Digital reports have become increasingly important in today’s business landscape. Particularly for companies with field operations and field workers.
Digital reports offer a way for these organizations to gain insights into the work done, improve customer service, analyze processes, and make decisions based on them.
“Having more complete & up-to-the-minute information makes it easier for us to respond quickly to change,”points out one of the benefits Keith Murphy, Business Analyst at Maxol, a leading fuel stations operator in Ireland.
And for the frontline workers, the benefits of switching from paper reports or spreadsheets to their more flexible counterparts are even more tangible.
“Before, our field sales reps needed to be at home after their daily visits to document and follow up their visit reports on a laptop,”says Marcel Federlein, CRM Consultant at Hoffmann Group. That could mean tens of minutes or even hours of additional administrative work. “With the mobile reports, visit reporting time has been reduced by at least 30 to 60 minutes per day,” adds Marcel.
And so, it becomes critically important for both the employees in the office and the field how effectively they can create documents like time sheets, service reports, inspections, or invoices.
But with such possibilities, there comes a question. What are the key functionalities that make reports effective? And what should you focus on to achieve success similar to Hoffman Group’s or Maxol’s?
The 5 key functionalities of effective digital reports
Working with hundreds of customers across industries we understood the importance of reports and what is key to make them truly effective. One of the areas where quality reporting is crucial is in the data collection scenarios.
That’s why we made sure resco.Inspections offers a robust set of features that make generating, editing, and managing of reports easier and more efficient.
Here you can explore the 5 key features that make truly effective reporting possible.
#1: Creating reports without coding
IT resources are scarce across the job market. It’s a long-term challenge not just for standard industries like manufacturing or field service, but for integration software vendors too.
To mitigate the need for coding skills, resco.Inspections utilize a set of no code/low code development tools to enable teams develop and customize their digital reports.
This allows businesses to save time and resources while still generating accurate and professional-looking reports.
“It gives us additional capabilities without big IT development. It makes possible that a skilled person can create reports or checklists without any IT support,”comments Peter Becher from Krones AG.
The critical tools in the process are Questionnaire and Report Designers. They combine the power of advanced features like smart questions, scoring, or data mapping with simplicity of drag-and-drop design process.
Recent demonstration of creating timesheets reports in Dynamics 365 with Resco development platform is a great showcase of that. It proves that complex functionality can be achieved without writing a single line of code, giving great power to even small IT teams.
And if the back-office staff possess such capabilities, they can make the next phase much easier for frontline workers.
#2: Reporting from mobile devices, automatically
Even nowadays, many field teams need to rewrite the data they collect. They rewrite it from the paper notes they take, spreadsheets they run, or custom mobile apps that aren’t integrated with the company’s database.
The complexity of it can be staggering.
“What was happening was that we would have a salesperson who goes out to the customer number one. They take pictures of the equipment and written notes.
They do five, six, seven, eight, nine of those. And at the end of the day, they come home, plug in their phone to their computer and paste the data into an Excel spreadsheet.
Then go back to their notes, type in the forklift details into the Excel spreadsheet, and email that to the wholesale manager. The manager would then take that, pull a couple of photos out, post that to the wholesale auction network, and try to sell,” explains Jason Johnson from Southern States Toyotalift.
And so, the ones who can integrate data collection and reporting into one process gain a massive advantage.
The no code development, native integration with D365 & Power Platform, and a single app for data collection and reporting in resco.Inspections enable to solve it and deliver data in real time.
The frontline users can then automatically create reports of collected data with add-ons like e-signatures from their mobile device. Without rewriting. Administrative burden. Extra hours or work.
For Southern States Toyotalift, this efficiency meant optimization of the reporting to just 4 minutes per visit. And eventually a $350K/month increase in revenue.
#3: Relying on reports in offline scenarios
But still, being able to collect and report data from one place and device doesn’t guarantee complete success.
Even with today’s signal coverage, there comes a time in a day for frontline workers when they find themselves outside the reach of internet. If they cannot create reports in such conditions, the benefit of having digital solution comes close to zero.
It took about 15 minutes to switch from offline to online mode and back for Hoffman Group’s sales representatives with their legacy solution. And due to this reliability issues, they moved back to making post-work reports and phone calls.
To solve these critical scenarios, resco.Inspections utilize full offline functionality allowing frontline users to collect and report data even in the most challenging conditions. The solution makes it possible to store all the data locally, and sync it once back online.
Features like DocuSign integration also enable digitally signing documents in offline mode without additional custom development.
And how reliable this technology is?
Imagine being in a remote area of Norway, deployed by a helicopter, surrounded by hills, valleys, and hanging on a communication tower and still being able to report data without delays. This is one of the most extreme use cases where reports in resco.Inspections currently work, and technicians of Site Service Group can fully rely on them.
And what about the Hoffman Group’s sales representatives? They save 60 minutes every day and has eliminated 50% of calls after switching from legacy solution to Resco. All thanks to reliable offline mode, letting them fully leverage the power of digital reports.
#4: Generating reports in Dynamics 365 & Dataverse/Power Platform
Mobile reports are the bread and butter of field data collection, but their generation isn’t solely a task for frontline workers.
The ability to access and quickly create reports is important for field managers and back-office employees to review data and steer the information flow.
That’s why resco.Inspections’ new feature, utilizing the Resco Power Automate connector, allows reports to be generated directly from Dynamics 365 and Dataverse. And makes it simple and fast.
The available connector eliminates the need for any 3rd party solution and saves resources for further IT development.
Furthermore, this opens a great space for innovation. Resco’s Product team recently demonstrated how Chat GPT, an AI language model, can further optimize report generation.
“The goal was to help workers and managers create report summaries without having to spend time getting through them manually or converting unreadable data into a much more presentable form,” explains Malvína Melkovičová, Product Consultant at Resco.
#5: Advanced analysis tools and integration with Power BI
Without additional analysis, the initial reports may have been of limited use.
Let’s say a field service organization generates a report on the number of service orders completed by their technicians over the past month. While this information is useful, it doesn’t provide much insight into the efficiency of the organization or the performance of individual technicians.
With tools available in resco.Inspections like Results Viewer and Dashboards, organizations gain a deeper understanding of their operations. The solution makes it easy to set up charts, views, or notification to get a real time insight into organizations’ key performance indicators.
“Once the automated online sync kicks in on the user’s phone, the inspections are all visible via customized dashboards back in head office. Simple, reliable, quick and easy,” outlines the possibilities Keith from Maxol.
The native integration with Dynamics 365 and Dataverse also enables teams to analyze data through powerful Power BI platform.
Armed with this information, the organization make data-driven decisions to improve their operations.
Missing any of the key reporting features in your field operations?
The importance of reports for both the office and frontline workers cannot be overstated. They possess a way to say goodbye to manual data entry and administrative burden while enabling advanced data analytics and better business decisions.
resco.Inspections is a solution which includes all the key functionalities enabling effective reports. Including the ability to create them without coding, generate reports on mobile devices, full offline functionality, integration with D365 and Power Platform, or advanced analysis.
“It was exactly what we were looking for and more,” concludes Keith from the Maxol.