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Digital Data Collection: 5 Benefits That Make It A No-Brainer

Curious about the benefits of digitalization? Want to ensure a switch to digital data collection is the right move?

Then you’re in the right place. 😉

The benefits in this post are based on real scenarios that Appenate customers experience all the time.

Once you’re ready to make the switch, we also have a step-by-step article on how to find the right digital data collection tool for you – there’s another link at the bottom of this post, so look out for that.

Before we get to the benefits of digitalization, let’s clarify a few things.

What Is Digital Data Collection?

In the context of this post, digital data collection is the paperless capture of internal business data on a mobile device. Types of data could include…

  • Task information.
  • Work orders.
  • Safety or maintenance inspections and checklists.
  • Sales quotes.
  • Critical field or batch data from the mines, forests, farmlands, or even from the factory floor.

If you’re looking for external data collection – for conducting studies, as an example – here’s a great article for you.

The Difference Between Digitization And Digitalization

An image portraying the difference between digitalization and digitalization in text

There’s often confusion between these terms – and yes, there is a difference.

Digitization is the conversion of data to a digital format. Like scanning a paper document and creating a PDF. 

Digitalization is to transform a business process from paper to digital. For example, when you traditionally used paper for your inspection checklists, and then switch to a platform like Appenate – where your employees use their mobile devices to capture the same information.

If you’d like to learn more about the differences, here’s a good article we read recently.

With that out of the way, let’s dive into the benefits of digital data collection – a crucial part of digitalization

5 Major Benefits Of Digital Data Collection

Icons showing the benefits of digital data collection and digitization as a whole

There are too many benefits to mention, so it can be hard to pinpoint those that matter to you.

We’ve narrowed down the five main benefits that our customers see most often – to give you an idea of what to expect when switching to digital data collection. 

1. Become More Productive

Digitalization has saved our customers oodles of time. And these time savings lead to better business efficiency – as we’ve seen first-hand. 

Take, for example, our customer who had a lengthy process just to provide a quote. They would have to fill out a stack of paperwork, then get this stack back to the office. There, they had a series of complicated calculations to do, before finally getting back to the client. 

The whole process took around four hours. So, reasonably, only two quotes could be sent out per team per day. 

By switching to Appenate, the customer can now complete this process in under 10 minutes. This is achieved by cutting paper and relying, instead, on mobile forms (digital data collection). Our formulas do the math, and the client gets their quote almost instantly. 

This time saving frees up resources that can be used elsewhere, like on high-growth activities. As highlighted in our next point. 

2. Free Business Growth

It’s rare to grow a business without incurring additional costs and increasing overheads – and there are very few exceptions to this rule. 

One exception would be adopting a good digital data collection solution that’s the right fit for your business.

The example under point 1 works well here too. Having the ability to quote in a shorter time means taking on more clients without hiring extra teams – to a reasonable degree, of course.

Semi-related to this point, here’s an example of how a white label partner doubled the size of their business in two short years after adopting Appenate.

3. Actual Cost Savings

Yes, even with the costs of a new digital platform, our customers see significant cost savings when switching to digital data collection.

And not in printing costs alone. 

For example, one of our long-standing customers used to employ a full-time contractor just to handle their data. This meant collecting it from the field, capturing it on a computer, cleaning it up to be presentable and then sending it to the client. 

Soon after discovering Appenate and adopting our system, they realized they no longer needed to carry this cost and freed up a full 40-hour work-week. 

Their field technicians now capture the data on their mobile devices. This information is uploaded to Appenate and forwarded straight to the client via our Email & REST Connector – without anyone having to lift a finger (after setting things up to run automatically, at least). 

4. Reduce Delays With Secure Data

One of our customers had major delays caused by manual paper processes. Because, in truth, paper gets lost sometimes. It gets dirty, it tears, etc.

It’s just plain unreliable.

Every time a stack of their compliance documents got lost, this customer had to start a job from scratch. Switching to digital data collection meant a safer way to store documents and an end to these unnecessary delays.

5. Quicker, Easier Data-Driven Decision Making

Decisions are far easier to make when you have accurate data readily available. This benefit is seen with almost every client. 

The ability to look up relevant information on a digital platform before making a decision is often taken for granted. For those who rely on paper, this process is a laborious search through filing cabinets, where they assemble all the necessary data by hand. 

The alternative is hiring a full-time data capture person (sometimes full teams!) to make the data available in a digital format. 

Our customers enjoy ease of access to their data once they sign up, which means they have an easier time of making quick, data-driven decisions. This, in turn, often leads to more effective business growth. 

The First Step To Digitalization

Man with a tablet decides to go for digital data collection using his tablet and Appenate

When you’re ready to split with paper and give digitalization a crack, it’s best to start small. 

We recommend taking a single team and refining your digital process with them, before rolling out to the rest of the company – team by team. 

Your first step would be finding the right platform for you – because while we (and our customers) think we’re great, we won’t be a fit for every business and every scenario out there. 

So when you’re ready to try a few platforms and find the best fit for your specific needs, read this guide. It’ll help you on your road to total digitalization. Which could see you achieve…

  • Efficient production.
  • Quicker business growth.
  • Greater cost-savings.
  • Fewer delays.
  • Easier data-driven decisions.

All the best in your quest to become a lean, mean, fast-growing business. 

For any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us or leave a comment below. If you’re ready to test Appenate and enjoy free training and customer support, sign up here