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Gwen Chen
 |  September 05, 2017


From researchers working to beat cancer to city planners, almost every sector of society has been transformed by the ability to capture, analyze and learn from data.

In the era of big data, the question for those in business is what data they need and how to capture it. News headlines are often dominated by the ways in which companies capture consumer data, but this is only part of the story. Different teams and divisions in a company need to be proactive in determining how they capture and utilize data for their own purposes.

This process can require innovative thinking. The following five data capture examples illustrate how businesses can gather data they may not have thought of, helping them to make decisions and streamline processes.
  1. HR tools for consultants Managing and tracking expenses for contract workers can be a mess of paperwork, forms and receipts. By digitizing the paperwork, HR departments can capture and store data related to individual workers and use it to easily analyze expenses by category and keep a digitized record on hand. This is an example of how capturing data creates an organized, extensive record that can streamline payroll and budgeting.
  2. Construction Working at a construction site might seem like the last place for leveraging data. But site managers can easily capture data related to materials, inventory, progress — even store photographs or log work-related injuries. Plug all this into a data-management app and it can result in a precise picture of how work is proceeding.
  3. Organize data for a service log For technicians and service providers, keeping up with their data can be something of an organizational nightmare. During equipment inspections, keeping track of each job and each piece of equipment serviced (the condition, issues, who inspected it and when, resolutions, maintenance reminders) is a crucial, though cumbersome task. Likewise, those in the agriculture industry can be burdened by many folders and sub folders filled with maintenance reports and notes. That’s why customized apps that organize and prioritize tasks can give individuals and organizations a clear indication of what needs to be done and when.
  4. Streamline maintenance requests. Between managing payments, scheduling repairs and keeping track of maintenance issues, property managers can quickly get overwhelmed by the many to-dos they must juggle. This data can be streamlined into an app that allows customers to submit maintenance requests and for property managers to keep all documents on file, maintain status updates and more.
  5. Retail store inventory Instead of waiting to count all the existing store inventory and compare it to the sales report, the new solution for small business owners is to leverage data on the go. They can do this by using their mobile phone or tablet to scan bar codes to automatically enter data into a management app that keeps real-time inventory and can lead to better purchasing decisions.

Though we are deep in the age of big data, teams and companies are a long way from exhausting the ways they can gather, manage and use that data. Through a combination of ingenuity and technology, teams can think bigger and  better.

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Gwen Chen

Gwen is a marketer with AppSheet. Prior to AppSheet, she was a digital marketer, a journalist and editor, a translator, and a college teacher. She has a master with Duke University in Environmental Science and an MBA with University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.