The 5 best data collection tools of 2021

In the current paradigm of big tech, e-commerce, and digital marketing, data has emerged as one of the most valuable assets in the world. Though collecting and analyzing metadata offers deeper insight into buying behavior and ad targeting, data goes far beyond secretly compiled consumer profiles.

Data is information that helps us take action or make better decisions. It can range from insights such as how a customer rates a retail experience to customer billing information that allows a user to pay for something quickly and conveniently.

There are many methods available to get information from people the old-fashioned way — you know, by asking for it. But data collection tools have brought these processes into the 21st century, making it easier than ever to solicit information and automate, organize, and analyze it.

A “data collection tool” is just a technical way of describing online forms or apps that allow users to enter specific information or choose an option from multiple choices. JotForm offers data collection tools, but there are many other platforms on the market that provide a wide array of collection methods and data types.

Here are some of the best of 2021.

1. Zonka Feedback

This app focuses specifically on gathering information about customer satisfaction and then providing insights that can help you respond effectively.

Zonka Feedback provides fully customizable evaluation and survey forms that you can deliver online or on smartphones and tablets, making the tool ideal for collecting data at the point of sale.

Zonka Feedback Patient Discharge Form Template
Zonka Feedback Patient Discharge Form Template

The Zonka Feedback platform doesn’t just provide the interface for customers to input their information — the app measures results immediately and reports in real time. It also enables you to create actionable items and tasks based on the feedback you receive.

For example, if you find out a customer was unhappy with their experience, it’s possible to automate task assignments, such as following up with an apology email or offering a discount for future products or services.

2. FastField

FastField is ideal for organizations that have to present large quantities of data on a regular basis.

The app offers many of the data collection features of the other tools on this list, but what makes FastField shine is its ability to immediately visualize massive amounts or specific types of data in digestible charts, graphs, or other types of reports.

FastField Vehicle Inspection Log Report Sample
FastField Vehicle Inspection Log Report Sample

Usually, this is something you have to do by hand after collecting and analyzing data. Busy professionals have spent many hours manually entering information into a report template. FastField does all of this automatically.

For example, if you have to draft a proposal or estimate for a specific scope of work, the app allows you to quickly enter line items for products or services as well as their cost, categorize them appropriately, and immediately export the data into customized, branded templates that meet your preferences.

You can also export the reports into other formats, such as PDFs or Word documents, so you can send clients or customers exactly what they need.

3. Fulcrum

This cutting-edge app optimizes mobile data collection for every type of project or industry, even going so far as to track geolocation.

Primarily used to gather data within an organization rather than get feedback from external customers, Fulcrum is optimized for users who have to assess specific locations or situations, particularly in the agriculture, insurance, construction, and energy industries. The app is all about empowering users to record the data they collect and make it available to all stakeholders for a particular project.

The app enables organizations to create forms that guide users through the information they need to collect. For example, in the construction industry, a user may have to make a list of onsite equipment or the materials that need to be installed throughout the building. The Fulcrum app’s geotagging abilities allow the user to pinpoint where the organization is storing construction tools and where exactly they will need to install materials.

Fulcrum Mobile Inspection Form Fields
Fulcrum Mobile Inspection Form Fields

These features make the platform ideal for political canvassing as well.

4. Magpi

This app is a mobile-first data collection tool that allows users to fill out forms on any device. One of its hallmark features is accessibility for people with visual or other impairments, which allows them to answer questions verbally or with their touch-tone keypad.

Magpi is equipped with much of the functionality of Fulcrum, allowing users to tag a wide array of data points that even include photos, signatures, and barcodes in addition to geolocation. It’s also more customizable because users can code it. Users have adapted the platform for everything from election monitoring to energy production to wildlife tracking.

Its most unique offering, however, is the IVR, or interactive voice response feature, that allows users to input data with their voices or by pressing corresponding keys on their phone like they would on a customer service hotline.

Magpi IVR
Magpi IVR

5. JotForm

We offer the most versatile and widest array of data collection forms, with over 10,000 templates and counting.

Our platform is for users who want to create their own customized surveys and questionnaires. JotForm offers numerous prebuilt templates ready to give you the framework and inspiration you need to make the best form possible.

We also offer more customization than tools like Google Forms and Survey Monkey. Our template library is stocked with other forms people and organizations use every single day, including job applications, event registration forms, and order forms for businesses as specific as a bakery or a clothing store.

One of our biggest differentiators is our payment forms, which include templates for invoices, charitable donations, subscriptions, and more. We integrate with payment processing platforms like PayPal, Square, and Stripe, so you can also receive funds through the JotForm app and provide a more streamlined experience for your customers.

JotForm’s Report Builder rivals FastField with its ability to instantly create presentation-ready reports of your data. And JotForm Tables, a database-spreadsheet hybrid tool, allows you to store, manage, cross-reference, and analyze your data in one place.

This article is originally published on Mar 17, 2021, and updated on May 03, 2021.
AUTHOR
Data collection analyst. Seeing life in 1's and 0's. Can't resist to a good cup of coffee. You can reach Quentin through his contact form.

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