The most frequently developed apps in business today are for collecting and sharing field data - enabling field employees to work more rapidly and effectively, and transfer data in real time to back-office systems, cloud services, and people. The 5 Elements eBook will walk you through the key pieces of a mobile solution and identify the features and capabilities that separate truly enterprise-grade solutions from the rest.
This blog post is a sneak peek into the building blocks of the best mobility has to offer. To read the full eBook, click here.
Workflow creator, operational brain
A mobile form builder is the digital hub that controls the entire business process from end to end. Use it to build forms, connect to back-office systems, define workflows, dispatch forms to field users and much more.
From the ability to dispatch pre-filled forms with key site data, to bulk editing tools that makes updating hundreds of questions as easy as a single click, the form builder is the hub of any mobile form solution.
Drop the clipboard, pick up the tablet
The best mobile forms apps are designed with field users in mind, making it easy even for old school field workers to capture photos, sketches, GPS/Time stamps, and more - even offline. The apps must be able to dispatch up-to-date forms and ensure submitted data is shared with the office in real time.
There are a lot of apps available that claim best-in-the-business, so keep an eye out for what makes them stand out: do features such as conditional logic and math work across the app? Can you search using any column in a data source (rather than just the list you're looking at)? These might seem like little things, but it's these details that will set you up for success.
Connect systems, no code required
Point-and click integrations let you connect to commonly used back-office systems and cloud services, but if your system is complex or custom-made, make sure the solution also offers a flexible REST API.
Pick a solution that lets you connect to as many back- office systems & services as you need. And you shouldn't have to rely on R&D just to add a new connection: administrators should be able to apply their expertise to building out connections and workflows, without having to write a single line of code.
Trigger tasks, store reports
No-code platforms offer point-and-click tools for configuring data distribution rules that automate where, when, and how field data is shared and stored - often using conditional logic. Remember, not all conditional logic implementations are the same. Only the best solutions are flexible and powerful enough to create fully customized workflows.
The best solutions allow a single form submission to populate and build multiple custom documents, including control over what subset of data and metadata to include, branding & layout, file format, naming convention, where it's saved, and more for a zero-touch filing system that never leaves you asking, "Did this get sorted by first name or last?"
Track trends, make better decisions
Extract value embedded in collected field data by tracking team productivity, leading to improved quality and compliance. Never look at an Excel report again, and answer questions like: Is any team's overall productivity improving or worsening? What is our overall compliance score? How are we tracking against our targets?
The best solutions can automate reporting and customize it to the recipient. Your safety manager cares first and foremost about compliance, while a team leader wants to know how productive their employees are. Custom reporting, delivered to their inbox when they want it, enables managers to implement continuous improvement programs and track for success. You're already collecting the data; might as well use it.
There's a lot to think about when you're looking to integrate a mobile solution into your business. Whether you're already part way there or starting from scratch, you want to help your team do their best work. To learn more about what to look for in a mobile data collection solution, download the free eBook, 5 Elements of Building Smart Mobile Apps.
Jacinta joined ProntoForms in 2014 as a Technical Documentation Writer. She then moved over to the Marketing department as a Product Marketing Specialist where she has been involved in many aspects of copy production, and has taken a whole lot of screenshots. Jacinta has a BA Honours in English, Religion, and Philosophy from University of Toronto.