Data Empowers, Not Replaces, Field Teams

Jun 12, 2015 in Retail

The term “big data” seems threatening to field teams that worry manual jobs will be replaced by automated tools. However, big data provides field teams with additional resources—like authority, increased time, and more tools—at their fingertips. By providing field teams with data and education regarding data collection, you’re creating an environment of empowerment, instead of adversity.

The Benefits of Data

The benefits from data are apparent through the entire data collection process. Data provides context and insights into the marketplace before the team heads out in the field. The field team can prepare themselves appropriately for the environment, whether that means updating technology, switching tools or changing the target areas. Relevant, actionable data about the marketplace also supports suggestions and insights.

Efficient methods for data collection free up field teams’ time, allowing them to evolve their job roles and take on more responsibilities instead of getting mired in mundane tasks. Progress-tracking and location identification capabilities provide immediate proof to help identify potential problem areas. Real-time data gives field team the opportunity to proactively intercept the problem, instead of reacting after the damage is done.

The Field Team’s Role In a Big Data World

With the integration of big data, field teams must incorporate critical analysis of the information into actual data collection Key data points can be investigated while teams are in market. Creative thinking skills are necessary in a retail world where data analysis is fundamental to understanding an overwhelming amount of data.

Working cooperatively with other team members and utilizing group knowledge is another way field teams remain relevant. Employees play off each others’ strengths in order to create an effective workflow. The human element is essential to collecting data—without necessary context and understanding the data is largely useless. Employees drive improvement by utilizing the data to create a more productive environment.

The Future of Mobile Retail Data Collection

Through mobile retail data collection, field teams gain extra time to focus on their core tasks. The desired end result is a coexistence between new technology and traditional processes. The field teams’ roles evolve to leverage the strengths already brought to the table, especially when it comes to putting information in proper context. One of the challenges for management is learning how to effectively incorporate data into existing field team processes.

Field teams provide a valuable role in many organizations—one that can’t be replicated by automated data collection. An environment where field teams and data work together creates an effective and efficient workforce.