we expect that they will leave email chains, pens, and paper behind.

If you'd like to learn more insights from business leaders in mobile data collection, download the full report below!

Download the full Trends & Insights report in PDF format here.

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