Evaluating field reporting solutions: 7 features you can't do without
By Ivo Karadjov, SpireLine Systems
Field Reporting has transitioned from a RMS add-on application to an invaluable technology that speeds data capture with increased accuracy, highly accelerates data availability, and most importantly provides bi-directional mobile information sharing.
No longer just static electronic forms, field reporting is an interactive process with wide ranging process management tools. No matter what stage of the buying process you are in—whether you currently have a solution or are just doing research for a project that’s years away—there are 7 features most agencies consider mandatory for their mobile field reporting.
It’s rare to have 100% connectivity when officers are in the field. To maximize productivity, look for “Storeand-Forward” technology that enables field reporting to effectively work in a connected and disconnected mode—without losing data and without wasting officer time.
2. Built using open standards
Make sure your solution is built upon industry standards such as the Global Justice XML Data Model and the National Information Exchange Management so you can easily share information among agencies.
3. In-house management
Agencies today want to be able to create and manage reports in-house. Find solutions that allow you to create and edit your forms. Inquire about the training and support the vendor provides.
4. Bi-directional data sharing and auto-population
Solutions today can import data from the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) and other third-party sources to reduce the amount of typing an officer has to do. Solutions can also check Record Management Systems Master Indices tables and populate forms with pre-existing known records. All of which avoids time-consuming typing by the officer. In addition, data can be sent, upon submission to :n" number of systems, like jails or district attorneys' offices in formats specific to each system.
5. Wireless report processing
No longer does an officer have to wait till they get back to the office to upload the day’s reports or make the corrections required by their supervisors. Look for solutions that enable submit, reject, re-submit, and approve, all in the mobile environment.
Don’t settle for inflexible report formats. Find solutions that allow you to tailor your reports and support an unlimited type and number of reports.
7. Long-Range flexibility
You know change is going to happen. Find solutions that are flexible and can accommodate growth or changing dynamics. If it can’t work or grow with other technologies, you’ll find that your solution quickly becomes outmoded. Look for systems employing services-oriented architecture and Web services to ensure future scalability. You can also protect your long-term investment by searching out Field Reporting solutions that allow you to tightly integrate with existing or future back-end technology purchases such as record management and computer-aided dispatch systems.