“You can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen.” – Michelle Obama
Mobile data collection these days is not exactly an uncrowded field. If you are looking to collect data for your next project via mobile, you have a wide variety of solutions to choose from. This is both a good and a bad thing. It is a good thing because almost anyone is bound to find something that suits their needs. It is a bad thing because choosing can be incredibly complicated, and making the wrong decision could lead to a lot of problems down the line.
Decision-making Value Chain
In this post, I would like to address one important way in which Hoji stands apart from alternatives, namely, that our service goes beyond mobile data collection to cover the entire “decision-making value chain”.
There is no doubt that mobile technology helps address a lot of the inefficiencies inherent in traditional pen and paper data collection. But for any project, data collection is never the goal in itself. It is merely the means to an end, and that end is the ability to make timely, evidenced-based decisions.
At Hoji, we see data collection as just one component in a complex, decision-making value chain. The chain is comprised of many actors with different responsibilities and varying needs. We believe that in order for technology to enable effective decisions and drive high-impact action, it must address the needs of all the actors in the chain.
As the individual responsible for provisioning the necessary infrastructure to organize and store project data, Hoji relieves you of the need to worry about hardware, up-time and security by automatically hosting data on your behalf. We also provide you with an easy-to-use point-and-click user interface for developing digital data collection tools at any level of complexity, allowing you to get set up and ready to deploy projects in a matter of hours.
Fig 1: Adding a new data field as the database administrator
As an enumerator, you are the interface between the actual source of data in the field and your project. Your role is extremely critical, as any failure on your part will usually irreversibly contaminate the rest of the process. Hoji gives you a clean and easy-to-use mobile data entry application. The app provides a ton of helpful features, such automatic navigation, automatic uploads, off-line mode and so much more. The application also automatically captures important metadata such as your name, time and location, allowing you to fully focus on collecting project data.
Fig 2: Response review on the Hoji mobile app
In your position as the data manager or analyst, your job is to process the data received from the field into meaningful information for decision-making. Hoji gives you a wide variety of analysis tools to reduce the grunt work and increase your productivity. For instance, our web application automatically runs frequency distributions for all quantitative variables. It also calculates summary statistics for numeric variables, including measures of central tendency, variability and shape. In addition, our inbuilt pivot table allows you to slice and dice the data, calculate new values based on your dataset e.g. index statistics and even run cross tabulations to compare categories. Most importantly, Hoji allows you to summarize the data for executive-level reporting through simple, highly-effective dashboards.
Fig 3: Running a histogram with summary statistics as a data manager or analyst
No, it is not what you are thinking. You do not need to be a software developer to use or set up Hoji. However, sometimes data collected from the field via mobile applications such as Hoji needs to be transmitted to a third-party system. This is common when a project has its own customized internal systems which need to receive data from the field. For this, we provide both push and pull APIs for easy integration. You simply need to subscribe for data updates from Hoji and voila! You have a complete mobile data collection solution for your own internal system.
Fig 4: Subscribing for data events on Hoji by registering a web-hook
As the project manager or field supervisor, Hoji offers you a rich summary of field activity, including output by enumerator and other metadata for quality assurance. For example, the platform lets you see where the data is being collected from, when and by whom. In addition, you are able to monitor average data collection time for the purposes of planning, budgeting and accounting for HR expenditure.
Fig 5: Viewing project coverage as the project manager or field supervisor
With the momentous responsibility of leading your project or organization, you rarely have time for every detail in your data collection and management process. However, you are typically the one responsible for high-level decision-making. Hoji provides you with single-click, highly-summarized and easy-to-read dashboards, presenting the most important indicators on a single page. This gives you the information you need to make timely, effective and well-informed decisions.
Fig 6: Viewing highly summarized data in the form of dashboards
Our holistic approach to field data gathering, processing and decision-making is backed by a strong team of data scientists available to advice projects on the most effective ways to summarize and consume information. Not only do we deploy and support the technology, we also take time to understand our clients’ domain in order to customize our solution to best meet their needs.
Want to see all of this for yourself? Why don’t you sign up now and receive email instructions for running a 10-minute self-service demo.