We were looking for a mobile solution with offline capability that could support all of our data collection requirements and interface well with our models at the back-end. Flowfinity was the only solution that met our requirements for mobile form flexibility, workflows and integration.
Marshall & Stevens Improves Efficiency of Large Scale Appraisals
Company Size: Medium Enterprise
Industry: Insurance, Finance
Function: Field Data Capture for Large Scale Appraisals
Marshall & Stevens is a consultancy that delivers valuation services to organizations in a variety of industries across the United States. The management team used Flowfinity software to create more efficient field data capture apps for large scale appraisals, and quickly realized the following benefits:
- Higher quality, centrally managed data from the field
- Increased management visibility into daily operations
- 60% reduction in project data collection timelines
- Better customer service with real-time updates
- Mobile app integration with existing valuation systems
- Rapid deployment capability for new mobile apps & forms
Large scale appraisals and valuations involve site visits and a lot of data. Appraisers in the field collect information every day, and that data has to be reviewed, processed, and fed into systems that perform complex valuations.
Before using Flowfinity, Marshall & Stevens went from using paper to spreadsheets to an in-house developed app, but there was a large bottleneck in receiving and processing data coming in from the field every day.
"When we started using Excel it was an improvement over paper, but it was still very, very time intensive. We had a whole staff of people that were processing and entering all of our data," said Jim Nutter, Manager, Marshall & Stevens.
"We moved toward an in-house program built for Windows Mobile, but it never gave us the flexibility or the rapid deployment we were looking for. When the mobile device technology went out of date it was difficult to maintain and just didn't do the job," he said.
Marshall & Stevens needed a mobile solution that could handle the extensive data input requirements for insurance appraisals. The solution needed to integrate with the company's existing back-end systems used to perform valuations. Complete offline functionality and the ability to download photos taken on site visits were also critical.
"We were looking for a mobile solution with offline capability that could support all of our data collection requirements and interface well with our models at the back-end," said Nutter. "Flowfinity was the only solution that met our requirements for mobile form flexibility, workflows and integration."
The availability of on-premise, private cloud or cloud hosting also helped in the decision. "It was good that we could self-host, but Flowfinity also had private cloud options, and were willing to work with us on our requirements," said Nutter.
Reduced Administrative Costs
Using Flowfinity apps, the team at Marshall & Stevens was able to reduce the overall timeline on a major project from five months to three. The time savings are thanks to appraisal data being submitted back to the office in the correct format and in real-time, where management can review it for accuracy right away.
"Flowfinity saves me on administrative costs on each project by not having to go back and constantly assure data capture quality."
"Before, we had multiple employees working on unifying the data, then I would have to spend time ensuring not only what was captured was correct but the entry of the capture was correct," said Nutter. "Flowfinity saves me on administrative costs on each project by not having to go back and constantly assure data capture quality," he said.
"Before we started using Flowfinity I would spend hours of a week on minutiae while a project was in progress because of the way that we were capturing and verifying our data," said David Koller, National Practice Leader, Marshall & Stevens. "Now I spend very little time, and I am able to turn it over to the client much sooner."
Increased Management Insight
The labor-intensive method of processing data previously meant that it took longer for management to realize if something needed to be corrected or if more information was needed from a site visit.
"Before it took days to spot things that needed to be corrected because we would have to process the data before we could see the full picture," said Nutter. "Flowfinity provides a full overview, and our visibility into the field is immediate."
Now, management can easily access Flowfinity records in real time at the office through a web browser.
"Before it took days to spot things that needed to be corrected because we would have to process the data before we could see the full picture."
"Now I am able to review a person's results the moment that they capture them by pulling the data up online," said Nutter. "I can go over the information, look at the external data, see if they're capturing the right information, and correct any issues right away."
More Accurate Data
Flowfinity apps have taken the guesswork out of data collection. Logic that guides users through appraisal processes is built directly into the mobile forms. This improves the consistency of how appraisers complete work in the field.
"For data capture, all of the features and workflows that we were able to build into the Flowfinity app not only increased the quantity work that we were able to produce, but also improved the quality," said Nutter.
Faster Employee Training
With better management visibility in the field and apps that guide appraisers through the process, training new employees is now much more efficient.
"Training before was a very intensive process, and it could take 2 to 3 months to get someone to the point of producing reliable, consistent results," said Nutter. "Now it's overnight. With Flowfinity I know exactly what our team is capturing, I can do real time editing of what they're doing, and I know they can have the type of confidence that they want to have out in the field."
"In some ways it's like Flowfinity serves as a guide in the field for us," Koller added. "We are able to get control of errors and cut bad habits immediately."
Integration with Back-end Systems
It was important to have the ability to integrate data from Flowfinity apps with existing back-end systems for valuation. Flowfinity is SQL database driven with flexible integration options, which worked well for the company's needs.
"We feed the Flowfinity data directly into our models, so we are able to start a valuation work as soon as the data comes in," said Nutter.
Improved Customer Service
Flowfinity enables the management team at Marshall & Stevens to provide near real-time updates to clients about the status of their projects.
"One of the advantages of using Flowfinity is that when the client asks us a question about project status, we can reply with up-to-date answers and feel confident that they're accurate," said Koller. "While we have our personnel deployed in the field, we are able to check the status of any given task and provide analysis in real time."
"Flowfinity...not only increased the quantity work that we were able to produce, but also improved the quality."
Now, management also has more time to spend with clients because field operations are more efficient.
"Now that the administrative burden has been reduced, I am able to deal more with client relationships, which is much more important in my role," said Koller.