By Vice President Travis Yordi
We are living in the age of information, or as some would call it, the age of information overload. We’re bombarded by ads tailored to us based on every website we’ve been on, every link we’ve clicked, and every item we’ve bought online. Facts and opinions are delivered ad nauseum and up to the minute from social media and blog posts. Data drives all of our business decisions, and yet that data can be so vast, so minute in detail, that we lose sight of the forest through the trees.
Data points are particularly useful when combined to paint an entire picture. One could look at the productivity of two tree crews, A and B. You could strictly compare their productivity and see that crew A averages one hour per tree, while crew B averages two hours per tree. It would be easy to assume that crew A is twice as productive as crew B, right? Well, what if crew B is assigned the more difficult trees because of their greater combined skill level? What if crew B has half of the rework or failed audits as crew A? What if crew B leaves yards immaculate and improves your relationship with your customers? That one data point may become less important when other data points are added to the mix.
FieldNote wasn’t designed to provide you with just the select data points that we pre-determined you need. It gives you a canvas in which you can paint a picture of your operation. It allows you to capture all the data points you need to connect the dots without overloading you – or the crews entering the data. And speaking of the crews, we should be cautious that we don’t overlook the way we’re asking them to collect all of these data points. FieldNote was designed for them – and all the other users in the field. It’s a tool to help them do their jobs, not just collect data. It can provide them with useful information, photos and maps without requiring them to use a complicated GIS application or enter data line by line in a spreadsheet.
Whatever platform you rely on, it should provide value to everyone who uses it. Implementing a software platform that only feeds data into a system to spit out numbers leaves a lot of useful information on the table.
Whatever platform you rely on, it should provide value to everyone who uses it. Implementing a software platform that only feeds data into a system to spit out numbers leaves a lot of useful information on the table. If it requires continual involvement from IT or GIS teams, then it better provide enough quality information and impart enough value on the users entering the information to offset those costs.
When you look at your operation, are you collecting data or are you interacting with information? Are your employees, crews, and/or contractors just entering data or are they provided with a tool to manage their work and use information to make informed decisions? We all take time to look at trees every day, but let’s make sure we step back and see the beauty of the forest.