Field Data Capture: Extending IT Beyond The Office

The Need Adopt Readily Available Data Capture Technologies

Large corporations such as utility companies and airlines have streamlined their processes between the office and mobile workers using digital data capture since the 1980s. At this time software was typically bespoke and mobile devices expensive. It was therefore only these main operators that were likely to see any return on investment from the implementation of mobile digital data capture technologies. At the time smaller businesses typically didn’t have these budgets, so were restricted to using inefficient manual processes like paper forms to return data gathered in the field to main systems.

In 2019, mobile technology and associated software is more affordable and easier to access. However many UK businesses still rely heavily on manual processes. The CIPD points out that many UK businesses suffer from a low take up of readily available technologies, and suggests that this leads to big disparities in pay and productivity.

A UK All Party Parliamentary Business Group Inquiry into productivity and small firms concluded that despite UK economic growth, UK productivity is nearly 20% lower than the average for G7 countries.  

The Challenge Of Implementing New Technologies

Companies can face significant challenges when trying to adopt new technologies and lay it over systems that they already have in place.  Paul Thompson, head of Deloitte Digital for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), says:

One of the challenges people face is how do I keep some of my core systems and operations going which I’ve invested in heavily in the past which are not as agile as current technologies? How do I keep those going at the same time as taking advantage of things advanced by newer technology?

For instance, some businesses may need to streamline the way in which their teams report or capture data when their teams are working on a mobile basis out of the office. However, their existing office-based computer systems may have been in place for some time. At the time these systems may not have been built or configured with mobile data capture as a critical requirement. To change all systems at once could be very disruptive and prohibitively expensive.

A Stepped Approach to Change

Perhaps a more successful approach, however, could be using mobile data capture technology to solve the single problem. In the first instance to get information back to the office more quickly using a mobile app. And as a second step, integrating with existing office systems to prevent rework and gain further efficiencies. This tackles the main problem - inefficient mobile work with a step by step, considered approach.

The CIPD carefully point out in their submission to the UK Government Inquiry that although innovation is usually associated with technology, considerable innovation takes place in the form of workplace and organisational innovation. This type of process-based improvement for the delivery of traditional products and services can yield tangible benefits to a business’s bottom line.

The CIPD further highlights

Tackling the issue of ‘failure to adopt’ readily available technologies could add over £100bn to UK Gross Added Value.

Investing In New Technology

Many of today’s businesses operate with tight margins and budgets. Consequently, it is essential that informed decisions are made when considering new investment in technology and ensuring that tech investments are appropriate to business needs.

Are you looking to streamline your field operations? If you are looking for an affordable digital data capture solution please consider booking a consultation.

Book A Consultation

You can get in touch with our team by calling the office 01202 665885 or using the form below.

During this time we can help you identify and understand problems that are holding back your revenue, and then look at using technology, such as Rugged Data, to find a simple way around it.

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