Record Links for Advanced Data Relationships

09 September 2015 by Coleman McCormick

Many of our users have advanced data collection requirements, with multiple items potentially connected to one another with parent-child relationships, extensive pre-populated lists, or imported records from external sources like asset management databases.

Our latest feature takes this capability to another level. Record links allow you to cross-reference data fields between apps inside of Fulcrum. There are dozens of ways to use record links for powerful improvements to your data capture process.

Record linking for advanced data relationships

Here’s an example:

You have a “Store Audit” app for completing sales audit forms at a known set of retail stores, to collect things about the store cleanliness, staff performance, and the positioning of your products within the store. Before record linking, you could create a field for logging which store you were surveying using a number of different methods—plain text field, choice field with custom set of dropdown items, or a custom classification set if your list was large. But doing things that way didn’t let you do anything fancy with the data you already know about your stores. What you really want is your store location database to act as a “lookup table” of sorts to rapidly populate your store audit survey.

With record links, you create a completely separate app for “Store Locations” which can have its own set of customizable form fields for attributes like the store’s operating hours, manager’s name, address, photos, and more. Check out the video for a quick example:

Record links include a couple of new functions to help make your data collection process from mobile devices even smoother, faster, and more detailed than before.

  • You can link one record or many records - create one-to-one relationships, or one-to-many depending on your requirements
  • Control whether users can add new items to the linked table, or are required to pick from the preset list - give your field staff access to add new items to the lookup table
  • Control access to modifying the linked data - if your reference lookup data is something like a known list of assets in a catalog (like street signs, or stores, like the previous example), you may not want field users changing this info on the fly

Selection filters give you a nice way to handle large datasets. Using our above example, you can create a picklist for selecting a store “brand” from a common list, and it’ll only show you stores that match the same brand name. It makes it faster to narrow down the list to find the correct item. Some of our users currently have choice lists composed of thousands of items, so scoping down the possible selections based on previous entry would be a welcome addition for speedy data collection.

One of the most powerful features with record links allows auto-populating of fields with content from the linked record. For example, many asset inspection forms have data entry fields on forms for things you already have in your asset catalog. Back to our store audit example, my audit form has fields for “Store Manager” and “Phone Number”, and the auto-population feature can insert those relevant values right into my audit survey.

Record linking is available to anyone with a Professional plan and also during the 30-day trial. Keep checking back for additional guides and videos showing interesting things you can do with record links.

About the author

Coleman is a geographer and our Executive VP, working every day with our customers to bring better data management capability to their operations.

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