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How data collection software creates digital transformation for utility companies

May 4, 2021

The work your field technicians do at the front lines is core to your organization, and leveraging the information they collect in the process can help your company make better decisions at every level. That makes your field teams the perfect catalyst to drive your utility’s digital transformation.

By adopting new technologies, not only will their jobs be safer and easier, but they’ll deliver the data your organization relies on with more speed, efficiency, and accuracy. Digital transformation is the difference between being competitive or being left behind in a trail of paper.

Break the habit, build the future

If your field technicians are still using paper, it’s time to break the habit.

Lost, ripped, or stained paper doesn’t just suffer from problems with its material integrity. Whether filled out incorrectly by a single technician, or differently by individual team members, paper forms are prone to input errors and inconsistencies which skew your data. And because paper lacks real-time verification, errors lurking beneath the surface multiply quickly and won’t be caught for days or weeks, blocking your full visibility over wider, systemic issues that need to be addressed.

Not just error-prone, paper is cumbersome. On the front lines, utility technicians have enough to do without hauling around reams of different paper forms and checklists. You need your team to focus on the job at hand – installing, inspecting, and maintaining your infrastructure (while staying safe and compliant) – and not be rifling through forms. Paper also shows its drawbacks in how long it takes to transfer information. Manually filling out detailed forms, bringing data from the field back to the office, and transcribing stacks of paper; all of it wastes time and slows down communication. Critical utility issues need fast, real-time reactions that paper can’t handle.

, How data collection software creates digital transformation for utility companies

Spreadsheets aren’t transformative

A drain on precious resources, a paper-based system burdens your company with administrative busywork that affects your bottom line, and spreadsheets aren’t much better. Lugging around laptops in the field is a pain, and spreadsheets are just as prone to data entry errors. Plus you still have to transfer all your data into your GIS and other enterprise systems, eating up more time when your field techs could be doing the important work they’re trained for.

The longer you stick to your old habits, the harder it will be to prepare your company for success when others in the industry are leveraging intelligent automation to increase efficiency and make more data-driven decisions. By modernizing your processes and breaking the paper-and-spreadsheet habit, you empower your field technicians to unleash the full power of your data.

Mobile apps and workflow automation are the new normal

Imagine your team doing everything they’re doing now, but faster and more accurately, on a mobile device. Imagine getting a full picture of your company’s operations in a way that increases proactive maintenance, worker safety and business growth, all at the same time. This is the reality of digital transformation, where your field technician can overcome the inefficiency of a paper-based system with user-friendly apps, increasing their productivity to save time and money.

Designed to automate and streamline data collection and analysis, data collection software can transform how your team works in the field. A field technician can fill out pre-designed forms for the specific work at hand, have the data geotagged on the spot and immediately populate GIS and other programs through seamless integration, all with a few clicks. And with all the real-time data, you can find and prioritize issues instantly, allowing you to make faster, more data-driven decisions.

If field technicians performing tower inspections come across a downed power line, they can meet the urgency head-on, and with ease. Using a field inspection management platform like Fulcrum — which streamlines mobile inspections and automates workflows — supervisors in the office can be notified immediately of a problem that needs remediated in the field. And the wealth of real-time information gives you greater oversight to monitor progress, and helps you make better decisions to allocate your resources, comply with safety measures and ensure the integrity of your services.

Fulcrum’s field inspection management platform digitizes and automates processes like this, making it easy to bypass traditional tech hurdles and get buy-in from front line technicians. Relieved of paper’s inconvenience, Fulcrum lets you create and tailor apps for all their field operations, regardless of scope or specificity, so what they need to do their jobs is always on site, at their fingertips. Simple drop-down menus and pick lists make it easy to use for even the most technology-averse. And if their job is made easier, your job is too. A fully streamlined platform means that your workflows are always up-to-date, automated and integrated, ready to save resources across your whole infrastructure.

In the thick of it, with their boots on the ground, your field teams are the perfect engine to drive digital transformation for your organization and position it as future-ready.

Start modernizing your field teams’ processes today: Download the free guide to learn how.