Data can do amazing things for your business – unlock insights, solve problems, and improve decision making. But if you’re a small or mid-sized business, data can often make life harder. You generate and collect a lot of information each day. Data on customers, inventory, sales, equipment status, and more. But what do you do with all that data? The answer for most businesses is, not much. Collecting, accessing, organizing, and analyzing that data is too manual, difficult, and time-consuming. It can also be expensive to hire a firm to pull it together for you on a regular basis.
Data Collection Today is Fraught with Issues
The problem starts at the point of data capture. From construction job sites to retail establishments, getting information to the right people and places takes a lot of manual work, like re-typing data from paper forms or copying and pasting information from one system to another.
Here’s an example: Every time you create a purchase order for a new client, you need to add taxes or get authorization from another person before sending the order to the next department. Would you rather add taxes manually or have them automatically applied? What if you could walk over to the other department to ask for a signature, or have the document automatically whisked to the right people through the cloud?
Another example: Maybe you currently create job numbers or purchase order numbers by hand — every single time. What if that task could be automated, and the job or purchase order automatically dispatched to a mobile application? Or what if data could be dropped into an application by your staff or contractors, then instantly integrated into your Salesforce account?
It’s all possible, and easy-to-achieve via something as ubiquitous as your smartphone or tablet.
The Role of Mobile Platforms
Today, mobile platforms like GoCanvas are making it simple for businesses to address the challenges of manual data entry and sharing. With GoCanvas you can easily collect information on pre-formatted or user-created mobile forms, share it instantly with others via connected workflows and automated processes, then use that data to gain real-time insight into business operations. Not only does automation save a lot of manual input time, but it also reduces the chance for human errors, like typos. And that can save you a ton of money while freeing you up to do more across other areas of your business.
Consider the simple timesheet. Many companies track their timesheets with paper-based forms. Yet, moving to paperless mobile-based timesheets can see productivity jump by 50 percent and save thousands of dollars in paper costs. But it’s also easy to turn those mobile timesheets into insights. For example, we built a custom worksheet for a company that allows its leaders to see all their employees’ time entries at once and track trends over time to see if there have been any major changes in employees’ hours. And it all happens automatically.
This frees up massive amounts of time for you. Time that was previously spent capturing information on paper, re-keying it into other systems, correcting mistakes as information moves through the organization, chasing team members for approvals and sign-offs, and trying to glean insights from disparate data sources. It also makes it easier for your business to do more with your data by actioning the information you capture in real-time. In the case of timesheets, you can derive critical insights into how many jobs have been completed, by whom, and much more.
Use Your Data to Save Money and Improve Efficiency
By aggregating the data you’re already collecting through mobile platforms, you can create dashboards that track, well, pretty much anything: sales, client data, the number of times Trevor took the last piece of pizza from the breakroom. If you have data on it, you can track it. By interpreting the data collected in your GoCanvas applications, back office tasks that cost time and money like analytics and compliance reporting, can be accomplished automatically. For example, one of the largest family-owned cereal businesses in the U.S. has realized the holistic benefits of such a solution.
Moving beyond the automation of data capture for a single use case, the firm now uses multiple GoCanvas applications for price surveys, in-store auditing, and retail team sales summaries. The result is “total transparency” of its retail activities across 25,000 supermarkets in the U.S. Furthermore, the company has eliminated 50,000 individual forms and realized cost and productivity savings that exceed $75,000 per month. At the same time, the ability of sales teams to transmit in-store data from their iPads via the cloud has allowed the company to shift from ad hoc reporting to a systematic process for data collection that can be converted into actionable intelligence.
By digitizing the way information is collected, shared and used, your business won’t just save money and unlock insights, you’ll change the way you work. You’ll eliminate the processes that keep you up at night, make better business decisions, secure your bottom line, and spend more time on things that will help grow your business – if you let go of the old way of doing things. It’s all about doing more – with your data, your time, your people, and your business.