Imagine the auditing software of your dreams. What features does it have? You’re probably thinking of an application that’s easy to use, something visually attractive but not too flashy. Maybe you’d like a platform that could give you all the information you need, and it’s always right at your fingertips.
Well, newsflash. That’s practically all of them!
If you’ve ever tried searching for the phrase “auditing software,” you know there are hundreds of options that pop up. To the casual observer, most of these tools are bog-standard, interchangeable. You can imagine the software of your dreams all you want, but unless you know what to look for, you’re no closer to finding it.
If you’re shopping for a mobile inspection solution, the sheer number of choices can be daunting. You know you want software to tie all the loose ends together, but there are so many options. Which one is right for you?
Start by asking yourself these questions:
Who are your auditors?
You’ll need to determine what kind of end user your data platform will serve. Are they an inspector who’s constantly on-the-go? A compliance auditor with a few dozen sites to inspect? A strong auditing platform will pre-populate fields based on contextual information like login info and GPS coordinates. Try to picture yourself as a traveling inspector. What about the software makes it easier? What makes it harder?
Think about who will work with the software, where they have to go, and their experience with technology. If your auditors are part of an aging workforce, for instance, you don’t want to pile a bunch of unfamiliar tech on them. You also don’t want to jump through the hurdles of training them to use the system. If grueling setup and orientation are part of a platform’s model, you might as well keep looking.
How unique or customized do you need your audits to be?
If you’re fine with boilerplate forms and stock templates, you can get by without being picky. There are plenty of solutions that will fit simple, typical needs. On the other hand, if you’ve been using your own forms for decades, why should you bend or break your status quo just to get a new auditing service up and running?
With truly custom auditing, you should be able to leverage a suite of robust features to make your forms your own. Tailor-made form software will offer you features like branching logic to prefill fields based on previously answered questions.
That takes us back to the previous point: if your users aren’t tech experts, you want to be able to offer them something both familiar and tailored to their needs. If your workers are used to doing things one way, integrating a brand new system with a wildly format will only disengage them.
Do your auditors have constant internet access?
If no, don’t go with software that restricts them to a wifi-rich environment. And don’t be swayed by auditing software that boasts “offline backup” capabilities. Your auditors need the full functionality of their tools, not just a safety net.
Ideally, your data platform is committed to an offline-first mentality, meaning that offline functionality isn’t just an “option”-- it’s a objective.
Where do you want your forms hosted?
With inexpensive or free App Store auditing solutions, what you see is what you get. Simple, easy, and third-party controlled data. If you don’t mind placing your data’s safety in the hands of faceless mobile app developers, you won’t need to worry with a third-party host.
However, the best form-builder solutions allow self-hosting. In the self-hosted model, even though you’re using someone else’s platform, all your forms are hosted on your own servers. When you build your forms with self-hosting, your data, your customers, and your business can rest easy.
Even though a cursory glance with Google might make it seem that all auditing apps are made equal, rest assured they are not. Use this guide to evaluate your needs, and wherever possible ask for a free trial. Ask questions, describe your project in detail, and let auditing software companies court you. With a little bit of research and reflection, it won’t be hard to find an auditing solution that suits your enterprise perfectly.
Author Bio: Alex Brown is a technical content writer for Form.com. He has written informative tech articles in different publications and content related to digital distribution, branding, IT, and more.