Now What? The Mobile Form Information Capture Dilemma!
Throughout history we have never lived in such a time where information is more available to us than it is now. The Internet, of all things, has provided us—both the technically savvy and not so savvy—with the ability to collect and disseminate information like never before. We can check up on what our friends and family are doing via social media sites like Facebook, keep up with current news via Twitter and other news feeds or stay up to date with our smartphones. We have become a society of highly mobile consumers of information. Large amounts of data, rich with media, are now at our fingertips via the Internet and mobile form platforms.
Further, we can all now be considered a mobile workforce as we check and answer emails on our phones or on a tablet while sitting on the couch and watching our favourite Monday night television show. But who truly benefits from this technology? I would argue that field workers and their employers can particularly benefit from this technology by adopting mobile form platforms that communicate completed forms (information) to those who need it in real time. An organisation in Adelaide, South Australia, integrated a mobile form platform into their facilities management regime and is struggling with the improved efficiencies of information capture and what to do with it.
So what next? What needs to happen with this information from the mobile workforce? How do we sift through this vast ocean of data to find the relevant, valuable data? And where do we channel it from there? From what I have seen, we can build complex programs to report on this data, or we can build and adopt APIs (application programming interfaces), which are a set of functions and procedures that will analyse and interrogate captured information/data and push it to where it needs to go. APIs further increase the efficiencies of a mobile form application by streamlining and automating what happens next with captured data. APIs can transfer data from the mobile form registry into other programs. In essence, APIs can improve organisation workflows by acting as a bridge from one application to another. Zapier (https://zapier.com/)is one API development organisation that may be able to help other organisations improve what they do with their information.