In general, going digital can save us time and resources. Take data collection for an assessment for instance. One person usually does the data collection on paper. The papers with answers are collected and given to another person to input them in a computer (i.e. make them digital). Often there are challenges of being able to read hand writing at this stage. The digital versions are sent to someone else to consolidate. This person may do some basic analysis or send it to someone else to this. Then it goes to the expert to do the deep analysis. All of this take a lot of time and quite a few people.
So when we ‘go digital’, the data collector inputs the responses into a device. The answers are saved automatically. When the survey is finished, the answers can be consolidated and basic analysis performed automatically. If the assessment is happening in a location with connectivity, this can all happen in real time.
A process that took days previously can now take minutes. We have gained a certain type of efficiency. We have reduced the time the process takes and the number of staff required to do it. This is turn reduces the cost of the process. So we have savings of time and money.
What are we going to do with these savings?
We could try to do more with less. Speed up the ability of remaining staff to collect data faster so we can further reduce the number of frontline staff. We could spend the savings on newer devices and better software.
However we could decide to spend the ‘savings’ by increasing the number of frontline staff. We could slow down the speed at which they collect the data so that they spend more time with each person. We could choose to use the savings to become more human in our interactions.
Often savings of time and money are seen as ways to increase quantity. We equate quantity with impact often because it is easy to measure. But perhaps we could seek out ways to use savings to increase the quality of the interaction, of the relationship.
Perhaps it’s worth a shot?
Photo by Eliott Reyna