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The untapped benefits of digital data collection

Updated: Nov 28, 2019

In recent years, many businesses have begun investing in different types of new digital technology that are helping them to challenge traditional processes and revolutionise the way that they work.

For industries in which a lot of work is carried out in the field, for example construction or utilities, among the most useful of these new technologies are digital data capture solutions.

Digital data capture solutions, such as apps, allow data to be collected and stored remotely via digital versions of forms and reports, instead of relying on outdated paper-based systems.

With a large proportion of workers often operating from various locations, using paper is not the most effective or practical method of document management.

Despite this, our ‘Death of the Papertrail’ report recently revealed that 67% of trade and utilities businesses are still heavily reliant on paper.

For those businesses considering adopting a digital data capture solution, here are just three of the main benefits:

Reduced costs

As the most basic option, paper might also seem like the most cost-effective. However, there are in fact many hidden expenses associated with relying on paper-based processes.

The paper itself is expensive, particularly as research has shown that some workers in the UK can use an average of 45 sheets per day, two-thirds of which are considered to be waste. Any paper that is not waste, must then be filed away either into bulky filing cabinets that take up valuable office space, or sent to expensive off-site storage facilities.

Money must therefore also be spent on employing and training people to manually input the data from these documents into digital databases and then file them away appropriately.

By contrast, digital data capture solutions drastically reduce these outgoings. The data collected can be automatically saved to a central cloud-based reporting platform that is both secure and inexpensive to run.

Saved time

One of the key ways in which digital data capture solutions can save businesses significant amount of time is by eliminating the need to manually input data.

They also reduce the amount of time wasted waiting for paper documents to come back to the office. If these documents are delivered back to the office by the worker that same day, then that’s time that they could be spending completing another job.

Alternatively, if documents are returned by post then it can take days for them to arrive and be sorted before they can then be filed away. This is valuable time that businesses spend without access to potentially very important data.

Digital data capture solutions also help businesses to increase their efficiency when it comes to distributing documents to workers in the first place. Blank forms or reports can be issued instantly, without the staff member carrying out the job. If a last-minute change needs to be made to the document, then a replacement can be sent out just as easily, without the need for them to ever return to the office.

Improved quality

Perhaps most crucially of all, digital data capture solutions are not only time and cost-effective, but they also help businesses to collect and have access to much higher quality data.

Notably, the data can be gathered and analysed in real-time. Having instant access to health and safety reports, for example, can be vital in determining whether or not a site is safe and preventing accidents.

Data is also collected more reliably, as all data captured in the forms or reports is then saved automatically. With some apps, like ours, photos and signatures can also be attached to a form, which greatly reduces the risk of additional documentation getting lost or filed incorrectly.

They can also help businesses to access data that it would otherwise be almost impossible to collect, with it possible in some cases to GPS tag and time stamp documents.

Digital data capture solutions can be connected to business intelligence tools, which means that this high quality data can be analysed quickly and easily, to identify patterns that will help to influence important business decisions.

Many, if not all businesses stand to benefit substantially from switching from analogue to digital data collection for in-field work. To find out more, visit


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