More

    Best Data Collection Tools and Software in 2022

    Data collection is more important for businesses than ever before because people who use the internet will generate approximately 463 exabytes of data every day by 2025. Without data collection tools in place, organizations are missing out on a wealth of knowledge that they could be using to make better business decisions. However, there are a lot of data collection tools out there, and businesses need to be able to choose the one that will best fit their needs.

    What Are Data Collection Tools?

    Data collection tools are a type of software that gathers and stores both qualitative and quantitative data, making it accessible electronically. Many modern data collection tools are mobile-first, allowing researchers to capture data while on the go and not connected to Wi-Fi, say from sales teams in the field. These tools need to be able to capture text, as well as audio, video, and pictures in order to gather all of the data a researcher needs.

    These tools are typically form and survey builders that help organizations collect feedback from customers and employees or gather field service data to improve machine performance.

    Also read: How to Turn Your Business Data into Stories that Sell

    Key Features of Data Collection Software

    Data collection software should make it easy for organizations to collect the data they need in a variety of formats and share the data with other teams and applications.

    Custom forms and entry fields

    Many organizations use data collection tools for sales kickoff calls or customer feedback, so they need to create questions that are relevant to their services. Most data collection tools allow organizations to create forms from scratch or customize pre-built templates with new entry fields to meet their needs. This ensures they’re getting all of their questions answered to get a full picture of the data.

    Audio, video, and photo capture

    For field research and customer feedback, organizations may need the ability to capture more than just text for their records. For example, a customer with a complaint about a broken item may need to upload a picture in order to get a replacement or refund. The best data collection tools include the option to capture audio, videos, and photos, as well as traditional text entries.

    Detailed reports

    When collecting a large number of responses to a specific form, the data collection tools should then be able to generate a report that shows how responses were spread across the different options for multiple-choice questions. For example, a form requesting shirt sizes would be able to create a report showing how many people selected small, medium, large, and so on. For freeform responses, like customer or employee feedback, those responses can be anonymized and compiled for easy digestion.

    Also read: Best Data Analytics Tools for Analyzing & Presenting Data

    API and integrations

    Data collection software should also integrate with data analytics software, business intelligence tools, and data lakes, so organizations can create visualizations and gain actionable insights from the data they collect. If there aren’t native integrations available to the tools the organization already uses, there should at least be an API available. Organizations should find out which native integrations are available before making a purchase, especially if they don’t have many in-house development resources.

    Best Data Collection Tools

    Organizations looking for data collection tools should consider the following products, picked for their high user ratings and the critical features they offer.

    JotForm

    JotForm form builder.

    JotForm is a no-code form builder that allows organizations to customize their form’s entry fields as well as its design. There are pre-built templates available, or businesses can start from scratch. The forms can also collect online payments, use conditional logic, and automate workflows to improve operational efficiency. Native integrations are available for a variety of common tools, including PayPal, Zoom, Slack, and Dropbox.

    There is a free package available, but it caps the number of forms at five and limits monthly submissions to those forms to 100. There are three paid tiers that vary in terms of form limits, monthly submissions, and amount of storage, but there is also an unlimited tier that businesses can contact sales about to get more information.

    Key Features

    • Brandable forms
    • HIPAA compliance (only available on paid tiers)
    • Mobile forms
    • PDF editor
    • Report builder
    • Online payments

    Pros

    • Good variety of customization options
    • Responsive support team
    • Forms are easy to create

    Cons

    • The style editor can be difficult to navigate
    • Some users complain about lagging

    Fulcrum

    Fulcrum form builder.

    Fulcrum is a data collection tool targeted toward field inspection management. It helps business users automate field inspection processes without the use of code thanks to simple, customizable checklists and team-wide task management tools. The platform can generate real-time reports, performance dashboards, and location-based analytics. Users can even complete inspections while offline, and the system will then upload results when they reconnect.

    There are two pricing tiers available. The professional tier is priced per user per month and includes 100GB of storage, 10 data sharing links, and standard in-app support. The enterprise tier requires a custom pricing quote from sales but includes 5000GB of storage, 50 data sharing links, and priority phone support.

    Key Features

    • Task management
    • Configurable checklists
    • Issue reporting
    • Customizable forms and apps
    • Digital signatures
    • Geo-tagging

    Pros

    • Easy to use platform
    • Flexible functionality and helpful support
    • Can be used offline

    Cons

    • Changing an app template could result in lost information
    • Fields may not show up automatically, especially with poor internet connectivity

    FastField

    FastField form builder.

    FastField offers a mobile-first experience for building and sharing custom data collection forms. It doesn’t require any coding experience, allowing users to choose from a variety of entry fields, including ratings, text, and multiple choice. The built-in dashboards help users identify trends and monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) to get actionable insights from the data they collect. The system is fully customizable and works offline.

    There is only one pricing option, but it’s one of the cheaper options on this list. The subscription fee is charged per user per month and includes unlimited forms and unlimited submissions to those forms. There is an extra charge for anonymous forms or white labeling.

    Key Features

    • Unlimited data collection and storage
    • Kiosk mode
    • Drag-and-drop form builder
    • Embedded formulas and skip logic
    • Offline data collection
    • Photo, audio, and video capture

    Pros

    • Helpful and responsive technical support
    • Intuitive user interface
    • Flexible and easy to use

    Cons

    • Some users complain about the inability to edit pictures within the platform
    • Built-in grading may require coding to set up

    Forms On Fire

    Forms On Fire form builder.

    Forms On Fire is a mobile data collection platform that makes it easy for users to turn paper forms into a mobile application to improve efficiency. The form builder doesn’t require any coding, thanks to drag-and-drop functionality and the inclusion of conditional logic and Excel-like formulas. The system works both online and offline and includes over 1500 native integrations as well as API access.

    There are three subscription tiers available, priced per user per month. They all include unlimited forms and storage, but higher tiers also include unlimited submissions. There is also a discount for paying for a full year upfront.

    Key Features

    • Offline functionality
    • Drag-and-drop form builder
    • Version control
    • Photo, audio, and video capture
    • Digital signatures
    • Barcode scanning

    Pros

    • Good flexibility for customizing forms
    • Helpful and responsive support team
    • User-friendly interface

    Cons

    • Some users want more training during implementation
    • Force Sync does not always work correctly

    Magpi

    Magpi form builder.

    Magpi is a mobile-first data collection platform that allows users to easily build and customize forms and real-time reports. The software also includes data visualization tools to help organizations gain better insights into the information they collect. Plus, no-code integrations encourage connections with other business intelligence tools. The forms can collect photos, GPS coordinates, signatures, and barcode scans.

    There are three subscription tiers that businesses can choose from with Magpi, priced per month. While they may initially look more expensive than other tools, they don’t charge per user, putting them around the same level if not a little cheaper for large or medium-sized teams. There is a discount available for paying for the full year in advance.

    Key Features

    • Drag-and-drop builder
    • Barcode scanning
    • Offline collection
    • SSL and AES-256 bit encryption
    • Role-based controls
    • Customizable reports and dashboards

    Pros

    • Large selection of native integrations
    • Intuitive and easy to use
    • Various entry field formats to choose from

    Cons

    • Pricing could be prohibitive for smaller teams
    • Some users would like a longer free trial

    GoSpotCheck

    GoSpotCheck form builder.

    GoSpotCheck is a mobile task management application that helps teams build custom task lists and workflows to gain insights into their organization’s operational performance. The drag-and-drop builder is easy to use and provides context and prioritization for the business. Companies can also generate real-time reports to help them get actionable insights and improve decision making. The platform can also capture photos for more information.

    There are three pricing tiers available for businesses, with the third being a customized package for enterprises. However, actual pricing information is not available on the website, so interested organizations will have to contact GoSpotCheck. There are also add-on features available, like advanced photo reporting, professional services, and API access.

    Key Features

    • Drag-and-drop builder
    • Role-based access
    • Location management
    • Product catalogs
    • Contact data by location
    • Single sign-on

    Pros

    • Easy to read, personalized dashboards
    • Data, feedback, and photo capture on the road
    • Enables collaboration across teams

    Cons

    • Doesn’t keep large amounts of historical data
    • Some users complain about its drain on their phone battery

    Zonka Feedback

    Zonka Feedback form builder.

    Zonka Feedback is an omnichannel customer satisfaction tool that allows organizations to easily collect survey data from both customers and employees to improve procedures. There are 25 question types to choose from, and organizations can build net promoter score, customer effort score, and customer satisfaction surveys. Zonka allows survey delivery through email, text message, the company’s website, and even offline. 

    There are six different packages that businesses can choose from, but the first two are designed specifically for small teams with one or two users. The pricing is per month with a set number of device licenses built into each plan, although organizations can add licenses as needed. All of the business plans come with unlimited survey responses and white labeling options.

    Key Features

    • WYSIWYG survey editor
    • White labeling
    • Offline data collection
    • Scheduled survey links
    • Real-time response tracking
    • Data visualization

    Pros

    • Easy to set up and customize
    • User-friendly and intuitive interface
    • Helpful and responsive support team

    Cons

    • Some users complain that the platform can run slowly
    • Limited design options available

    Data Collection Fuels Better Business Decisions

    Organizations need data in order to make the best decisions for their business. Without data collection tools, it’s difficult to identify the trends and patterns that tell companies how they’re performing and where they need to improve. The best data collection tools will also integrate with the business intelligence platforms companies already use, so they can quickly go from collection to analysis.

    Businesses should look for data collection tools that align with the type of data they need to collect. For example, service and product-based businesses can focus on customer feedback, while field service teams may need more photo and video capture options as well as location data. Take advantage of free trials when available, and check user reviews for common issues.

    Read next: Data Literacy is Key for Successful Digital Transformation

    Jenn Fulmer
    Jenn Fulmer
    Jenn Fulmer is a writer for TechnologyAdvice, IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, and eSecurity Planet currently based in Lexington, KY. Using detailed, research-based content, she aims to help businesses find the technology they need to maximize their success and protect their data.

    Latest Articles