At SocialCops, we developed a mobile data collection tool that is now used by partners globally to collect data via mobile and run their monitoring processes. It can save money by reducing the cost of data collection by 23% for our over 150+ partners. You ask how?

Let us break it down to some simple math, as per research conducted by an IIT Madras research study:

mobile, mobile for good, data collection, infographic, save money

Infographic designed and conceptualized by Sushovan Das.

Cost of Paper-Based Methods

Data entry: Rs 140 (63 questions at 10 questions per page)

The survey instrument is normally in a regional language while the original survey is written in English by the development experts. This however has to be translated to a regional language for it to make sense on the ground. So the data entry and translation cost comes into the picture. However, with a mobile-based app, the data entry, translation and distribution to the field officer on site can be automated instead.

Photocopying: Rs 4,200 (600 copies of 7 pages at Rs 1 per page)

This activity increases the cost, as well as the carbon footprint. For 600 interviews, you will end up making 600 copies of a 7 page document, whereas responses can be input to a mobile-based app, registering the responses in real time for analysis as the data flows back in.

Cost of administering the survey: Rs 30,000 (600 x Rs 50)

This is the token participation fee given to the interview participant. It turns out to be the bulk of the cost of running the survey.

Translation and data entry of the responses after the survey: Rs 105,000

This is a portion of the survey expenditure, which can be avoided with the real-time data collection on the survey app and cloud-based storage in the Head Office Server.

Transportation Cost: Rs 2,000 (Rs 50 per village x 40 villages)

An unavoidable expense for the survey administrator for him/her to move across the study area.

Save Money with Mobile Data Collection

In contrast, a mobile-based survey will need a one-time investment of a Rs 10,000 basic android phone and Rs 50,000 for a custom survey app with appropriate backward integration.

The other Rs 2,500 for the internet pack to keep connected to the office.

This is substantially lower than the cost of data entry, translation, and photocopying all rolled in one. There is a cool saving of Rs 50,000 with a one-time investment of Rs 50,000 for building the app, which can be used for multiple surveys.

Want to know more about collecting high quality data? We’ve compiled our learnings on how to build a stellar data collection plan in our first ebook. This 30-page guide contains everything you need to know to improve the way you collect data. Download now!