Workers who are offline for large parts of the day might benefit from a simple app to cut out paperwork and administration back in the office. Most organizations require their teams to use, and collect data as part of their job. Spreadsheets, content management systems and sales databases have done away with a lot of manual tasks, but for many remote and offline workers, the 21st century hasn’t yet arrived.
Working offline usually means printouts and stacks of paper, documenting manually and returning to a massive workload in the office. Even the best digital systems require manual workarounds for offline workers. There are spreadsheets to update, photos to upload and performance results to enter into the system. Before they head out, field managers download site updates and reports, and sales teams dig out the latest sales deck or price list from their inbox. It all means extra prep time to get the latest version on your hard drive before you go, and painful data entry and uploading on your return.
Simple apps that connect to systems back in the office can make an enormous difference to productivity for offline and remote workers. Check out some of these awesome benefits of using apps to make working offline more efficient:
Collecting data in the field can be a messy process. Location coordinates need to be mapped against notes, images need to be tagged and labelled, observations recorded and dated. Using an app to collect this information directly means notes, interviews, photos and recordings are tagged by date and lat-long, and stored ready for upload as soon as you’re back online. A simple data collection app that’s connected to your CMS or spreadsheet back in the office will automatically load everything into the system ready for analysis or further use. No more downloading images and saving them to folders, matching log books to photos or entering GPS coordinates into a spreadsheet.
There’s nothing worse than collecting a stack of data in the field and then returning with a stack of paper that needs data entry before it’s useful to anyone. A simple questionnaire or form based app can turn your paper nightmare into digital smooth sailing. Instead of manually entering your sales orders, site reports or customer surveys into a spreadsheet, database or CMS, the app simply needs to get online and all your work will be ready for analysis.
The Global Cancer Institute uses apps to collect data for programs that support under-served cancer patients worldwide. a tablet based questionnaire app is used by patients in place of physical forms. The app collects a range of data about quality of life, fertility and treatment. Having data entered directly saves double handling and means valuable analysis can begin as soon as the app is online.
It’s difficult to collaborate between teams when information is stored on a spreadsheet on a remote worker’s laptop. If field teams collect and store data directly using an app, it only takes a moment to upload and sync to the system when they’re back online. No more staying up late in the hotel transcribing the day’s efforts. An app that automatically populates the system means you can log on and head out for dinner.
If sales staff are visiting clients in remote locations or areas with tricky WiFi it’s important they have offline access to pitch material. With a simple app, the entire team can view and browse the latest sales documents and case studies. Apps can be set for offline access so that all your pitch material is available even when the client’s WiFi drops out.
Having offline access to documents and reports can save endless version control headaches. Material that changes regularly like price lists, sales decks, site reports or location data can be loaded onto an app and set for offline access. Remote workers can sync their app to automatically grab the latest updates next time they’re online, rather than scouring their inbox for the latest update. It may not be live updating, but a single updated document at everyone’s fingertips relieves the burden of distribution and delivers peace of mind that each team member has the latest version possible.