Mobile forms solutions allow Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) teams to streamline the reporting process and collect and use vital data that often allows them to achieve more stringent compliance standards. Despite these advantages, many EHS professionals are still reticent to give up their analog data collection tools and are worried that digital solutions will produce more headaches than rewards.
A recent survey conducted by BLR asked safety professionals across various industries to identify the barriers that stand in the way of them adopting and deploying mobile EHS solutions. The most common perceived barrier among the participants was the lack of a budget for new devices. The budget needed for the application itself was also highly ranked, followed by the company's mobile knowledge and capabilities (that is, their mobile readiness).
In this article, we're going to debunk these top three myths about implementing tech in the workplace.
Myth #1: Devices Are Too Expensive
EHS professionals cite this as the most common barrier to adopting new technology. Like a lot of myths, there's a kernel of truth to it: devices offered by leading brands can put a significant drain on budgets. This is especially true if you have to distribute them to a large workforce. Thankfully, there's a workaround.
One of the hottest tech trends in business right now is BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device. Your field workers probably already have smartphones or tablets for personal use, so why not let them use those devices for work-related tasks? BYOD not only cuts down on costs; it also eliminates the need to train staff to use a new device, since they're using a tool they're already familiar and comfortable with.
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Myth #2: The Application Will Be Too Expensive
There are plenty of free mobile forms apps on the market, but leading solutions come with a reasonable but not insignificant price tag. They also, however, tend to pay for themselves shortly after being deployed.
Many organizations across a number of industries are taking advantage of this technology to gain a lucrative return on investment. This is where you really see the difference between a free product and a top-tier solution. Leading mobile solutions allow your field teams to collect, analyze, and make use of nuanced data. Analytics engines allow you to drill down into your collected data to uncover potentially lucrative trends and the key causes of process challenges.
Most mobile-equipped businesses see a substantial uptick in productivity alone, but for EHS professionals, the biggest benefit is elevated compliance. A tarnished compliance record can have a significant impact on the bottom line. Sophisticated digital tools provide an effective method for mitigating risks and ensuring a clean record, making them well worth the investment.
Myth #3: The Solution Is Too Complicated
Many companies falsely believe that they lack the infrastructure to support a sophisticated mobile solution. But top-of-the-line solutions aren't reserved for companies with robust IT departments. Truly best-in-class brands allow businesses of any size to quickly and effortlessly integrate with any back-office system. These platforms make it easy to configure and manage mobile forms and workflows, allowing actionable data to be automatically routed between systems, cloud services, and people.
Companies may also feel that they and their field workers lack the technical skills needed to complete day-to-day tasks on a mobile platform. There is another kernel of truth here: there are a lot of apps out there—and they vary in quality. A poorly designed app will be frustrating at best, unreliable at worst. Top-tier solutions, on the other hand, provide even the least tech-savvy worker with a user-friendly experience.
Leading solutions are more than just paper forms gone mobile; they're native apps tailored to the user interface of each device. They are intuitive, which means they know what data capture features are best for any given situation. They are context-sensitive, meaning that they can be preconfigured to send specific data to specific stakeholders, saving the field worker the time and mental energy of thinking about where the forms need to go once all the data has been captured. The creators of these platforms understand how a diverse demographic of users complete their day-to-day tasks. In short, they design with empathy.
We were surprised that so many safety professionals still perceive significant barriers to deploying new technology. While it's true that sub-par products have their limitations, this shouldn't prevent EHS teams from implementing mobile forms solutions.
Now that you know that the top three barriers to adoption are nothing more than myths, nothing stands in your way to enjoying the improved efficiency, productivity, and compliance afforded by quality reporting technology.