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CXO Insights: Real-Time Data Collection for Today’s Smart Enterprises

Decision makers and employees alike are pressed to conduct business at a quick pace in order to survive the tough competition in volatile markets. Thankfully, digital transformations have successfully altered the operational tempos of today’s enterprises. Companies can now send and receive data in real-time to analyze trends, predict needs in advance, and adapt their strategies to meet their goals.

Mobile devices have contributed immensely to the creation of fast data environments. Industry leaders rely on them for real-time data exchange as they offer numerous benefits, such as quicker and more secure data transmission.

Our Chief Marketing Officer, Michael Ioannakis, sheds the light on real time data collection via mobile in his latest LinkedIn article. You can read the original post here.

Until recently, enterprises and industry leaders have relied on latent analysis tools and technology. However, according to analytics specialist OpsClarity, 92% of enterprises across industry verticals have started investing in real-time analytics technology. Dubbed as “fast data”, real-time analytics technology offers information anywhere, anytime. This data is analyzed in motion before being stored and made available for immediate actions.

Why Your Enterprise Needs Real Time Data

Also known as streaming analytics, real-time analytics is helping enterprises make key management decisions. This helps with improving bottom line as quicker, better decision-making generates more revenue while cutting expenses. Other benefits enterprise can expect with real-time data analytics are:

1) Automated Data Collection

Traditionally, staff check measurement devices daily, jot their readings on paper, and then enter the numbers in a spreadsheet. They may also need to chase staff members to get necessary reports. This procedure makes collecting data and transforming it into actionable information a challenge. On the other hand, real time data is generated, collected, analyzed, and reported automatically. You can access this data anytime with just a few clicks and even create the information you need for different activities.

2) Reactive-to-Proactive Transformation

Many organizations are reactive which ultimately affects their success and leads to missing emerging business opportunities. Considering how volatile today’s markets are, a proactive approach may be more effective for achieving predetermined goals. As this approach relies on applying advanced statistics, and data mining strategies, traditional data gathering tools aren’t useful. Real time data, on the other hand, gives you ample time to assess possible issues and run what-if scenarios. This, in turn, reduces downtime and adds to an enterprise’ bottom line.

3) Enhanced Operational Efficiency

Fast data allows enterprises to determine where they currently stand. Combined with analytics, it allows decision makers to identify patterns related to their resources and how they’re being used. They can then develop strategies which counter inefficiencies such as maintenance costs, downtime, and organization assets mismanagement. This makes the workforce more engaged and productive, and enhances the efficiency of your enterprise as a whole.

4) Effective Fraud Management

Real time reporting is very effective in gaining critical insight and monitoring operations. Systems can be programmed to detect anomalies and alert personnel. This reduces the risk of loss as well as theft, two major issues constantly plaguing several industries such as construction, utilities, and retail. Even employees who tend to overuse resources will become more responsible. Therefore, they’ll save the enterprise thousands of dollars.

The Use of Mobile Devices for Real Time Data Capture

Mobile devices offer enterprises several advantages, such as instant communication. When used for data capture, they’re more effective than traditional, paper-based data collection instruments because of the following reasons.

  • Speed – Data collection via mobile phones speeds up the data collection process. When devices are connected to the internet, near instantaneous data transmission is possible. This saves weeks and even months spent otherwise on local data collection and delivery. The quicker data collection process further allows specialists to identify potential problems faster and resolve them promptly.
  • Accuracy – Mobile data capture reduces the chances of costly errors such as transcription errors. This is an important feature considering how stringent data storage regulations are. Moreover, transmitting data over mobile networks may reduce the chances of data lost in transit.
  • Familiarity – The workforce is already familiar with using mobile devices. Some even use their personal devices to enhance their productivity at the workplace. So, they may be comfortable with capturing data via mobile. Employees may not require technical training in some circumstances. Smartphones come with help files and on-screen prompts which allow members of the workforce to use them with ease.
  • Multiple Data Options – Smartphones offer more than text data capture. Text can easily be combined with other formats such as images, audio, and video. Employees can also send through accurate GPS or location-related data for confirming visiting a specific worksite.
  • Low Cost – Real data capture via mobile costs substantially less than traditional means. One of the biggest costs it eliminates is that of paper. According to The Paperless Project, companies in the U.S. alone spend over $120 billion annually on printed forms which become outdated within three months.
  • Low Power – Mobile devices are easier to keep charged than devices like laptops. People are already using them extensively, so a few charging options will be available nearby.

Rolling Out Fast Data Collection via Mobile

In order to effectively roll out a real time data collection program, here are some tips to help your enterprise avoid common issues and challenges.

Assess Available Technologies Thoroughly

You need to ask questions, such as which type of mobile device is more convenient (smartphone or tablet)? Next, decide whether to use an existing mobile application or design your own from scratch. Take time to plan the rollout to ensure its success.

Plan Costs Accordingly

Initially, rolling out a mobile real time data collection plan may cost considerably more than traditional processes. To ensure you’re not overwhelmed by costs, here are the main costs you may incur;

  • Back-end technology infrastructure
  • Mobile devices (if possible, allow users to bring their own devices)
  • Data transmission costs
  • Support for devices and apps
  • Additional software such as business intelligence dashboards

Make Sure to Provide the Necessary Training

While mobile devices don’t require extensive training and instruction, you may need to train your employees to use the app. Make sure to address all questions during the training session. Inform them of the channels they can use to communicate any issues, concerns, or questions they may have later.

Ensure Data Security

On a large scale, collecting and transmitting fast data is riddled with potential data security and privacy risks. As data is initially stored on devices, there’s always the threat of devices being stolen or improperly accessed. Therefore, you need to decide on secure encryption at both device level and during transmission.

Anticipate Change Beforehand

Data collection requirements are bound to change over time. Therefore, you need to be able to adapt the process accordingly. For instance, you need to be able to re-design your mobile app yourself on the fly rather than wait months for developers to get back to you.

Bottom Line

The global marketplace is constantly evolving, and so should your enterprise. With so much to offer, real-time data is an asset you can’t afford to miss out on. This is especially true as mobility makes it even easier to integrate fast data in your company.

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