Two Decades. It has been two decades since the internet revolution started and needless to say, it is affecting how and what decisions we make. Whether it’s a business or an individual, all of them would rather rely on the internet before making a final decision. And then came the Smartphones that further facilitated and increased our dependence on the internet for running businesses and make decisions. What wheel was to neolithic era then, Smartphones are today. These tiny gadgets most of us are armed with, accelerated our pace to an era of what we call ‘Digitalization’ and ‘Digitization’.
“Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data — so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone — BigData.”
Unknowingly or knowingly we are creating and collecting data every second to run our businesses or may be because we run them. Whatever the cause may be, we can’t evade the fact that data has become an integral part of businesses just like the capital, the product and the people. Today, Data’s use is not only restricted to decision making or strategic processes of a business but also to core business processes like Logistics, Operations, Monitoring, Evaluation, Recruitment, anything and everything that is even remotely related to businesses we run .
But then why did Data became such an inevitable part of businesses and economies to make decisions that are both well-informed and profitable. To answer that let’s understand what is Data collection and its practices. Moreover, how it has been helping Industries and Governments to make important decisions and policies.
Data collection is the systematic and objective identification, collection, analysis, dissemination and use of the information for the purpose of improving decision making related to the identification and solution of problems and opportunities in business/enterprises.
Data Collection Uses
Exploratory Research — To explore or search through problem or situation. To provide insights and understanding.
Descriptive Research — To describe characteristics, estimate percentages, determine perception for something or to make specific predictions.
Causal Research — To obtain evidence of cause and effect relationships.
Data Collection is done through Surveys, or they may also be called a Questionnaire, Schedule, Interview form or Measuring Instrument.
Any Survey process needs to be designed well in advance to keep the actions in line with the objectives of the process. It is a staged process wherein each step sets the platform for the next one.
Today, most of the stages of the survey process are digitalized (Digitalization refers to adoption or increase in the use of digital or computer technology by an organization). Quite a good number of Software Languages and Databases have been developed to make this processes efficient in terms of cost and time.
However, Data collection/field-work procedures still remain the most challenging part. It won’t be wrong to say that not much of the innovation has taken place in the procedures that are being used for Data Collection. In most of the research work that is being carried out, Data collection procedures still rely heavily on the pen, paper and people. These traditional survey methods not only makes data vulnerable to a huge number of biases and errors but also amplifies the cost and time.
Apart from falling back on some of the parameters, many a times traditional methods defeat the very purpose of the entire survey. Any survey has to fulfill 3 specific objectives.
Firstly, A survey must uplift, motivate and encourage the respondent to become involved in survey and cooperate to complete. Secondly, it should minimize the errors of bias, measurement, recording, cheating and population definition. And at last, it must translate the information needed into a set of specific questions that respondents can and will answer.
Developing questions that respondents can and will answer and that will yield desired information is difficult. Two apparently similar ways of posing a question may yield different information. Hence, developing questions is a challenge.
The bigger players in the industry have got adequate resources (time and money) to carry out survey process in a sophisticated manner and keep themselves ahead in the game whereas the smaller ones like NGOs/Social Entrepreneurs/SMEs are often left behind or worst come, altogether neglected. These smaller organizations with limited or practically no resources, often sink without a trace.
In spite of the big benefits the data can offer, many Social Enterprises/SME have not been able to grow because
- A lot of them are not up to date with the technology.
- Failure to see the value of Digitized data.
- A lot of owners are dependent on costly and time-consuming traditional methods of survey and market research.
- Most of them don’t believe in outsourcing the Data collection processes.
However, with the advent of innovative technology startups like SocialCops, that empowers Social Enterprises to solve the world’s most pressing problems using data, these small players can create an impact without having the need to shell out disproportionate amounts of money.
But then how does Social Cops ensure that? By using Smartphones. Yes, it is not rocket science but just science.
We know that most of the data that is created on a daily basis comes from only the 30% of the world population who have access to the internet. But it is the non-internet accessing 70% population, which affect the most important decisions and also they are the one to be most affected by them.
In India, the number of people who own mobile phones is greater than the number who own personal computers.As of June 2014, nearly 50% of the Active Internet Users(AIU) in rural areas accessed internet using mobile phones, community service centers (CSC) and cyber cafes.
Above data reinforce the fact that Social Cops has established themselves as a thought leader in the industry of Monitoring, Evaluation and Research by embarking on a new vision of introducing smartphones as measuring instruments for collecting the data and digitizing the entire process of Data Collection. By identifying smartphones/android phones as their measurement tools, Social Cops ensure that even rural or non-internet using population can participate in data collection exercises. A huge chunk of the population that is deprived of technology and empowerment gets the benefit of data to enhance their standard of living as well as improve business. They are bridging the gap between small social enterprises and their goals.
Most of the Large Corporations employ high-end innovative techniques to manage, research and analyze the data (Digitalization). But Social Cops went a step ahead to think what if the process itself how the data is being created and collected can also be digitized. For providing simple, affordable, efficient and modernized data-solutions through smartphones to Social Enterprises/SMEs, Social Cops is a savior.