How to choose a mobile data collection service?

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Choosing the right mobile data collection service can save your company time and money and it can help you to capture accurate data that will allow you to take the best business decisions.
Mobile data collection is (MDC) the method of gathering any type of information using a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. Mobile technology facilitates collection and evaluation of data by ensuring that this is directly uploaded to the platform server by the evaluators. This data collection method speeds up the process because the information can be submitted in real time, becoming available immediately for viewing and sharing.
There are several applications and platforms to collect data using mobile phones and other devices. Choosing the right mobile data collection service can save you time and money. It can help you to capture accurate and relevant that will allow you to take the best decisions. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the different methods will help you to choose the right one for your company’s projects.
Is mobile data collection the right method for you?
The first step is figuring out whether mobile data collection is appropriate for your project. To evaluate this, you need to consider the methods you will use to collect data. Most evaluations use surveys, which MDC is well-suited for. It is also essential to evaluate the type of information that you will be collecting. Will you be gathering quantitative information or qualitative information?
After deciding that mobile data collection is the most efficient method for your company’s goal, you will need to evaluate which services available on the market are the right ones for you.
What you should consider before choosing a mobile data collection service?
Your data needs. What type of data are you looking for? What will the data be used for? Do you need to monitor ongoing operations to make business decisions or is it a one-time project repeated over after a few months? If you collect personal or sensitive data you must ensure that the mobile data collection service provides the necessary privacy and security features.
The ecosystem. Factors such as infrastructure, security and network coverage should be considered when selecting a mobile data collection service. It is also advisable to arise the following questions: What is the network coverage in the area where you will be collecting data? Do you need a stable internet connection available, or do you need a tool that works offline? If you don’t have network coverage, could you upload data through an Internet link or would you need a portable WiFi hub? There are few mobile data collection services that can work without network coverage. Regarding the area where you or a member of your team will be working, it is important to know the characteristics of the place. Is it a secure place? Would it be safe for a data collector to carry any mobile device?
Short-term and long-term costs. What kind of budget and resources do you have? Do you have staff who can implement and use the chosen tool? Do they need training to learn to work with a mobile data collection application? Do you have a budget for a in-house solution or an outsourced one? Your budget plan should include costs such as license, device, maintenance, support and training costs associated with the MDC platform.
The number of surveys that your company needs to do on a timeframe. How many people will be using the mobile data collection application? How many surveys will you upload? How many items will you be collecting data on? Some mobile data collection platforms provide licenses for unlimited users and unlimited number of surveys uploaded to the server, while others offer a per-user licensing model.
What devices will data collectors be using? Some mobile data collection services work better on Android. Will your data collectors be using devices that they, or their organizations, already own or will they be using their own devices? In both cases you must ensure that the devices are compatible with the platform you select.
Data analysis. Do you need results displayed in real-time charts and graphs? Some mobile data collection platforms offer dashboards with charts and graphs that are immediately generated as the data is collected. Others require data to be exported before it can be viewed or analyzed. Do you prefer to analyze the data as soon as it is uploaded, or would you rather export the information to evaluate afterwards? Where will you get the data from? Will you get information from beneficiaries or clients directly through an SMS or IVR system or will you use intermediated channels? Where will you store your data? This issue is relevant because it affects the analysis you can do, and who will have access to it.
User-friendly platform. Does the design of the platform provide a user-friendly experience? While comparing mobile data collection services, this issue might seem irrelevant, but it is very important. A more intuitive method and design might save some time to the data collector.

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Sandra Melo

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