Single-Offering vs. End-to-End Solutions: What’s Right for You?
When you come across a business need and start searching for a solution or remedy, there’s probably no shortage of potential apps, tools or software options. Technology-based tools have never been more available.
Sometimes, however, this availability of potential products and solutions leads to additional needs, which require new solutions. It becomes a never-ending cycle that leaves your organization and your team members frustrated more often than not.
The problem? Applications and software solutions that are designed to solve a single problem in a less-than-flexible manner.
Is there an answer? If so, what is it? How can you break the cycle of purchasing, downloading and implementing tool after tool, only to be left looking for another solution, time and time again?
It Starts with End-to-End Solutions
Our expertise lies in the way businesses gather and work with data. We believe that with the right data, the potential for growth and doing “better” is unlimited. Because of this, this piece will focus mostly on mobile data solutions, and the difference between those that solve a single problem or dilemma, and those that provide a fuller, end-to-end solution. However, many of the topics and applications could apply to other digital tools as well.
Let’s start by clearly laying out the situation.
Often times, a company recognizes their need to gather data in a more efficient manner. They’ve been working with dated methods – like using a pen, paper and clipboard – and realize that there has to be a better way. So, they search for a solution.
They find something that seems to work (we will get to customization, flexibility and other essential pieces of the puzzle later), so, they jump on board. They train their team members, purchase new tools and implement the solution.
Things seem great. Until they don’t.
Once the “newness” of the solution wears off and those involved in data collection are comfortable with the solution, a new need becomes apparent. Post-data collection sorting and analyzing. Maybe the new tool requires a team to upload the data that has been collected somewhere else. Maybe it provides it in a raw format that requires manual effort to sort it, delete duplicates, identify potential errors and so forth.
So…the search begins again. The organization begins looking for a post data collection solution that will help with analyzing and sorting the data collected with the original tool.
A solution seems like it will work, so, the purchasing, training and implementing routine begins again. All seems well. But then, other weaknesses begin to become apparent. Maybe there’s a delay between how the two solutions work together. Perhaps the data, even after it’s sorted, requires manual labor to create reports that allow those who must work with the data to visualize it in report format. Whatever the case, a tool is now required to report on the data that has been collected by the first solution, and analyzed via whatever solution or process is in place for step two.
The team goes back to the drawing board and starts again until something is in place that seems to fit.
There’s nothing wrong with this illustration. In fact, it’s fairly common. But, because efficiency is everything, team members are probably left feeling like there has to be a better way.
This Method Leads to Trouble, Even if it’s not at First
Even with the most efficient individual tools and solutions in place, there are potential problems associated with this single-solution approach. These include:
- Unnecessary steps. Often times, when working with multiple solutions toward a single end-goal, there are manual steps required, no matter how well the solutions “talk” to one another, that could lead to inefficiencies.
- Upgrade issues. When one of the solutions in place requires an upgrade, it can cause a chain reaction that’s less-than-desirable.
- Integration holdups. Much like upgrade issues, if something changes with a single solution, or, you hope to implement another, integration may be a holdup.
- Trouble changing certain points in the process. When you’re working with multiple solutions, if one becomes less effective than necessary, changing it or finding a replacement could prove difficult.
There’s a Better Way
Starting to see the situation that many companies – maybe yourself included – have found themselves facing?
This doesn’t mean there’s no hope. In fact – especially when it comes to data collection and reporting – there’s a better, simpler way.
It starts with iFormBuilder and continues with Zerion’s end-to-end mobile data solutions.
When forms can be customized from the start to gather the data necessary for a business or organization to achieve their goals and purposes, gathered by field teams and others responsible for data collection, automatically sorted, analyzed and reported on in real time, the potential benefits are enormous. When this can be achieved using a single solutions provider and suite of tools, they are even bigger.
Look at how the aforementioned process changes when an end-to-end solution is implemented.
A company needs to gather targeted data on a specific population, demographic area or inspection site. To be sure the process is as accurate and useful as possible, they implement a form building solution that allows them full functionality and flexibility using a user-friendly drag and drop interface.
From there, field team members, researchers or other team members are sent into the field, equipped with the forms that have been created, on the devices they already carry (iOS or Android). They are able to collect data with ease, without a pen and paper.
Data that’s collected in the field is sent instantly through a process where it is sorted and analyzed to create custom reports that can be viewed in real-time by those who need to act on the information. If the information is collected in a more remote location, one without an available Wi-Fi connection, it is stored in the system and synced when a connection becomes available.
Those who need the data most have access to it in the format that means the most to them, no manual steps or inefficient processes required.
Better yet, because a single provider oversees the entire process, when an update is necessary, a problem requires trouble shooting or help is needed, your team is able to work with that single provider to be sure it is remedied as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Where to Start
If something like this sounds ideal for your specific business needs, start to research, fuller, end-to-end solutions that branch off a single hurdle or need, like data collection.
Because even end-to-end solutions are designed to work within a specific framework toward a desired end goal, be sure those that you look into integrate seamlessly with other solutions you use on a regular basis for external processes – email marketing, sales or similar tools.
If you have questions relating to mobile data solutions, or any part of the data collection and reporting process, check out the ways iFormBuilder may serve as the ideal solution. Ready to see your data in motion? Contact us today. The days of single-purpose applications are over, finding an end-to-end solution that meets your teams needs has never been easier.